Tuesday, July 31, 2012

No one should meddle in our lives

No one should meddle in our lives

(My Clovis News Journal column for June 29, 2012)

When I defend liberty I constantly get accused of condoning all sorts of things I don't condone. Rather than "condoning" them, I realize that those things are simply none of my business; not mine to approve or condemn. Nor are they anyone else's business, either.

Recently a fellow libertarian posted a comment on facebook that I agreed with whole-heartedly. He said "There is a difference between approving of what someone does and approving of their freedom to do it, and the latter does not somehow mandate the former."

So true! Why is this impossible for so many people to understand?

It really does seem to be impossible for the majority of people to grasp. Our entire political system is evidence of that. Almost everyone is seeking to use the force of the state to prohibit others from doing things they don't approve of, while others are doing the same thing to them. It's like the Hatfields and McCoys, but without taking responsibility for the violence that is done on your behalf. Or, actually, it's precisely what some people claim would happen in the absence of an externally-imposed government. "You kill one of ours, so we kill one of yours", and the cycle goes on until everyone has been shot.

It's a demented way to run a society, if you ask me, and, it is probably one of the best demonstrations that societies shouldn't be "run" at all; complex systems function better when allowed to "self-organize". No one should have the authority to meddle in other people's lives until there is an individual victim.

This obsession over condoning or forbidding other people's voluntary, mutually-consensual behavior is also why government grows and grows, and never becomes smaller. It is why the number of laws increase geometrically- or faster- every year until even no one in government has a clue how many laws there now are. Or whether you (or they) are breaking some of them.

So, as long as you aren't attacking anyone or taking or destroying other people's property, whether or not I approve of the other things you do isn't even something you need to concern yourself with. It's not even on the map.

But, while we are talking about attacking and stealing, I definitely don't condone taking property from people by threat of force in order to finance the loss of more of their liberties, and to finance the enforcement of that violation.


Business Idea for you

Spending money can be fun. Spending large amounts, if you can afford it, can be even more exciting.

Here's a business idea to capitalize on that quirk of human nature so that you can get your own large amounts of money to spend. If you're nice you can cut me in on your profits for giving you the idea.

What I envision is a website where people can place fantasy orders for things like cars, houses, home entertainment centers, or whatever they might like. However, the only thing they actually pay for is the thrill of choosing among various options and placing the orders. Perhaps they might actually pay only $1 for every $100,000 they spend.

There could even be free accounts where they are limited to "spend" less than $50,000, and to spend more they need to upgrade to a premium account by actually linking a credit card.

Then, they can go shopping. When they click "place order" they would only pay the price of the game they just played. They might get a receipt showing the items they "ordered", so that they could print it out.


Monday, July 30, 2012

Who let the dogs in?

If I construct a gate that keeps out cows, but allows dogs through, and then I scatter bacon all over my yard, why would I be surprised to find dogs in my yard?

When you construct a political system, why are you surprised to find politicians occupying it?

The system actively selects for power-hungry people. Are all power-hungry people evil? Maybe not, but more of them are evil than among the general population. And dangling a system that gives power right in front of their faces makes it inevitable that they will accept your offer and rule over you.

The cows are not interested in breaching the gate, and are not drawn by the bacon. You have selected for dogs.

I do not consent.


Sunday, July 29, 2012

Unconscious Guy and the EMTs

Revisiting the tale of The Unconscious Guy...

When the EMTs eventually showed up, my daughter asked "Are they gonna kill him?" I told her that they were going to try to help him. I said they were seeing if he needed to go to the doctor, and if he did they would take him there. She thought about this a moment and said "No, I think they're gonna kill him."

I was telling my family members about this, thinking it was kinda amusing. Instead, my mom muttered "Where has she heard that before?" while looking at me.

I think she misunderstood and thought I was saying my daughter said that about the cop who arrived after the EMTs. I don't think she would have said that. I don't mention cops to her at all. I ignore them. As far as I am concerned, they don't even warrant my attention in most cases. Like a pile of dog crap, I just avoid stepping in them.

I found it a little ridiculous that just because my family members can't face reality about the nature of The State they make assumptions.

I will NEVER try to teach my daughter to trust cops as a group. I will never try to get her to give up her sovereignty to any collective for any reason. But to try to get her to repeat things like that about cops isn't even a goal of mine. They aren't worth the effort. Now, if she's exposed to the D.A.R.E. propaganda, then the game will change.


Saturday, July 28, 2012

If Islam ever "takes over" America...

If Islam ever does take over America it will be because we allowed a government to be available for them to co-opt.

If you leave a tool lying around, don't be surprised that someone picks it up. Then, don't be surprised if the tool is used as you have already demonstrated, by your past actions, that it can be used.


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

"Cell Phone Free Zones"

I just thought of another item that is sometimes, ridiculously, banned on some property: cell phones.

I can understand if there is a real danger of the radio signals setting off explosives, like at a construction site, but that is a special case and is not common. The myth of the cell phone's ability to ignite gasoline fumes has been disproved enough times that the warnings have started disappearing from gas pumps- at least around here.

But, there are still places of business that forbid the employees from possessing cell phones while working. Not just forbid them from having the phones turned on or using them while "on the clock", but forbidding them from having it in their possession at all. Ridiculous.

This is just as stupid (and just as dangerous) as a prohibition on any other thing that stays totally concealed and doesn't harm anyone's property in any way. And I am just as opposed to this prohibition as any other.


Coming up short

I keep trying to imagine some object or "thing", anything at all, that I hate or fear so much that I would prohibit a (otherwise welcome) visitor to my property from having it hidden in his pocket, as long as it stayed completely hidden and had no physical effect on my property.

Try as I might, I just can't.

Does this mean I am short on empathy? Or imagination? Or that I don't have "enough fear"?

Once again I am faced with the possibility that there is something inherently different about me. Something some people consider "wrong".



Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Legal drugs just as risky to use

Legal drugs just as risky to use

(Ummm... not the headline I would have chosen at all. Not at all... My Clovis News Journal column for June 22, 2012. I have it on good authority that this column is "edgy, but it won't put an eye out".)

How many of you know someone whose life was destroyed by drug use? Before you answer that question, think for a minute.

Was that person's life destroyed by the chemical substances they put into their body, or by the legal and social penalties that have become automatic when they were discovered to be using those substances?

There is almost no successful person, in any sphere of life, who hasn't admitted using "drugs" or been caught using them at some point during their life. This still doesn't mean it's a smart thing to do- it isn't- but it does show that the drug use doesn't automatically destroy a person's life, as long as they can somehow avoid the worst of the imposed damage.

"Winners don't use drugs" is a lie. Sure, you can make the claim that the drug use alone makes the person a loser, but that doesn't reflect reality and it makes you look very dishonest to people who trust you to always tell them the truth. It can make them decide to see for themselves when it becomes obvious you weren't entirely truthful. It can erode the trust they are willing to place in you in other areas of life, too.

There are real reasons to avoid drug use, and most especially abuse. Point to the real reasons instead of the demonstrably false ones.

So, what are the real reasons it is a really bad idea to abuse drugs? It is expensive. It really can cause health problems if allowed to get out of control. It can cause legal trouble and a host of social problems if discovered. Because it is normally illegal, it puts you in the company of people who are willing to risk serious legal trouble, so adding one more offense by harming you in some way is not as daunting to them as it would be for most of us. It also can expose you to corrupt or over-zealous law enforcement and justice system employees who can drag you in deeper than you would go on your own in order to enhance their job statistics. I'm not saying this necessarily happens here, but it certainly does happen in most places in America today.

Legal drugs have just as many health risks as the illegal ones. Sometimes even more. By focusing on too many of the societal consequences you can skew the view of those you are trying to convince. And that could lead to tragedy.


"Gun Free Zone"

I hate "gun free zones". For one thing, they only apply to people who have no intention of murdering or robbing.

A true "gun free zone" is one that is administered by some government entity. Since government is prohibited from passing or enforcing any "laws" concerning guns, these "zones" have no authority or "legal" basis whatsoever. And certainly no ethical foundation. You are not a bad person nor a trespasser if you ignore their edict. That doesn't mean there may not be consequences- so, be smart.

Private "gun free" zones are a slightly different matter, but no "better".

I don't believe we would see very many private "no gun" signs had not the government previously made it appear acceptable to prohibit decent people from carrying guns in certain areas.

There is almost no place where there is a legitimate justification to prohibit guns. Some place where a shot fired could cause an explosion is about the only one. Most gun bans are based upon touchy-feely emotionalism. Or a backwards fear of liability.

Now, anyone can be a pig-headed idiot and be "afraid" of people who are taking responsibility for their own safety, but seriously, if you don't trust someone with a gun, why do you pretend to trust them at all? Because if you say you do trust them, just not with a gun, you are lying.

Yes, you have a right to prohibit people from coming onto your property for any reason, or no reason at all. But sometimes you are wrong to do what you have a right to do. Sorry, but that's just how it is. You have a right to prohibit Jews, or homosexuals, or blondes, or left-handed men, or people wearing green shirts from coming onto your property, but by doing so you expose yourself as a bad person who is subject to shunning. And if someone comes on to your property and is harmed by an otherwise preventable act of violence while they were disarmed at your insistence, I would hold you liable if I were arbitrating. Just as I would hold them liable if they came onto your property and, by an act of carelessness or willful destructiveness, caused bodily harm or property damage.

I don't trust people who don't trust me to be armed. I suspect their motives.


Monday, July 23, 2012

Chaos, with bullets flying everywhere!

Yes, it really would have been better had at least one of the good guys in the Aurora movie theater been armed.

One excuse that I saw repeated over and over again was that if anyone else in that theater had been armed, it would have been "chaos, with bullets flying everywhere, hitting more innocent people". Sure, that is possible. I don't think it's likely, though.

A decent person isn't going to start firing blindly even when there's an active shooter in the room. They just don't do that. "Know your target and what's beyond it." It isn't going to be hard to tell which person is trying to kill others (unless you have "law enforcement" training, that is): he's the one taking aim at the crowd. The people on your side are the ones taking aim at him.

Sure, there is always the possibility of hitting the wrong person in such a situation- that's why you would have to decide for yourself whether you can take a shot or not. If not, you are no worse off than you would be if you were not armed (until the cops show up and kill you), and an opportunity still might arise where you can do some good.

Some worried that an armed person would have just attracted the shooter's attention and been targeted as soon as he showed himself. Possibly. But then that gun would have been available for someone else to attempt to use against the bad guy.

Look, some things are just going to go badly. It's "life". Sometimes, in spite of your best efforts, you will not make a positive difference. If that's enough reason for you to never try, then... I have nothing but pity and contempt for you. You can always find some excuse to be a sheeple if that's all you want to be.


Sunday, July 22, 2012

Check for yourself

On the road north of Durango, Colorado there is a hot spring that bubbles out of the top of a pile of rocks right on the shoulder of highway 550. The minerals have formed a smooth rounded rock formation that is pretty cool.

A lot of tourists stop and take pictures of it, and some climb on it. As did I. And I discovered it isn't quite what it seems.

I had noticed that some of the rocks near the top seemed too angular to be the result of mineral deposition. Then when I climbed to the top I saw that the water was coming out of a metal pipe that poked out of the middle of the top rock.

I tasted the water, and it was warm, not hot, and tasted like soda. Not horrible, but I wouldn't be craving this water if I were thirsty.

I suppose the story is that there was a hot spring beside the road, and someone decided to make it more interesting by sinking a pipe and piling rocks so that the water could cascade down rather than just pool. And it worked well. Time has made it even better by growing a nice deposit of minerals that makes it look more natural and like something you might see at Yellowstone.

What got me was how many tourists stopped while I was there and, instead of checking out anything for themselves, stood there taking pictures and asking me about it. They asked how hot the water was. They asked what the water tasted like (when I mentioned tasting it). And I told them about the pipe. Not one then checked on what I had told them.

Where is the scientific method in these people? Is this why people just accept the lies that are told them about how necessary The State is? Am I that different in my willingness to check things out for myself rather than just asking some random guy standing around?


Saturday, July 21, 2012

Argh! Anti-liberty idiots are crawling out of the sewers!

Why is it that when I point out that ONE armed person in that Aurora theater, besides the guy who wanted to murder people, could have (not "would have", but "could have") saved a lot of lives, the anti-liberty bigots read "everyone in the theater, firing randomly in every direction, would have been great!"?

Are these people really that stupid? Yes. Yes, they are.

One of them waxed "eloquently" about how he had "served" [sic] and my "Monday morning quarterbacking" showed I was never in the army or marines. And, even with his superior training, he doubted he could have effectively shot the bad guy.

In fact, why don't I just post his entire response right here in all its glory.
It's alright to be angry about this as well as the knee-jerk reactions of the "gun control" camp.

A lot of us are, but, as an Army vet (trained in a variety of weapons and situations), I can tell you that, under those circumstances, I doubt that even I could have taken the useless bastard down.

Your assessment indicates that you are not a veteran, or not a veteran of the Army or Marines, at least.

Very few people in this world are not temporarily (much more than just a few seconds) debilitated when CS gas is a factor ( I have met only one - a Drill Sgt in basic), having dealt with it in training, and even the best of us, in those circumstances, would not be able to get an accurate shot off (possibly targeting/hitting a civilian, instead).

Your argument is just "Monday morning quarterbacking"; something that I suspect there will be a lot of with this, just as there was after Columbine.
The gun laws are both the problem and not the problem.

There needs to be some sort of lawfully mandated test to determine the mental stability of someone who decides to purchase a weapon (particularly if they purchase multiple weapons and are not a licensed collector), be it a rifle or handgun.

Until we can make THAT happen, then these sorts of things will always be a possibility. Do we know if he even had a concealed carry permit? I haven't heard on that and my guess is that he did not have one.

So I responded "So you'd rather keep it so that only bad guys are armed. Good to know."


Sorry, but my tolerance for these morons is running low.


Bug Out Bag confession

My Bug Out Bag is HEAVY. This might be a problem, I know. If you can't carry it, it is of no use. However, I haven't dumped anything yet, and here's why:

I know that different circumstances demand different preps. If I have to flee my house in a rainy (?) spell during the winter I will need different stuff than if I get stranded while driving across the desert during the summer. My thought, and it may be flawed, is that I can ditch (or maybe cache) what isn't immediately necessary in that circumstance, thus lightening the load.

I would rather not take something out while the bag sits waiting, thinking that "I won't need that here, today", and find myself in a situation that calls for that which I just took out of the BOB. When the bag is called into service, I can evaluate better. I hope. At least it feels like I have left my options open this way


Friday, July 20, 2012

Warning: Aurora Massacre rant

Any shooting of innocent people is a tragedy. A mass shooting is an individual tragedy multiplied by many individuals.

You think I'm angry? You bet I'm angry.

Any sane society would be so outraged (as sane individuals are anyway) by every shooting, that people like disgusting NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg would be too afraid to open their festering mouths for weeks afterward. He'd be cowering under his desk with his armed security goons standing guard to protect him from the decent people who don't appreciate his continual enabling of mass murder. Of course, in any sane society filth like Bloomberg wouldn't hold any position above "Apprentice oral toilet bowl scrubber".

It infuriates me that people like Bloomberg are directly responsible (slightly less so than the evil person who pulled the trigger, but truthfully, imperceptibly so) for mass murders like this, and yet are taken seriously by so many deluded reporters and "John Doe" ignoramuses when they start preaching about how liberty is to blame. Of course, they call liberty by other names (because they are liars who are incapable of speaking the truth). Names like "gun show loophole", "automatic [sic] firearms", "high capacity clips" [sic], "easy access to guns", and numerous other things. This is why Bloomie is such a fan (along with his evil familiar, NYC Chief PoPo Kelly) for street assault by his minions, the NYC reavers. His euphemism for this violent assault is "stop and frisk", but it is still perverted and wrong.

There is only ONE real world solution for massacres like the one which just happened in the Aurora, Colorado movie theater: Get rid, completely and forever, of every single gun "law" that has ever been enacted. Every. Single. One.

Bad people, even psychos, choose "safe" places to kill. They choose places where the politicians and cops have done the heavy-lifting by making sure that "law abiding" people won't risk breaking the "law" to take responsibility for their own self defense. Stupid business owners go another step by adding another layer of prohibition- which only applies to people inclined to obey. Bad guys have already decided they aren't going to play by the rules by planning to murder- only a fool would believe that a gun prohibition will stop them.

You can scream that this isn't true. You can cherry pick false statistics compiled by evil people who want potential victims to be disarmed. You can cry "for the children" as you work to guarantee a future of slavery and death for them. You can pray, wish, dream, hope and pretend that there is another solution to mass murders. But you will never change the reality no matter how much you try to deny it: Gun "laws" KILL.

Advocating, passing, enforcing, or obeying a gun "law" does nothing to help anyone but the bad guys. It helps the murderers who pull the trigger, and it helps the murderers of the blood-dancing, TV camera lusting, Mass Murder Fan Club: those, who like Bloomberg and the Bradiots, salivate in hopes that another massacre will happen every time a new gun "law" is on the horizon so that they can feign "concern" for the victims. Inside, they are jumping for joy at every death. And don't you ever be fooled.

Say I am being harsh or unreasonable. I'm not being 1/1,000,000th as "unreasonable" as I want to be. Because I want to put an end to these mass killings of unarmed people. I get no mileage out of their deaths.
And, yet, those who "sympathize" with the dead and injured, by whining that "we need more gun laws", are taken seriously and treated as humane. They are the monsters.

More links about this subject:


Aurora movie theater murders

I admit I don't know too many details about the Aurora, Colorado shooting. I know all I need to know. I can see the monster behind the curtain: "gun laws".

Aurora might object, but it is still "Denver". Just one big metroplex. Maybe it has fewer gun "laws" than does "Denver" proper, but even if it does, gangrene spreads. When an area is subject to oppression it will poison adjacent areas. Denver is venomously anti-gun and anti-liberty. It isn't safe to drive through that city responsibly armed. Of course, that never stops those bent on destruction, does it.

I also know that most movie theaters prohibit firearms. At least to their customers who don't intend to go on murder sprees.

One armed movie-goer could have ended the rampage before such a large number were killed and injured. Only a monster would stand in the way of self defense and defense of the innocent. Are YOU a monster? Obama is a monster. Michael Bloomberg is a monster. Who else? To find out, just watch to see who calls for more "laws" against the tools that could have stopped this attack.


Thursday, July 19, 2012

The only good Only Ones...

So many petty (or serious) thugs like Gabe Suarez and Massad Ayoob like to repeat how reasonable and realistic they are. Not like us freedom outlaws who have actual, you know, principles. We are "nut cases" and "tinfoil hat wearers" because we see that murder is still murder when the murderer wears a badge. Or that theft is still theft, no matter what euphemism has been made up to hide the truth.

Perhaps those thugs are trying to convince themselves. Or ingratiate themselves to the puppeticians and authoritarians who hold their leash. History isn't kind to those like them; licking Master's butt only seems reasonable and realistic until Master dies. Then all those who saw which side you chose will judge you by the butt you lapped.

But, go ahead you vile parasites. You tax addicts. You fans of genocide, kidnapping, and murder- often over the issue of dried leaves, for crying out loud! Expose yourselves as the disgusting vermin you are so that no one will make a mistake and come to rescue you from the consequences of your actions when the piper is paid. We'd be in more danger if we falsely believed you were actually on the side of the good guys. This way we can laugh, dance, and toast the sight of your festering corpse when you get justifiably "indiana'ed". Good riddance!


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Obama channels Marx

Obama's absurd Marxist statement that "You didn't build that" has stirred up a lot of people. But just watch- within a few years (unless the USA collapses before then) it will be common knowledge. Self-evident. And still it will be a lie. Just like the other lies that have become part of the USA's DNA over the years.


All rules are not equal

On my recent road trip I was amused when I noticed the driver behind me. Every time we would pass one of those "Do not drive on shoulder" signs, he would veer onto the shoulder of the road for a mile or so. Or at least edge his tires just over the white line. After a "proper distance" he would start driving in his lane again- until the next scolding sign.

I was laughing about this when we got to our destination and my mother chimed in with "Maybe he just hates all rules like you do."

Hmmm. That wasn't very nice... or accurate.

I replied "I don't hate all rules, just arbitrary ones."

Seriously. The Zero Aggression Principle is a rule that I like very much. "Don't take other people's property" is another rule that I really like.

I suppose statists have a blindness that prevents them from seeing a difference between "Don't initiate force" and "Sell a 32 oz Dr Pepper and break the law". Or "Fail to wear your seat belt and it's OK for a cop to electrotorture, kidnap, or shoot you if you don't submit to his intention to take your property fast enough".


RIP Samantha

4/2003 - 7/18/2012

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Some services better off privatized

Some services better off privatized (All of them actually, but I don't write the headlines. My Clovis News Journal column for June 15, 2012)

One stumbling block that trips up a lot of people when confronted by the idea of a truly free society is how to do any job currently monopolized by government: building and maintaining roads, water and food safety, a system of justice, education, fire fighting, national parks, etc.

Why do people believe these things and services must be provided by government? That's not the way it was always done, and not even the best way it can be done

I would suggest a thought experiment. Suppose you wanted to provide a product or service of the sort government generally does now. Suppose that theft and coercion- the methods employed by every government today- were forbidden. How would you proceed?

Let's just look at one of those examples for a start: fire fighting.

In a recent story out of Albuquerque a house burned while waiting for the arrival of the fire department, while a closer fire department wasn't allowed to come fight the fire. The problem was that the burning house was not in the nearer fire department's jurisdiction. And Albuquerque firefighters say this happens on a daily basis.

That is complete idiocy.

In a free society, competing fire companies, possibly financed by subscription, would most likely fight the fires first; sort out the details later. After all, a house on fire, or a wildfire, could threaten their customers' property regardless of whose fire company was responsible for putting out the flames. Plus, it is quite probable that your subscription would make the fire company liable for any fire damage that occurred while under contract; your fire company would pay to repair any damage they didn't prevent. Try that with your government fire department- or even a volunteer fire department operating under government rules- and see how far you get.

Fighting fires, wherever they occur, is in the best interests of everyone around. Wildfires would be fought by any local fire companies to nip it in the bud rather than wait until their customers, and their profits, were at risk. I suspect that there would also be professional fire crews for hire that could be brought in at a moment's notice by the fire company for extreme situations like forest fires. There will always be adrenaline junkies looking to do the heroic jobs. For pay. Pay that is collected voluntarily without the threat of "fines" or prison.

For every governmental function there is a voluntary alternative that enhances liberty. What is your idea?


Hey Repubmocraticans...

The Frankenstein's chimera known as Obamney- it's halves differ only in which of its lies you believe in order to cast your vote. That's right- the only difference exists purely in your perception. Not in reality. Wake up.


Monday, July 16, 2012

Melissa's Ghost

Just for fun. Claire Wolfe wrote the first part of this tale and invited readers to finish the ghost story. Her part is in italics.

It was a perfectly generic house. Oldish. But not old. Fading and peeling a bit. But not decrepit. Neither mansion nor shack. Neither architectural monument nor eyesore. Just another house plunked somewhere between “needs TLC” and “cute starter home” as real estate agents measure these things.

No great tragedy had ever darkened its aura. Neither bodies nor mysteries were buried in its perfectly ordinary though slightly damp basement. In fact, nothing bad had ever happened in it other than the ordinary bumps, scrapes, petty spats, broken collarbones, bill-paying crises, sibling rivalries, marital discords, and teenage heartbreaks of life.

It was not located on a windswept hill or wreathed in the fetid mists of a cinematic marsh. The weed-grown lot next door hardly measured up to any Brontean (or Hollywoodian) moor or heath.

It had no more cobwebs than you might expect. No jilted crone sat in her wedding finery, mourning her life away in its rather small dining room (which was, in fact, only an ell off an otherwise boringly rectangular living room). No pale women robed in black, no blood-drenched children or mad deceased poets roamed its halls (which were in any case actually one hall, singular, 12 feet long, leading to three boxy bedrooms and one bath that still featured chipped “Seafoam Aqua” colored tile, installed circa 1955).

Neighborhood children did not avoid it. Renters did not run screaming out of it. Buyers did not dump it back on the market after six months of tormented residency, telling lies to hide its savage secrets in hopes of salvaging a few bucks of their downpayments.

In short, it was a perfectly unnoticeable house in a slightly run-down neighborhood.

Nevertheless, it was haunted.

And perhaps those hypothetical renters or buyers would have abandoned it, had they known. But they remained in their peacefully hypothetical fog, leaving only Melissa — sensitive, unsuspecting Melissa — to risk her life and sanity for the sake of its unhappy spirits.

Melissa matched the house. No boys fantasized about her. No women hated her to cover their jealousy. Had anyone noticed her, though, they would have thought her attractive in a "girl-next-door" sort of way. She was comfortable.

Except for the haunting.

Sometimes she almost decided it was all in her imagination. She had never actually seen anything she would call GhostBusters about. It was more of a feeling. And the occasional movement just beyond the edge of her peripheral vision. At those times she would joke aloud to the presence, or to herself.

"Nothing to see here, Ghost. You'd better find a fancy hotel with a tragic past to haunt before you die of boredom. Or, since I suppose you're already dead, before you fade away."

Sometimes she almost felt she expected an answer. Had one come, would she have jumped with a start, or would she have continued the conversation? She didn't know. Yet.

One overcast night as she made one last trip to the kitchen before bed, the feeling brushed past her strong enough to make her gasp and get chills. She quickly looked behind her, then felt silly for doing so. Yet, was that a shadow she had seen? Suddenly she felt very exposed and vulnerable. She wanted to say something to break the silence, but her voice didn't seem to work. And, somehow, she knew the sound of her own voice would shock her. She shook her head, and started for the sink again. Perhaps a bit quieter this time. A shadow behind her shifted, unseen, across the wall.

She filled her glass from the bottle of room temperature tap water she kept on the counter, then raised it to her lips. Her mouth felt even more dry after she had taken a sip. She stood there staring at the glass, noticing the reflections of the dark room, and the bubbles clinging to the inside surface, seeming to mimic the drop running down to her thumb. For some reason she couldn't name, she was terrified to turn around. The longer she stood there, the stronger the terror grew. She knew, just knew, that if she turned around she would see something she didn't want to see. Why was it better to have it behind her unseen? She couldn't say, and didn't want to think about it.

Was that a whisper or was it her own breath? "Calm down, Melissa! You're scaring yourself for no reason." Did that thought come from her own mind, or was it whispered in her ear? She glanced down and could see her heartbeat causing her threadbare nightshirt to bounce. This was ridiculous! This was her house. She knew no one had come in. She knew ghosts didn't really exist. Not anymore- if they ever had. This wasn't the middle ages and she wasn't an ignorant peasant! Turn around, Melissa!

She spun around so fast she almost slipped on the floor. Nothing. See, it was all in her imagination. Wait... what was that? Is that shadow in the right place? Did it move? If her heart had been beating hard before, it was pounding now. She squinted at the shadow. Maybe a passing car's lights had caused a movement. Her excited state could make her misinterpret normal things. Yes, that was it. Then she heard a sigh.

The glass slipped partway from her hand, but she caught it before it fell, splashing its contents on herself and the floor. Yes, the shadow was moving. Or, was it a group of shadows? The sigh had come from that direction.

As she watched the shadow seemed to detach from the wall, out into the air. How is this possible? Something was taking form- but a chill ran through the chill she was already experiencing when she realized it wasn't a shadow. It was a reflection. She was seeing herself.

As Melissa watched Melissa appear in front of her, she heard her own voice, not certain which mouth had spoken. "What do you want?"

"I want to be noticed."

"What do you mean?"

"I want to do the things you want to do, but are afraid of doing. I want to make a scene sometimes. I want to laugh a little too loud. I want to drink just a little too much. I want to love dangerously. I want to try things I am no good at. I want to take risks. I want to feel alive."

"But, I am alive. I mean, you... or we... are alive."

"No, Melissa. You are breathing, but you haven't been alive in a long time. If you won't do it I'll do it for us. For me. For you."

"You are just a ghost. You can't..."

"You are mistaken. You are the ghost. You are the ghost of what I once could have been. Look at yourself."

Melissa looked down. She did seem a little more gray, perhaps a bit smokey. She looked back at Melissa, who seemed more real now.

"You're wrong. I am real. This is my house. I'm the one who..." Why couldn't she think of anything she had done recently?

"I'm not going to watch life pass me by anymore. I'm not going to worry about what the neighbors think. I'm not going to worry about saying the wrong thing and giving the Women's Bible Study group something to get the vapors over." Melissa watched as Melissa seemed to slip back against the wall a bit more. She reached out her hand. "I'm not going to see you again, am I?"

"I just want a chance to live." The face was gone. The shadow became a little harder to distinguish from the others. A sigh filtered across the spaces.

Outside a light rain had begun to fall. Melissa looked again at the wall. The shadow might be gone now. She wasn't sure. She looked down at the ratty nightshirt. It was dry. Had she really been talking that long? She turned and looked out the window at the water shining on the street. With a flash she pulled the nightshirt over her head and tossed it off to the side and went out the door to dance in the rain.


Forget the fireworks- celebrate the right way!

(Yeah, this is late, but it just hit me as I was catching up on blogs I missed while unconnected.)

Maybe part of the reason I am not a fan of fireworks (while despising the government's yearly "just in time for Independence Day" ban on them) is that I see them as a poor substitute for the guns and ammunition that can actually bring liberty back to America.

Wanna make noise on Independence Day? Then do it with the real thing instead of the explosive toys. Scare the bad guys.


Sunday, July 15, 2012

Don't fall off a park bench...

While walking along the River Trail in Durango, Colorado last week, I came upon an unconscious man with a bloody face. (Yes, that is the bench he was found near- sorry, no picture of the actual guy.)

He had apparently passed out and fallen off the park bench he was sitting on. Unfortunately for him, the bench was facing the river and was at the top of a rather rocky and steep slope. His face and bare chest had received quite a beating on the rocks and he was lying there with his head about 2 feet lower than his feet, due to the slope.

Anyway, the event unfolded like this:

A companion and I were walking the trail when we noticed him lying there, unmoving. At first I just thought someone was joking around.

Companion asked "Is he OK? Is he breathing?"

I approached and saw that he was not conscious, and that his face was caked with dried, but fairly recent, blood (which had also soaked the dirt under his face).

I leaned over and spoke to him. He groaned and his foot moved slightly, so I was glad he wasn't dead. His face was so bloody that I thought he might be the victim of a beating. I was trying to see how badly he was hurt while Companion, acting on her own, stopped some guys on bicycles to ask them what we should do. They still hadn't noticed the guy and just said "call 911" in a rather snarky tone of voice. Sigh.

I didn't think I should move the guy, even though his position looked uncomfortable, until I could see how badly he was hurt. He wasn't still bleeding, which made me wonder how long he had been lying there with people constantly passing him. (He was slightly hidden from the trail, but was more visible from one direction than the other, but I had approached from the disadvantaged direction...)

As I talked to the guy and tried to comfort him and size up his injuries, Companion called 911. The emergency operator asked Companion's name and phone number, and made an issue of similar irrelevancies. And asked where we were, which, being from out of town, she wasn't completely certain of. But Companion told her the name of the park that we were on the edge of, and the operator had no idea where that was. (So much for competent help.) Then she asked questions about how the guy had been injured- which she couldn't say for sure since we hadn't witnessed the event. Companion wouldn't come close to the guy so she shouted questions at me, which I then answered the best I could.

About this time a park ranger on a little golf cart-type vehicle pulled up and said that someone had called "earlier" about a guy on a park bench who looked like he was about to fall off. Companion handed him the phone and I didn't hear what was said.

Then a couple of other guys who had been watching came over and pulled the guy to the top of the slope and into a sitting position. I was really hoping they weren't creating more injuries by doing so. One guy had some paper towels and water and let the injured guy clean his face; he seemed to only have a bloody nose, a gash over his nose, and maybe a bloody lip. And he had a pretty nasty bruise on his chest, too.

Eventually the EMTs arrived (parked far away and sauntered slowly over to the scene), and a cop showed up soon thereafter. The EMTs helped the guy to his feet and, with a person on each arm, walked him across the park to the ambulance. The cop stood there looking around.

All the "authorities" assumed the guy was a drunk homeless man who more or less deserved his injuries. I did notice, however, that his work boots were nearly new, and his jeans were not badly worn. Perhaps assumptions were wrong. Homeless or not; drunk or not, the guy deserved compassion.

Which illustrates a few things you might want to keep in mind.

If you have a medical emergency, try to make sure you are not in an area known for being a homeless/drunk hangout, otherwise assumptions that could affect the quality of your care could cause problems.

Calling 911 is not the best thing to do, even if you are not concerned with avoiding "Imperial entanglements". In fact, from what I heard of the conversation, the operator was almost useless. And, as always, why does a medical call "need" a cop to show up? It doesn't!

And, people really are not very observant- or if they do see something, would rather pretend they don't if it might make them uncomfortable or inconvenience them.

All in all, I doubt I handled things as well as I could have, and I will strive to do better next time.


Saturday, July 14, 2012

Anti-immigration: the truth from the horse's... ummm

I realize most anti-immigration ("I'm not 'anti-immigration', I'm anti ILLEGAL immigration, blah blah blah...") people are racists- I've listened to enough of them justifying their warped statist religion in every conceivable way for years- but this comment (found on Aretae) was so blatant it shocked me:

Most of those immigrants where [sic] white Europeans. There is a big difference between that and current immigration that should be obvious. You have to be willfully ignorant to believe otherwise.

So, "white Europeans" are somehow generally preferable, as a collective, over anyone else (like "Mexicans"?) to this guy.

It would make me be ashamed if I had anything in common with this guy. Which I apparently don't. Whew! No wonder he posts anonymously.


Friday, July 13, 2012

50 Shades of Tyranny

If there were a free society somewhere, it would be obvious to almost everyone that going to an area which had a government is a foolhardy risk to take.

Rational people know that it isn't wrong to smoke a little pot, or wear a gun of your hip, or "neglect" to wear a seat belt. Governments are not made up of rational people. Doing any of those things can get you killed by employees of that government who are eager to add you to their trophy wall.

The problem is that there is no free society to compare to the evil of the States. What we have instead are fifty shades of tyranny, and that makes for a deceptive comparison.

I want to see the day where a true comparison can be made. How about you?


Thursday, July 12, 2012

"Place on top of your warhead and detonate for 2 picoseconds at..."

The "Classical Liberal" stance is that the sole purpose of government is to defend and protect the right of an individual to life, liberty, and property.

Ha ha!

Then can I claim that the sole purpose of a hydrogen bomb is to bake cakes? Or that the sole purpose of a rabbit is to discover and describe the Grand Unified Theory?

Because those claims are no more absurd or unreasonable.


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

"If you don't like government, move to Somalia!"

This statist incantation has been around for quite a while now, but seems to have gotten more popular again. And it is still just as silly.

Two of my videos from quite a while back, "Love it or Leave it" and Theft by Any Other Name", mention the ridiculous retort. I never dreamed we'd still be hearing ignorant statists chanting the same line over a year later. I guess they are running out of quips and excuses.

So, why is this such a silly thing for statists to say? The situation in Somalia is the result of trying to force a State on people who knew it was not an improvement over the old system they already had.

So, read the two articles linked below and laugh in the pathetic statist's sincere and angry little face next time they pull this one out of their.... um, "hat":

And, if all the good people moved to Somalia, like the ignorant statist's seem to be suggesting, it would mean we would abandon everything to the thieves and thugs. How is that the right thing to do? No, it is better to stay and fight than to abandon America to the parasites.


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Donaldson Cousins - Growing Up Blessed

I recently helped my mom publish a book about a branch of our ancestors. It is called "Donaldson Cousins - Growing Up Blessed". She compiled the book from stories her cousins sent her, along with a lot of old pictures and some recipes.

The Frontier lasted longer here than in many places, so some of those things are interesting. As are the old pictures of that era.

There is a lot more religion/Christianity in the book than I can really stomach, but that's the lifestyle choice/orientation of my relatives.

Some events I lived through even crop up in later stories- particularly the Easter Blizzard of 1970.

If you are interested in personal accounts of life on the dry plains of the western Texas panhandle during the 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, and beyond, or if you know someone who might be, check it out.

"Home" again.

I just got back from a week of vacation time (tagging along with my parents). Returned to "Galt's Gulch" for a short visit while I was in the neighborhood.

Ahhhh! Nice!

Did you miss me?

I'll have a tale from the road... or maybe a couple. Stay tuned.


Passing laws doesn't solve problem

Passing laws doesn't solve problem

(My Clovis News Journal column for June 8, 2012. I think I would have called this one "Biased toward liberty" or something, but...)

Most of the loudest voices in America are biased toward socialism and collectivism- even if they call them by other names. They slant everything they report so that it shows businesses and successful entrepreneurs in the worst possible light. They widely report innocents killed by gun-wielding thugs, but ignore the innocent lives saved because someone ignored a "gun law" and acted with bravery. They praise the collective while condemning the individual. They denigrate private property rights and liberty with their every word. Worse, they pretend they have no bias while doing it.

Everyone is biased. It's just an unavoidable fact of life, but one that is not necessarily bad. I am biased toward liberty- the freedom to do anything that doesn't violate anyone else's identical rights. I might as well admit my bias since it is probably obvious. I am always going to come down on the side of individual liberty on every issue and defend it from those who try to belittle it or fritter it away. No matter what excuse they use.

Do I not care about people? I certainly do. It means I put people above the things people created. Things created by those who claim to be protecting people while draining their life from them. It means I see that "for the children" is used as justification to use those children as pawns now, and enslave them "for the good of future generations" when they grow up.

It isn't right to pick someone else's pocket or take food out of their children's mouths to support things I like. No matter how much of your own money you give away it ceases to be generosity the moment you offer to give away someone else's money. It then becomes theft.

I want to help the poor and the helpless. I recognize that everyone has rights that are identical and equal to the rights I have, and no one, and no group, has the authority to violate those rights for any reason. I want to protect the environment. I value education highly. I want to see honest businesses prosper in a truly free market. I want to help people keep their own property safe from theft and destruction. I don't want bad guys to have the upper hand when they target someone as a potential victim.

Government is not the best way to achieve any of those ends. In fact, it is the worst possible response, and probable root cause, to any problem that has been recognized. There has never been a problem solved by passing a law; only by repealing them.


Monday, July 09, 2012

What's in YOUR lemonade?

I just don't know how people can function while believing it's OK to initiate force or steal.

To me that is like saying sulfuric acid is an acceptable substitute for water. You can claim to believe that all you want, but your continued existence is proof that you don't generally act on what you say you believe.

However, a person can claim it is OK to initiate force or to steal, when they are approving of others doing the dirty work for them, while not really behaving that way in every day life. That's the "safe" way to do it. Just like you could try to convince other people to drink sulfuric acid while not doing such a stupid thing yourself. You'll survive that way- at least until people get wise to what you are doing to them.


Sunday, July 08, 2012

Hairy situations

Long hair. I have it, and I like it. And I understand that many other people don't.

But, to me, short hair is a symbol of slavery. Or of those who imagine themselves slavemasters.

When the "whites" enslaved and herded the "American Indians" into reservations, they forced their children into government schools and cut their hair in order to "civilize" them.

When a person is enslaved (either by force or voluntarily) into the military, their hair gets cut off.

Even some jobs are off-limits to those who don't have the "slave hair".

On the "slavemaster" side of the equation- The cops with the shortest hair are generally the most thuggish. Maybe there is an exception to this observation, but I have yet to see it with my own eyes.

Now, I don't believe that everyone who has short hair is necessarily a slave. If that is what you want, for whatever reason, then no one has any reason to disparage your choice.

I do get very tired of the attitude that says that short hair (and a shaved face) is somehow ethically superior, and that seems obsessed with making sure everyone complies with this "style". It's a value judgement, not a matter of right and wrong.

I'll leave your short hair alone, and I would appreciate the same in return.


Saturday, July 07, 2012

The Enemy

I have always been amused by the Mighty Morphin' Enemy of America.

This year we are told that this country, or this group of people, is "our" enemy, and they all want us dead, or converted to their particular superstitious delusion, or they want to enslave us by economic means, or... well, whatever excuse enough people will buy to make it seem real.

Next year it will probably be someone else and the old enemy will be ignored or swept under the rug. The old enemy may even be recast as "our ally" against the new enemy. Craziness!

Yes, there are bad people out there. The only ones who are really dangerous have government jobs, and the only ones who are a credible threat to you and me are those who work for governments which are close enough to actually mess up our lives. And you are more likely to be targeted by a local govthug than by one in DC except in unusual circumstances (although the govthugs in your town may be on DC's leash).

Most people, worldwide, are decent and have no overwhelming desire to harm you. Avoid "imperial entanglements" whenever you can and you'll avoid most of the bad guys automatically. And let the bad guys, the govthugs of every country, beat each other up while you stay out of their way and laugh at them.


Friday, July 06, 2012

Holy Words

Some things are just so ingrained in some people that there is no point even making a comment. They are like holy words to those who say them.

"Cops and the military keep us safe."

"You should go to college."

"America is the best country ever."

"Respect the office of the president even if you don't respect the man."

"Grow up, get a 'real job', and get married."

And, there are lots more. When I hear things like this I don't usually even respond, unless it is online where I can go into great detail. In real life, no one will listen. Online the person who chanted those holy words won't listen, either, but maybe someone else will read the response.

What are some of the other holy words out there? Besides these, I mean.


Thursday, July 05, 2012

You're doing it wrong...

Do you know anyone who refuses to use things in the proper way, and then blames the objects when they don't work "right"?

Cast iron cookware comes to mind, but it could be just about anything. Some people think I am that way about the Constitution or The State. Perhaps.

In any case it can be amusing. Especially if you bother to try to show the person the correct way to use that which they are using wrong. They almost never express any gratitude, and sometimes get angry- calling you "obsessed" or something for bothering to know the right way to do something. And they continue to do "it" the wrong way and complain about their failures.

I try to keep this in mind when something isn't working for me. Am I doing something wrong? Am I sabotaging my own efforts? Do I look like a fool to someone who might be watching and actually knows what I am doing wrong?

Will I listen, really listen, if someone offers advice?

For my own part, I know liberty works. Just fine. As close to perfect as will ever exist in reality. Those who desperately try to find some exception just aren't doing it right, and look silly to me. But, instead of pointing that out I should first offer some help. If it isn't wanted I should just walk away before I start rolling my eyes. It's how I would like to be treated if I am too stubborn to listen.


Wednesday, July 04, 2012

An Independence Day thought

A government-extremist taterhead commented (on my CNJ column about the stupid and evil War on (some) Drugs) about the toll drug use has on "the families and children of the addict".

Never mind that I wasn't talking about addiction, but casual use.

But it made me think this is a good subject for Anarchy Day/"Government-go-screw-yourself" Day/Independence Day.

Sure, the family of a person addicted to anything can be harmed. Possibly it is inevitable. Greater harm still results from the legal/societal consequences of being discovered to be using those substances than ever comes from the chemicals, themselves. And even people who have never touched any drug are harmed- even killed- by the stupid and evil War on (some) Drugs every day. Yet idiots like that commenter believe, without a shred of evidence and in spite of ample proof to the contrary, that it is "worth it". And they worship the murderers who work for The State.

But, OK, harm can occur from drug abuse.

A stronger case could be made for those who choose to subject their family to the government-extremist lifestyle. You don't think it harms the children and spouse to have a parent who is in the military or "law enforcement"? Then you aren't connected to reality. Look at the divorce rates, the abuse rates, and the suicide rates of those who have thrown their lives away- sacrificed to the God of the State. Then claim "drugs" are more harmful- if you dare.

If you justify harming your family by being a government-extremist, then you have no "moral high ground" from which to cast stones at those addicted to things that are minor compared to your addiction.


The Declaration of Independence (The only good thing to ever come out of congress)


The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.