Thursday, May 31, 2012

Liberty Lines May 31, 2012

(Published in the State Line Tribune- Farwell, Texas/ Texico, New Mexico. I was told this wouldn't be published this week, but next, so that is why the date is odd in the address bar.)

You're not going to find solutions or answers in government. You might as well be looking for diamonds in your box of breakfast cereal. That doesn't mean, however, that solutions won't be promised by those whose paychecks depend on fooling you into supporting them.

It's time for a reality check. Government can't stimulate the economy. Government can't create jobs. You can- unless government gets in your way.

Therefore, the best way to fix America is to find ways around the obstacles that government, at all levels, places in your way.

Stop waiting for some politician to fix it, or propose a plan to fix it. His solution, if it involves government action and the spending of "tax" money, will not have the effect you desire. In fact, it's almost guaranteed that his "solution" will make things worse, just as FDR's "New Deal" dragged the Great Depression out for seven years longer than doing "nothing" would have done.

There had been earlier economic panics which didn't get fixed by government, so they ended before they took root and became "depressions". They all seemed pretty bad until the government intervention of the 1930s changed the game and set a new standard for "depression". Government action can turn a panic, which usually lasted eighteen months at most, into a depression that can drag on for decades. Compounded government action can then make that depression "great" enough to become legendary.

So stop asking politicians to "do something". They are only too eager to pander to that request. Instead, demand that they butt out.

Things aren't hopeless, though. You're not "on your own", since most individuals are on your side.* But you can't rely on government to solve things that it is fundamentally incapable of solving. Government's solution to a bad economy is to create trillions more counterfeit "dollars" and spend them or spread them around. That's like solving a wildfire by dumping gasoline on it. Government solutions only make things worse, every time they are tried. Don't count on that particular law of nature to change on this planet.

(* For some reason, this is where the paper cut off my column. I feel they neutered it by leaving off the rest.)


Government apologists: Short memories?

It amazes me that so few people seem to realize that all the things government "provides" now, were not always "provided" by government.

For example, someone responded to a comment I made by saying:

Who would coordinate the building of roads, making sure that water and food is safe, criminals are brought to justice, all children have a chance to be educated, forest fires are put out, national parks are preserved for the use of everybody, etc.?

Seriously? Why would government have to have anything to do with any of those things? It's like he tried to make sure every cliche was included in that one sentence. Which makes me wonder if he didn't already know the answers; just wanted to see how I would respond.

And here is how I responded:

Roads weren't always built by the government- and still aren't always built by governments now. In fact there is a recent case out of Hawaii where the local residents rebuilt a road that had been destroyed after government kept dragging its feet.

For those who complain that they don't want to have to pay a toll to drive- I hate to tell them but they already do. And that toll comes with no guarantees about the quality of service. The private sector- the voluntary sector- can provide roads cheaper, better, and safer. Without demanding you give up your liberty in exchange for driving on them.

Underwriter's Laboratories is a good example of a private quality assurance certification process. One that is paid for by its customers, and not forcibly financed by those who have no desire to finance it. Most private standards for safety are much higher than government standards even now. If your hamburger is only up to government standards, you had better consider eating something else.

A company won't last long (without government protection) if it poisons its customers.

I have lived places several times where I had my water tested by local labs to make sure it was safe. Why believe that "only government" can do it, that government does it "best", or that government would do it cheaper?

The justice system only accidentally provides justice. And not even that very often. There is no "justice" in locking up people who have been caught smoking marijuana. Or doing anything else that doesn't have an individual victim that you can point to. Even murder is not "fixed" by the courts or prisons. Real justice means you return a victim to the condition they were in before their life, liberty, or property were damaged. Where justice falls short, restitution is required to balance out the equation. Prison does none of this.

The really sad delusion is that a "crime" harms The State. Sorry, but The State is never a victim.

Before government took over education, America was an incredibly literate nation. Foreign visitors remarked on that fact. It has taken about a century and a half of government "schooling" to destroy much of that literacy. Now graduates barely read. They are ignorant enough of history that they can fall for the lie that the Supreme Court is the last word on "Constitutionality" and that having "dollars" backed by nothing but a government promise (and printed/created by the trillions) is good for the economy. Oh, and that "shall not be infringed" doesn't mean what it says. Education is MUCH too important to allow government within a light-year of it.

Fire fighting- whether of a town or of a forest- is in the best interests of everyone around. In a free society it could be accomplished through something like "fire insurance", but where if your property is damaged by fire anyway, the fire company is liable for the damage. Wildfires would be fought by any local fire companies that would prefer to nip it in the bud rather than wait until their customers were at risk- and their profits were at risk, too. I suspect that there would be fire crews for hire that could be brought in at a moments notice by the "insurance company. There will always be adrenaline junkies looking to do the heroic-type jobs. For pay. Pay that is collected voluntarily without the threat of "fines" or prison.

Property that is privately owned is cared for better than property that has no individual person responsible. "The Tragedy of the Commons" is real, and can be seen locally wherever "communal" property exists. If I owned a former national park, it would be in my best interests to keep it nice and clean. Both for my own enjoyment, and so that I could attract paying visitors. Government is the worst polluter the world has ever seen- how can such a thing "protect" or "preserve" anything natural? Whenever I go camping I spend a lot of leisure time picking up trash- much of it very old and weathered- that no one has seen fit to pick up as "part of their job". If I owned the place I would hire employees who would do their job or get fired. (Assuming the absence of government which prevents this proper response, anyway.)

Anything you can point to that government does can be done voluntarily instead. Everything good, anyway. And, if something is really a good thing, someone will find a way to provide it. For a profit. If you think that will cost more than it does now, consider that in a free society you will only be paying for those things you actually want, need, or use. Those things that aren't wanted, needed, or used will go away.

And, remember, the above ideas aren't necessarily the way it "will" be done; just possible ways it could be done. People will probably find solutions for some things that could have never been discovered until liberty was respected again.


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Seeing your reflection in others

"You can't trust 'them'."

"You can't be nice to 'them'."

"You can't expect 'them' to act like you and me."

"'They' will take your kindness as an opportunity to kill you."

"Life isn't worth as much to 'those people'."

"Fight them over there or you'll have to fight them over here."

How many times have you heard justifications like this. It's why it is OK to invade their homes and kill them as "insurgents" or "terrorists" when they resist your "help".
To some people, anyway.

Well, people often treat you as you are treating them. Even if all the above excuses are correct, it doesn't prevent you from being civilized, yet prepared to defend yourself without notice. And it doesn't justify you behaving as you claim 'they' behave.


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Government more like unruly dog

Government more like unruly dog

(My Clovis News Journal column for April 27, 2012. So, is the more crude translation "Government's a b*tch"?)

George Washington is quoted as saying “Government is not reason. It is not eloquence. It is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.” Unfortunately, in spite of this awareness, he chose to be a part of the problem. That's the way the cookie crumbles.

His assessment still holds up, although I think government is more like a dog.

A big, poorly trained dog that forever grows larger and meaner. The bigger it gets, the more of your stuff it breaks and the more it consumes. It slobbers all over everything, has terrible gas, and is possessive of your property.

As a puppy he was manageable. He was given some rules and training, and seemed agreeable for a while. As he matured it was believed he made your home safe because he was so powerful.

Unfortunately, the people who gave him to you lied about him. They said he would only grow so large, then stop, and that he would obey the rules that were set out for him. He didn't stop growing, and the larger he gets the more he ignores the rules, which were never really enforced anyway. Now when you try to correct him, he growls- and sometimes bites. He takes what he wants from your plate and if you try to scold him, he goes berserk. He roams wherever he wants with impunity, and may well be rabid. This dog has become your greatest danger.

You know he has been attacking the neighbors, but some of your family members stick up for him no matter what he does. Those whom he has threatened or wounded are getting fed up. Some would like to see him put down. The neighbors blame you for the dog's behavior, though you really do try to be a responsible master. You are only one person and no one else in your household sees any problem with the dog. They still believe that the bigger and meaner he gets, the safer your house will be.

A common distillation of libertarianism is "maximum liberty- minimum government". Maximum liberty is having the freedom to do everything you can do without violating any other person's rights. Minimum government is arguable. Since this "dog" seems completely incapable of doing the only things that his few libertarian defenders think he should do- protect the innocent by protecting property rights and ensuring justice- my "minimum government" is self government, also known as "self responsibility", and involves no third party. How much beyond that do you want?


Lots of potential Libertopias

Here's some more sciencey speculation for you.

I am always seeing estimates of the percentage of stars which might have a planetary system surrounding them. (Current estimates range from 20% to 50%) I think they are all wrong.

I suspect it will eventually be realized that star formation includes planet formation just as surely as dropping a big rock into sloppy mud creates a surrounding pattern of splatter. Planets may be considered almost a part of a star. Beyond the chromosphere and the corona is the "planetsphere".

So, I strongly suspect the percentage of stars with a planetary system is 100%- with the possible exception of some stars which went through some cataclysmic event that stripped them away from their planets. (What percentage of humans have a head?)

Now, how many of those stars have a planet (or more) where life develops, and how likely is it for sapience to arise in those biospheres? The answers may turn out to be just as obvious.


Monday, May 28, 2012

Ouch! That hurt!

I just turned down an offer of $100 to place a link in my blog.

I said I would be glad to do it as long as I could disclose that I was paid for the link. I was told that no one else insists on doing that, and that it would be a deal-breaker.

So, I wrote back and said "sorry, but thanks for the offer".

I have to admit, for the tiniest moment, a hesitation before I hit "send" on that reply. Dang my ethics!


Zippo- an outlaw company (good for them!)

About a week ago, I had an experience that showed me, again, that even the most innocuous of government monopolies is still a bad thing.

Out wandering the wastelands on the edge of town with my daughter I found an old Zippo lighter. Being obsessed with fire starting methods/tools, I kept it. The cap was missing and the "wheel" was rusted in place, but I know Zippo repairs or replaces their lighters for free, "forever".

When I got home I went online and found the address for the Zippo Repair Clinic, packed up the old lighter, and headed off to the local post office.

The clerk took the package and asked the standard "anything hazardous, fragile, or flammable?" question, to which I replied "no".

She held it carefully, looked at it suspiciously, and said "It says 'Zippo', what's in here?"

I said it is a broken lighter.

She looked shocked and said "You can't mail lighters!"

I said that I followed the packaging instructions on the Zippo site (and why would they even have a mailing address at all if you couldn't mail anything to them?), and I had mailed lighter to them before.

"They might still have residue!"

"No, this one was very, very dry. I've mailed them before."

"You just didn't get caught that time" (paraphrased- my attention was slipping)

She pulled out a full-color, government brochure detailing all the things the government has arbitrarily declared to be "dangerous" to mail (which UPS and FedEx can still mail, I suppose).

By this time I wasn't really listening anymore, but was trying to figure out how I was getting this to UPS or FedEx. But she kept lecturing for a bit anyway.

So, I left the post office with my package, and as the "proud" owner of a full color, government brochure (slightly used)... had an idea, and went a few blocks, across the state line, and mailed my package without incident from New Mexico.

Zippo emailed me to confirm receipt of the lighter, so I emailed them back to inform them that according to this officious postal clerk, mailing their lighters, under any circumstances, is a serious crime.

I guess it's a good thing I'm already an outlaw.


Sunday, May 27, 2012

Is that the feeling of my head swelling just a bit?

One of the nicest things I have ever seen said about anything I have ever written showed up a while back on another blog, in the comments.

It was in response to this comment I had made a bit earlier:

The way I see it, if something offends you but does not "break your leg or pick your pocket" (not my words, look it up), speak out. Ridicule it. Say loudly why it offends you. March alongside quoting the Bible (or book of your choice) calling them whatever name you can think of. Shun them, totally and completely and try to get others to do so, also. But the second you use force- in person or by proxy- against someone who hasn't used force against you or stolen from you, you have become a bad guy too.

Anyway, "Jim Klein" wrote:

For the record, I completely concur with what Kent wrote...word for word, idea for idea. In fact, it's so good that it easily does as well as any words of wisdom that were written 240 years ago.

What's liberty in the American tradition? What defines a rational society? There it is.

Wow. Thanks!


Saturday, May 26, 2012

"Based on actual events"

Here's a situation for exercising your thinking skills. This in't about me, and I have my own thoughts on how to deal with the situation, which I'll keep to myself in order to get uncontaminated input.

I suspect this is a case of two people with the same personality "quirks" running head-on into one another. Like two anger-crazed rams or something.

In any case, Person A is a low-level manager at a "major retail chain" who is having trouble with Person B who is directly above her. I'll assume for the moment that Person A is giving an accurate account of events.

Person A says Person B is sabotaging her at work. Person B spreads rumors among the people in Person A's department- those she is supposed to manage- and acts rudely to "A" in front of them. "B" has gone back to Person A's department after "A" has left for the day, and un-done everything "A" did that day, and then pointed out to higher management that the department's work is unfinished. She made threatening gestures at Person A one time, in front of another manager, and nothing was done.

It has gotten to the point that "A" acts just as nasty to "B" as "B" acted to her from the beginning. "A" is not a particularly pleasant individual to begin with.

Person A is about ready to quit her job, even without anything else lined up. Person A has gone to every other manager who is above "B" without any results whatsoever, other than a couple of times having them run directly to "B" to report what was said. Person A has even gone to regional management with about the same results. She was told "respect is a two-way street".

What would you do in such a situation?


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Earned or wasted on the undeserving?

What if someone honestly believed it was good to do "---", but instead "---" was a horrible thing to do? Would you "honor" them anyway, based upon their erroneous belief that what they were doing was a good thing?

Do their beliefs make a difference? Their intentions? Or do results and the reality matter?

Do you honor people who believe they are doing the right thing when they are really not doing the right thing at all?

I just can't. And it creates a divide between me and some others that I'd rather not be at odds with. So, I generally just keep my mouth shut as long as no one beats me over the head with it.


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

"Eliminate private property"?

I frequently see socialists say something to the effect, in the course of their "debates", of: "...eliminate private property and everything will be great".

You can't. That would be like me saying that everything could be perfect if we could just eliminate theft and aggression.

Private property is a feature of life. You can't eliminate it just because you want to. All you can do is eliminate "legal" recognition of private property- which all governments do to a great degree (generally in violation of their charters). But private property still exists in spite of that.

Just like the right to own and to carry, whatever kind of weapon you want, wherever you go, in any manner you see fit, openly or concealed, without asking anyone's permission, ever, is a fundamental feature of being human, regardless of "laws" that governments may write and enforce to the contrary. The right still exists; it is just being violated.

So it is with private property.


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

No justice in Florida teen’s slaying

No justice in Florida teen’s slaying

(My Clovis News Journal column for April 20, 2012)

One recent "big national news" story where I seem to differ with a lot of libertarians is the George Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin shooting.

I have seen the prevailing voices shift support behind whichever of the two the latest reports seem to vindicate. I continue to support both, and neither. Which is to say I support truth and liberty, wherever that may lead.

None of us were there, and even if there are any witnesses who are brought forward to testify, they will all have an agenda and be trying to push a certain perspective. It's human nature and inevitable. All any of us will ever know for sure is that two people encountered one another, and now one of them is dead.

I believe- and I admit it is nothing more than a belief- that this is a case of two troublemakers out looking for trouble and succeeding in finding it when they encountered one another. Both seem to have a history that points in that direction. I don't believe I would have been friends with either man, since both seem to have been fans of intimidation and coercion and cultural divisiveness. Of course, in both cases, all any of us knows about the individual involved has been filtered through others who want us to see the events from a particular perspective, and any truth is incidental.

Regardless of what had happened in the past, or even earlier that fateful hour, at the instant the trigger was pulled one of the two was innocent- not deserving to be harmed at that particular moment. You and I will never know which one of them was the innocent party. A trial won't alter that.

If Trayvon Martin was innocent there can never be any justice for him. Certainly not through the courts. If George Zimmerman was innocent, his prosecution is the opposite of justice and is heaping injury on top of injury. In either case making a criminal case out of this, and, in case of a conviction, allowing the prison system to swallow yet another person, isn't helping anyone other than those who profit from the excessive, abusive use of the justice system for the benefit of the imprisonment industry, and those who profit- economically or politically- from driving a wedge through society.

As in so many other cases, the best thing to do is to take Zimmerman at his word that he was being attacked and acted in self defense, but watch him carefully for any hint of aggression or "enforcer-type" behavior from this moment forward.

Condescension in responses

Yes, I can be condescending. A commenter has called my attention to it once again.

This happens when I get frustrated. When a person keeps saying the same thing over and over (and over) again; grasping for any justification for The State. It becomes hard to take that person seriously, since they are not taking the pro-liberty evidence seriously.

At least I don't start calling people nasty names- not worse than "statist", anyway. But if that's their position, that ruling other people is a legitimate human activity, should they be insulted by the acknowledgement that this is what they believe? I don't know. I am not insulted in the least when called an anarchist, even when the person is trying to insult me. I guess that's just me.

I just finished reading the autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, and he mentions a similar problem he had that was pointed out to him by a friend. He tells how he endeavored to change his behavior. I may not be as good a man as Mr. Franklin, so I may fail... but I will try to do better.

I'm not saying there is no place for condescension. Or profanity. Or even calling an idiot an idiot. What I am saying is that I try to not be the "place" for that.

However, there are some notions that have had a free ride for way too long. Some opinions are just not valid. The myth of "needing" a State is one of them. Too many people have coddled the people expressing this false delusion for far too long, and pretended that the idea isn't simply outright insane. I think it's long past time to call a spade a spade.



Addendum: Then what makes me even more irritated in this particular case is that the commenter huffs off after claiming to find misogyny in the comments. Notice that no one mentioned gender at all. Until she brought it up, that is. It makes me think that she believes that socialism is a "feminine value" or something. Ugh!


Monday, May 21, 2012

Annular eclipse photos- May 20, 2012

All photos, except the one of the reflection in the house window, taken by my mother. In order, I think.

Free market supporter?

If you are a supporter of the War on (some) Drugs, you are an enemy of the free market.


Sunday, May 20, 2012

Eureka! Eclipse shows stop signs DO have a use

After long, fruitless years of studying, I have finally done it: I have found a legitimate use for stop signs!

They are good screens for projecting annular solar eclipses on.

I was happy to be along the path of this evening's eclipse and by using a mirror I was able to watch the reflection of the whole thing (until the sun set). Awesome!

I also used a pinhole and reflections in car windows and another group of eclipse watchers let me look through their welding helmet as well. And I did sneak some peeks as the sun set and was dimmed by haze.

Here's a regular picture of the annular eclipse taken by my mom during the maximum.


A situation concerning a dog

On Claire Wolfe's blog, she mentions a "situation" she is facing. I think it is the first time I have ever found myself on the "other side" of a Claire opinion.

Basically, it comes down to this: Is it worth saving the life of an apparently unadoptable dog to let him be taken to be trained as a "drug sniffer"?

I'm sorry, but I don't think it is.

I love animals, but people have to come first, in my opinion. If I had to choose between a beloved family pet and some stranger, I might choose the pet, but that would be wrong of me.

Liberty is about humans. It is about doing what is right to other people. "Don't do unto others what you would not have them do unto you." You don't have a right to do things you know will ultimately harm people who have not harmed others. And all "laws" are eventually enforced with death for those who don't submit in time. Helping the drug warriors get a tool to use against the innocent seems to violate the principles of libertarianism.

Cruelty to animals is a sign that I read as "Stay away! Danger! I am cruel and enjoy hurting living things. You or your child might be next!" But sacrificing an animal to rescue a person, even if the animal suffers in the situation, seems the proper response, to me.

As I mentioned in my comments, if I manufactured guns or ammo, I would NOT want any of them getting into government hands. I would not sell to anyone who I knew would provide them to any agent of The State. If I didn't know what was happening, that's different (but I would put an end to it as soon as I discovered it).

But I accept that I could be wrong. I might be allowing my feelings to cloud my thinking. Either way, this doesn't change my opinion of Claire in any way, and I hope my disagreement doesn't upset her.


Saturday, May 19, 2012

Are "peace officers" a good idea?

No. And I'm not even talking about the reavers. I'm saying it is a bad idea to have anyone set apart, with a badge and "authority".

Yes, I know that the original idea was that a "peace officer" had no authority that wasn't held by any individual in the general population, but was supposed to be someone paid in order to free his time to devote to "keeping the peace". How has that worked out?

Even the notion of "policing" is a bad thing. It's my job to "police" my own sphere. No one can do that for me better than I can- all anyone else could do is interfere. There is no need for a "special" class to do it, and when established that "special class" will inevitably evolve into the abomination we suffer under now.

Because, if I am "policing" my own life, and I go beyond the limits of protecting myself and my property (or the self and property of someone else), I am responsible for my actions and will be held accountable. Reavers are almost invariably found (by their own gang) to be acting "within department guidelines"- even when guilty of the most obvious acts of evil.


Thursday, May 17, 2012

Freedom from religion

Regardless of what some "conservatives" claim, freedom of religion does- at least in some circumstances- mean freedom from religion.

It doesn't matter what the Constitution has to say on the matter, either. All the First Amendment says is that the government is prohibited from setting up an "official American Church" or from stopping anyone from worshiping however they see fit.

But don't get scared. It doesn't mean you have to shut up about your religion just because it annoys some people. It doesn't mean you have to stop practicing your religion.

What freedom of/from religion does mean, is that if you are in a position where you have power over someone else, rightly or wrongly, and that power is due to your government "job", you need to keep your religion in your pants, and keep your pants zipped. Until you are "off the clock", anyway. You have no authority to be preaching at people you are trying to coerce while they are paying you with money you had stolen from them on your behalf.

It means that what you believe on your own time is your business, but trying to pass or enforce "laws" based upon your religious beliefs- Sharia Law- is outside of what you have a right to do. It means using stolen money to promote your religious beliefs- any religious beliefs- is wrong.

Freedom of religion equals, in many cases, freedom from religion. Whether you like it or not. And believe me, even those who claim otherwise usually demand to be free of having other religions' ideas forced upon them- they just don't want to stop doing the forcing themselves. At least, that's what I have observed.


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

State not necessary for good life

State not necessary for good life

(My Clovis News Journal column for April 13, 2012.)

Many of my favorite things to do in and around Clovis are at government-owned locations. Which is kind of sad.

I really enjoy the zoo, the library, Goodwin Lake Trails, and Oasis State Park, just to name a few things off the top of my head. And, since I pay for them whether I use them or not, above and beyond any applicable entrance fees, I might as well take advantage of them.

I just see how much better those good things could be if they were voluntarily-financed and freed from the shackles of government. In some cases I can see improvements that could be implemented right away, and in other cases I see things that could make a big difference in the long-term. If, that is, innovations were encouraged, as is normally the case when something has a clear individual owner.

Of course, in our current situation government would still exert control over their daily operations through permits, licenses, red tape, taxation, and arbitrary regulations. That is the reality of the economic model known as "fascism"- where the business sphere is supposedly privately owned, but in practice The State dictates how business must be done; acting as the de facto owner.

Some people worry that if government doesn't provide something, no one will. I don't think that's ever the case except for those things no one really wants. Even if it were the case, I would do without something I enjoyed, without complaining, if it couldn't be voluntarily provided. At least people who don't enjoy the same things I do wouldn't be forced to subsidize my activities. There is nothing I want bad enough to force you to pay for it on my behalf.

Plus, if I decided I really wanted it, I would find a way to provide it. For example, ignoring the current regulatory climate for a moment, if I wanted a zoo and there wasn't one close enough, why couldn't I start my own? I could obtain the animals I like the best, or some I think people would gladly pay to come see, and design and create an attractive setting in which to house and view them. If I let the displays get filthy, or let the animals get sick, people wouldn't want to come spend money, and I would lose customers, so it would be in my best interest to keep things neat, clean, and healthy. No coercion involved.

Government is not necessary for a good life full of enriching activities. I pity those who have forgotten that beautiful fact.


Serving leftovers

Do you ever read the old posts on this blog? Without me linking to them, I mean.

So many times anymore, something I think I should write about will occur to me and then I realize I have already written about that in the past. I could just re-post those, maybe with a bit of an update, but that seems dishonest.

Just today I was dwelling on something I read on another blog where people were saying they would use violence against someone who offended them. I was going to write something about how you are welcome to act on that which offends you, as long as you don't attack in person or through government, but then I realized I have written that same thing so many times. Is it worth writing again, linking to, or should I just move on to other issues?


Monday, May 14, 2012

Avoid the personality cult

The case of the activist-turned-informant illustrates why you shouldn't get caught up in any one person. Not Ron Paul. Not Thomas Jefferson. Not Ayn Rand. Not Henry David Thoreau. Not anyone.

Weigh a person's words for yourself. See if what they are saying is true and whether it works for you. Don't worry so much about who said what. Don't even get too caught up in whether the person who said the words, lives by them. Who knows, they might be right in what they say, but they may not believe themselves. Or they may be weak. Or a self-deceiver.

You are smart enough to work things out for yourself. Other people can give you ideas and make you see things in news ways- perhaps get you to recognize connections you hadn't seen before- but ultimately you have to think for yourself and act on what you decide. Regardless of what anyone else may do.

Seriously, if I imagined that anyone was too wrapped up in what I write, I'd get really worried about them. I hope I give you ideas, but I am not anyone's paragon. And neither is anyone else.

That being said, I am probably my own worst critic and harshest judge.


Sunday, May 13, 2012

Accepting consequences of outlawry

You may or may not know about the recent uproar that came about when a respected liberty activist was found to be working as a police informant.

It makes me really sad.

Do you have an absolute human right to use, sell, and purchase any substances you want? Yes. But, as I have said many times, it may not be smart to do so in the current circumstances in which we find ourselves. You have to weigh the consequences and decide if it is worth it to you right now- in case you are caught.

We are ALL outlaws, so we had better accept that fact and start doing things to protect ourselves from the real bad guys- the ones with badges and government jobs. And remember that if you are doing something that the Rulers forbid, it is your responsibility and you shouldn't turn on other people if you get caught just to try to strike a deal with the bad guys. Well, maybe report the mayor or police chief for something, but not non-aggressive people.


Saturday, May 12, 2012

Drive throughs installed- cheap

A few evenings ago we were out in the front yard- I was watering our attempt at garden plants- when my daughter's mom ("Dm") said "That car just ran into that house!"

I looked up and the car was still moving forward- into the house. The back tires were still spinning, kicking up quite a cloud of dust. The car had gone right into the front door and was pushing the porch roof up and kinda over. Then the brake lights came on and the tires stopped spinning.

The car slowly backed out of the house, and I thought the porch roof was going to fall since it was lurching back and forth. A woman got out of the car and started yelling "Oh my god! Oh my god!" over and over. There was another car in front of the house and a couple of girls got out of it and kinda milled around.

"Dm" decided she needed to go over there and get into the middle of it. I stayed in the yard and looked through my spyglass. It seemed no one was injured, just upset.

I guess by the time she got there (just around the corner from us) the driver had sat down and wasn't talking anymore; just crying. She had run into her own house.
I think it was a case of putting the car into drive by accident, instead of reverse, then, when the car started forward, panicking and hitting the gas instead of the brakes. (One of my second wife's sisters did that and ran through the front of a convenience store.)

The cop and sheriff showed up almost immediately. The sheriff didn't stay too long. The cop talked to everyone there and put "caution" tape around the gaping hole where the front door and a window were kinda dangling in the rubble of what had been a wall. "Dm" said he told them they couldn't stay there until the house had been inspected to see if it was going to fall down. He tried to get "Dm" to say she thought drugs were involved, or that one of the woman's kids had been driving. Then he left.

No person was hurt, and the house is now under repair. What I couldn't help wondering is why the situation "needed" a cop, and who called them. The cop didn't actually help the situation in any way (do they ever?). At least he didn't arrest anyone.


Friday, May 11, 2012

Time Magazine's breastfeeding cover

Yeah, like all of you, I've seen it. Seriously, I don't get the uproar. It's fairly obvious to me that two people who are old enough to consent to having their pictures on the cover of a magazine shouldn't have anyone else dictate their actions for them.

(I'm joking. Sorta. They're really claiming that large person who is attached at the boob is 3 years old? I am not sure I am falling for that.)


Thursday, May 10, 2012

"Does the 2nd Amendment..." No, it doesn't!

Being human gives you the right to own and to carry arms.

The Second Amendment makes it a serious crime for the US government, or any of its "subordinate" mobs, to violate or tamper with that right in any way.

Pro-gun folks get confused on that issue almost as much as the anti-human gun banners do.

I get tired of the polls that ask "Does the Second Amendment give you the right to own a gun?" Because the answer is obviously "no", but if you answer that way it looks like you are voting with the genocide fan club.


Wednesday, May 09, 2012

North Carolina and gay marriage

Are you unhappy about the North Carolina marriage vote? I have a solution. Or at least a tactic.

If you are a North Carolina resident who is going to get married soon- whatever your gender or orientation, do so without asking the state's permission. Regardless if you are marrying a person of your own sex (or a couple of people of whatever sex). Just do it.

If you are a person who does not reside in NC but are planning to get married soon, travel to NC with a willing "officiator" and get married. Without the state's paperwork. Maybe with news cameras rolling.

Thumb your nose at the state by doing what it says, by vote, that you aren't allowed to do.

Just think if North Carolina became the gay marriage capitol (and otherwise unpapered marriage capitol) of the world as a result of this "law". Hehe.


You do NOT have a right...

Since all legitimate rights are "negative rights", or, as some people put it "rights are imaginary"- what does that mean?

It means you do NOT have a right to:

  • Take away someone's tools of self defense or tell them they can't defend themselves from attacks.

  • Tell someone what substances they can introduce into their own body.

  • Take a person's property from him without his consent.

  • Forbid a couple (or more) from forming a family unit based upon mutual consent.

  • Rule a person, or otherwise dictate his non-coercive, non-deceptive behavior.

All "positive rights" would violate one or more of these ethical guidelines. And, even if rights don't really exist, the list is still accurate and binding.


Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Feds deserve blame for gas prices

Feds deserve blame for gas prices

(My Clovis News Journal column for April 6, 2012)

Let me take a wild-eyed guess: You are unhappy about the rising price of gasoline. I'll make another guess: You are blaming the wrong people.

Most people place the blame on oil companies and ignore the reality. Without government interference, prices would be much lower than they are. How much lower? We will never know until we make separation of business and state an enforced reality.

People get upset over claims that BigOilCo pays no taxes. By this I assume they mean corporate income taxes or some-such thing. The truth is that no company ever pays any taxes; their customers do. If an oil company "pays" taxes, the extra expense will be added to the cost of production and you will pay all those taxes at the pump and when you buy your food, water, clothes, electricity, and everything else. The added expense has to be passed along or the company will cease to be. That's just basic economics, which means it is beyond the thinking capacity of government.

At each step of the way, before the gasoline gets in your tank, taxes are rolled in as a cost of doing business. This is in addition to the regulations of every sort which also increase the price. All that red tape is expensive and you ultimately pay for it.

Then governments stick it to you, personally, at the point of sale by adding even more taxes on top of everything else they have collected so far.

Then there are also the problems that official and covert government intervention causes in the countries where much of the oil is being produced. Meddling, threatening, and otherwise making enemies of those who should be trading partners; not subjects of the growing Empire, being told how to run their own countries.

On top of all this is the protection of the fuel monopoly. Nothing so far discovered works as well as petroleum for fueling vehicles. Nothing. And, yes, I have owned an electric car. Stifling innovation, through more regulations and red tape, in the development of new technology that might make internal combustion obsolete, or actually efficient, prevents real solutions from being found and implemented.

The final 800-pound gorilla in the room is the misnamed phenomenon of "Inflation". Inflation is not the price of gasoline rising; it is the value of a dollar falling. An ounce of silver still buys about the same amount of gasoline it did back when the US dollar was backed by by something of value and our "silver" coins were really silver. The counterfeiting operation at the Federal Reserve has stolen the value of your labor by replacing your money with empty promises. It takes more of these counterfeit "dollars" to buy a gallon of fuel.

Let's blame the real bad guys, not their other victims.


The sum of my experiences...

I am a sum of my past.

Throughout my life I have gone through phases, and although sometimes those phases may seem, to an observer, to have ended, they have all left their mark. They have each been incorporated into the me that now exists.

I was thinking about this as I was out throwing my tomahawk. I have not been to a mountainman rendezvous in several years. I don't wear buckskin clothes exclusively anymore. I don't even wear my mountainman hat very often. Yet the skills and experiences from that part of my life are just as strong in me and just as important a part as they ever were. And, often, still just as useful. They changed the way I look at the world completely and I can never go back. Someday, I may even get back into the lifestyle again.

Every other phase I have lived has left the same indelible mark on my life. They have made me who I am. Each time was another case of "taking the red pill".

If I ever decide to stop speaking out- educating?- about liberty I expect the same results. The things I have learned by digesting my own thoughts, and the thoughts I have had shared with me by others, mean I can never go back to the way I was before. And for that, I'm glad.


Monday, May 07, 2012

Attempted crimes- no victim?

(From a discussion on facebook.)

Is an attempted "crime" a victimless crime? I don't believe it is. And I, of course, mean actual aggression, coercion, theft, or other violations of life, liberty, and property- not the ridiculous things The State seeks to forbid that have nothing to do with those real wrong things.

In order to attempt an initiation of force or theft, even if you fail to complete your intention, you have to have a target- a "victim"- in mind. That falls under threatening to initiate force, or violating property rights. Anyone on the receiving end of your intention to do them harm would not be wrong to use force to stop you from completing your intended action. How much force? How much will it take? How much adrenaline did your threat release in your intended victim, and how can you be sure "momentum" won't take them further than you think is "appropriate" under the circumstances?

But, as in the case discussed on the facebook thread linked above, the victim can't be imaginary or "society". That's like punching shadows. You may have an intention of doing someone harm, but there is no one there to be harmed.


Sunday, May 06, 2012

Government and the free market

Somewhere I came across something that mentioned "government" and "the free market" in the same thought. If ever two things don't belong together, that's it.

There is nothing any government can do to contribute to free markets or to liberty of any kind. All governments can do is destroy them. Anything and everything they do has that effect. Either by design or through unintended consequences.


Saturday, May 05, 2012


This guy was my next door neighbor all during my teenage years. We had a lot of adventures together. Now he seems to be promoting a one-sided view of America that could lead to a theocracy.

Because, lets face it, a religious outlook was a part of the founders' basis for the America they established, but so was a rational view that wanted to make certain that America wouldn't become a theocracy or allow religion to be controlled by The State or The State to be controlled by any particular religion.

My vision for a free society would have room for him to worship in any way he believes is right. Would his America, "returned to God", have any room for me?

It's funny to me that 2 people who had so much in common at one time could diverge so widely.


Thursday, May 03, 2012

More than one kind of bad guy

I just had a flash of insight: statists don't realize there's more than one kind of bad guy. And that they are not justified, by the existence of one type of bad guy, in becoming another type of bad guy on order to get him.


A statist problem, or an imaginary one

Once again the internet predators hereabouts are pretending to be kids and trying to entrap people into seeking sex.

And, once again, I am just about the only one (with one exception) who thinks this is a bad thing. No victim = no crime. It really is that simple.

Anyway, as I was responding to the coercion/theft fan club, one thing suddenly occurred to me, and I'll copy the relevant part of my comment here:

I've known several libertarians whose daughters had unlimited internet access from the time they were toddlers and could figure out how to operate a computer and not one fell victim to an online sexual predator. This seems to be strictly a statist/non-libertarian problem (if it really is a problem at all). Maybe some people need to better educate their kids about the real world instead of advocating doing evil things "for the children".

So, there you have it. Am I imagining this or have I hit on something?

(The guy who has been entrapped is an army recruiter. And, if you know me, you know I have zero love for the military or those who entrap young people into signing up, so I could have just laughed that turnabout is fair play. But I don't operate that way. Wrong is wrong.)


"Guilt-by-association" is not fair, but...

I understand that people look at me, see my appearance and/or behavior, and make judgments. Those judgments may not be "fair", but they will be made. Even less "fair" is when the judgments made about me are applied to other people who are not me, or when judgments made about other people who are like me in some way, but who aren't me, are applied to me. Maybe because they also have long hair, or wear a hat, or call themselves a libertarian.

Because I don't want people judging me for things I didn't do, but that were done by someone who is seen as similar to me in some way, I cringe when people who are bound to be associated with me are seen doing something I would be ashamed of doing.

If this happens I am likely to loudly condemn the one taking the "bad" action in order to make it known I do not approve and I am not "like" that person. It's why I hate it when a statist tries to claim the label "libertarian" without having any qualities of libertarian in them. It's also why I address those who try to condemn libertarians without having any clue what "libertarian" means. If you're going to pre-judge me, at least get your facts straight.

If I am silent, then when people prejudge me for things other people- whom they associate with me in some way- do, then I shouldn't be surprised. To then whine about "prejudice" or "discrimination" is stupid. It is in your power to fight it, but not if you don't address the cause. And that root "cause" is almost never really about what you believe it is about. It's not about skin color, "culture", the way you dress, or things like that- no, it's about actions, responsibility, and consequences.

A vast majority of the people I see, with my own eyes, doing things that bother me in this town, are of a particular "ethnic group". Noticing this is not racism. Most of the people in that ethnic group are not doing those things, and I see bad things that people of other ethnic groups do and I don't cut them any slack, either. But, the majority of the property damage, theft, and aggression that I see or hear about in this area (not to mention littering, and most violations of counterfeit "laws", which I don't even count as being bad at all) is done by a small number of individuals, and it just so happens that most of those individuals belong to the same ethnic group.

If you don't like people thinking poorly of your ethnic group- or whatever group you may be included in by people who don't know you- then you really should do something to set yourself apart. Or, even try to fix the problem if it is within your power to do so. I certainly try to when it's my "guilt-by-association" cropping up. Because it may not be right, and it certainly isn't "fair", but it is reality. It will happen, so deal with it.


Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Thousands of innocents dead

Assuming for a moment that the government story about the "9/11" attacks are true... is it worse to kill 3000 presumably innocent people in one day, or 3000 presumably innocent people over the course of a year or two? Or many times that number over a longer stretch of time? Just as the US government has been doing and continues to do in all the middle east countries that are being punished for "9/11". Who's the terrorist? I keep forgetting, and I can't tell them apart based on their behavior and the outcome.


Tuesday, May 01, 2012

State creates made-up problems

State creates made-up problems (But, obviously, they become real problems that could have been avoided, if only...)

(My Clovis News Journal column for March 30, 2012.)

It amuses me how many problems which have a government-mandated "solution" are caused by previous government mandates which came about as misguided solutions for previously manufactured problems. And, because the majority of "The People" have become convinced that the earlier mandates are "The Way it's Always Been Done" (rather than a relatively recent "gum, tape, and string" contraption), they believe there is no rational, voluntary way to solve the problems they see around them now. After all, you can't alter one element without exposing the mess that was created before that, and so on. It's quite a cycle.

As the late Robert Lafevre is supposed to have said, "Government is a disease masquerading as its own cure." Truer words have seldom been spoken.

If you see a problem in society, you will be safe in betting its root cause, when you dig deep enough, is The State.

Prices rise because government has made the value of money drop like a rock. Counterfeiting on a grand scale will do that to money. To counter this, even more money is printed. Which makes the value of the money go even lower, which makes prices rise more.

Unemployment is rampant because minimum wage laws and other government edicts raise the bar too high for many new workers. I may not be worth whatever the dictated minimum wage is, but be willing to work for less to gain experience. Government forbids me from striking my own mutually-satisfactory deal with a potential employer. I have tried and found employers afraid to risk being caught.

Crime seems rampant because laws make it a criminal act to defend yourself with the most effective defensive tools ever created. Except under strict guidelines; with prior permission. This makes the bad guys bold, which causes politicians and bureaucrats to call for more restrictions on acts, and the tools, of self defense, which protects the bad guys from the real consequences of their acts, and so on.

Government is a societal virus; similar in action to a computer virus. I'm sure many of you have clicked on the wrong link at some time and gotten a computer virus that offers to sell you a security program to get rid of the virus they just put on your computer. The ones I have suffered even hijacked my computer to prevent it from going to any page other than the site where I could pay to get rid of their virus. Sound familiar? Keep people believing you are the only solution and you can get away with just about anything.


Let them ALL "win"

Thinking back on a previous blog post gave me an idea. One that seems it would make Repubmocratican voters of any sort happy and complacent. Although it wouldn't do much for liberty-lovers in that department.

There should be some way to convince everyone who votes "mainstream" that their candidate won. And that for the next four years, he is the one holding the office of president.

After all, Democrats are quiet and happy as long as the president directing the war crimes is a Democrat, and Republicans are quiet and happy as long as the president building the US police state is a Republican. Or, is it vice versa on the preferred violations?

In any case, the acts never differ depending on the vermin holding the office, so the only thing I can see that determines whether a voter thinks the president is dandy or despicable is whether that president belongs to the party that the voter belongs to. So, let them believe it. All of them. Internet and mass media technology should make that possible. Starting with reporting the election results.

Let FOX News praise the latest genocide encouraged by President Romney and let MSNBC get all weak in the knees over brave President Obama's latest drone strike on an elementary school in Wastelandistan. Do the same filtering with the internet that voters are likely to browse- after all, the "experts" claim we all avoid hearing opinions that differ with ours anyway- so the self-selection should be automatic. And don't get wires crossed about who talks about which president.

Then, with all the voters happy, and presumably half-asleep, maybe the rest of us can make some changes behind the scenes.