Tuesday, October 16, 2012

You are responsible for your choices

You are responsible for your choices

(My Clovis News Journal/Portales News-Tribune column for September 14, 2012.)

In the end, I am only responsible for what I do.

I can make sure my kids are raised with my values and principles, but that doesn't guarantee they will follow when they're grown. I can let people know when they are doing the wrong thing, and refuse to go along, but if they have adopted a different value system they won't necessarily accept mine. I can try to lead by example and try to inform people so that they may realize things they had never before considered, but I can't force anyone to learn anything they don't wish to learn. I can do my best, yet it is not my responsibility when anyone else continues down the wrong path.

When it comes right down to it you can make only yourself do what you know to be right.

But, while I am only responsible for me, I am FULLY responsible for me. If I do the wrong thing I can't blame it on a bad "law" or on the expectations of other people. It isn't circumstances that cause one to attack the innocent or steal, or to accept property that others have stolen on your behalf. The requirements of a job don't excuse any unethical actions, nor does the support of "the majority". Making up different names for coercion or theft doesn't magically make wrong become right.

On one hand, it is a heavy burden to refuse to blame others for your actions, but on the other hand it is quite liberating to realize that it is pointless to accept the blame for other people. To further lighten your load, be mindful of all you do.

Perhaps I shouldn't be surprised, but it seems a lot of people "get it", even if they feel unable to express themselves openly around their peers. Almost every week I have at least one person approach me to thank me for saying what they are thinking. That this many are seeing through the smoke and mirrors of The State is inspiring. Maybe eventually enough people will realize that there is strength in being right, and that we are millions strong- one at a time, and the institutionalized theft and coercion will no longer be tolerated.

But if not, the more of us who refuse to do the wrong thing, even when acceptable, the better society will become. The tipping point is approaching. Help bring it on by accepting the responsibility for all you do.


Accepting welfare- wrong, right, or neither?

I may be on the verge of changing my mind and deciding I have been wrong.  For a long time.

At least on the subject of welfare.

The inconsistency of those who complain about people on welfare, while collecting their own types of welfare, has always annoyed me.  Plus, I would rather see idlers collecting welfare for doing nothing than see a reaver collecting his government paycheck- still welfare- for enforcing "laws" that cause actual harm.  So maybe I haven't been quite as opposed to welfare all along as some others have been.

I would probably qualify for a lot of welfare programs.  "Health care", food stamps, and whatever else that might be out there that doesn't require a history of government "service" to be eligible.  Funny, but I don't even know what welfare is offered.


Some people I have been discussing this with have actually made me question my belief that it would always be wrong for me to accept any sort of welfare. I am mostly recalling this train of thought just from my own remembrance of the points brought up and if I misquote what anyone actually said, I apologize.  I hope I get the gist right, anyway.

It started off with someone suggesting that a good way to topple the State is to bleed it dry, signing up for every handout you can get.  Claire Wolfe calls this type of person, when they are doing it for the cause of liberty, a "Cockapoo".  I have always been highly suspicious of the Cockapoo, suspecting that they simply want to justify getting handouts.  But if they do, that is their business- I just want them to be honest about it.

Then it was pointed out that Jim Davies has written that he believes it is OK to take the handouts.  Hmm. I really respect his opinions.

Yet, Carl Watner, whom I also respect, says it is not OK.  Back to square one.

One thing I worry about, were I to go this route, is developing a dependency on the handouts.  Would the harm I do to myself be greater than any "benefit" I could gain?

One person suggested to me that a way to avoid this dependency is to use the handouts (or the money "saved" by accepting the handouts) for investing.  I would think buying gold and silver, guns and ammo, and stocking up on food and survival supplies would be a good investment.  A nicer TV, not so much.  Then, if/when the handouts stop coming, you haven't become dependent on them, but have actually given yourself a tangible safety net.  Maybe so, anyway.

But are there drawbacks beyond dependency?

Even if I didn't succumb to dependency, would I be setting a bad example? Is this act truly the same thing as "recovering stolen property"?  My stolen property is long gone.  Probably none of it actually went to any welfare recipients, regardless of what "conservatives" say.  The money that goes to welfare payments and government paychecks is "created" out of thin air by the Federal Reserve or banks.  Is the act of accepting welfare, then, still "receiving stolen property", stolen from others instead of from my earlier self, as I have always thought of it?  I really don't know.

Another problem I see is "What would people think?"

Maybe I don't care about this as much as some people do, but I still don't want to destroy any good influence I may have had over the years.  Maybe I give myself too much credit there, but it's an uplifting delusion.  Would my going on welfare say to people "Hey, I now depend on the government for my very survival, so see how great and necessary The State is- even for me!".  Would I look like a hypocrite to the average statist around me?

Sure, getting the money could be viewed as simply compensating for the money and opportunity being stolen by government- just trying to balance the equation.  If not for the interference of government I am quite sure I would be more successful than I am.  True or not, it's what I believe without having any way of knowing for certain.  Does The State owe me for this act of economic wrong perpetrated upon me?  Or am I just looking for justification?

I truly am not sure what to think about this yet.  At this point it is just a mental exercise.  I dislike admitting I was wrong as much as anyone, but I hate being wrong and remaining wrong even more.  It would be just as bad as being right and changing my mind and becoming wrong.

So, what do you think?  Weigh in on the matter and tell me what I have missed.