Monday, June 24, 2019

"Legal" or "Lawful"

Ah. Counting on magic words to save you.

Recently I saw someone make a desperate appeal to their perception of a difference between "legal" and "lawful". They were attempting to make a "founding father" look like something other than the nasty old statist he was, by their tortured interpretation of something he had said about "lawful authority".

The fellow trying to justify the dead statist's words was trying to claim that "lawful" meant "in accordance with natural law", as opposed to "legal", which meant only that someone made up some legislation and called it a law.

Not that there can be any political "authority" in accordance with natural law, but whatever.

Still, I was willing to consider his point, so I looked up the two words in question.

legal-- permitted by law; lawful; of or relating to law; connected with the law or its administration.
appointed, established, or authorized by law; deriving authority from law.

Oops. That "lawful" in there is terribly inconvenient. But, moving right along...

lawful-- allowed or permitted by law; not contrary to law; legitimate; appointed or recognized by law; acting or living according to the law.

Trying to read any meaningful difference into those definitions is an impossible task.

However, I'm sympathetic. I know dictionaries are often wrong; relying on incorrect (but popular and common) usage for their definitions. Look how often they conflate "anarchy" with "chaos" for example.

So, when there's good reason to stray from a bad dictionary definition, I support that move completely.

But, to try to find a good definition for a word so that you can feel good about an old, dead statist is probably pointless if liberty is something you value.


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YOU get to decide if I get paid.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Preferences provide opportunities

(My Eastern New Mexico News column for May 22, 2019)

Preferences are a personal thing. Some people prefer dogs while others prefer cats, and some like both species equally. None of these choices is wrong, even if one choice might make more sense or be more right for some people.

If dogs are preferred, there are those who prefer large dogs and others who prefer small dogs. Some people prefer aggressive dogs while other people want a more sociable dog.

It's all OK unless your preference is to prevent others from making their own choice based on their personal preferences.

If you decide your preference for large sociable dogs means cats should be banned or tightly regulated, and small, aggressive dogs must be confiscated and destroyed, your preference has crossed the line. It is no longer acceptable; it's antisocial.

Even if the majority of people take your side.

Yes, there are acts which aren't the same as preferences. You can't just say your preference is to break into houses and steal what you want instead of earning money with mutually voluntary trade to pay for those things. Well, you can say that's your preference but no one is obligated to sit by while you act on it. Anyone has the right to stop you when your preference violates others.

Very few of the things people choose between harm anyone. You might be bewildered by someone's choice. You might even believe it's immoral. Unless it "picks your pocket or breaks your leg"-- to paraphrase Thomas Jefferson-- it's your responsibility to mind your business.

Differing preferences provide opportunities. If everyone liked the same thing, there would be no need to make different kinds of food. Generic "Human Chow" would be good enough. Everyone could wear the same style clothing, in the same color. All cars could be identical.

Life would never have a chance to improve because there would be no reason to experiment with different things. Look how many innovations were stumbled upon by accident. Often the underlying cause was someone trying to fulfill their own, or a pool of potential customers', preferences; some which are known and others which are a mystery even to those who possess them.

It would be sad if everyone were the same and liked the same things. I'm glad people like different stuff. It exposes me to things I might not otherwise experience, it gives me options and enriches my life. And it might someday introduce me to something I had no idea I was going to love.

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Libertarianism is the balance

One objection I frequently see against libertarianism is that it's "too extreme". "There needs to be a balance between the extremes of libertarianism and fascism" (as illustrated by "border enforcement" and so forth).

This misses the reality.

(Of course, the act of governing others won't be referred to as fascism. Statists aren't that self-aware or honest. They'll call it "rule of law" or will conflate political government with society. You can use whatever substitute terms you wish, as long as you keep this in mind.)

The extreme ends of the spectrum are not libertarianism and fascism-- the extremes are nihilism and fascism. Libertarianism is the healthy balance which avoids both of the toxic extremes. It's the only way to avoid ruin.

Libertarianism is not "extreme" unless your wish is to watch the world burn; unless you want to kill off everyone with your chosen politics. If you choose something other than libertarianism you are choosing one of the deadly extremes. You are choosing to be extreme in defense of something indefensible.


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YOU get to decide if I get paid.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Shooting down drones

If you don't want your drone to be shot down, keep it over your own property. Any drone that isn't over property you own or rent, at a minimum, is fair game.

This doesn't change just because you are a government.

In fact, since governments can't legitimately own anything, government drones are always fair game. I might give the US government license to fly its drones over the Pentagon, White House, or Capitol building, but nowhere else. No, they don't own those properties either, but I'm willing to compromise that much. At least until they are a threat to adjacent property owners, anyway.

If your drone is over someone else's property, it is trespassing and they have the right to shoot it down. They aren't required to... if you are on friendly terms with them maybe they won't.

If your drone is over "international waters", it's not over your property and shooting it down is a legitimate action. Especially if it is a government military drone. This is because drones "owned" by governments are weapons of war, and their presence is a credible threat to archate.

Keep your drones at home and you won't have to get whiney or become a puffed-up bully when someone shoots one down.

Writing is my job.
YOU get to decide if I get paid.

Friday, June 21, 2019

Wrong opinions

There are wrong opinions. An opinion is a belief, and a lot of beliefs are simply wrong.

I know that's not a nice thing to point out, but it's true. Your opinion-- your belief-- may be that "taxation" isn't theft and therefore isn't wrong. But it is, no matter what your opinion on the matter may be.

Your opinion might be that the Earth is a flat disk. But it isn't.

Your opinion might be that anyone who destroys their own copy of Holy Pole Quilt should be punished. That's a sick, superstitious opinion, and yes: that opinion is wrong.

You are "entitled" to your opinion. You can be as wrong as you want to be. However, no one is obligated to behave as though your opinion is valid when it's wrong. They don't have to respect a wrong opinion.

Facts don't care about your opinions. You should care if your opinions don't match the facts, but for too many people, that's hard, and it would invalidate their most dearly held opinions. So they won't do that.

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YOU get to decide if I get paid.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

"One could argue..."

That's a phrase I frequently see at the beginning of some rather strange assumptions and some bizarrely incoherent "arguments".

Well, sure, "one could argue" anything at all. Doesn't make the argument correct.

"One could argue" that there's no such thing as right or wrong; that anything is permissible to do to other people. That's basically the statist argument. As long as government passes a "law" allowing an act, "one could argue" that it's OK. Or, if government makes up a "law" prohibiting something, "one could argue" that it's bad. There's no real right or wrong, just legal or illegal.

"One could argue" that there's no such thing as biological sex (chromosomes = Hate!). It's all about the linguistic term "gender"-- it's just cultural and you can "identify as" whatever you feel like. Today. And you can change your mind again tomorrow.

"One could argue" that rights are imaginary. That you only have the rights you can kill to defend. I guess this excuses those who don't want to stick their necks out and defend people who are being violated and aren't able to defend themselves.

It has rarely been the case that I see the phrase "one could argue" as a lead-in to anything sensible.
"One could argue" it's a phrase that isn't very useful for reaching truth.

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Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Market regulated just right amount

(My Eastern New Mexico News column for June 19, 2019)

I love watching the market work. I don't call it "the free market" because if it's not free it's not a market. Under government rules and regulations what survives is a pale shadow of a market; the more rules, the dimmer the shadow.

Fortunately even this shadow of a market is enough to make life better for everyone; much better than the more regulated alternative. I appreciate this. the rest...

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Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Time again for some random acts of ANARCHY

Yeah, you know what I'm talking about.
But if you need a refresher, you can get that from this link.

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YOU get to decide if I get paid.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Perfection is not an option

I don't expect perfection.

Not from people, places, situations, or... whatever else there is.

You are going to have no real choice but to drive on some government roads. You are going to have no choice but to use some things government paid for with money it stole. You can barter and use silver for some trades, but fiat "money" is unavoidable. You may benefit in some roundabout way from government's unethical (and evil) actions which you oppose. That's reality.

You don't have to like it. You aren't condoning theft or government by using those things. Feel free to speak the truth about government roads even as you are driving on one. That's not hypocritical, it's just how things are. You make the best of what you've got.

I understand that some people view a government "job" the same way-- even though I strongly disagree. Still, as long as someone isn't actively promoting government supremacy or power, I will cut them some slack. A government-employed librarian is still better than a politician, a government-employed school "teacher", a member of the military, or a cop. Or, at least preferable in my view, since they aren't promoting government supremacy nor imposing government at the point of a gun.

But no one is perfect or pure.

To condemn yourself because you aren't perfect isn't healthy.

To condemn everyone else because of this reality isn't helpful. You're not helping those you condemn, nor are you helping yourself. You certainly aren't helping society (the interactions between individuals) nor the "cause" of liberty. Demanding the impossible from others (and, yes, in the present reality, it is impossible) causes harm.

What I do expect is that people do the best they can with the cards they've been dealt. Recognize that you have no right to archate, and if you feel you "must" anyway, accept the consequences of doing what you don't have a right to do.

This perfectionist viewpoint causes harm to those who hold and promote it.
This unpleasant reality is no justification for giving up and saying that because no one else lives up to your vision of perfection, you might as well embrace the state and use it against others. This is a destructive mindset. It gives off a foul odor. It looks and smells like hypocrisy to me.

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YOU get to decide if I get paid.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Let people opt out of 'good ideas'

(My Eastern New Mexico News column for May 15, 2019)

Would you rather live in a world where it's normal for people to try to convince each other of something, or a world where it's acceptable to just give an order and shoot anyone who doesn't immediately comply? I'm firmly in the "convince others" camp.

To convince people you've either got to have reasons or ways to play with their emotions. If you convince them with good reasons, the convincing sticks. If you use emotions, someone with stronger appeals to emotion will come along and get them to change their minds again.

If you rely on threats, as soon as the threat is out of sight they'll go back to their old path.

This is why I'd rather convince others with reasons and avoid using force. It doesn't matter to me what the issue is.

I prefer everything to be voluntary. Work together, ask for help, or do what you can on your own. Don't try to force anyone to join you. If you need to use threats or force, you probably ought not do it at all. I don't support or need those who use coercion.

In your personal life you probably already avoid force. I'm assuming you aren't a thief or murderer.

You and I don't need to be threatened and forced; it's only "those other people". Well, they see it the same way. Someone's got to be the first to grow up.

Gandhi is quoted as saying "Be the change you want to see in the world". It's true enough even if he never said it.

You don't need to wait for anyone else to do the right thing with you. You can start now. You don't have to wait until others join you or until they agree with you. You don't need to wait until the law changes to allow you to do the right thing. Yes, there's danger in stepping out first, but who said life is supposed to be safe? Do the right thing anyway.

Don't violate the rights of others. Liberty is the freedom to do everything you have a right to do; everything which doesn't violate anyone else's equal and identical rights. Anyone who violates your liberty isn't one of the good guys.

Be big enough to let people opt out of your "good ideas" if they can't be convinced. Of course, you'll still need to defend yourself against people who refuse to cooperate. That's a fact of life nothing can ever change.

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Funny tales and science-based advice

If you haven't yet discovered Amy Alkon, you're missing some smart fun.

I first encountered her when Michael Shermer (of interviewed her a while back. I was impressed.

So I found her blog. It was good, as well, and I've been reading it regularly since then.

Then a week or so back I found a copy of her book "I See Rude People" in Goodwill. Not wanting to leave it there for the unappreciative cretins (anyone who didn't already know who she is) to ignore, I bought it. I then read it. Great fun and humorous, while making a serious point (or several).

I enjoyed it so much that I emailed her to say so and to apologize for buying a second-hand copy instead of one where she'd profit from the sale.

Our brief exchange led me to buy the Kindle version of her newest book "Unf*ckology". It's really a good book. I think her advice is exceptionally well thought-out, and I've integrated some of her suggestions into my life already, with noticeable benefits. I highly recommend it.

She's also on Quora.

She self-identifies as libertarian but is more accepting of government than I am. (Who isn't?) I think you ought to give her a look.
(And no, she isn't paying me to say any of this, nor does she know about it, although I might-- or might not-- send her the link. So, no financial interest on my part, nor anything but a desire to introduce you to some writing you might like.)

Writing is my job.
YOU get to decide if I get paid.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

"Best" president ever?

Trump? The "best"?

Well, sure, if you're desperately searching for a way to say something nice. But not for the reasons you might imagine.

I am not a Trump supporter, nor am I a supporter of any president, past, present, or future. I don't "respect the office" nor the people who attain it. Not one bit. Evil political parasites, all. I'm already against your next president.


Congress seems to pose a greater danger to my life, liberty, and property than any president ever could. As long as the congressvermin stay distracted with trying to get Trump they are less focused on molesting the rest of us with their "laws" and such. Go, Trump!

Plus, Trump, building on the work of all his recent predecessors, continues their efforts to dismantle the credibility and illusory legitimacy of the office of president. That's a good thing.

Of course, I think William Henry Harrison is the president all presidents should strive to emulate. I want them all to follow his noble example.


Writing is my job.
YOU get to decide if I get paid.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Librarian-- Not a fan...

Overheard by someone else and related to me (probably not verbatim) during a trip to the library:

Library patron: "Who is that guy?"
Reference desk librarian: "That's McManigal. He writes for the paper. I don't care for him. I think he's crazy."

You win some, you lose some.

I was just minding my own business while my daughter picked out a book. I guess the reference desk librarian/notary doesn't like me. How hurt should I be by this revelation?

It doesn't change how I feel about libraries. I love libraries... I love them enough that I want to free them from government control. You can't love something more than that.


Writing is my job.
YOU get to decide if I get paid.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

What do you hate more than you love liberty?

For someone who hates "illegal [sic] immigrants" more than they love liberty, statist "border enforcement" can work and is worth it.

For someone who hates guns/gun owners more than they love liberty, statist waiting periods, background checks, "red flag" laws, capacity limits, etc. can work. And they are worth it.

For someone who hates (or fears) unpopular truth and opinion, statist censorship can work and is worth it.

For someone who hates drugs more than they love liberty, statist prohibition can work and is worth it.

For anything that government supremacists support, there's a cost to liberty. But they don't care. It just depends on what they hate more than they love liberty as to what they'll embrace.

Me? I don't hate anything more than I love liberty, nor do I fear the dangers The State pretends it would protect me from. Your mileage may, obviously, vary.

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YOU get to decide if I get paid.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Let people find their own solutions

(My Eastern New Mexico News column for June 12, 2019)

It amazes me how often people create worse problems while trying to solve problems.

Most problems can be solved; some probably can't. Don't give up trying to solve the hard problems, though. You never know if the Elixir of Life is waiting for you to discover just around the next bend.

The best approach is to let people find their own solutions. Most of their ideas will fail; some will be spectacular failures, but as long as no one's solution is forced on everyone else, people can keep trying different things. The more ideas which get tried, the more problems will be the rest...

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Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Little pick-me-ups

The above screenshot is from September 2014, but it still helps inspire me.

Sometimes promoting liberty in the face of naysayers gets tiring. I'm sure you go through the same thing. Liberty is (apparently) hard and scary. Promoting it isn't going to make you popular. And you know it and feel it.

And then-- occasionally-- out of nowhere, you'll get a little boost.

Either a donation comes with a note telling how you've helped and are appreciated, or an email shows up unexpectedly letting you know it's not all in vain, or a comment like the one pictured above gets posted somewhere and let's you know you're getting through at least sometimes.

No, I shouldn't "need" this kind of affirmation. But it sure does help sometimes. I always save them for a rainy day when they can be enjoyed as if they are new.

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YOU get to decide if I get paid.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Androids' Rights?

I ran across an interesting question on Quora: When we do start making humanoid androids, should they be afforded civil rights?

I answered this way:

Not unless you can be sure they are sapient— or at least sentient. But even if they are, they would be a separate species, and rights don’t really transfer across species lines. A mouse has no right to not be caught, tortured, killed, and eaten by a cat, nor does a human have the right to not be mauled and eaten by a bear. (Both have the right to fight back against the attack.)

So, the androids would need to first demonstrate that they have rights by the way they interact with each other (ignoring the outliers like we would hope they ignore human bad guys), then maybe we could reach an agreement between our two species where we agree to respect each other's rights as though we were the same species. I would be willing.


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YOU get to decide if I get paid.

Sunday, June 09, 2019

We still haven't learned Voltaire's lesson

(My Eastern New Mexico News column for May 8, 2019)

It's fascinating how easily people accept something they would otherwise know is wrong when someone they view as an authority figure tells them it's right.

Voltaire observed, in 1765, "Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.” This truth has led to many of the worst horrors in history. People still haven't learned the lesson.

There are currently hordes of people working full-time-- at your expense-- to trick you into believing absurdities. My hope is that you're smarter than they expect.

Unfortunately, many of our fellow humans do fall for the trick. They lack awareness of when their behavior violates others. This lack of awareness enables atrocities, too. No one can be expected to quit doing what they aren't aware is wrong.

Some of these believe the world owes them an easy life because they are so special and irreplaceable. After all, some authority figure has preached this absurdity to them, and it sounds good. The sense of entitlement this creates is breathtaking. If you threaten to withhold what they've been told they are owed, they're ready to commit atrocities until you relent. They refuse to accept the reality: no one owes you anything beyond not violating you.

These people expect their rights to be respected, but they refuse to respect the rights of anyone else. They even imagine "rights" which would enslave others. They aren't aware of how absurd this would be.

The good news is no one needs to stay trapped in the absurdities they once believed. Growth requires rejecting those absurdities so you don't commit atrocities.

The awareness of the rights of others, and how to respect them, is libertarianism.

I first discovered I was a libertarian about twenty years ago. Before then I hadn't given it any thought, but at that time I began to examine my values and beliefs. I was willing to discard anything which didn't stand up to scrutiny.

When I was young and accepting of absurdities I tried to make excuses as to why it was OK to violate some people's rights under certain conditions. I eventually came to understand you only deserve as much liberty as you respect in others. I'm glad the realization came before I participated in any atrocities.

Believing absurd justifications of why it's OK to do things to other people when you know it wouldn't be right for them to do the same to you is a dangerous trap. Avoid it.

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Whatever works?

I'm always told that statism works, so I need to just go with it. Yeah?

I have no doubt that statism "works".

In the same way murder, rape, theft, etc. "work".

All those behaviors can get the bad guys what they want (at least in the short term) without relying on the voluntary cooperation of others (their victims). And, yes, if you are willing to act that way I am going to consider you one of the bad guys; no question about that.

The question is, why are you so willing to use archation to get what you want?
Do you not have good convincing reasons?
Can you not offer something worthwhile in trade?
In other words, why cheat? That's just pathetic.

Writing is my job.
YOU get to decide if I get paid.

Saturday, June 08, 2019

Erich Fromm on "the authoritarian character"

While reading a couple of days ago, I ran into a passage that resonated with me and seemed very timely:
Not only the forces that determine one's own life directly but also those that seem to determine life in general are felt as unchangeable fate. It is fate that there are wars and that one part of mankind has to be ruled by another. It is fate that the amount of suffering can never be less than it always has been. Fate may be rationalized philosophically as "natural law" or as "destiny of man," religiously as the "will of the Lord," ethically as "duty"-- for the authoritarian character it is always a higher power outside of the individual, toward which the individual can do nothing but submit. The authoritarian character worships the past. What has been, will eternally be. To wish or to work for something that has not yet been before is crime or madness. (Added emphasis is mine) ~  Escape From Freedom, Erich Fromm 

That passage is from a part of the book where he is describing how masochism and sadism are embraced by some as a way to avoid the isolation of freedom*. The authoritarian character, as he calls it, is sado-masochistic. It seeks out ways to suffer to distract itself from the scary aspects of freedom, and it likes to make sure others suffer along with it.

I see the above traits of the authoritarian character, especially the parts I emphasized, in almost everyone who is promoting statism. You can see it in FB posts, in YouTube comments, in comments left on this blog. and anywhere a no-compromise libertarian point is made. I've come to recognize and expect this tack, yet was surprised to see it-- and see it explained so clearly-- in a book from 1941.

I don't agree with Fromm on everything. I think he made good observations but came to an erroneous conclusion.

He was a supporter of toxic authoritarianism when he obviously-- from his own observations-- should have known better. Why? Maybe he was just genetically inclined that way. Maybe he wasn't able to rise above his early brainwashing. But who knows?

You can find truth and wisdom in anyone's words if you look, even if they are wrong about everything else.

I realize I apparently lack the brain software that makes some fear the "isolation" of freedom. Even though I usually feel isolated due to all sorts of other things, I don't mistake those things for freedom. That's like blaming your good health for your fear that you might someday get a disease.


*Fromm uses the word "freedom" (inconsistently, but at least part of the time) for the concept I call "liberty" but that doesn't alter the truth of these words.


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Friday, June 07, 2019

Emotional reactions

Yes, I agree that child molestation is a terrible thing. However, I don't believe it is worse than murder or other rapes. I don't have the exaggerated (in my view) emotional response to it that I see from so many others. And I don't know why.

But I've noticed I don't have the common emotional response to some other things, too. Abortion is one example-- I don't like it, but I don't want it made "illegal"; I don't support "laws" against anything, up to and including murder.

This doesn't only go for negative emotional reactions. though.

I don't feel a strong emotional attachment to Holy Pole Quilt, the country, the "borders", the Constitution, or other things of that sort. Those don't feel like "my tribe" anyway, which seems to be the basis for the emotional attachment others feel.

Perhaps I'm broken and I can't feel the appropriate emotional responses. I accept that as a possibility.

But I can and do feel emotional responses. I get angry at people who violate others and claim they are doing the right thing by doing so. So it's not that I lack emotion.

This is just something I've noticed about myself when scrolling through social media or while listening to others talk among themselves. I can't relate to some of the emotions they exhibit, and then I get suspicious about why they are so emotional; it feels like they are performing for an audience. Yet I realize the quirk might be mine.

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YOU get to decide if I get paid.

Thursday, June 06, 2019

Accept everyone you can

I try to be accepting of everyone. This doesn't mean I'm accepting of everything everyone does.

Not every behavior is OK. There are lines in the sand I can't cross, and that when crossed by others, I can't support.

If someone continues to make crossing one of those lines an integral part of who they are, I can't keep accepting them. It's why I admit there can be no such thing as a "good cop", for example. There are some "jobs" which require-- as a condition of employment-- the crossing of those lines. Some "jobs" require archation. That's never OK.

There are also people who simply refuse to see that the line exists, and they'll cross it without noticing. Just because they are doing what they want, and no one else matters to them. They have no regard for the rights of others when respecting those rights would be an inconvenience.

I'm sure you know people like that.

I've never been perfect, and I never will be. But I do the best I can. Part of that is being civil to anyone who is making the slightest effort to live among others without being a thug or an overt parasite.

Yet, this makes me an extremist? I doubt I'll ever understand why this seems to be such a controversial, radical stance to some people.

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YOU get to decide if I get paid.

Wednesday, June 05, 2019

See what you can build on your own

(My Eastern New Mexico News column for June 5, 2019)

There's a sense of personal accomplishment, of self-worth, when you make something with your own hands through your own efforts. Even if you seek guidance from someone with experience, you've learned more than you knew before. You'll probably value the results more than if you had no part in making the rest...

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Tuesday, June 04, 2019

Organize against organized threats

If you face an organized threat you probably need to organize (in some way) against it.

The state isn't a real solution. You can't protect property rights by violating property rights. You can't save liberty by destroying liberty. You can't protect your children from warlords by enslaving them to a warlord.

That the state has convinced so many people otherwise is scary.

Yes, an organized threat will kill you if you don't kill it, or scare them into staying away. Organization doesn't imply archation unless you are trapped in a statist mindset.

Government might look like organization, but it's really not. Organization is voluntary; government is coercive.

If you have to become the same as the bad guy to survive, what value is there in your survival? It would be just as well if your opponent survived instead. When it's archator vs archator I don't cheer for either side.

Now, if it's my survival we're talking about... Yes, I might become a bad guy to survive, but I'm not going to pretend it was the right thing to do. I have no illusions about the fact that if I violate rights because I believe I "need" to I still did wrong. Ethically, I'm the equivalent of the one who is threatening me. There's no net gain, except for me, personally. If I'm being selfish, that's OK with me. But there's no sense in pretending society is in any way better off due to my survival and my enemy's demise in that case.


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YOU get to decide if I get paid.

Monday, June 03, 2019

Don't advocate against property rights

Libertarians who support the Big Government "border security" welfare program don't understand property rights. Property rights are the foundation of all rights, so if you don't understand and support property rights, how can you credibly claim to be libertarian... or to value liberty at all?

"Taxation" is a violation of property rights. If you advocate funding "border security" through "taxation" you advocate violating property rights.

"Eminent domain" is a violation of property rights. If you advocate taking property through "eminent domain" for "border security", so as to place a wall, fence, or other structure on this property against the true owner's wishes, you advocate violating property rights.

If you make up rules which prevent people from employing whomever they choose, trading with whomever they want to trade with, associating with whom they prefer, or renting to whomever they reach an agreement with, you are violating property rights. If you support these kinds of rules you are no friend of property rights. You are just as bad as any other thief or trespasser.

Respect-- or lack thereof-- for property rights doesn't depend on where a person was born. Those most threatening to my property rights have always been home-grown archators. This doesn't mean others can't also be a problem, but to focus on "others" while supporting those who are actually committing the violations right here right now is to miss the point. It looks statist.

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YOU get to decide if I get paid.

Sunday, June 02, 2019

No one should control others' choices

(My Eastern New Mexico News column for May 1, 2019)

I'm sure there will be a final answer on the racetrack/casino any month now. Right?

Those who support a local racino must see by now how giving government the power-- permission from the people-- to approve and ration racinos is obviously a terrible idea. Tying anything to the government's wagon makes certain it won't be as good as it could be. Nor will it be timely.

Those who oppose the racino should have noticed that if you give control of such things to government it will drag its figurative feet, way beyond anything reasonable people would tolerate.

Allowing government to decide these matters is silly and destructive to society.

Let projects succeed or fail on their own merits, not on the whims of a gang of control-freaks.

If fewer people fell for the lie that it's OK to use government violence to force others to live as you would prefer, things like this wouldn't even be an issue. Those who want a racino-- or anything else-- could have it. Those who don't want it wouldn't have to support it in any way. The catch is they also wouldn't be able to stop others from peaceably doing what they want. Is that really so horrible?

I have no power to stop people from wearing orange-checkered polyester leisure suits, nor should I have it. If I believe their clothing choice is any of my concern I am lying to myself. Yes, you could make various arguments about why someone should have this power. The clothing might be a distraction and cause accidents. It might be environmentally harmful to manufacture. Some fragile people might be so offended at the sight they will have a mental breakdown. Those arguments are no better than the ones made for other things people want to control, individually or through government laws.

Such as that people might gamble too much, or that a racino might attract crime.

You have the right to not gamble and the right to defend against crime (even though government tries to ration this right). What you don't have is the right to threaten to use the violence of government to force your opinions on others. Even when politics is normalized to the point it seems this is a legitimate right, it isn't.

You have no obligation to save people from their bad choices.

You would be wise to worry about your own life and not try to force your choices on other people.

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"For medicinal purposes only"

Libertarians who support Big Government "Border Security" remind me of the Nigerian scammers who start their emails saying "Dear Beloved, May God's peace shine on you".

Maybe they are sincere, but I don't trust them. There's something "off" about them. Alarm bells go off in my head when they show up. There's always that appeal to the State's "protection"; lending an unearned air of legitimacy to the State.

They remind me of abolitionists who don't really want to get rid of all slavery, just the slavery they don't like.

Or teetotalers who drink moonshine "for medicinal purposes only".

Yet, I sympathize. It's scary to not have a dangerous Big Brother at your back when you fear you may not be enough to meet the threat. Even if the threat is mostly in your head, the fear is still real.

Borderism-- big government welfare statism by another name-- is apparently a very seductive cult, leading a lot of liberty supporters down into its depths, from which there seems to be no escape.

Statism, "for security purposes only", is still full-blown statism.

Writing is my job.
YOU get to decide if I get paid.

Saturday, June 01, 2019

Statist "logic" #3

Referring back to the statist who brought up the "secure the border" "solution" to the programmable bullet killer drone issue, he says if government "needs" to do something to "protect" (control) the people, but it's not legal... well, the "law" is infinitely malleable.

If something isn't legal, just make up a law to make it legal. Simple!

Don't worry about right and wrong; ethics. Don't let the Constitution stop you (it never does, anyway).

Some people abuse drugs-- ban them.

Some people abuse guns-- ban them.

Government likes to control how people travel-- require licenses to be allowed to travel and set up checkpoints.

Some people use privacy to plot to harm the innocent-- eliminate all illusions of privacy.

Anything that would limit government power can be addressed by just passing a new "law" making it "legal". Right?

Statism is a religion. Government is its god, and this god's magic power is legislation and bureaucratic rules. Through "laws" all things are possible. At least, that's what government supremacists believe.

Writing is my job.
YOU get to decide if I get paid.

Friday, May 31, 2019

Statist "logic" #2

Going back to the programmable bullet killer drone issue, this particular statist claimed that only virtually unlimited government power could protect "the people" from these killer drones or other terrorist acts.

And, government can only protect you from terrorists when it sees all and knows all. So, trust government and don't worry about it getting more power and spying on everyone all the time. It's for your own safety.

That seems rather silly and poorly thought out. And dangerous.

Why trust government to protect me from terrorists when I trust government less than I trust other terrorists?

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YOU get to decide if I get paid.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Statist "logic"


One of the dangers of the near future may be tiny, insect-sized drones-- much smaller than the "slaughterbots"-- which are essentially programmable bullets which can seek out an individual and kill him.

They can wait until someone opens a door, then go into a building, down halls, into a room and find their target. They would be small enough that no one is likely to notice them until it is too late. Supposedly, at the current time, they would be unstoppable, limited only by their flying time which limits their range.

I suspect their flying time wouldn't be much of a limit if there was a desire to increase their range. I can imagine them hitching a ride on a series of vehicles heading in the direction they want to go, switching vehicles until they are close enough to take off on their own. They could extend their flying time by not flying when they don't need to. There's no hurry.

Yet, a statist of the borderist variety actually claimed that this is a good illustration of why "better border security" is essential.

How would border security protect people from mini killer drones when there's no way to protect people from them anywhere else?

All these drone bullets would need to do is to fly over the "border"; over any fence, wall, or troops-- remember they are all but undetectable and could go as high as necessary-- and, depending on whether the flight time/range issue has been solved or not-- either go directly after their target or hitch a ride deep into the country until they are within range. They wouldn't depend on any vehicles, products, or people crossing the border at all.

When your brain is infected by the statism virus, it's difficult to think straight. A few do; most don't.

To me, this just shows that people need to have the freedom to experiment and find dangerously innovative ways to fight back and defend life, liberty, and property from all violators. If your drone is over my property, it's fair game. That you have a badge or a government "job" changes nothing.

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YOU get to decide if I get paid.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Don't force your crutch on others

(My Eastern New Mexico News column for May 29, 2019)

A few years ago I was hiking down a trail in Colorado. Exploring trails-- and off trails-- is probably my favorite activity. After a few hours, I decided I needed to turn around and head back. It was past mid-afternoon, on my last day of vacation, and I needed to pack and get ready for the drive home.

I doubt I had walked even a hundred feet when my natural klutziness struck and I twisted my ankle. the rest...

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Tuesday, May 28, 2019

"Otherworldly debris with strange properties"

Mylar confetti litter in my yard

It's not a popular thing to criticize the "public" [sic] schools. No matter what they do. So, I generally don't (too much), especially considering my family are all fans of the abomination.

The anti-educational agenda is the big objection I have to government schooling, but it's far from the only one.

Last week the school across the street from me had a "fun day" for the inmates. They tried to launch Mentos and Diet Coke rockets, and they smashed confetti eggs over each other's heads.

Did I mention that this kinderprison is directly across a small street from my house?

Guess what has been blowing into my yard every day since then, being an eyesore. Mylar confetti. Yay. The picture above has 7 or 8 pieces of the stuff in it, although it's hard to see in the photo (it's all the light spots). I didn't move any for the picture to concentrate them in one spot.

Most of the pieces are an inch and a half or so across. Not tiny, but small enough they are hard to pick up, and so numerous it's probably pointless to try. I wish they were rapidly degradable.

If I went to the school grounds and intentionally littered this badly, do you think I wouldn't face consequences?

Today was windy enough it damaged my new shingles (grrr!!) so maybe some of the trash blew away while new trash blew into the yard from the seemingly endless reservoir across the street.

I suppose I could claim it's "UFO crash debris" and cash in. That would at least make it worthwhile and amusing.

Writing is my job.
YOU get to decide if I get paid.

Monday, May 27, 2019

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Laws are creating immigration issue

(My Eastern New Mexico News column for April 24, 2019)

Imagine you have an antique car in your backyard behind a privacy fence. A neighbor climbs your fence, sees the car, and decides something must be done about it. How he decided your property is his concern is a mystery. Clearly, he's a bad neighbor who doesn't mind his own business.

Then it gets worse. He doesn't ask about the car, offer to buy it or to help you get it running. Instead, he hires the local crime boss to force you to build a shed for the car, paint it pink, give it square wheels, and pay an annual ransom for the privilege of owning it. Or else it will be taken from you and you'll be punished.

This is how government solves problems. Very often these problems shouldn't even be government's business, even if it's possible to apply a law or two to the situation.

If you are waiting for government to solve a problem you are wasting time.
If you imagine problems where none exist, you are the problem.

This is why most political discussion is, at best, misguided.

People debate how government should address health care when government shouldn't be involved in health care at all. Don't insist government come up with a health care plan, demand it gets out of the way.

Easily manipulated people panic over "climate change". Even if it's a net negative and your fault, don't ask government to make up laws to violate your life, liberty, and property to fight it. It's not government's business. Don't soil your own nest with pollution or laws.

People argue over immigration, border walls, and sanctuary cities when the Constitution doesn't allow the federal government to keep people out of the country. Yes, it outlines steps for people already here to become citizens and regulates the importation of slaves, but those are not what people argue about.

Government laws create the immigration issue. Don't look to government and its laws to address immigration; insist government stop criminalizing private property rights, the right to self-defense, and the right of association. Everyone has the right to associate with-- or avoid-- anyone for any reason. Laws which force people together or apart are the problem.

Anything you ask government to address gives government more power. Government employees feed on this power like vampires feed on arterial blood. You won't solve a problem-- real or imagined-- by involving those who use problems as an excuse to gain power.

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Scott Adams defends socialism

On a recent podcast, I noticed a bit of pro-socialism dishonesty from Scott Adams. I wasn't really surprised, because he is a government supremacist, after all. And you can't really have a state without embracing socialism.

It was hard to listen through to the end, but I did because I knew it would be important to refute the dishonest claims he was making.

He was first saying that it's meaningless to be against socialism because socialism is not a thing; it's multiple things and no one can explain why they believe it's bad. He attributed this to people being brainwashed by the "anti-socialist" media (FOX News?) they absorb.

But, no one can explain why they believe it's bad?

Challenge accepted-- Socialism is the attempt to base a "society" on theft (usually, by government); driven by envy and entitlement. Taking anyone's rightfully owned property from them when they'd prefer not to have it taken is theft, even if you like what the property is used for.  Even if the stolen property is used for "good" purposes. I believe this is bad. Pro-socialism people think it's OK. Who is being reasonable here?

Then he went on to claim that socialism didn't destroy Venezuela because other countries do fine with socialism. That it was because Venezuela had a tyrant (who imposed too much socialism) rather than because Venezuela was socialist.

He claimed that America does fine with the "little bits" of socialism the US government imposes, and that European countries do fine with the socialism they have. This is also dishonest.

Yes, the US is socialist. I've been pointing this out for ages. Democrats are openly socialist, and Republicans are socialists in denial-- they still want socialism, they just call it "national security", "border security", or whatever socialist programs they like. Am I OK, or better off, because of that "little bit" of socialism?  I'm more than willing to get rid of it to find out which is better.

But, he's almost right. A little bit of (antisocial) socialism won't destroy a society just like a small robbery won't wipe out an individual. But it's still theft and it still isn't good. You might survive it but you're better off without it. And, socialism and robberies frequently escalate into the thief killing the victim. Not always. You probably won't be murdered as long as things don't go off the rails in directions which shock, threaten, or thwart the thief, but your death is always on the table for thieves.

If you've convinced yourself that ethics aren't a real thing, that being pragmatic is the way to go, you can justify anything. I hope you don't follow anyone down that path.

Writing is my job.
YOU get to decide if I get paid.

Saturday, May 25, 2019

A "state" is a failed society

I've seen various places referred to as "failed states"-- Somalia being a frequent example. The term is used in an attempt to insult.

The most insulting part is that anyone tolerates those trying to impose a state on them, or that anyone is dumb (or evil) enough to do it to themselves.

If you have a state, you've already failed. You've failed to find voluntary ways to live among other humans and have decided you're going to cheat.

A state is a failed society.

To fail at something which is unnecessary is a tragedy which can bring disaster where none was inevitable before.

Yes, a failed state can be deadly. Any failure can be.

If a dishonest surgeon performs an unnecessary heart transplant on a patient, and it fails, the patient will die. Even if it doesn't "fail", it was a really bad idea. The patient has been harmed whether he realizes it or not. The heart transplant was not a good idea, nor was the one performing it a good guy trying to help.

A state is the same. It's unnecessary and harmful-- even if it doesn't fail. The state is antisocial; based on theft and aggression. It is your enemy. There will be consequences when it fails.  And it will fail eventually. They all do.

And when it fails, tragedy is likely. Once you've crippled a population-- trained them out of responsibility, competence, independence, and ethics-- by imposing a state on them, how do you expect them to form a functional society if your state fails? You've done the damage; own it.

Writing is my job.
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Friday, May 24, 2019

The bare minimum

Yesterday was an oppressive, muggy day here on the Llano Estacado. And muggy is rare in these parts.

Plus, I was busy with social obligations that drained me of my life force. The Force doesn't seem strong in this one right now. Not at all.

On top of that, I'm trying to come up with next week's newspaper column and hitting a brick wall there, too.

I was not at my best. So I really have little to write and add to the world today.

But even with all that, I didn't violate anyone's life, liberty, or property. That's something. Some people don't seem able to manage that much even on their good days.

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YOU get to decide if I get paid.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Sure it exists, but don't promote it

One of the most common excuses for statism is that we have to accept "The world as it really is". As if I've ever said otherwise.

Lots of bad things exist. I accept that they exist, and can do so without embracing or using them.

The whole "The world as it really is" thing is a cop-out. It doesn't justify evils. It doesn't work with statism, nor does it work with other bad things.

Rape exists, so according to this type of "thinking", we'd better not speak out or rally against it. That would be Utopian. Embrace rapists and work to make them safer and more efficient. Don't you dare point out that rape is a violation of someone's rights; that nothing can change this fact or make it OK. Just accept that it exists, will probably always exist, and find ways to use this fact to your advantage to get what you want.


Yes, statism exists. The majority even seems to like it. That doesn't make it right. I can accept that statism exists without contributing to it. Refusing to voluntarily participate in something harmful-- even if you can't necessarily stop it from happening-- is better than justifying propping it up, helping it continue, and criticizing those who won't go along.

Writing is my job.
YOU get to decide if I get paid.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Regulation of "Social Media"?

I'm not in favor of state regulation of private businesses. For that matter I'm not in favor of the state. How could I be in favor of the state regulating anything when it is the thing which most needs to be controlled?

However, I'm not sure how I could consider the big "social media" platforms or data controllers "private businesses" anymore.

I've never been convinced that a corporation is a private business. They chose to get in bed with the state for special favors. They frequently use government "laws" to stifle competition. And, recently, they sell out their users to the state. They look, feel, and smell state-like to me.

No, this doesn't mean I want government to "regulate" them. Nor do I want them "taxed". It just means I don't trust them. That some of them are agitating to be regulated by the state makes me trust them even less. It's a dirty move.

So far, I still have the option to not use their "services", although in many cases it means crippling myself "socially" to some degree. I recently put several social media sites on indefinite suspension for violating my terms of service and scaled back my use of others. I don't see them as friendly institutions. They aren't on my side. They collude with my enemy, so doesn't that make them my enemy?

Yet, as always, I don't want my enemy subjected to "laws", even if they'd happily subject me to the same because a more powerful state is always worse than the alternative.

Writing is my job.
YOU get to decide if I get paid.

Monday, May 20, 2019

I love scofflaws

A conversation was happening around me about a woman who had no "Social Security" [sic] tracking number to provide as I.D. for cashing a check. The consensus among those discussing the matter was that she was an "illegal immigrant".

In my mind she was heroic.

Anyone who doesn't comply with counterfeit dictates from the state-- as long as they aren't archating-- is a hero in my eyes.

I want as many people as possible refusing to comply. Gum up the works. Sabotage the gears. Bring the Beast to a grinding halt, resulting in its death. This benefits everyone (other than the archators who work for government, that is).

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YOU get to decide if I get paid.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Gun laws far overstep their bounds

(My Eastern New Mexico News column for April 17, 2019)

"Validly enacted laws". This is how New Mexico attorney general Hector Balderas deceptively characterizes the new anti-gun "laws" he wants enforced against you.

They aren't validly enacted. They violate the Second Amendment, so they aren't even laws. You might imagine they don't violate the Constitution, based on cowardly and dishonest opinions of Supreme Court justices over the decades, but they do. The Second Amendment is clear. It's even clearer once you've read the discussions which surrounded writing the Bill of Rights. There was to be no question-- no laws concerning guns were to ever be allowed under any circumstances whatsoever.

The Attorney General claims to be the state's chief "law enforcement officer", yet he orders others to break the law which guides all legislation. He is entitled to his opinions, but not to making up his own facts.

No actions of a rogue governor, representative, or attorney general can make an anti-gun law constitutional, legal, or valid. They can make threats, send letters, or hold meetings to try to force their will. They can bully other government employees and the residents of the state. It doesn't make their lies true.

You and I both know government will do whatever it can get away with. The solution is to not allow these out-of-control officials to get away with any violation of liberty. This violation of their oath of office should result in the immediate loss of the position; dragged from their offices in chains if they won't leave peaceably.

If you believe I'm only passionate about gun rights, I'll remind you I am equally opposed to prohibition, border controls, and all other violations of natural human rights as well. If you value the Constitution you should join me. If not, you should join me anyway since anything which violates a natural human right is wrong, even when the Constitution allows it. It's a criminal act when public officials impose their wishes in defiance of what the Constitution allows.

Back in the 1920s, those who advocated alcohol prohibition at least passed a Constitutional amendment to make their laws Constitutional. They were still wrong, but they made the attempt to play by the rules. Those who target your liberty today don't even go through the motions. They do what they want, secure in the knowledge that the courts will not bite the hand that feeds them. Gang loyalty is powerful.

If government won't, or can't, control its appetites, it needs to be taken to the woodshed. It's past time.

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Triggering a debunker

Diorama at International UFO Museum, Roswell, NM.
Photo by me.

I've had an interest in UFOs since I was a kid. In fact, I know exactly when my interest started: in 1973.

That year-- and I know what year it was because I moved a lot as a kid and know where I lived when this happened--  a classmate told me and others that his grandfather had told him of the time he saw pieces of a crashed "flying saucer" when they were brought to the military base he was stationed at in Ft. Worth, Texas, following its crash in New Mexico.

This was my first introduction to the story of the 1947 Roswell UFO crash... even though the kid never mentioned Roswell, but just said: "New Mexico" (I knew of the town of Roswell for other reasons).

Recently, including on Quora just a few days ago, the standard debunking approach has been the claim that after the initial buzz and headlines, the Roswell "crash" was satisfactorily explained and forgotten until the late '70s or early '80s. when it was revived and sensationalized to sell books and TV shows.

Back to the Quora "debunking". An ex-military guy was explaining away the story and dredging up the tale about it not being spoken of again after July 1947, for 30 years or so.

I replied that I knew, first-hand, that this wasn't true, and told what I knew from 1973.

The guy almost flipped out on me. He said this wasn't "first-hand knowledge" at all, that I had been fooled by the conspiracy theory like everyone else.

Never mind that I clearly stated that I wasn't saying the debris was extraterrestrial or anything, just that I knew when I had heard the story and it didn't match the debunkers' claims. Maybe it was a weather balloon test dummy mishap Project Mogul balloon. Or not. That wasn't part of my claim.

My first-hand knowledge is that I heard the story before the story was supposedly revived and sensationalized, so that specific claim can't be true. That's all. I have no first-hand knowledge of any other part of the event (or non-event). Yet this one small point triggered him.

I saw in his over-the-top reaction the same reaction I get from statists when I point out the errors in their thinking and claims. Any reality which doesn't match what they are desperate to believe is met with hostile denial.

Of course, the guy's Quora profile says he is "ex-military" so he may have an agenda to promote.


Reminder: I could really use some help.

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YOU get to decide if I get paid.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

No expectations; no disappointment

It happens all the time. There's someone I really like, but out of nowhere, they do something that disappoints me.

Believe it or not, that's not all bad.

One of the best compliments I can pay a person is to be disappointed when they don't live up to my expectations. If I don't expect anything of you, I can't be disappointed when you fall short of my non-existent expectations.

I don't expect anyone to be perfect (in my eyes) just as I hope no one expects perfection of me.

But if someone never disappoints me, they aren't really living. They must not have any opinions and must not be doing anything. What a sad life. I would be disappointed in them in that case. Oh, wait...


Reminder: I could really use some help.

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YOU get to decide if I get paid.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Experimental anarchy

All science is anarchic.

Science follows rules, but not rulers. If there is a ruler controlling it, dictating what the results must be, it's not science.

Those who want you to think of anarchy as chaos and "everyone doing what they feel like" are denying reality.

Actually, they are lying. It might not be their fault; they have probably been lied to and didn't question what they were told. But it's still a lie. And they are perpetuating the lie instead of questioning the assertion and putting it to the test.

Writing is my job.
YOU get to decide if I get paid.