Monday, May 25, 2020

Be like Sherlock Holmes-- in the good ways



Those who know me know I really like the fictional character, Sherlock Holmes. The A. Conan Doyle original, specifically. The degree to which I like other versions depends on how faithful they are to the original. The original Sherlock Holmes was surprisingly libertarian for the time and place where he was created.

Of the most recent versions, I like the Benedryl Cabbagepatch Sherlock adaptation (ignoring the 4th season shark-jump) from England a lot more than I like the "woke" Left-Statist version from America called Elementary.

I've been watching Elementary on a streaming service for a couple of months now. But there are times its deficiencies are painful to me-- to the point that I sometimes realize I haven't been paying attention for several minutes. That version of Holmes just doesn't measure up very well. He is not abnormally intelligent or good at deduction/induction/abduction, and he is irrationally anti-gun and pro-police (as is the mood of the whole show). He's just not that impressive or exceptionally gifted. That's anti-Holmesian.

I'm not at all a fan of the movies starring Robert Downey Jr. and I couldn't even bring myself to watch the Will Ferrell version after seeing the previews.

Some of the old TV versions of decades past are pretty good.

I also notice whether the various versions actually use Holmes' methods, or if they are written by someone who doesn't understand what makes Sherlock Holmes what he is and flounders in vain trying to write something they don't understand. Or worse, if they don't like what Sherlock Holmes is so they try to make him something they like better (which feels like Elementary's problem).

I'm not generally a fan of "re-imagining" stuff that works, anyway, unless it is done carefully.

This is a roundabout way to get to a point.

In my most delusional moments of imagined grandeur I like to imagine myself as the Sherlock Holmes of liberty. I want to be able to think dispassionately about liberty and just go where the data leads me regardless of my feelings. I want to emulate the good characteristics of Holmes as they might apply to my own interests. I accept that I have flaws, as does the character-- although Holmes' addiction to substances isn't one of my flaws.

To the extent this delusion helps make me a better person, it's useful. If it knocks me off-course, then it isn't.
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Sunday, May 24, 2020

Government likely to make itself hero

(My Eastern New Mexico News column for April 22, 2020)




What have you learned from the coronapocalypse so far? Has it changed you?

The experience has shown me where my preparedness was good and where I could make improvements. I discovered the need for some supplies I hadn't considered before. I'll work to fix those areas, but it's hard to prepare for everything when you can't know what "everything" might include. Next time could be completely different.

I have become more appreciative of the freedom to simply be around other people. I'm not excessively sociable, but I like being able to choose to socialize when I'm in the mood. It will be nice to go to a fast food place and sit inside and eat among other people again, even if they are loud.

I'm not afraid of the virus, but out of consideration for those who are-- and those who have more risk if they do catch it-- I've changed my behavior during this pandemic.

If I had any trust or faith in government, this experience would have destroyed it for good. Of course, that ship sailed decades ago, so watching the incompetence and tyranny from those who imagine they know best how to run your life hasn't affected me much.

I'm suspecting the differences in how people view government's response will further divide America between those who imagine government saved the country from certain disaster and those who realize everything government did in response to the pandemic harmed the country worse than the virus. Those in the first group will want government to have even more power over our lives from now on, and those in the second group will want to take back our rightful liberty which was stolen over the last couple of centuries.

This isn't a huge change, but the disagreements may get more heated unless one side backs down. I don't see that happening.

I've become more skeptical of the sanity of those cheering the police state tactics justified by the virus, the intelligence of those begging government to do more, and of the morals of those who became snitches, reporting anyone they suspected of not complying with unconstitutional orders.

Speaking of learning-- I'm curious how this time will look when it's history. Unfortunately, government gets to decide what the history textbooks will say about this event, so its version will be taught to generations of children in its schools. Expect government to make itself out to be the hero of this story, regardless of the truth.

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Liberty is the best path



I try hard to find cases where respecting liberty is NOT the best thing for society (by being best for individuals). And I never have. Not once.

I've found lots of cases where someone is confused over what liberty is, or is in denial because they want to pretend their imaginary exceptions are somehow legitimate. But not one of those has ever held up to scrutiny... and I give my best shot at seeing if it can.

I've been in long debates with those who are pushing their own favorite exception, and I can usually see where their feelings are coming from and where these feelings tripped them up. I've been subjected to some pretty harsh insults as a result of these debates when "my best shot" doesn't result in me adopting the other position.

Insults don't change reality, though. That doesn't matter to those who don't want to fully respect liberty. They are going to make the exceptions they want to make, regardless of anything else. It's just good to weigh and measure all their arguments for your own sake.

Who knows, I could be wrong. I'm surely wrong about a lot of things. I'd rather find out I'm wrong and work to fix it than to be stubborn. But it will take a lot to convince me that slavery is ever, in any circumstance, better than liberty. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

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Saturday, May 23, 2020

Nice "but"



I notice people's buts. Not their butts (well, in some cases...); their "buts".

They advocate liberty, but... and I notice.

"Liberty is good, but..."

...they believe government schooling (including vouchers, etc.) is necessary for education, and will discuss twiddling the dials, but never abolishing it.

...they still think the cops or military are somehow "good guys".

...they imagine it's OK to have government control who comes or goes, what you do with your property or body, etc. "For your own good."

...they believe "taxation" is necessary for some things that no one wants bad enough to pay for voluntarily.

...they want to be protected from all the things they're scared of.

...they insist you obey legislation, even if it's unethical, until someone changes the "law".

...they can't imagine living without government telling them how they should live.

...and on and on and on.

It's as though they are desperate to be taken seriously by government-supremacists for some reason. Maybe to be allowed a place at the table.
Or for a patronizing pat on the head.

Liberty doesn't come with any buts. It just is. You either accept it as it is or you reject it.

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Friday, May 22, 2020

Freedom plus responsibility



Liberty is freedom tempered with responsibility.

Remind anyone who whines about freedom being dangerous because it doesn't mention responsibility-- it was never intended to.

They're just focusing on one facet of liberty and pretending that because it isn't what they want means this invalidates the whole thing. Any isolated part is going to be flawed and missing something essential.

Responsibility without freedom is meaningless and is just as flawed as freedom without responsibility. Liberty is the solution.
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Thursday, May 21, 2020

Act stupid; embrace politics



If you want to act stupid, embrace politics.

Politics makes people stupid. This is the one thing I know for certain about politics.

By "politics" I mean choosing sides-- Right-Statism vs. Left-Statism.
I mean believing government is a credible source; believing government is the proper venue for anything.
Believing government should make "policy".
Believing that a v*te concerning anyone else's rights or liberty is legitimate.
Arguing that "taxation" isn't theft... in some magical way that is never adequately explained.
Supporting-- or even nearly worshiping-- armed government employees of any sort, no matter what they do, pretending it's only some "bad apples" who are the problem.
Making the argument that since people aren't perfect angels, we must allow those people who seek to hold power over others to have that power which they seek... and that this is somehow going to work out better for almost everyone than the alternative of allowing people to run their own lives.

Politics makes people reject reason, ethics, science, compassion, and anything else which might get in the way. It perverts religions and morality.

It makes some people imagine that if you don't suffer from Trump Derangement Syndrome you must be a crazed Trump fan. There can't be any other options in their naked, shivering minds.

It causes people to reject non-political approaches to problems. Everyone admits government schools are a disaster (although some will use less honest terminology), but to suggest abolishing the institution is unthinkable. Even when the only argument they can come up with is that they believe it's good or necessary to allow people to rob their neighbors-- through government force-- to help pay for their kids' daycare.

Politics results in stupidity. If you want to act stupid, embrace politics.

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Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Market needs freedom to flourish

(My Eastern New Mexico News column for May 20, 2020)




The world's economy is being damaged by this pandemic, or, more accurately, it's being damaged by government reactions to the pandemic. The damage is adding up; getting worse with time. The only questions are: how bad is the damage going to be? and how long will it take to recover? I don't know the answers; no one does...read the rest...

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Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Making the best of an odd situation



In spite of COVID-19, or perhaps partially because of it, my "preps" have never been better.

My food stockpile is the best it's ever been.

I have solar USB chargers which I have used enough to know they work well with the rechargeable batteries I have-- and I have adapters for using smaller batteries as substitutes for larger batteries. I have back-ups for my back-ups, and plan on not depending on electronics anyway. Yet, for electronics, I have a decent Faraday cage with certain emergency items inside.

I actually had to dip into my toilet paper stockpile, but I've already replaced what I opened-- plus some.

My Bug-Out Bags are in good shape.

I've expanded and practiced some primitive skills recently. And, my mindset is as ready as ever; I'm neither worried nor scared. In fact, I'd stack my coronavirus predictions against anyone's. Now, if I could just figure out how to handle normality this well.

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Monday, May 18, 2020

Immunity through exposure



On Thursday's little road trip deeper into Texas, I spent some time in a park of sorts where I encountered poison ivy for the first time in decades.

When I was a kid I was horribly allergic to the stuff. I would break out just from being around it-- and the reaction was painful enough I was very aware of when I was around it to try to avoid any contact with it with my skin or anything I might touch even days later. Yet it always got me. Every time. And considering that I spent almost all of my time in the woods, you can imagine what I went through.

Then when I was 14, I stood by and watched as a neighbor kid took a baseball bat to a thick poison ivy vine on the side of a tree. Stupid me!

The splatter, vapor, or fumes from the vine pretty much covered me and I got the worst case of poison ivy of my life. Then, just as I was getting over it I got chickenpox-- and the pox LOVED the fresh, sensitive skin that was the result of the healing poison ivy rash. I became one giant pox, and actually couldn't move one hand because it was a solid scab.

However, after I healed I discovered something nice. I was no longer allergic to poison ivy. Not even a little. It might as well have been spinach. I did careful experimentation until I was sure. Then I made it a habit to expose myself in a major way every chance I got. I never reacted again and eventually moved away from anywhere poison ivy (or its relatives) grew.

I had wondered recently whether my "immunity" had faded over time. But it looks like it hasn't. I waded through thickets of poison ivy Thursday, got it on my skin and clothes, and didn't react even a little.

In the same way, I believe I'm immune to statist thought. It holds no appeal to me. It isn't on my list of possibilities when confronted with a problem. And, living in the modern, politics-twisted world, it is easy to keep being exposed so I know my immunity stays solid.

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Sunday, May 17, 2020

Making one more coronavirus prediction

(My Eastern New Mexico News column for April 15, 2020)




I'm going out on a limb to make another coronavirus prediction. You can decide for yourself, with hindsight, how my previous predictions have held up-- and hindsight will get clearer as more time passes.

My newest prediction is that the coronavirus panic has peaked and is already on its way down. This doesn't mean I believe the pandemic itself has peaked, only that society has passed its peak reaction to the pandemic.

I see people starting to behave more normally again. I've seen this in those around me over the past several days. They are getting sick of the drama, especially as the most dire warnings of the officials fail to play out.

People can only stay worked up to a high level of concern for a certain amount of time before their attention starts to wander. People will get used to anything. Constant panic is tiresome.

People have become more skeptical of pandemic lock-down theater and are starting to lose patience with their partial quarantines and financial sacrifices. It's happening regardless of official permission. They're ignoring the fear-mongers a little more with each passing day. This is a problem for those who want to keep everyone scared for a long time.

This means the virus may spread faster for a while, but until enough of us have been exposed and formed antibodies, it's not going to stop being a threat.

My prediction -- based on my observations-- has nothing to do with whether I believe it's a good idea or not; it's just how these things go. It's human nature.

The power-hungry fear-mongers aren't going to like this development.

This might mean you'll see more scary doomsday reports presented in an attempt to keep you focused on the things the political people-- including most of the national broadcast media-- want you to focus on. They are desperate for your attention and your fear.

You can choose whether to give them what they crave.

There's risk in going back to your normal routine too soon. A large part of the risk comes from those who imagine they have the authority to force you to comply with their demands. There's also a risk in not letting the economy get back to business soon enough. Since every path holds risk you should be careful, but you are the only one with the right to decide for yourself how much risk you're willing to take. Never forget it.

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Rambling thoughts



Here in this schizophrenic "border" region, the New Mexico politicians have doubled down and are now "requiring" masks just about anytime you leave your house, while the Texas politicians are "allowing" a slight re-opening. So my experience depends on whether I go west-- which is more convenient-- or go seriously out of my way to the east.

I haven't been obeying the mask order too well, though. New Mexico politicians would be angry with me.

I went deeper into Texas a couple of days ago and actually sat down, inside a fast food place, and ate. Haven't done that in a while. No masks or anything!

Over on the New Mexico side I have never seen so many state legislation enforcement scum cars cruising around. Never. They are everywhere. I haven't seen them molesting/robbing many people, but it's as if they just want to make a show of force to remind us who's boss. Vermin.

If I stay home, nothing seems different than last summer. Other than I'm failing a little harder at gardening than I did last year.

I was able to replenish the toilet paper stockpile. I had only brought up one package-- just a few days ago-- and I replaced it today. Yay for preps! And hurray for the supply chain!

That's about all that's happening. Other than I spent the day doing lawn work, which I don't like. And since I don't get paid for it anymore, I like it even less. I need to figure out something I can fit into my life/situation that also pays.

Also, a comment on yesterday's blog post made me want to say this: To refuse to effectively treat the pain of a chronic pain sufferer is medical malpractice... even if it's because government's prohibition thugs force it on you. It's cruel and violates the Hippocratic Oath.

That's all.
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Saturday, May 16, 2020

The family's drug smuggler



Almost 30 years ago my extended family went to the southern tip of Texas for Christmas. One day during that week or so, we crossed into Mexico for a day of exploring and shopping in a little town.

I still have a couple of cheap Mexican pots I bought in a sparsely stocked store, and the empty bottle from the Mexican vanilla I bought.

I enjoyed the food, the sights, and even the strange semi-outdoor flushing outhouse with moss growing between the bricks on the floor, beautifully lit by sunlight shining through the holes in the roof. I would build one of those in my yard if I could build things.

I loved seeing the chickens roaming the street and the vendors trying to talk travelers into buying the hammocks they were selling. I had a great time.

While there, an adult female relative visited a pharmacy and stocked up on some medicine she needed which required a prescription in the Land of the Free and was consequently much more affordable there. I would have done the same.

At the end of the day, as we crossed through the police gate between tax farms, armed U.S. goons stopped us to look us over to see if we looked American enough and to question us. One of the few questions they asked was whether any of us had "any drugs or medications" we were bringing back with us. This female relative looked them in the eyes and said "No".

After we were graciously allowed to resume our journey back to our vacation rental in America, and were safely away from the goons, I said: "You lied to them."

She didn't understand, because she would never lie, and certainly not to officers of The Law. I said they asked whether we were bringing any drugs or medications back in and that she had said "no". She said it wasn't a lie; we didn't have any illegal drugs. I said that's not what they asked. (And technically, they probably would have disagreed with her anyway.)

Worse, yet, I approved of her lying to them. You don't owe molesters the truth.

She never admitted she lied to them, and still fully supports the stupid and evil War on Politically Incorrect Drugs, and the prescription scam that goes along with it. But I know. And it makes me smile to remember it and to know she's a once-upon-a-time drug smuggler.

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Friday, May 15, 2020

Rand Paul vs Fauci



If you believe government schools should ever reopen, you are advocating Big Government. You are a government-supremacist, not a libertarian nor "libertarian-leaning". If you're butting heads on this issue with a government-supremacist who believes government has the "authority" to keep everything closed, you're both equally wrong.

The coronapanic shouldn't keep businesses closed and shouldn't stifle voluntary association, but that's NOT what government schooling is. On either point.

It is not a business-- it gets your money whether you want to support it or not. It can fail and fail and harm kids and never get shut down for lack of "customers" because it doesn't serve customers; it serves the State. Your children are just the raw material to be ground up into fertilizer to feed the growth of the state-- government schools are the fertilizer plants.

It is not a voluntary association or no one could ever get hassled by legislation enforcers for not attending or sending their offspring. It's compulsory-- non-consensual.

Supporting government schools-- kinderprisons-- is the most radically government-supremacist position a person can take. It forms the foundation of infinite government meddling in society.
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Thursday, May 14, 2020

Bizarre overly-political questions



There's an interesting thing I've noticed while on Quora. Those with a name that appears to me to be of Indian (subcontinent) origin ask a lot of questions which are the political equivalent of "How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?'

Stuff like "Can you describe the seven principles of governing each of the 5 classes of citizens and how these principles affect their traditional duties to all levels of the state?"

That was obviously a totally made-up question, but anyone who spends much time on Quora can probably confirm it accurately reflects the form of the questions they tend to ask. Who worries this deeply about politics?

Only a highly intelligent person could come up with such questions, but it seems like a tragic waste of brainpower.

That makes me wonder if their culture (whichever culture that might be) is obsessed with politics in a way I don't see elsewhere-- even among most Trumpeters and TDS sufferers.

It could just be that I tend to notice those bizarre questions more than others. Or, because they deal with things I've never heard of, they stick in my mind longer. Or, I might be making bad assumptions about the origins of the names. It could be confirmation bias or racism. But over and over these questions jump out at me. I don't often try to answer them, unless the core principle of "govern yourself, not others" applies in a way I can easily explain.
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Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Time to let people take own risks

(My Eastern New Mexico News column for May 13, 2020)




I would expect, given the record of failure, this coronavirus experience would cause people to reconsider their belief in the credibility of government. From past experience, I know hope-- or something darker-- springs eternal. Most people are desperate to believe government is capable and credible in spite of 5000-plus years of evidence to the contrary...read the rest...

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Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Rejected for not being magic



So many times I hear a version of this objection which was posted on Eric Peters' blog:

My conclusion on Libertarianism is that it's a wonderful theory but fails to address the depravity of man. No Libertarian politician has demonstrated (Ventura comes to mind here) that the cherished ideas transfer to governance, nor do they result in the promised personal freedoms.
"Libertarian politician"? So, a human fungus?

What the commenter gets wrong is that he apparently wants to see libertarianism imposed by politics-- and politics is "the depravity of man" put into action. He's saying he likes the idea of X, but he wants to see it implemented as anti-X, but that path always fails, so he's disappointed in X.

He seems to want to address "the depravity of man" by using depravity (the political means) against humans.

That's a bizarre position to take.

Libertarianism addresses "the depravity of man" perfectly by acknowledging that no one has the right to archate, and you have the right to defend yourself from anyone who does. There is no better way to address "the depravity of man".

You can't govern others without being depraved, just as you can't refuse to govern yourself without the same depravity. They are opposite sides of the same coin.

Unfortunately, your "personal freedoms" (I prefer liberty) will always depend to some extent on how depraved the people around you are. If they are violating you, your liberty and freedom are going to be diminished. How are YOU going to address that?

Then he goes on to say:

I love the theory but after trying hard to see it's [sic] acolytes implement any of it I come to the same conclusion: Most Libertarians are really interested in legal pot. All that esoteric stuff gets abandoned almost instantly when one gets near power.
You don't implement it; you live it.

"Most Libertarians"? Making a plant "illegal" is archation, so, yes, that issue is part of the whole. It isn't more important than any other part, but it also can't be ignored just because it doesn't personally matter to you. If "legal pot" is your main criticism then you've shown yourself to be nothing more than a Right-Statist control freak who's no better than the Left-Statist control freaks.

Yes, if your goal was to get power, you're going to show your true colors and abandon principles ("esoteric stuff") once you get power since that only served to get you the power you craved.

So, all this guy did was to expose himself for what he is: a statist. He likes "freedom" as long as it is imposed the way he wants, to the extent he wants, and leaves out the stuff he doesn't want.

I realize it is pointless to point this out to him. I'm going to try to post a link to this post in a comment anyway.

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Monday, May 11, 2020

Pointless coronavirus testing



Someone I know had a coronavirus test in Texas 2 weeks ago today. She's been waiting for results because she's not allowed to return to work without being cleared by a doctor.

She was originally told it would be 3 or 4 days before the results were available.

After the 4 days passed she began calling to see if anyone knew anything. She was told the state would call with the results and that the hospital had nothing to do with it. "Be patient."

Finally, today, with great frustration, she called and refused to hang up until someone gave her either an answer or a better number to call.

Surprise, they connected her to the hospital lab who told her the test was negative. They said they have done hundreds of tests and are overwhelmed trying to call people with their results. This, in a county with only 19 official cases of coronavirus (as of yesterday, May 10).

If she'd had COVID-19, she'd either be over it or dead by now. This isn't how to "solve" anything. What was even the point of doing the test? It wasn't for health reasons, that's for sure.

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Sunday, May 10, 2020

Socialistic policies only worsen economy

(My Eastern New Mexico News column for April 8, 2020)




I appreciate those who are making a heroic effort to keep the economy running; putting their health and lives on the line for our benefit. They are trying to make sure food and supplies are available when needed. This is important when everything is going well; it is absolutely essential in a crisis.

They are life-savers and deserve our thanks, respect, and support.

They provide a stark contrast to those who are working around the clock to shut down the economy and punish any who dare try to keep life and business running as normally as possible. Those who impose and enforce economy-crushing policies and orders, using the pandemic as an excuse, are making things worse. They may pretend it's about saving lives, but their actions could cost lives in the long run.

When political officials-- and government health officials are more political than medical-- talk about the risk of deaths from COVID-19, they sometimes say some of those deaths will be balanced by the lives saved due to fewer traffic accidents and work-related deaths with more people staying home. This is all they consider when they discuss the net death toll of this pandemic. It's an incomplete picture and hides a big cost.

They ignore the additional deaths an economic depression will cause. They sweep those deaths, which they will be completely responsible for causing, under the rug. These deaths could outnumber the deaths caused by the virus, itself. This is because the economic deaths will occur over several years rather than a few months. Perhaps over the course of a decade or more.

How many people died from the Great Depression? How many more died as a result of Franklin Roosevelt's misguided socialistic policies which stretched that depression years beyond its natural span? How many had their health ruined by the years of hardship? How many died of stress-related conditions due to economic disruption, business failures, and losing their life savings or home?

History doesn't repeat, but similar conditions often have similar effects. If government policies manage to destroy or damage the economy, and then keep it from recovering naturally as quickly as it otherwise would-- the way FDR's programs did-- people who would otherwise have prospered as the economy recovered are going to be dying from effects of a Coronavirus Depression.

Worse, if the foolish "stimulus" being presented by politicians as a solution finally triggers hyperinflation, the result will be beyond anything you can imagine. Buckle up. It may get bumpy.

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Take life back



I hope you know the cases of coronavirus are hugely underreported (since ~80% of cases are asymptomatic and aren't getting reported to anyone, anywhere) and the deaths from coronavirus are hugely overestimated. With that in mind, as of Friday, May 8, 2020, the "official" count for cases is 1,276,088 and the "official" number of deaths attributed to it is 76,650. (source- map screenshot above)

If I am doing the math right-- and please never assume I ever do any math right-- that comes to around a 6% death rate for the disease, even with the cases underreported and the deaths exaggerated.

Yes, extrapolated into the future, assuming the rate doesn't change, that's a lot of dead people.

But the rate will change. It will decrease over time. Even if you ignore the bad data going into the figures, making things look worse than they are, the situation is still going to get less deadly. That's just how these types of viruses work.

It's past time to take life back from politicians and their armed goons. There's never any rational excuse to allow government to control a life.

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Saturday, May 09, 2020

What motivates a billionaire?

One random example of a billionaire
Photo credit

Is money the only possible motivation for a politician or politically active individual? Of course not. It can be the main motivation for those who aren't rich yet, but once someone is rich they still have to be motivated to use the political means against their fellow humans.

Otherwise, they wouldn't.

To pretend that a billionaire only has your best interests in mind since he doesn't need more money is to ignore all the other factors which could be motivating him. It is also ignoring the fact that being a billionaire doesn't automatically satisfy the hunger for money.

He might want even more money.
He might want power.
He may have delusions of godhood.
He might actually want to make people suffer.
He might be insane.
He might honestly believe his ideas are good, but be frustrated that people don't willingly comply, so he cheats and uses politics to force compliance with his idea that's so great he has to force people to go along.

To imagine that the only explanation is that he's a wonderful, caring person who only wants to ensure the flourishing of humanity is to ignore that he is using the political means instead of the economic means. That means, no matter what he is motivated by, or what good he believes he is doing, he's carrying out his plans in the most evil way possible. Even if you like what he's doing and support him.
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Friday, May 08, 2020

Coronaggravation



Thursday I had my first almost-explosion over this coronavirus shut-down nonsense. My patience is running low.

I'm getting tired of businesses not being allowed to open normally, and I'm also getting tired of "karens" who think it's their business to point accusatory fingers at those who have had enough of the ridiculous (and counterproductive) rules and have begun to ignore them. I said a few weeks ago that people had reached "peak panic" and were going to stop responding to fear-mongering.

No, a group of people sitting in the park is NOT the reason the pandemic shut-downs are still with us. They may be our only hope of getting past this in a reasonable amount of time. Sure, health care workers and cashiers (in those businesses allowed to be open) are heroic, but so are those ignoring the "social distancing rules" and risking interaction with legislation enforcement officers. Especially when those in the group appear to be old enough to be in the higher risk group. Thank you!

As I watch just about all my earliest predictions and observations come to be grudgingly admitted as likely truth by more and more "experts" (and others saying they knew this all along), the stupidity of the shut-downs gets more and more obvious.

No, I wasn't "downplaying the risk"; I was being more realistic about the situation than any of the well-paid "experts". Time is telling who was more right. Confirmation bias? Maybe. But the posts are here to read.

There is still no rational alternative but to open up everything normally and let the virus spread naturally so it can fizzle out on its own. As viruses do. No rational alternative AT ALL! The longer this is delayed, the more harm that is done.

Yet, politicians can't stand the thought of giving up their newfound power to control. They feel growing pressure to ease away from some of the restrictions they love, which are growing more unpopular every day, but they are going to drag their feet as much as they can. Can't back off of DOING THE WRONG THINGS too quickly, or...? "Something bad"...? I feel a growing hatred for those political vermin... and there was no love there before.

You can depend on politically-oriented people to always do the wrong thing, for too long, and to resist ending it in the face of evidence that they are wrong and making things worse. Their precious power is more important to them than just about anything else. Your life is just a speed-bump-- and not a very noticeable one in their eyes.

It would be one thing if this were a natural disaster and there were actual reasons businesses couldn't open or that people couldn't gather, but this is a natural event turned into a disaster by politics. Politics makes people stupid!

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Thursday, May 07, 2020

The coronavirus trolley problem



The coronavirus and governmental responses to it are one messy trolley problem. Should you sacrifice some to save others? No, I don't think you should. It's a fake choice.

As always, I think it's better to choose to do nothing than to make a forced choice to do something which will violate someone's life, liberty, or property. In fact, I believe that's usually the only responsible choice-- to refuse to be forced into a choice which will kill (or otherwise violate) others.

So, if a thug is holding me and some others at gunpoint and tells me I must choose who he shoots or he'll shoot us all, I think it would be wrong of me to cooperate and play his "game" (unless I saw a way to stall and turn the tables on him).

I get that I'm in the minority on this. Most people believe you've got to act, even if by acting you're going to sacrifice someone no matter what. That's also apparently the thinking behind v*ting. I don't buy it.

If my choice is to sacrifice Individual A or sacrifice Individual B, I may refuse to make any choice and let physics, biology, or chemistry do its thing. I accept I don't know enough to make choices for other people.

I also think you can't know which way is better in many cases. You might believe that by sacrificing Individual A you'll save lots of people, but it turns out you killed Individual A for nothing and people died anyway. Maybe more than otherwise would have. Everyone would have been better off if you didn't allow arrogance to cause you to make a choice that was never yours to make. Politicians (and often, the politically-minded non-politicians) are full of that kind of arrogance.

So, yes, I am saying that while I believe it would have been OK for government employees (as long as they exist anyway) to have made recommendations and suggestions aimed at reducing the coronavirus cases, it was unequivocally wrong of them to make and enforce any policies regarding the pandemic. By pulling that lever, they made a choice they had no right to make. Choosing who lives and who dies in such a case is NOT an "adult decision"; nothing is more childish and self-centered than to fall into that pit.

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Wednesday, May 06, 2020

Reopening isn't politicians' call

(My Eastern New Mexico News column for May 6, 2020)




To open or not to open; that is the question. But it's the wrong question. While there's plenty of debate and disagreement over allowing businesses to re-open; when and how it should be done, the discussion misses the point completely.

No one had the right to shut down businesses they didn't own. You don't have the right to tell someone they must shut their business and you can't delegate a right you don't have. Not to a governor or anyone else. This means the authority to tell businesses to close shop, even temporarily due to an emergency, doesn't exist...read the rest...

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Tuesday, May 05, 2020

Not the response I was expecting



I had quite the disappointment the other day, even though I ought to know better.

A person whose blog I've enjoyed (occasionally) for a long time-- and who I had a positive opinion of-- had posted something on Twitter. I commented. I don't think it's the first time I've ever commented on one of their tweets, but I know I don't do it very often.

This time I posted what I meant to be a playful, good-natured response, and I got scolded, put down, and they tried to make me feel like an insignificant nobody. (I'm not going to refute the point, but who would do that to someone who had no ill-will?) I wasn't even doing what they accused me of doing, but had mistakenly thought they might be amused. Boy, was I wrong!

Not only that, but this person was saying what I did by commenting was stupid and then kept bragging in a couple of follow-up tweets about their social status and widely recognized huge vocabulary and writing skill. And then they misspelled something in one of their braggy Tweets. (Oops! Don't you hate when that happens?)

I understand that my comment was taken the wrong way. I guess I shouldn't have commented at all. Yet, it showed me what kind of person they are, and it wasn't what I was expecting. Maybe they were just in a bad mood, or maybe I really am that awful. It's why you probably shouldn't have heroes (and why I don't).
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Monday, May 04, 2020

Hide yer face from facial recognition

I have no financial interest in this, but I did give her permission to use the design:



Kinda cool, for any occasion, doncha think? Here's the link if you want to outfit the whole family: Time's Up neck gaiters

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Licenses don't impress me



Licenses are BS. Yes, all of them.

I don't care whether you have a license; I care that you can do whatever you claim you can do.

I have nothing against training, certifications, endorsements, etc. I might even be impressed if you can show me credible proof of such training.

But licensing is none of that.

Licensing doesn't mean you are capable; it means you have gained the approval-- the permission-- of some political gang. It means you have paid the gang for that approval and permission, and in exchange, the gang won't (might not) murder you for doing what the license allows you to do-- something you probably already have a natural human right to do.

For some pitiful people, a license means they believe the gang is a legitimate source of competence. Either by feeling proud of their license, or concerning themselves over the licensing of others. That's not how I see it at all. A license will never impress me-- competence will.
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Sunday, May 03, 2020

'Papers, please' now our reality

(My Eastern New Mexico News column for April 1, 2020)




I'm not happy with the petty tyrants who have done away with any pretense of respecting the rights of Americans. They are using this pandemic as an excuse to twist the police state tighter around our necks. I'm angry about it.

I'm not generally an angry person, but violating the life, liberty, or property of my fellow humans will make me angry every time. I don't care how necessary they pretend it is. I will not comply when their orders conflict with liberty, nor will I tattle on anyone else.

I'm not saying they can't offer suggestions. People may be confused about what to do in the midst of a panic. Some will foolishly look to government for guidance rather than seeking credible sources. It's not their fault; it's what they've been trained to do.

However, when guidance becomes orders, the politicians become everything America stands against. This isn't North Korea. This isn't how America works. I'm far from alone in feeling this way.

When local businesses find it necessary to issue travel papers in an attempt to protect their employees from potential assault by roving gangs of government's hired guns the last straw has dropped.

How many of the current rights violations-- restrictions on travel and assembly, price controls, fascistic business closures-- are trial balloons to see what they can get away with if they scare people badly enough?

Well, the scheme didn't work. I'm not scared. I'm mad and I'm watching them.

I'm also watching as they destroy the economy with their "stimulus", and I'll know exactly who's to blame when the bill comes due.
 
The sad thing is, this tyranny is completely unnecessary.

I am not going to intentionally put my health, or the health of others, at risk. I plan to do what I have to do to stay safe and healthy. I'm not exposing myself or others unless it is unavoidable-- regardless of what I am ordered to do. If I need to ignore the orders of politicians, so be it. When the politicians become a greater danger than any microbe, who could still respect them? I can't.

When I was a kid, "Papers, please" was held up as evidence that foreign authoritarian regimes were evil. Now it's the American reality. I won't put up with it. Will you? Politicians have picked sides, and they chose to side with the virus and other deadly threats to society. They've shown themselves to be society's enemy. I propose we believe them.



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Expectations create your subjective reality



The mind can play tricks. Your expectations can alter the way you experience reality.

Years ago I experienced this effect and have never forgotten the lesson it taught me.

In the pet store where I worked, my boss had placed a solid air freshener in the hallway. We were always doing this to fight the smells that some customers find objectionable, even in a clean pet shop.

As I walked by the new air freshener I picked it up to smell it. The waxy material inside was a nice creamy off-white color. I lifted it to my nose and took a whiff and smelled the most delicious vanilla scent. Then I looked at the label. It said "unscented". No, it couldn't be. I smelled vanilla. I was positive.

I sniffed it again, but this time the vanilla scent wasn't there. There was no detectable scent at all. The vanilla had been all in my mind, just because the color had made me expect to smell vanilla-- or, that's my theory.

This experience has made me question how I experience reality. If I expect something, I often question whether my expectation is coloring what I experience-- I try to recognize my expectations and guard against them. I know it's probably not possible to completely rid myself of expectations and false experience, but I do believe I'm better at it than I was before I was punched in the face with that wake-up call.

So, when people expect government to be a credible source, I understand why they experience it as one. Even though the scent of credibility is all in their imagination. That's the only place where political "authority" resides.
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Saturday, May 02, 2020

Firemaking: Yucca fire roll



A semi-primitive skill. You can use primitive materials rather than milled lumber, but I used what I had on hand.

I had a tough time editing this video because YT got rid of their video editing features. So there are some problems with it. Since YT doesn't allow me to monetize my videos anyway, I'm not going to worry too much about the amateurishness. I could have even screamed "Coronavirus!" over and over while I made the video and it wouldn't have gotten me demonetized.
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Friday, May 01, 2020

Trump-triggered



If you're criticizing or ridiculing Trump because you realize you don't need a president of any sort and you want the office abolished, I'm right there with you.

If, however, you're criticizing or ridiculing Trump just because you'd prefer the "Democrat" side to be "in charge" and imagine they would be better, I can't support you. In fact, I find your complaints tedious and when you lie about the situation to try to prop up "the other side" by making Trump look worse, you'll get nothing but an eye-roll from me.

I don't support Trump, but I would NOT prefer someone else (like Rapey Joe?) in that office... because I want the office abolished. If you're criticizing Trump from the same perspective, great. But if it's just to get some other political monster into that illegitimate office, you're on your own and I'm tired of hearing it. Stop letting Trump control your mind. Find another hobby, please!
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Thursday, April 30, 2020

The moving goal




The graphic is my attempt to illustrate why government handouts don't fix anyone's economic condition. Not in the long run.

I've tried to explain it several times in words but decided to give an illustration the chance.

It would be nice if this were wrong, I suppose. But that's not the world we live in, even if people with fake economic credentials believe it is. Government can't create real wealth (or even real money) out of fantasy and wishful thinking. Believing it can only leads to more problems in the long run.
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Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Smallest actions can have big effects

(My Eastern New Mexico News column for April 29, 2020)




It's a quirk of human nature that a crisis can bring people together, bring out our best, and give our lives meaning. Sure, it can also bring out the worst in some damaged people, but we can acknowledge their existence then continue to ignore them as insignificant.

A threat to life, liberty, and property is terrible, but you can find some good in it if you look. People love to unite against a common enemy, whether it's a virus or grotesque alien overlords from a galaxy far, far away, Washington, D.C., or Santa Fe...read the rest...

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Tuesday, April 28, 2020

What is a "slippery slope"?



If you listen to Scott Adams, the next time you hear him railing against "the slippery slope", saying it's "magical thinking" to believe in such a thing, and you want to understand (or explain to him) why he's wrong, this is for you.

Basically, it's a definition problem. He is defining the term differently than most people would, apparently in order to reach a particular conclusion in which government actions are excused.

He portrays the idea of "the slippery slope" as a magical belief in a law of physics that says once something starts going in one direction, it will continue to do so forever, unstoppable. He says nothing is unstoppable; it only continues until something stops it. Like inertia? But of course, inertia doesn't apply to human behavior, only to physical objects.

What does apply to behavior in a manner very much like inertia is that once you've been able to get away with acting in a certain way, you are more likely to do it again. And go a little further next time, always testing your boundaries. How much can you get away with?

Because the first legislator who proposed the first anti-gun legislation wasn't half-hanged, then drawn and quartered immediately after he proposed that abomination, as he should have been, others were emboldened to follow in his footsteps, until your natural human right to own and to carry any weapon you wish, openly or concealed, everywhere you go is now routinely violated.

He claims that those who point out that something is a slippery slope ignore that it can be stopped. That's not a true claim. No one actually believes something on a slippery slope can't be stopped or reversed. If it couldn't be stopped, why even point out that it's a slippery slope? The warning is an attempt to stop it. It's just that once it starts down that slippery slope you've got more ground to recover before you're back to square one. It's better to not take that first step into tyranny than to have to scale it back after it has been allowed to grow.

You can call it a slippery slope, "precedent", or a natural expression of human nature, but the result is the same. It's not magic, it is a universal feature of human nature.

To discount this very real effect is to deny reality in favor of some fantasy world where laws of human behavior don't apply. Where effect is totally unrelated to cause. It's loserthink.

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Monday, April 27, 2020

Thank you, Covid-19



The coronapocalypse couldn't have come at a more convenient time. At least in one personal respect.

I developed something somewhat medical, unsightly and gross but temporary, on my face. (See me trying to avoid "TMI"?) Yet, I have a perfect excuse in the coronapanic to wear a face mask in public to hide it. It's almost as though the Universe was looking out for me.

In other coronavirus news-- A household member was sent from work to the hospital to be tested for coronavirus this morning due to fever and coughing-- no return to work for at least 5 days, and that's if the test comes back negative. So I may be exposed. Yay. Of course, I may have already had it back in February.  Or not.

Also, if you are interested, here's a live map to track the officially logged cases: Covid19Map.us
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Secondary legislation



(I have the weirdest thoughts while doing mindless tasks I dislike, sometimes spawned by things I've heard or read recently. Many of them become blog posts-- such as this one.)

Primary legislation affects your rights-- your life, liberty, and property-- directly.

Secondary legislation affects other legislation and can either make that legislation worse or it can make it less harmful. Secondary legislation doesn't usually affect you directly; it affects how primary legislation affects you.

I'm always against primary legislation, even if it codifies natural law.

I support secondary legislation if, and only if. it defangs or abolishes primary legislation. I'd rather it be made unnecessary.

It's a sign of a broken, illegitimate "system" when you have to write secondary legislation to reverse the rights violations of primary legislation instead of just throwing out the bad primary legislation without fanfare and ritual. Legislators would call this a feature, but it's a bug. As are legislators. Worse than cockroaches, in fact.

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Sunday, April 26, 2020

Government more deadly virus

(My Eastern New Mexico News column for March 25, 2020)




Do you know what I'd rather not think about? The coronavirus panic. Do you know what it seems no one, including me, is thinking about? Anything other than the coronapocalypse.

People think about the things which catch their attention. That's normal. The changes which have been forced on society over the past couple of weeks are huge. It's no wonder people can't stop thinking about this.

It's wise to take things seriously, but not to let them cause panic.

Here are some other things which might be important to learn from this:

- If you're sick, stay home!

- If you are waiting to see if government can save you, you're barking up the wrong flag pole. You have the most influence over your own life and health. Use it.

- Don't stay submerged in coronavirus hysteria. You can leave the cell phone in your pocket and take a walk. Let the sunlight and fresh air work their healthy magic.

- The time to stockpile supplies is before a crisis occurs. Otherwise you help cause shortages and increase the possibility of violence. Maybe less so here than in urban areas, but it's a danger everywhere.

- There's no such thing as "price gouging". Higher prices during greater demand make sure the stores don't run out. Government's unwise intervention, imposing socialist economic policies, guarantees empty shelves, whether it happens in America or Venezuela. I'd rather pay a higher price for something I need than to not be able to get it at any price because stores weren't allowed to charge higher prices during increased demand.

- When government bungles the response-- often by responding at all-- and then tries to cover up the bungling with heavy-handed police state tactics as is happening now, things get worse than they otherwise would.

This is also an opportunity for personal growth.

There are people in high-risk groups who probably shouldn't be going into public to shop. If you aren't in this group, why not ask them what they need, and go get it for them? Compete with your friends and see who can help the most people. Make it a sport.

No one knows what the coming weeks will bring. I believe the virus itself is less dangerous than the social effects of the panic and the anti-social power-grabs by various governments.

You will suffer in the coming months. It's not going to be the fault of any biological virus, but of an institutional one. Political government is the deadly virus most in need of extinction.

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Understanding statism



Libertarians understand statists (and their positions) better than statists understand libertarians (and better than statists understand statists). I believe that's always going to be the case.

If you pay any attention and have any familiarity with libertarians and statists and their interactions, you're going to see it, too.

Partly, it's because we may have once had statist leanings ourselves, and also because we are constantly exposed to and immersed in statist ideology (and superstition). We can't escape it. We have no "silo" to hide in. Not that most of us would want to hide since exposing and ridiculing statism is so much fun-- although little vacations into such a silo could be relaxing.

It's also because libertarians are simply better, more clear thinkers than statists. It sounds arrogant and rude to say so, but that doesn't alter the facts. That doesn't mean we are never wrong; just that we are wrong much less often, and in smaller ways, than statists.

Statists are just wrong piled on top of wrong; they are usually even wrong about where/how they might be wrong. They simply don't understand at all, even while imagining they do.
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Saturday, April 25, 2020

Failing in a crisis-- and all the time



Government-supremacists are desperately trying to interpret government's actions during the pandemic in such a way to make them seem smart-- or at least honest. And they are failing. Hard.

As I have said before, political government is never a credible source. If your argument depends on government being a credible source you've set yourself up to fail before you began. You've hitched your wagon to a mirage and kicked off down a steep, winding trail full of big rocks, potholes, and ditches. Things can only get worse from there.

Don't take medical advice from government without checking credible sources first. Government is not your doctor, and any doctors working for government have rejected medicine for politics. You can't mix medicine and politics without contaminating the medicine to the point of uselessness at best, and lethality at worst.

Don't take government's claims of scientific accuracy without checking credible sources first. Government is not a scientist. Any scientists working for government gave up real science when they became political. For that matter, any scientist promoting a political agenda has betrayed the scientific method for politics and scientific thought for superstition. That's not science.

Government is not an economist, a charitable organization, your parent, your master, your superior, your servant, a protector of rights, or a promoter of liberty. Government is not a safety team and is not on your side.

Government is a gang of thieves that uses initiated force to make you treat it as though it is all the good and helpful things it claims to be.

Government will not save you from the pandemic. Not even under the best-case scenario where they were right about the risks, did the right things at the right time, and didn't do anything to make things worse.

This truth is something government-supremacists can't take when it doesn't align with "their side"-- which it never will. It doesn't matter whether they are the government-supremacists who support what was done or the government-supremacists who say government should have done something different. The truth is not with them. And they just keep digging themselves in deeper, to their discredit.

But it can be sort of fun to watch them flailing and failing-- if you can ignore the fact that they are harming you with everything they advocate.

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Thursday, April 23, 2020

Protesting the protestors who are protesting tyranny



It seems that the protests against the coronavirus shut-downs are really upsetting government-supremacists around the world; turning them into protestor-haters.

They frequently lie about the reasons they imagine the protests are occurring, saying the protestors believe the virus is a hoax or a conspiracy, or are "Trump supporters", although a few admit they don't understand the protestors.

I'm not a protestor, personally, and although I believe there is a virus-- why wouldn't there be?-- I believe the government response to it is harmful. I believe the response has the potential to cause more harm than the virus. But even if that doesn't happen (or can't be proved) government has no right to tell businesses to close, or to order people to stay in their homes. None. Zero.

Government can recommend and suggest all they want, but they have no right to give orders because political "authority" doesn't exist in any way, shape, or form, beyond being the most dangerous superstitious belief. Also, the Constitution doesn't allow it, if you care about such things.

Many of the protestor-haters say they want government to shut-down the protests, which they mischaracterize as "endangering us all".

It's like they simply can't believe that someone might not trust governmedia to be completely honest about the risks and that they therefore might not want to follow what governmedia says to do.

I guess they don't notice that government "experts" have lied about this pandemic from the beginning-- the face mask lies were some of the most obvious early ones. I suspect there are lots more lies they told about the situation that I'm not even aware of.

Those who fear the protestors ignore the lives that will be lost due to economic disruption. The protestor-haters are perfectly free to sequester themselves for as long as they want-- years if that's what they feel they should do. They don't have any right to demand everyone else do the same. As is so often the case with government-supremacists, they aren't content doing what they believe to be best, but they demand to have their choices imposed on others at the barrel of a gun. That's not very nice (or civilized) of them.

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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Governing right up to the line



All political governments are the ethical equivalent of the 9/11 terrorists. Or, probably, worse.

Since 9/11, airplane passengers-- at least in America-- know they have nothing to lose by fighting back against hijackers as hard as they can. Even if it means they die in the fight. Those hijackers ruined it for all the disgusting hijackers who come after them.

Since the coronapocalypse, some people may be realizing the same thing about political government.

Governments need to be careful to grab as much power as they can get away with, but not so much that the people decide they have nothing to lose by decorating lamp posts and barbed wire fences with the remains of the oppressors.

They have to be very careful to not make governing impossibly dangerous for those who come after them and from now on. I think it's a finer line than they realize.

Truthfully, I kind of hope they fail, even though it would mean some hard choices in the immediate future. I'm tired of tolerating the intolerable and would rather not leave that kind of world for my descendants.
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Monday, April 20, 2020

Another liberty holiday: 4-20



I have never really celebrated "4/20", not even when I occasionally enjoyed burning the herb. And that was a long time ago. The memory brings a smile to my face and makes me think appreciatively of a long-lost girlfriend.

Where was I...?

Oh, yeah... 4-20. And this is a special 4-20 since it's 4-20-2020. That's a lot of 20!

I'm happy that smoking the stuff is the closest to not being a "crime" that I have ever seen. Although I would still rather it be "illegal" than have all the conditions and exceptions various governments seem driven to attach to its use. I'm not sure the trade-off is worth it.

The arrogance of believing that you are entitled to make a plant-- and using it non-aggressively-- a "crime" bewilders me. What kind of broken soul would follow such a path? No one I need around me, that's for sure.

Anyway, if you smoke (or otherwise consume) it, enjoy the excuse to do so-- as if you need one.

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