Insanity, Part 1

This year my favorite Radio Station suddenly decided to drop what they had been doing and begin a whole new set of music. I wrote them an e-mail to ask why they had made the change. They said that they made the change to Praise and Worship so that they would minister to the majority of their listeners. While talking to Mom about this, somehow I lost track of the conversation and began to talk about something completely different: our inability to change.

I’m not sure how we got on that track. Maybe it’s because the e-mail didn’t show any signs of changing direction. I understand. We can’t expect a radio station to simply change course because one person doesn’t like what they’re doing. That’s to be expected. Now if everyone listening suddenly decided they didn’t like the new music and protested, and the station still wouldn’t change, that would be a problem. Why, that station would be just like Americans today!

We have a problem in our day and age with making our minors absolutes and our absolutes minors. We stand firm on our nothings while making concessions for our everythings. How is it that we can be so protective of our preferences, but so lenient with our laws? We pass laws protecting our interests but let people strip away our rights.

We need to wake up, people. This is getting pretty insane.

I’m not saying that stubbornness is good or bad, because it is both. When my brother stubbornly keeps his little brother from pulling away from him and running into the road, his stubbornness is invaluable. When little brother just as stubbornly insists on his way, his stubbornness is sinful. The difference between young adult and young child couldn’t be more clear. The child was being stubborn with something he could afford to lose, that is, his right to run into the road. The young man was being stubborn with something he could not afford to lose, that is, his little brother’s life.

There seem to be many more toddlers than young men in this world when it comes to decisions. Both boys were just as determined to win, and neither of them were going to give in. The younger one insisted that his brother let go of his hand. He wanted to run into the road! The older brother insisted that he would hold on to the hand until all the cars had gone down the street. So while the younger brother could have afforded to make concessions, the older one couldn’t. You can’t have a partially ran-over brother and still come out on top in the negotiations. Younger brother didn’t care much about the cars and the older brother’s convictions, but he was vehement about his right to play in the road.

There are many things that we can give in on. We can let other people have the last piece of pie, or our place in line, or the best job. We can also let go of arguments over, say, what C.S. Lewis was thinking in the Last Battle, or whether Rich Mullins wrote a certain song for a certain person. If we don’t have the actual written answer, these things are just speculation and shouldn’t be argued over. These are the places where we should be peacemakers. We can be meek and let others win arguments over silly things, like (don’t get angry at me here) having candles in a church service or baptism. These kinds of conflicts don’t really achieve anything or improve the relationship between the people involved. There’s no moral issue in question.

However, when something that is true, like the existence of God or the value of human life, is questioned or attacked, we cannot sit back and allow other people to spread lies about the laws of God. In my example of the two brothers, my teenage brother was acting under the orders from his parents (the law-givers) that running out into the road was wrong, and that there would be serious consequences for them if they did so. My younger brother knew of the law, but he didn’t care, and my older brother had to restrain him for his good and for the good of the family. In the same way, sometimes we must take action to restrain bad judgment and bad laws, especially if those bad laws will hurt the nation and the people involved.

Our world is steadily streaming towards a fall. Our country has made bad choice after bad choice, and many people have not tried to stop it. Lawmakers get away with insanity because the good people are bickering and the bad people don’t care. Our culture is decaying, and we can’t get over our parking space.

God gave us free will to use for the good of ourselves and others, not to be used in a muscle match to try and bully the person disagreeing with us. We need to use the stubbornness given us to proclaim the truth, and to defend it. We need to find our backbone and not be afraid when people disagree! Our earthly enemies don’t seem to mind the “shame-on-yous” we use to try and change them, and we might want to take their advice. If you believe in something strongly, you should fight for it, but if it’s something that’s a preference, try and make peace. When we forget the true priority of life, we get into really sticky messes, like the one we’re in now.

The Logically Deficient Basis of Pure Conservatism

This Tory poster, made for the 1951 general election, called for change and the end of "war socialism." But Tories (British conservatives) would change themselves entirely over the next sixty years.

This Tory poster, made for the 1951 general election, called for change and the end of “war socialism.” But Tories (British conservatives) would themselves change entirely over the next sixty years.

There was once a time when I was an unyielding, self-proclaimed conservative.

Conservatism—by the dictionary—means “belief in the value of established and traditional practices in politics and society,” or “dislike of change or new ideas in a particular area.”

After three years of reflection, I reached the conclusion that neither of these two pillars of conservatism is invariably desirable—and that this vague ideological construct that millions of Americans cling to is one of the most meaningless political philosophies of the 20th and 21st centuries. 

Pure Conservatism

While the specific policies and proposals of conservatives in a given society should be evaluated on their own merits, the logical basis for many of these stances often amounts to little less than the masked fallacy that “it worked before, so it ought to work now.” Strict preservation of the existing system is the only apparent rationale for pure conservatism—in fact, it is conservatism. Perpetuating what came before, untouched and with no questions asked, is rarely what people think of when they hear the word conservatism, however. The term is frequently associated with far-right political movements or policy positions. While modern conservatives may seem “far-right” compared to more modern ideologies, this is not what conservatism means. Far from it.

In the United States, most conservatives oppose gun control; in Britain, most conservatives support gun control. Neither form of conservatism is internally inconsistent, because both are in favor of preserving the status quo, the governmental inheritance their flawed forefathers left behind. Both are forms of pure conservatism in this regard.

At one point, part of American conservatism was “conserving” prohibition; most modern conservatives, a few generations separated, have flipped this policy on its head and now wish to loosen regulations on alcohol production and lower taxes on alcohol’s sale.

From its founding until the Civil War, the United States was construed to be a confederation of independent nation-states, not unlike the modern European Union. Conservatives immediately after the Civil War wanted to return to said system; after a generation, conservatism had changed—just as the Union had changed.

The face of conservatism changes as often as the status quo changes; there is but a brief generational delay. Neither static nor coherent, conservatism changes with the traditions it attempts in vain to preserve, rendering it incapable of functioning as a standalone philosophy of government.

What’s Worth Conserving?

Conservatism is merely concerned with maintaining a tradition; the moral or practical quality of that tradition is an altogether extraneous question. In the United States today, conservatism exists as a force that supports a “safety net” of welfare agencies, favors the continued ban on recreational drugs, and proposes a closed border policy—whether or not these policies are worth keeping and whether or not they are traditionally “American” are two different questions.

Trade protectionism, frequent military interventions in foreign affairs, the death penalty, the government’s protected monopoly on letter delivery, public education, the bureaucratic phenomenon known as the FDA, and government construction and maintenance of roads are only a few things that conservatives take for granted that conflict with their bitter opposition to new incarnations of similar policies.

Public education and federally constructed curriculum are acceptable; Common Core is not. Background checks on gun purchasers are sensible, but licensing gun owners or restricting ammunition sales is “nonsense.” Jailing nonviolent drug users or traders is the only right answer to an uncomfortable 21st century issue; but alcohol consumption is somehow a different matter altogether.

Just how far a conservative is willing to go is decided not by logic, nor by pragmatism, nor even by morals: it is decided by tradition. Slavery was once an American “tradition.” Not very long ago, women were denied voting rights—this was also a “tradition.” In the near future, abortion will also be a “tradition” that conservatives will fight to preserve.

As it is now, the United States government and its many faulty traditions are not worth conserving; they required changes twenty years ago, and fifty years ago, and a hundred years ago. Conserving a governmental system haunted by inefficiencies, problems, and injustices that continue to compound yearly is hardly the answer to the threatening circumstances—foreign and domestic—that have the potential to rip apart this nation at the seams.

Not All Traditions Are Bad

Like all ideas and practices, traditions should be morally and logically evaluated. Compared to most other countries’ records in human rights and economic freedom, the United States’ history is relatively clean; but that does not change that some of its still-practiced “traditions,” including government monopolies in mail delivery and education, are not acceptable.

Nevertheless, the United States has plenty of ideological traditions to be proud of—due process, free speech, and limited government, to name only an important few. Americans should seek to protect and advance these traditions, rather than the norm in government, which frequently infringe upon the handful of worthwhile “established and traditional practices in politics and society.”

Not all traditions are bad; not all traditions are good. Traditions change. Traditions are unstable. And traditions vary drastically depending on the region, culture, and nation that formed them. Ideological progress, and mankind’s progress as a whole, depends not on “conserving” lock, stock, and barrel what came before, but rather on culling the bad and adopting the good. Conservatism means nothing beneficial if the system it seeks to conserve is a tyrannical one—as is increasingly the case.

Despite sharing a number of political leanings with the modern American conservatives, I no longer label myself as one of them, and the conclusions I share with them I have reached for wholly different reasons than they have: they wish but to preserve a tradition, rather than promoting what is best for mankind, what is best in God’s eyes, and what functions best in this very real world in which we live.

True, pure conservatism—the sort that follows tradition only for tradition’s sake—ignores that established practices can be crimes against humanity, and new ideas can serve as an infusion of life to a nation. Given uninhibited liberty and a minimalist government constrained by the rule of law, humankind can make the greatest advances and pave the way to the brightest future. It is time to create national “traditions” that acknowledge this.

Big Government and Teenagers

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “Big jobs usually go to the men who prove their ability to outgrow small ones.” Thanks to government meddling, however, many teenagers haven’t had the chance to prove themselves in even the smallest jobs.

Despite claims that youngsters of the 21st century are lacking in work ethic and self-motivation, that they are inferior to their predecessors is thus far highly debatable; what is certain, however, is that federal restrictions (child labor laws, the minimum wage, and twelve-year compulsory school attendance) make it exceedingly difficult for teenagers to launch a career, get a starter job, or become an entrepreneur. The effects of Washington’s arbitrary redistribution and intervention fall disproportionately on young adults—allegedly for whose sake many of these harmful regulations were put in place.

Child Labor Laws

Perhaps the most blatantly age-discriminatory interventionist contrivances are “child” labor laws. A teen’s primetime for an after-school job might be in his freshman or sophomore years, when school load is lighter yet he is mature enough to function well and gain practical experience in workplace situations. Yet until age eighteen work hours, schedules, breaks, fields, occupations, roles, and more are micromanaged. A great deal of teenagers anticipate their sixteenth or seventeenth birthdays, when some of the restrictions are relaxed, only to realize when they reach those milestones that they no longer have time for part-time work.

An unnecessary fixture in a developed economy and a harmful one in an undeveloped counterpart, child labor laws limit modern teenagers’ ability to test the flavors and atmospheres of occupations, assess their potential performance in a given field, gain important workplace experience, and earn extra money.

Minimum Wage Laws

Combine this with the minimum wage, the price-fixing of labor that unskilled workers either love or hate, and teenagers have a real problem.

Teens are almost always unskilled and inexperienced, sometimes lack maturity, typically have little practical knowledge, and no matter what job they can get, they probably need training. Employing teenagers is costly. Coercive government-mandated increases in the price of a good or service always result in surpluses of the aforementioned goods or services, and wage rates are no exception. Price-fixing negates or damages the mutually beneficial status of an exchange, and in this scenario it makes teenagers (and other low-skill laborers) very unattractive employees for their legally required per-hour prices.

The Twelve-Year Sentence

If by some miracle or black magic a school-age teenager trumps child labor laws and minimum wage price-fixing and worms his way into a meaningful job he enjoys (i.e., likely not fast food), he has another problem: compulsory school attendance. Schedules are not flexible, hours are long, and there are few alternatives.

The one-size-fits-all, federal-driven public schools require credits for all students that may or may not have anything to do with a student’s career choice or interests; these classes often include theater, music, art appreciation, P.E., or a whole slough of social sciences biased toward totalitarianism. Homeschooling and private schooling are legally permissible options: however, in the very probable case that resources are limited or prices are high (thanks to government control of education markets,) these are impossible.

Cut the Regulations.

Without federal coercion, the teen years could be more productive, enlightening, involving, and growth-centered. Instead, teenagers are viewed as problematic adolescents that cannot do much of anything for themselves; and while this is a cultural and governmental phenomenon, state intervention uses legal force to help perpetuate the myth that teenagers can be little more than internet addicts or thick-skulled sports aficionados.

Even if 21st-century teenagers are or will be “worthless bums” who refuse to start their adult lives until age 29, Washington’s overwhelming initiative-choking benevolence is making it harder and harder for teens and young adults to transcend their unflattering societal reputations and launch a successful career. In the end, the answer lies not in cutting back on these detrimental laws but in abolishing altogether the system that created them.

Two Flavors of Tyranny

 

red and blueIn American politics, there are two angles on any given issue: the Republican side and the Democrat side. Any dissenting or differing opinions are bottled up and shoved into one of the above categories, because as conventional wisdom would have it, either an idea is red or it is blue; either one thinks red bad, or one thinks blue bad. Those who disagree with both factions are quickly dismissed as socialist quacks or libertarian-leaning internet trolls.

However, one need not be a collectivist crusader or an anarcho-capitalist to notice that the two major parties bear only internal relevance. When viewed away from the American political context, the parties, it becomes evident, squabble over details, yet agree on major points; and although they fall on two sides of the so-called left-right spectrum, both of them assume big government and rely on its existence for debates to endure between them. In the end, the choice between Democrat and Republican is a choice between two flavors of tyranny.

Their one discrepancy begins with the thing that very few people are aware that they possess—namely, political worldview. Republicans and Democrats use the same means (in slightly varying amounts) to achieve radically different visions of national greatness. Republicans seek military strength and material prosperity for all, and Democrats are purportedly working towards ultimate social justice and safety for the masses; this roughly sumps up the distinction between the goals of fascism and socialism. The ends are at odds, but the means are identical.

Fascist and socialist states are related by blood, and telling them apart at a glance is often a challenge: both of them sport secret police forces, enormous militaries, starving populations, central economic planning, drastic shortages and surpluses because of that economic planning, relentless propaganda, mass executions of political opponents, usually a uniting prejudice against a race or culture, programs to indoctrinate youth, a disgusting disregard for the sanctity of life, party-worship and personality cults centering around leaders, uncontrollable inflation and draconian monetary restrictions, burdensome restrictions on the populace, and the list could go on for a while yet.

Interestingly enough, nearly every disagreement between the Republicans and the Democrats is a debate on the workings and minor details of running a preexisting mammoth-sized government.

In the realm of gun control, Republicans cling to licensing and background checks, while Democrats prefer to expunge all firearms from the population, ban all pointy objects, and regulate all choking hazards. Democrats wish to socialize healthcare entirely; Republicans only want to socialize it a bit. Republicans hope to “reform” public schools by decentralizing and cutting off a smidge of funding, and Democrats want to “reform” schools by expanding and throwing extra money at school districts everywhere.

The two parties are not opposites in any of these scenarios; indeed, they are merely on discriminable points of the tyranny gradient. One kind of tyranny is not distinguishable from another, and far left and far right are simply dissimilar names for the same brand of oppression.

The United States’ two dominating parties pretend to disagree on every issue that they can find to discuss, but—in reality—they only disagree on one issue: in what areas, to which degree, and for what purpose can the government control citizens?

Truth be told, ideas are not red or blue: they are good or bad. Both parties have stunning amounts of proposals that fit into the latter classification, and both parties present a type of tyranny that we should be unwilling to accept.

Bernie Sanders and the Quest for Sparkly Pink Unicorns

Democrat presidential candidate and Vermont senator Bernie Sanders is perpetuating the myth of the free lunch with his recently introduced College for All Act, legislation with a gloriously populist title (Marx would be proud) and about as much hope for success as the never-ending search for sparkly pink unicorns.

Bernie’s audacious legislation will “eliminate undergraduate tuition at four-year public colleges and universities.” And Sanders himself alleges that it is “fully paid for by imposing a Robin Hood tax on Wall Street.”

The bill is an impressive demagogic appeal: it takes a snipe at those evil Wall Street guys, hands even more power to our benevolent and completely unbiased federal overseers, and promises free stuff to starving college students. As intriguing as the offer might sound to the uninitiated, the College for All Act is sheer economic fantasy; its failures begin with the fact that it gives colleges and universities the perfect chance to waste even more time and money on a federally funded racketeering scheme, pushing tuition costs to loftier and loftier heights in an accursed circle of perverse incentives.

“Most people now see college as an entitlement to be provided largely at ‘public’ expense. It shouldn’t be,” says George Leef, “If we hadn’t made the blunder of getting government involved in college education, it would today cost much less and deliver more value. That’s because it would be subject to the test of the market. Instead, it’s like an overweight gorilla that has been stuffing itself on taxpayer dollars for many years.”

When government begins to finance a failing corporation, or otherwise one that allegedly needs “strengthening,” the recipient corporation is freed from its obligations to run efficiently and satisfy its consumers. The federal government began subsidizing tuition and universities in 1944 and has not looked back since.

A few student loan crises and credential-based college bubbles later, the wisdom of government involvement in higher education is questionable—particularly in light of the skyrocketing costs of tuition and textbooks. Interestingly enough, college tuition has gone up 1225% since 1978; the CPI has only risen by 279%.

Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a free lunch. Sanders pays halfhearted lip service to this fact by pretending that only despicable Wall Street desperadoes will suffer in funding America’s college degrees, but in reality such a proposal would create enough perverse incentives for students to misuse and abuse college opportunities and for colleges to jack up prices (since, after all, a person who isn’t paying isn’t concerned with costs) that overall tuition costs would balloon out of proportion and affect all participants and taxpayers in the United States economy. In the end, an absurd chunk of GDP would be swallowed up by higher education’s ever-rising costs.

The pink unicorn will never be found; it does not exist, and Sanders should stop feigning that socialization of tuition would bring it into existence. Rather, government intervention and funding of higher education—at all levels—should end. The United States should return to reality and privatize its public universities and colleges, end federal student aid and federally backed student loans, and allow the price of a diploma to return to reasonable levels that match actual market utility.

San Jacinto Day: The Eve of Battle

 

The battle itself lasted less than 20 minutes.

The battle itself lasted less than 20 minutes.

“We view ourselves on the eve of battle. We are nerved for the contest, and must conquer or perish. It is vain to look for present aid: none is at hand. We must now act or abandon all hope! Rally to the standard, and be no longer the scoff of mercenary tongues! Be men, be free men, that your children may bless their father’s name!” – Sam Houston, before the Battle of San Jacinto.

It is April, 1836: the fledgling government of the Republic of Texas struggles to remain in existence. In overfilled wagons, on horseback, and on foot, Texian women and children leave behind their homesteads and villages to escape Santa Anna’s approaching army. Marauders plunder the vacated homes and villages, and advancing Mexican troops burn what remains to the ground.

After losing hundreds of men and suffering five crucial defeats to their cause, Sam Houston’s untrained band of ragtag patriots is retreating eastwards. Some of them abandon, concerned about their unprotected wives and children.

The fate of nations lies with Houston’s men— men with empty stomachs, holes in their shoes, and a worrying lack of ammunition and training.

On April 21, Santa Anna’s troops and Houston’s men finally face off at San Jacinto. The Texians are again outnumbered; to make life more interesting, they have retreated so far that they are backed up to two bayous with no possibility of escape should things end badly (as is very, very possible). Yet with shouts of “Remember the Alamo!” and “Remember Goliad!” the Texians win.

179 years have passed since this unexpected and improbable victory, the triumph that won Texas its independence—an elusive prize for which many gave their lives.

Modern Texians read about, delight in, and reenact this victory. To some it may seem like washed-up high school athletes reminiscing over their “glory days,” but nothing could be further from the reality of this state’s potential for independence.

Texas’s days as a nation are not necessarily over: we can rise among the nations once more, but only if Texians decide that they want to be free and will again sacrifice something to obtain that freedom.

“We must now act or abandon all hope!” 

Throughout the 1830s, Mexico’s government steadily worsened until at last a lawless caudillaje emerged, a brutal military serving as the state. Texas was not singled out for militaristic rule; Mexico was also governed by garrisons of troops. The difference between Mexico and its northern neighbor was in the reaction to the bout of tyranny.

For the past century, the United States’ federal government has grown ever larger and more intrusive. Its absorption of private sector resources and its violations of individual rights are not prevented by the constitution designed to restrict it, neither are they halted by the efforts of freedom-loving representatives. At best, they are merely delayed or lessened.

Texas’s situation in 1836 is in many ways similar to the one it faces now: a much-changed government threatens it with new regulations, legislations, and infringements upon natural rights, and no ordinary efforts are stopping the onslaught.

Somewhat like the 1820s and 1830s Mexican government, the American system has changed and is finding new, creative ways to eliminate freedom and individual choice—in healthcare, in retirement savings, in self-defense, in education, in transportation, in communication. This time the solution to the plague of totalitarianism is to break away from the system entirely.

The eve of battle 

Many of Sam Houston’s men paid for Texas independence with their lives. The war (short as it may seem in retrospect) scattered families and ended in a great deal of physical destruction.

This time, Texians fight the battle for independence not with rifles but instead with ideas. The sacrifices for supporters in are not as life-defining or dangerous, but the stakes are just as high.

Bystanders often think that independence is an optimist’s pipe dream. A number of 1836 spectators shared that conclusion, but fortunately were not right. Counting the costs matters little and counting the odds matters less, but calculating the stakes matters a great deal: liberty is on the line.

We find ourselves on the eve of a battle that is every bit as defining as the one that took place at San Jacinto 179 years ago today. Will you rally to the standard?

Originally published on www.texnat.org

 

I don’t have the Nerve to be a feminist

I don’t have the nerve to be a feminist.

Don’t get me wrong; I understand where they’re coming from. But the way they are going about it exactly the opposite of what needs to happen. They seem to be attacking their own team.

The main platform of the feminist movement is to stand up for the rights of women and prove their equality with men. This is good, in its way. History has revealed a pattern of oppression, abuse, and mistreatment of anyone who happened to be weaker than normal. Women, because they were formed differently than men, were usually the objects of this abuse. Notice that I said that they were formed differently! Though neither is more important than the other, men and women are not equal.

I wouldn’t want to live in the ancient world anyway, as a girl. If there’s one thing that history has taught me, it’s our intense need for something more. In the ancient times of Greece and Rome it wasn’t that great to be alive. When I was little, I would read about all the killings of the soldiers, and I’d breathe a sigh of relief that I wasn’t a boy. At least I would have been safe, right?

I wish I still had that innocence. No, actually to be a girl in that or any time period would be a nightmare. No rights. No freedom. No protection. If you had a good father, and later a good husband, you could live a quiet life. But no one is free from the ravages of war. If those people were killed…who protects you? No one.

They lived in a strange time. People were objects. Property. Slaves. Most of the time women made up most of that last category. What else could you call them? They were thought of as wicked. As trophies. As servants. As toys. Never people. Being born into royalty didn’t help much. For a while, you would be secure. But imagine what would happen if your kingdom was taken? Master would be slave. Kings had some strange pleasure in making former princesses into slaves. The Iliad cued me in to that practice.

If I had been in that story, I might have been in the place in Cassandra. The Iliad is an ancient poem about the destruction of a proud city called Troy. The Greeks built the famous “Trojan Horse” to infiltrate the unbreachable walls. I don’t have time to go into the whole story, but Cassandra has always been a special source of grief to me. Her story is truly tragic.

In the midst of this strange and magical story came a young priestess, probably the youngest daughter of the King of Troy. She was young enough to have been innocent in relation to the war. It wasn’t her who had kidnapped Queen Helen of Sparta, nor did she have anything to do with it. She was probably a young child at the time. Over ten years later, she was given a special curse: the agony of knowing of the coming disaster, but having no one believe her.

Here and there she flew about, crying “Doom is Near! Please, please, stop!” But the drunken crowd would not. They had won. Inside the horse was the sign of their victory, and the means of their defeat. Did the poor princess know? If she did, she was unable to do a thing about it. By a cruel trick of the many deities that flit through the poem, she was stripped of her credibility. Perhaps it was then that she fled to the temple to try to entreat the deities that had forsaken her. At the end of the story, innocent Cassandra is punished for her older brother’s sin, and forced into a life of slavery and ill use. There her story ends.

But our story didn’t. All of us, even the feminists, are searching for something. We’ve tried to get it ourselves. Oneness. It’s what were were made to be. One. Perfectly complete. But Sin breaks into that. It makes things like slavery and adultery enter into the perfect family that God created. We can’t get away from it. We can’t rule it. We can’t stop it. Like Cassandra, we are helpless before a wave of evil. Unlike Cassandra, we are often the cause of it. In some cases, we’re more like the crowd below. We hear the warnings, but we don’t care. How many of them were left alive in the morning?

Of course the way they try to get Oneness is by proving that somehow women are superior to men, and therefore don’t need them. The One they are thinking of is themselves, a horrid object called Self that lurks inside each person, waiting to manifest its horrid face. That is why many feminists are rather mean. They have told themselves that they are sufficient, when they know they aren’t. All they have to cherish is that which lives within them, their sinful hearts, and that eventually destroys whoever tries it.

Perhaps the one thing that these people are most afraid of is the thing that would give them peace. They fear being under authority, for that would make them slaves. But they will continue to be slaves of themselves until they submit to someone higher. They hate the idea of being sheltered because they think that takes away their freedom. But without protection, are they truly free? They fear being accountable because they don’t want to feel guilty. But the true guilt that they fear every day can only be escaped through repentance. Foolish, wretched people! Who would choose this life?

Me.

You.

Everyone.

Praise God, He didn’t leave us this way! Instead He chose to be our protection, our salvation, our guard. He promised to protect those who are helpless, and to avenge them when they are abused. He is the only God in all of history. He is also the only one who ever showed any love and grace to women. His pagan counterparts all were wicked, debauched, and instruments of slavery. But He alone was alive: was, and is, and always will be! He didn’t leave us drowning in ourselves and in our sin. He rescued us.

With that new life was also a new love. For the first time in created history since the Garden, people were treated equally. “In CHRIST there is neither Jew, nor Greek, nor Parthian, nor Scythian, nor Slave, nor Free.” All are equal in the body of Christ. And for the first time, this meant that women were respected. They were loved. They were free and equal servants of the Lord.

For the first time, women were valued for who they were. Notice that this didn’t come from lobbying. It wasn’t the result of an organized protest. This hadn’t come from years of careful planning. It was spontaneous. It was deep-rooted. It was supernatural. And it’s been the driving force for the “equal treatment for women” movement years before the feminists thought up a name for themselves.

What’s sad is what my feminist friends don’t understand is the thing they’re running from is the very thing they should be running to! Our Religion isn’t one of domination and supremacy. I can think of a few religions that would qualify that description, but not the True Faith. And what really hurts is when our women, who could be the Church’s greatest ally, seem intent on tearing it to pieces. Why try to destroy our closest ally?

In a book I’m writing, the imaginary kingdom of Symettria is having internal trouble. The king has suddenly grown hostile to the nomadic tribes that rove the plains to the south, and decided all “natives” should be restricted from interacting with the “True Symetttrians.” The leader of the armies was really annoyed with this. “I’m supposed to be keeping out the evil from our land, when it keeps seeping in through the borders. How am I also supposed to also defend us from our own people? Why are we making war inside our country?”

Why indeed. It seems as if we are standing against an order that hates us, that religion that is called Islam. It wants the world subjected under it, a world dominated by men. In their eyes, women are evil. I would be killed for writing this. Just because I spoke out, and because I am a woman.

Why are the feminists so quiet against them? Why are our media ‘friends’ so ignorant at the threat of war? The one thing they’re fighting so hard to get away from they have nothing to say about. They’re attacking their allies and flattering their enemies.

That’s really frustrating. Sometimes I see the TV anchors in their dresses, and wonder if they’re really thinking through what they’re reporting. But I guess their eyes have been blinded to Cassandra’s message. “Doom is Near, Doom is near!” No one will believe her. Instead, they mock and side with those who want to destroy them.

The Injustice of Compulsory Attendance Laws

Do kids really do better when forced by law to attend a government-run "education" facility for twelve years?

Do kids really do better when forced by law to attend a government-run “education” facility for twelve years?

“When students are not allowed to drop out, they do better. So tonight, I am proposing that every state — every state — requires that all students stay in high school until they graduate or turn 18,” declared President Barack Obama at the 2012 State of the Union — old news for political analysts and journalists. Yet it highlights one of the least questioned and most cruel of government restrictions: compulsory school attendance.

From around age six until eighteen or so, a school-age child is left with few alternatives but to eat government-prepared lunches, live in a government-run building, participate in government-run activities, and study material vetted and chosen by the government—why not put bars on the door and make the children wear prison uniforms with numbers on them?

Parents, students, teachers, and legislators argue and protest about class size, curriculum content, school lunches, and standardized tests, but they cannot see the forest for all the trees—while other school issues are important, the root cause of them all is the idea that the state should control a child’s physical location, what he learns, and how he learns it. Abolishing compulsory school attendance laws is a good place to start bettering Americans’ education.

Perhaps it seems that compulsory attendance laws can effectively be considered null and void, since alternative school choices (private, online, and home schooling) are available; on the contrary, government has an intentional near-monopoly on education, requires children by law to attend some form of school, and only grudgingly allows other options.

For instance, it was only in the 1970s and 1980s that homeschooling received the full legal legitimacy it deserves. Even then it was and is hampered with reservations and regulations. All other things being equal, public schools are of such dismal quality that there must be laws forcing parents to place their children in them.

As it is now, anyone who chooses alternative education choices must pay for their children’s learning twice—once for taxes, and another time for tuition elsewhere. Thus even children who manage to break away haven’t done so entirely. The state’s bloated leviathan of a public school system is designed like everything else that the state manages, meaning that any private competition has to deal with its own costs and the costs of its public counterpart.

Those who maintain that public schools ought to exist in conjunction with a strong private school system to help school choice contradict themselves; anything run by the state requires citizens to fund it. Indeed, the injustices of the public school system extend far past mere finances and the impracticability of private competition.

If an innocent adult were ordered to spend each weekday in a prison and could not leave until a bell rang, there would be an outcry. If it were revealed what he had to do and learn there, the outcry would be uncontrollable. Yet most American children are forced into that life with no way out.

Although parents squabble over particulars, most don’t care one way or another—this is due to the fact that they (correctly) assume education is important for lifelong success. It is for a vast majority of people, but that does not mean it needs to be required or provided by government; nor does it mean that the busywork government schools often force students into constitutes a good education.

In the end, compulsory school attendance is nothing more than a gross violation of liberty and basic human rights. Through a citizen’s lifespan, government steals the first twelve or thirteen years and probably thirty years after (the worker a child grows up to be, of course, must pay taxes).

If education is as important to “enable” students “to succeed in a global economy based on knowledge and innovation” as the federal government says it is, parents and children would find schools to their liking on their own, without forcing millions of taxpayers to foot the bill.

No, Mr. President: compulsory school attendance, paired with the monopolistic reign of public education, is a state intrusion into private lives. The negligible benefits it offers are outweighed by the heavy costs in dollars, time, and liberty.

 

Originally published on turningpointusa.net

The Glitch in the System

texas capitol at night

Texas Democrats, republicans, communists, libertarians, economists, businessmen, and taxpayers have all reached this enlightened conclusion: the federal government is corrupt.

Each of them proposes a solution to abuses of power and funds—they’re all absolutely positive that they have the one unbeatable answer to Washington’s financial turpitude, the only resolution to this centuries-old problem—and then they bombard the populace and government with mail, flyers, television spots, radio ads, lobbyists, phone calls, protests, lawsuits, party coups, and new politicians (or old ones with new promises).

Political parties think that the answer is to shift the balance of power so that their largest voter blocs are the beneficiaries, and not the victims, of government-imposed burdens, financial or otherwise.

Corporations and their mercenary lobbyists vouch not for greater freedom, but for more regulations and fees on the backs of their competitors. (Political entrepreneurship of this sort slowly gives the state a grip on all participating industries.) State governments (including that of Texas) aren’t much better.

Ordinary citizens stick to a sincere but currently ineffective tactic when it comes to combating political corruption; their method—sending another new man, “our man,” the perfect one who won’t give in to pressure—is rather futile these days.

This tactic is akin to sending a lone chipmunk into a standoff with a pack of wolves; or perhaps it’s better described as trying to repair something that is already a total loss.

Governmental power, a tool of coercion, is an invitation for corruption. Considering that the federal government has an almost unlimited scope, we shouldn’t be too surprised that it is incurably addicted to doing clever little things with earmarks and funds and bureaucracies.

Liberty-loving activists fight each trick every step of the way; sometimes they win a battle, but they are certainly not winning the long-term war for freedom. Americans have tried reforming the government and opposing its antics, but never with lasting success. Almost everyone blames political parties or individuals working in Washington for the corruption; but swapping the individual or party has no long-term effect or benefit. When the work itself isn’t meant to be done, it matters little who does it.

The glitch in the system is the system itself.

When a car is damaged so extensively that repairs cost more than the vehicle is worth, the owner scraps it and replaces it. Despite the best efforts and “progress” of voters and activists for half a century, the inexorable growth of government’s size and scope continues. “Repairs” in Washington have already cost Texans too much in cash and time.

The damage to the American republic is so extensive that the costs of repairing it are more than it’s worth. But what is there to do other than keep patching it up indefinitely?

Working within the political environment has failed us for decades; but almost all of the alternatives are clearly far worse than our current situation. Some American leaders are proposing a constitutional convention—but this is beyond foolish in a political environment where even inherent rights like the right to life, the right to bear arms, or the right to free speech are called into question by the same representatives who would be tampering with the nation’s most important set of laws.

Mercilessly cutting off politicians from their offices and replacing them with new ones has been tried. And it has failed. Power corrupts, and the leaders that voters think can limit themselves in this regard merely decide to use their privileges in the pursuit of different endeavors—and the phenomenon of unelected bureaucrats makes matters much, much worse.

The state, once it has taken hold of something, will not give it up until literal or metaphorical blood has been shed.

The solution to preventing and eliminating governmental corruption is getting rid of opportunities for it—in other words, shrinking the size of the government in the first place and vigilantly suppressing its natural tendency to balloon into a bureaucratic institution of tyranny.

For Texas, the best way to solve the problem of corruption and abused power is to pull out from the malfunctioning American government altogether. Despite what pundits are claiming, secession is a real possibility. It’s the last and best answer—and Texans are starting to realize it.

Heroes and Cowards

Kyle&MooreMuch has been said recently about the new Clint Eastwood directed film American Sniper. A lot of good. A lot of bad.

The film tells the story of Chris Kyle, the deadliest sniper in American History.  Kyle served four tours as a Navy SEAL in Iraq, accumulating 160 confirmed kills.  His actions saved countless American soldiers.

Some of the film’s more famous critics include comedian Bill Maher, actor Seth Rogen, and director Michael Moore.

Rogen equated the movie to a Nazi propaganda film and Maher made multiple comments about Kyle being a “psychopath patriot.”  Michael Moore, the keyboard warrior that he is, tweeted saying “We were taught snipers were cowards. Will shoot u in the back. Snipers aren’t heroes. And invaders r worse.”

Let’s break all of this down.

Seth Rogen, the man that makes movies full of vulgarity and pot-smoking deadbeats, is criticizing a film that shows the reality of war and tells the story of a man that protected American troops from terrorists.  He’s probably just jealous that his new movie was all but forgotten when American Sniper premiered.

Bill Maher is a comedian.  A controversial one at that.  He makes his living by saying things that many see as offensive.  He mocks patriotism and the military.  He can do this because people like Chris Kyle protected his right to do it.

I’m not even sure where to start with Michael Moore.  The ball-cap wearing butterball is claiming that snipers are cowards. He’s criticizing someone who shoots enemies that can’t shoot back.  But, apparently, Mr. Moore doesn’t understand how war works.  If you get a chance to have an advantage over your enemy, you take it.  You can’t call a man a coward just because he’s more advanced than his enemy.   Well, I suppose you can when you’re Michael Moore.

But in more recent news, the Islamic terrorist group ISIS showed the world its true face.  And suddenly nobody’s pointing out Chris Kyle’s flaws.  You see, ISIS killed Christians.  ISIS beheaded 5 year olds.  ISIS drenched a man with gasoline, locked him in a steel cage, set him on fire, and filmed as he screamed and flailed until he died.

And yet Kyle’s critics are silent about all of this because even they can’t deny that his actions pale in comparison to the death and destruction that ISIS is causing.

They’re silent because it’s not edgy to criticize terrorists.  Bashing a lifesaving American soldier keeps them relevant.  Condemning evil doesn’t.

Red Tape: Violent and Inefficient

It’s a dimly lit detention facility.

In the background a light bulb buzzes; the heavy sound of human breathing steadily reverberates down the halls. The springs of a cot squeak; rubber shoes squeal against the floor.

The conspicuously-clothed criminals pent up in this concrete-clad cage strike up a conversation.

“So, what are you in here for?” a rough-looking character says as he leans against the wall, with his clenched fist resting on his hip.

A man with a weasel face, thick-framed glasses, and greasy hair is hunched over in the corner, watching as events unfold.

Rather rebellious-looking and shifting uneasily, a young fellow towers by the locked entrance. He knows the question was addressed to him. Yet the silence prevails.

“Well, c’mon,” the demanding questioner continues, “We don’t have all day.”

“Actually we do,” he corrects, “But I ain’t a patient person.”

The young man looks down at the floor, his face turning red.

“Blogging without a license,” he gulps. The gruff individual who asked the question stares, wide-eyed. He isn’t sure he can match it.

The weasel-faced man nods, and points to the rough-looking man (his mother never told him it was rude to point) and mutters, “Ol’ Jim here planted patented pumpkins two falls ago. Big lawsuit. You probably saw it in the news.”

“What are you here for?” the young one asks the weasel-faced man.

Weasel-face scratches his head, and looks up.

“I sold organic raw-milk goat cheese to homeschool moms,” he pauses, “In New York no less.”

“You know what’s more?” Jim the rough-looking fellow adds, “’fore he was sent to solitary, I spent five weeks in thuh’ same cell as Trademark Tim.”

The young man is new to prison life. He asks, “Am I supposed to know who that is?”

“Fresh-face, eh?” weasel-face says, “He started up a package delivery company and used the color brown. You know the rest.”

They all shudder. They know they have to watch their backs—the inhabitants of this nightmarish “detainment facility” are obviously capable of anything.

 

When everybody’s a criminal, the law can’t mean anything.

d.c.

The town that paints everything red.

More and more often in the United States, ordinary people are inadvertently turning to a life of crime; and because the federal government is so determined to stifle honest work and efficient free enterprise, this sort of “crime” definitely pays.

In fact, the cost of complying with bureaucracies’ arbitrary regulation is so exceedingly burdensome that it’s enough to destroy entire markets and firms—to say nothing of millions of lost jobs and vanishing economic efficiency.

Red tape is more than just inefficient: it is violent.

A government’s one function is to protect life, liberty, and property—thus murderers, rapists, and thieves ought to be considered criminals.

But clearly those who do nothing to deprive a person of life, liberty, or property ought not be punished by the state, and when they are, the state is surpassing its bounds and is no longer legally valid. Even if the “criminal” would not have violated the non-aggression principle, the government’s henchmen would in their enforcement of their petty federal ultimatum.

Regulations that dish out thousand-dollar fines and prison time for legal “offenses” like unlicensed hair-braiding or out-of-the-home freelancing are doing precisely what the state is meant to prevent: infringing upon inherent rights.

The state-sponsored aggression that ensues when a regulation is broken is nauseatingly inconsistent and harsh, dictated by the mood of a bureaucrat. Kids selling lemonade without a license can get a criminal record before the age of ten; bakers or photographers can be fined hundreds of thousands of dollars because they turn down a customer; someone who crosses a powerful corporation with a strong D.C. presence will be cut down in the prime of life. (I mean this in a mostly figurative sense.)

Many who lean towards free markets but can’t help but think that there ought to be a set of ground rules for each industry are overlooking the fact that laws are not magically supported by words printed on paper: the law is backed up by guns, fines, pepper spray, prison time, promises of death, and life-ruining lawsuits. Are most of the federal regulations threatening these things worth those punishments?

In the end, the mass of federal regulations torturing the economy is unwarranted interference in individual choice, a brutal manifestation of state aggression against the citizenry, and an absolute breach of legal equality. These regulations present more than moral problems: practical problems (including overfilled jails, criminalization of half the population, dramatic economic slowdowns, and inconsistent enforcement of laws) also make our foolishly large collection of regulations far from worthwhile.

Little laws here and there almost always sound like they’re for the best; the contents of voluminous thousand-page laws seem to be prudent; the powers afforded to bureaucrats sound fair enough—but this is not the case, and never will be.

Obama’s Anti-Personality Cult

obama face

A great deal has been said about the personality cults of famous politicians, and Obama’s is as good an example as any. Obamamania is the term coined for unquestioning, naïve support of the nation’s 44th president. And for the past seven or so years, plenty of conservatives have been decrying it.

 

They talk about Obama energy, Obamanation, and the Obama economy; they find as many terrible pictures of the man as possible*; they try to prove that he’s responsible for all the activities of the Democratic Party. They grumble about his wife’s healthy food hypocrisy; they snidely insist that leaders should never play “that much golf”; they poke fun at his history of eating dogs.

 

In other words, a disturbing portion of the right wing has taken to slamming the man himself and not his ideals, morals, religion, or policies.

 

Yes, these conservatives are right in some capacity: he fully supports big, intrusive government and is therefore a deplorable proponent of tyranny. As President, Obama has done loads of damage.  Yes, in politics such attacks are normal and within the rights of those who initiate them.

 

But focusing solely on this one man doesn’t improve the ideological situation in the United States—he’s just one man among millions. As soon as he’s gone, another will take his place.

 

These attacks and complaints, the anti-charisma and anti- magnetism, are never enough to ultimately change the scene of American politics or to do anything except foster dislike of one particular man.

 

However, killing his ideas of tyranny and government control would bring permanent change. Conservatives should be fighting an ideological battle, not a personal one. Men are mortal, ideas are eternal: fighting the former and ignoring the latter is a recipe for disaster.

 

Tearing down an individual and creating an anti-personality cult takes less short-term effort than putting together a logical argument and explaining it to millions of people, but it also has very few short-term benefits.

 

It’s essentially like a Kleenex box—if one is finally yanked out, another pops up. Using a flame-thrower on the whole box, however, might yield more positive results.

 

Obama’s popularity has suffered because of the conservatives’ attacks, but his ideology hasn’t.

 

Conservatives, find something better to rally against than Obama. Or better yet, find something to rally together for. Liberty would be a great place to start.

 

 

Note: finding unflattering pictures of your political opponents is fine. I do it all the time. But a bad picture isn’t your ultimate goal.
 

Burned again

It’s getting alarming how our nation seems to be in one place to some and another to the others. We all would rather live in our own little worlds than try and stop the ticking time-bomb that is being tampered with by non-professionals. At least, that’s what you have to conclude when you look around at all the turmoil in our backyards.

Where’s our sense of nationalism? My chickens might be smarter than those in power. I don’t doubt that these men and women are intelligent. I just wonder if they’re behind their time. I have pet chickens. To me they are pets. To Mom, they are egg-producing wonders. But they are fiercely loyal to their pen and will fight any chicken that invades their privacy.

For those of you who don’t have chickens, consider this example. Poor, poor Sparkle was being picked on by her sisters, who are meaner than mean(she is too, but this was before she grew up). We had two little delicate hens in a cage all by themselves, and they never pecked each other. They had raised our chicks and were tolerant and kind little mothers.

Of course, that was before they began to lay. Suddenly they realized  that any chicken that invades their space might try to be the leader. She might destroy their eggs. She might set up a dictatorship. So what did they do? They chased her around until we decided that Sparkle would be safer back with the persecutors.

Now I’m not saying that politicians should act like chickens. That would be increasingly strange (though some people wonder if the people they elected suddenly turned into chickens when they have to make a decision) and rather cruel. Just because a being is nationalistic doesn’t mean it should be elected. Hitler was, and no one has him on their ticket.

But there is something to say about being loyal. This can be played both ways, as can everything, but let’s use a small example. First of all, did you know that one of the ways the Soviet Union kept their territories under their control was splitting them along ethnic lines? Suddenly, all reason to band together was lost. These people weren’t your friends or even allies…they were enemies! Why should we help them?

Secondly, how do you identify yourself: as a person or as a part of a family? To us, it is obviously a person. To an Asian, it’s obviously a family. They are loyal to their heritage, and we are loyal to…what?

Are we loyal to our community? The color of our skin? Our nation? Our state? Or nothing? That question must be asked. Those who formed our nation were amateurs. They had never run a country before. Indeed, at first it wasn’t a country, but simply a confederation of states. No state had dominance over the others. A Massachusetts man couldn’t order a Virginian to do something. They lived as separate countries.

But war has a funny way of either uniting or dividing. Suddenly they had an enemy. Should they fight or sue for peace? It divided them at first, but they soon realized that those armies weren’t going to go away on their own. The feuding states, like their delegates, must “Hang together, or we will all surely hang separately.”

Our forefathers learned very quickly that rich or poor, white or black, Northern merchant or Southern farmer, we need to work together. Some things that were big problems before are suddenly very small. After the war, the delegates had plenty of time to argue over whether slavery was right or whether representation should be proportionate to size or equal. But during the war, things were dropped.

Today we have reached a dangerous point in our nation. The parties, both R. & D. have been corrupted by those who claim to be our friends. People no longer trust our leaders, and consequently, don’t trust those whose job is to keep peace, namely, the military. Hypocrisy flows from Washington, and We the People are angry and upset.

My study of history has led me to believe that parties have always been more political than useful, but that is a story for another time. We’re facing a dilemma. Our nation is confused. We want peace, but those who are supposed to lead us are only pouring gasoline on the fire. No wonder we’re being burned.

It’s at times like this that we are particularly vulnerable, and those who want us destroyed can rise. Maybe they’re already there. I believe that the only thing we really can do is remember. This is my land, my Father’s land, my Home.

If I can’t be proud of anything else, I can be proud of this. In the end, these leaders will bite the dust, and be forgotten. No one cares who the Secretary of Treasury was under the Washington Administration (Alexander Hamilton) I doubt more than a dozen people know who the Attorney General was either. They are long gone. Soon these names will be just that, names! But the great story goes on.

We have to remember our ultimate loyalty. God First. Family second. Country third. No matter who you are or where you live, these things matter. Our ultimate loyalty is not to those who look like us. It’s to our God in heaven, who set up laws and officials. And he said that stealing was wrong, no matter what the cause.

I’m not going to pretend that we are perfect. As a nation, we have had our triumphs and our shames. But stirring up old wrongs to serve your own motives is disgusting, no matter who you are or what the excuse is. Some people have forgotten that.

 

Black Friday’s Absurdities

black friday fallacy

On Black Friday you were bombarded with advertisements, inconvenienced by heavy traffic, and promised by local yokels and media that all the hectic and potentially lethal mobs descending on Wal-Mart and Best Buy were doing the nation’s economy a favor.

 

On small-business Saturday you were probably informed that not “supporting local business owners” could have disastrous consequences, warned of the evils of “big corporations,” and possibly guilted into dropping a few dozen dollars at the nearest mom-and-pop diner or antique shop. For the local economy’s sake, of course.

 

On Cyber Monday you might have sat home in your Snuggie (God help us all) and watched as your inbox and newsfeed blew up with allegedly unbeatable online deals; and if you didn’t, maybe you skimmed through the morning news and saw headlines about those wounded in the Black Friday skirmishes and later a few paragraphs about the economic condition of the nation.

 

And well, today, you might feel trampled—literally or figuratively, depending on whether or not you went shopping on Friday. The feeling may stick around for another month or so.

 

Although the private sector is almost entirely responsible for the December-long mall-raiding rampage, and although consumers make the choice to spend their money in this manner, there are some seriously outdated economic theories floating around in the political sphere about how consumer spending grows the economy, particularly the seasonal variety of binge-buying.

 

The Black Friday Lie . . . one of them . . .

 

You’re going to hear it from a lot of places:

 

“Strong consumer and government spending drove UK growth in the third quarter as business investment and exports contracted against an increasingly uncertain global backdrop…” – the Telegraph

 

“A pair of Commerce Department reports this week showed that consumer spending is recovering from a weak first quarter more slowly than economists expected, and some are worrying that slowdown in a sector accounting for 70 percent of the U.S. economy could foreshadow slower economic growth on the whole.” – International Business Times

 

“…holiday spending can start a virtuous cycle of spending, profits, hiring and more spending, said Richard Feinberg, professor of retail management at PurdueUniversity.” – Columbus Dispatch

 

And the Dispatch summed it all up in one fallacious headline: “Holiday spending can lift businesses, entire economy.”

 

All that trickle-down financial well-being, job growth, and impending prosperity you’ve been told comes about from the disturbing Friday, Saturday, and Monday splurges and the month-long Christmas frenzy? Lies, all lies.

 

Going bankrupt, spending well into the red, buying unnecessary products, and paying extra at small businesses for products available more cheaply elsewhere not only harms you financially, it has no aggregate economic benefit whatsoever.

 

You’re often told that consumer spending is crucial to growth because the more money individuals spend, the more money flows through the economy—and somehow that bolsters businesses and creates jobs. Savings are practically tantamount to holding back economic “growth,” or at least that’s what Keynesians have been broadcasting to eager interventionist listeners for over half a century now.

 

The problem is that Keynes’ theory disregards the difference between economic activity and economic expansion. Economic activity could be anything from a complex private sector banking system to two castaways sitting on an island and literally exchanging the same clamshell all day long. According to Keynes, the latter example is an engine for economic growth. Growth, however, is quite different from the Keynesian vision: it is greater productivity and efficiency in the allocation of resources, impossible to achieve without capital investment and savings.

 

The Law of Markets (Say’s Law) dictates that demand is caused by supply, and therefore there cannot be a consumer-led recovery at all. And even though spending may benefit some retailers a smidgen, consider what might have been. Other, possibly better, things are available, but only when consumption is delayed for a time.

 

Bastiat’s classic example of two brothers, one who spends all of his money as quickly as possible and one who delays consumption, demonstrates what savings actually do for the economy. Behind the scenes, in bank accounts and piggy banks, savings are invested in capital goods—goods that are used in the production of other goods, like factory equipment and technology. The greater efficiency afforded by such capital investment reduces the price of consumer goods, and thus technically consumer spending.

 

When a consumer decides to save and not spend, other consumers pick up the slack by borrowing those savings and using them to finance capital investment, which in turn results in a higher standard of living, greater efficiency, lower prices, and less consumer spending. Productivity and the efficient allocation of resources, not mindless spending and consuming, are the goals of an economy.

 

In short, less consumer spending can (and almost always does) mean greater capital investment and accompanying true economic growth. While the ultimate goal of the economy is to fulfill consumer needs, it can’t be done without saving.

 

Spending and consumption are not bad; you have the option to spend until you can spend no more, but keep in mind it is not the pathway to prosperity in the aggregate or otherwise.

 

The seasonal Christmas spending frenzy is pretty bad from a lot of perspectives, but the worst part is the assumption that this consumer spending leads to long-run growth.

 

 

It doesn’t.

Because Equality, Right?

The nauseating signing of the Lilly Ledbetter Act -- a great example of the fallacious assumption that economic equality is a good thing and ought to be enforced by the government.

The nauseating signing of the Lilly Ledbetter Act — a great example of the fallacious assumption that economic equality is a good thing and ought to be enforced by the government.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Few fallacious catchphrases set my blood to boiling more fiercely than equal pay for equal work. A regrettable but unquestionably catching shibboleth of a misinformed women’s “rights” movement, it’s so appealing a maxim that millions of politicians and protestors have repeated it without understanding its meaning, much less its potential results.

What the phrase implies, of course, is that remuneration for labor shouldn’t be influenced by gender alone; the leftists who so often repeat these now rather meaningless four words, however, are willing to take the cause even further into the depths of state intervention. The movement has mostly been whipped up out of the misguided contention that government should break the economy of its purportedly discriminatory ways. Because equality, right?

President Obama and his gender pay gap howler monkeys fixate on apparent employer discrimination allegedly evidenced by wage differences, but the statistically flexible pay gap is demonstrative of a normal economic phenomenon: women have different life goals than men. They choose lower-risk occupations. A great deal of them prefer flexible schedules. And as a general rule, they’re more likely to state flexibility and enjoyableness as their goals rather than earning money. Basically, they make different choices. (While the occupation choices may be because of individual preference, most of it stems from the fact that women do have different roles in society, in the economy, and in the home from that of men.)

These choices translate into economic consequences; namely, slightly less pay.

Altering the economic consequences of these choices through government fiat merely because of gender is foolish, misguided, and characteristic of short-sighted statists.

Yet despite this unchangeable truth, solutions like the Equal Pay Act of 1963, the Lily Ledbetter Act, and the Paycheck Fairness Act have all been offered up with great political fanfare.

There are many erroneous assumptions in the modern end-the-pay-gap movement, especially the notion that government can revise reality and alter the financial and economic outcomes of making different life choices, of different occupations, of different working hours, of different efficiency levels—the list could go on for a great while.

But the aspect of this gender-politics campaign that offends my economic conscience most isn’t a superficial annoyance like brazen party politics and activism-mongering for an issue that doesn’t exist.

It isn’t female legislators who assume that their gender allows them to transcend economic fact.

The chief irritation isn’t even totalitarian newscasters and deluded protestors who tawdrily demand a dramatic shift in the government’s stated purpose and our national economic structure.

What’s truly disturbing about the movement is that so many Americans assume that all varieties of equality and all means of obtaining it have the moral high ground: this is most certainly not the case, and the root of the equal pay for equal work nonsense economics leads back to a confusion between legal equality and government-enforced social equality,  two values that share a word but have nothing else in common.

 

Legal Equality

 

What sort of equality were these guys actually talking about?

What sort of equality were these guys actually talking about?

Legal equality is far from what most minorities and “underprivileged” or “unjustly treated” groups have been lead to believe about equality in general. Just as the Declaration of Independence states that all men are created equal, a government guided by the concept of legal equality will not make laws helping one group and hurting another.

 

 

Put simply, all laws apply to everybody under legal equality.

Income, skin color, or gender, for example, will not and cannot be the deciding factor in a court battle over your innocence or guilt.

Legal equality isn’t always popular.

Pundits’ and popular demands for a state solution to the “unjust” phenomenon of income inequality are similar to the cries of activists alleging that the so-called gender pay gap is a problem warranting government intervention. Yet state action in either of those areas abolishes legal equality: any attempted government solution (other than leaving it alone in the first place) will give some groups preferential treatment over others.

There’s a good reason why legal equality should be a guiding principle in government. Without a constant citizens’ vigil seeking to preserve equal rights under the law, politicians will vote themselves favors, the political majority will seek to create laws friendly to its own, and society will create a class of those who take and those who make. Those at the bottom will have no rights and no political power.

Legal equality is also crucial in an economic sense.

While involuntary servitude may seem like an extreme, unlikely occurrence even in developed interventionist economies that aren’t governed by the principle of legal equality, such a governmental system is well attuned (if not ideal) for the exploitation of the minority.

A majority of the population enslaving another group through sheer force, thereby creating an underclass or serfdom, is no different than the same majority determining that the minority’s assets were “unjustly” large and then legally dividing the politically powerless minority’s  hard-earned income and material goods more “equally.”

In either scenario, the minority is being forced to work for someone else without reaping the benefits—and that’s the definition of involuntary servitude.

Due to a very predictable aspect of human nature, involuntary servitude of all kinds is less efficient than the mutually beneficial exchanges characteristic of a capitalist economic system. Without legal equality, there are marked moral, political, and economic consequences.

As Mises noted, the maintenance of social peace is crucial to the peaceful development of the division of labor. “But it is well nigh impossible to preserve lasting peace in a society in which the rights and duties of the respective classes are different,” he said in Liberalism.

He continues in the same chapter:

“…the socialists say, it is not enough to make man equal before the law. In order to make them really equal, one must also allot them the same income. It is not enough to abolish privileges of birth and rank. One must finish the job and do away with the greatest and most important privilege of all, namely, that which is accorded by private property.”

And that’s where government-enforced social equality comes in.

 

Government-enforced social equality

 

As it turns out, this Great Equalizer -- Mao Zedong -- killed up to 78 million people for communism. And rather worryingly, he mentioned "equal pay for equal work."

As it turns out, this Great Equalizer — Mao Zedong — killed up to 78 million people for communism. And rather worryingly, he mentioned “equal pay for equal work.”

In short, this government-enforced social “equality” is the opposite of legal equality. It is the precursor to and abstruse goal of full socialism and government micromanagement. And it must be emphasized that social equality can never exist side by side with legal equality in any one given situation. Modern-day women’s “rights” movements strive for this statist bliss, but all the while maintain a façade that they’re still campaigning for equal legal rights.

The comprehensive immigration reform that leftists keep promising pretends to call for equal legal rights, when in reality it is for exemption from the law altogether for a specific group of politically connected people. Having laws apply to some but not others invalidates legal equality. Applying laws to some and not others is the only way to achieve this social “equality” of which totalitarians speak.

Social equality that totalitarians advocate is not about governing and judging humankind by the areas in which they are equal—their created state, unalienable rights, and human nature—but about governing and judging men according to the areas in which they are unequal. It is about central planners adopting a moral code; it is about measuring up all of society to their arbitrary code and then reacting accordingly with the full coercive force of government.

It’s about making all citizens equal in substance, in possessions, in material goods, and in income (but of course, some are more equal than others).

 

Social equality means abolition of legal equality

 

If you want government-enforced social equality (i.e., socialism and redistribution) talk to the Communists.

If you want government-enforced social equality (i.e., socialism and redistribution) talk to the Communists.

While social equality in and of itself is not an evil or unacceptable state, it’s definitely impossible; and particularly in light of the method in which it has traditionally been pursued—complete government control of the economy—it is an evil thing.

Full government control of the economy is the only way to redistribute wealth and regulate the capitalists, and redistributing and regulating is the only way that social equality can even begin to be achieved. And that’s where the big problems begin.

Any governmental system that allows for the redistribution of wealth will be corrupted, quickly and badly; and any governmental system that controls the economy requires very specific, non-general action to operate at all. The presence of “social equality” negates legal equality. Combine this with inevitable insatiable greed on the part of whoever’s running the show—be it a dictator, committee, or voters under a democratic system—and you’ve got a system bred for discord, instability, political unrest, economic collapse, poverty, a police state, political oppression, and varying degrees of involuntary servitude.

The only means by which the state can pursue social equality is, in fact, redistribution and laws that apply to one group but not another. Government will hurt some, help others, and run the whole economy on the basis of central planners’ ideal of social justice (whatever that may be). It’s an ambiguous, arbitrary, and unknown goal of “justice” and material equality.

As Hayek said:

“In fact, as planning becomes more and more extensive, it becomes regularly necessary to qualify legal provisions increasingly by reference to what is ‘fair’ or ‘reasonable’; this means that it becomes necessary to leave the decision of the concrete case more and more to the discretion of the judge or authority in question.”

In other words, when government seeks social equality, it can only do so through controlling the economy; controlling the economy necessitates planning; planning means that the Rule of Law is completely absent. 

Whereas individuals in a free market decide on their own what is “fair” or “reasonable,” in a socialist economy—which is the only type of economy compatible with seeking social equality—planners must decide, and decide arbitrarily, according to their individual concepts of fairness or reason, absolutely impossible to align with the public’s diverse moral and logical codes.

If the absence of legal equality means injustice (as I certainly contend) then adopting social equality as a goal, despite its advocates’ muddleheaded claims that it’s the only way to justice, is perhaps one of the most unjust economic goals a government can formulate.

Furthermore, to produce the precise same results for women as for men means it is necessary to treat them differently; this means the abolition of both legal equality and the Rule of Law in that area.

Anything the government does to equalize the economy or financially assist certain portions of the economy destroys legal equality and disregards that all men are created equal and should be governed the same.

 

 Social Equality’s manifestations

occupy wall street

These Occupy Wall Street protestors assumed that income inequality needed to be managed by government — and oddly enough, they invoked equality to support their cause.
Other logical errors and problems with their arguments aside, income redistribution always means the abolition of legal equality.

Protective tariffs and import restrictions, welfare, food stamps, socialized healthcare, the construction of government infrastructure, graduated tax brackets, all forms of subsidization and crony capitalism, public schools, amnesty, and social security are just a few examples of government action that by nature must treat different groups of people differently. Some are helped, some are hurt—because government has no funds on its own, anything that it pays for is paid for by a certain group of taxpayers whether they enjoy the benefits or not.

If legal equality is necessary and social equality negates it, government treating all humankind equally is just; government making all humankind equal in substance is definitely not.

If legal equality is something we must strive for, then big government is entirely out of the question. Economic interference on the part of the state can only lead to the destruction of legal equality, and therefore freedom, the free market, and financial stability.

 

All men are created equal, or all men need to be made equal?

 

The implicit socioeconomic goal in the statement all men are created equal couldn’t be more different then the agenda of “equal pay for equal work” advocates, who want preferential legal treatment from the state for a group that’s somehow better than the rest.

Legal equality is the backbone of capitalist economies and free, minimally governed societies.

Social equality is government coercion in the economic sphere (and thus necessarily individual life), excessive legal plunder to accommodate a technically permissible system of looting and subsequent redistribution, and complete disregard of the actual usefulness and efficiency of workers and occupations in relation to the remuneration they receive.

Social equality and legal equality ought never to be confused, considered compatible, or thought to be one and the same. They are opposites. They cannot exist side by side. While conservatives in the United States fight the alleged gender pay gap with statistics, they ought to hit at the heart of the matter: social equality is not true equality, and working towards this government-enforced equality rips apart the fabric that holds a capitalist economy and a free society together.

 

Not all types of equality are equal.

In conclusion, the biggest ideological flaw in many arguments for and against various categories of redistribution is definitely the failure to recognize that not all forms of equality are equal—and they shouldn’t be treated like they are.

I’m not allowed to bring a knife to a gun fight

Jim Bowie and his illegal knife. (Painting by Michael Schrek.)

Jim Bowie and his illegal knife. (Painting by Michael Schrek.)

Much to my chagrin, I recently discovered I can’t carry a broadsword into Whataburger.

 

Concealed carry of daggers in the local Wal-Mart is strictly forbidden; walking down the street with a Bowie knife, concealed or not, is entirely illicit.

 

Unlike with firearms—which I won’t be able to own until age eighteen or conceal until age twenty-one—Texas law prohibits citizens from legally carrying knives anywhere except in their own homes, in their own vehicles, or in vehicles “under their control.”

 

As it turns out, the state can’t trust citizens with sharp, pointy objects. Someone might get hurt. Yet oddly enough, the state allows, to an extent, ownership and concealed carry of handguns.

 

The liberality afforded gun owners ought to be expanded and liberalized a great deal more, but it does provide a decent framework for what knife and blade laws should more closely resemble. As it is now, citizens aren’t left with many options regarding knives and blades:

 

  •  Under current law, all blades over 5.5 inches long are illegal to conceal or open carry.
  •  All throwing knives and throwing stars are illegal to conceal or open carry.
  •  All “stabbing knives,” daggers, dirks, and stilettos are illegal to conceal or open carry.
  •  All swords and spears are illegal to conceal or open carry. (I’d actually like to see this done.)
  •  And perhaps most humiliating of all to Texans, Bowie knives are illegal to conceal or open carry. (Hang your head in shame, lawmakers.)

 

In 2013, HB 1862 loosened restrictions on switchblades. It was one miniscule step in the right direction.

 

Bringing a knife to a gun fight isn’t usually an overtly wise choice, but in Texas law-abiding citizens don’t have the freedom to make that choice—and for a time and again disproved reason: the assumption that weapon-restricting laws can reduce crime. But everywhere the law’s been attempted, the exact opposite has happened.

 

As the saying goes, the only thing that can stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun; criminals intent on killing innocent victims are already breaking the law, and the realization that they’re wandering into a gun free zone or violating a portion of the Texas Penal Code (no criminal would ever do that, obviously) certainly isn’t going to stop them.

 

Knife and blade laws aren’t going to do a thing to stop blade-related crimes; but what they do manage is to tie the hands of citizens and give them even more by-the-inch government regulations in their lives.

 

Texas should leave the blade restrictions to the People’s Republic of New York and the muddleheaded European continent.

 

If you want to bring a knife to a gunfight, that’s your business.

Of Politicians and Hobbits (spoiler warning)

frodo23Frodo Baggins is a lot like a politician.

He inherits a problem—an evil ring of power—from his uncle, who’s become overly attached to it and doesn’t understand all the problems it can cause (just like the others who previously owned the ring).

Frodo’s given the task of destroying it.

 

Almost immediately Frodo is trailed by a completely succumbed previous ring-bearer. This creature, known as Gollum, has killed for possession of the ring before and would do it again.

 

Meanwhile, Frodo is fighting and vowing to not become like Gollum; yet it’s practically unavoidable. The enchantment is too strong.

ryan and frodo

 

The insane previous ring-bearer offers to “help” Frodo and his bodyguard, Sam. He’s going to walk them to Mordor for the sole purpose of destroying the ring. But not before carefully triggering some infighting, separating Frodo and Sam, and then leading dazed Frodo into a giant spider’s lair.

gollum and smeagol

 

At the crucial moment, as he’s about to cast the ring into the fires of Mount Doom, he decides the ring is mine. It would have remained so, but the previous ring-bearer lunges forward and gruesomely steals it—and in the fray, falls into the fire.

it's mine, bros

 

After a little drama, Frodo and Sam walk home. Frodo is left with lasting scars, Sam returns to the Shire that he originally left with the sole purpose of protecting (along with Mr. Frodo, of course), and both of them are considered strange hobbits for the rest of their days.

quayle and bush

Gradual and Silent Encroachments: How Big Government Threatens More Than Your Pocketbooks

tea party protest

America was founded on freedom of expression, thought, and association; yet slowly it seems to betray its heritage.

“If freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.” – George Washington

 

Free speech is the beginning of liberty; without it, other freedoms are naught more than vain trivialities, token privileges bestowed by law on those who meekly hold their peace and utter no dissent — implicit or explicit it matters not.

 

For thousands of years, governments have attempted to control thoughts and speech, to little ultimate avail. Thoughts have no measure; words have no weight; government of the physical realm cannot halt the ever-occupied minds of men nor can it ever completely silence the minds that attempt to share their findings.

 

Limiting freedom of expression is the beginning of the end of freedom. Totalitarians know the method to be effective, just like immobilizing an army is the way to conquer a territory or neutralizing an immune system is the way for a microscopic foe to defeat the human body. The asphyxiating burden of government very seldom utilizes sheer force to subdue the population, but rather simple limits on what thoughts are acceptable for public expression and what thoughts aren’t permissible for open articulation.

 

And in the western world, one can observe the gradual dissolution of freedom of speech, in politics, in academics, in business. This is a perfectly natural result of government involvement in citizens’ everyday lives: when agriculture, healthcare, transportation, education, and business fall under the watchful eye of centralized government, commonplace glitches, inconveniences, and disagreements take on unearthly political significance.

 

Issues government previously ignored are suddenly threatening to bureaucrats. If the state is in charge of marriage, the immediate result would be that marriage is no longer a moral issue, but a political one. If government creates a controversial regulation on, say, raw milk or GMOs, the issue is instantly politicized; it won’t be a consumer’s choice or a simple matter of grocery store decision-making anymore. If government bans certain forms of home heating, even firewood and coal become a bitterly polemical dispute. Those who use wood-fueled furnaces can become enemies of the state; people who support traditional marriage for reasons of religion can be placed on the terrorist watch list.

 

This is yet another reason why the yoke of socialism grows heavy so quickly: it spreads exponentially, popping up in political factions like a weed and rearing its speciously attractive head in one affair here and another there, promising to solve the aggravating problems ailing humanity, yet instead failing and failing miserably. Covering up this failure does involve a great deal of censorship, and attempting to satisfy the delicate balance of big government most certainly includes the silencing of nonconformists.

 

Big government, no matter how innocent the regulations it is setting forth may seem, limits speech with its size. The freedom a man has to say what he will without a regulatory, legal, or literal lynching is in direct proportion to how intrusive and how large his government is. An all-powerful state is like a one-ton cow sitting on the chest of a man — there isn’t really a way for the man to say anything, much less go anywhere or make progress.

 

Socialism is an extremely convincing lie. It offers liberation to the working classes, safety, equality, rights, and convenience. Many people see through the façade when faced with full socialism, but interventionism seems like a bargain. Rather than delivering the compromised utopia it promises, interventionism creates a gigantic state paving the way for full socialism. It alters democracy’s essence and leaves it an empty shell of broken promises and hollow traditions.

 

As odious and vile as the curtailment of speech is perceived, many times it is introduced in a democratic form of government by a majority. By its very nature, the infringement of the right to expression is something that must be forced on one group by another, more powerful or larger, group.

 

Winston Churchill aptly put it: “Everyone is in favor of free speech. Hardly a day passes without its being extolled, but some people’s idea of it is that they are free to say what they like, but if anyone else says anything back, that is an outrage.” In other words, government run by a majority with no restrictions is a formidable threat to free speech.

 

America (and many western nations slipping into socialism around the world) is making a hypocrite of herself. With its global paragons of democratic virtue, the west is the epitome of saying one thing and doing another; demanding free speech yet strong-arming citizens into silence.

 

In academics and politics particularly, two areas dominated by government and its cronies and the two areas where strong discussion is critical, speech is gradually becoming more and more stifled. The sort of “freedom” and “democracy” that silences its citizens is a far cry from what the nation’s founders hoped for, but not too inconceivably distant from the current situation. “Democracy” that censors and scrubs political, academic, and religious thought is a whitewashed tomb, a culture that has a concept of what is right, good, and beautiful and attempts to maintain the image of goodness while blatantly betraying those standards in academia and government.

 

The United States’ situation has a long way to go yet, before it goes the way of the Soviet Union regarding free speech – but the thing that should bother every American is that it goes this way in the first place. In the end, increasing government’s size and scope has direct ramifications on freedom of expression. The more intrusive a government’s jurisdiction is, the less freedom of speech there is: this fact has been proven hundreds of times even in the past century.

 

Americans must realize, and subsequently act upon the fact, that big government threatens more than just pocketbooks. It ultimately threatens freedom itself.

 

James Madison explained, “I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.”

 

The gradual and silent encroachments Madison mentioned have been quietly progressing for over a hundred years. As mentioned previously, Americans are still quite free in most situations to say what they want; but government’s growth and looming involvement in citizens’ lives from birth to death menaces one important part of what America’s founders held dear.

 

 

The Truth About Robber Barons

During the "Gilded Age," when crony capitalism was at its height, businessmen furthering their private interests through public funding became known as robber barons -- yet leftist have essentially inverted the meaning of the term in the past 150 years.

During the “Gilded Age,” when crony capitalism was at its height, businessmen furthering their private interests through public funding became known as robber barons — yet leftist have essentially inverted the meaning of the term in the past 150 years.

Robber baron: a reprehensibly misleading term, purposefully deceptive, and definitely more than a matter of semantics.

 

Such derogatory titles for entrepreneurs and businessmen apply particularly to the giants of industry that rose up in the Gilded Age, an era of unprecedented economic growth and in its own right, an extreme amount of crony capitalism.

 

Lamentably, the term has been constituent to socialistic propaganda for over a century yet is rarely recognized for that distinction – calling private sector businessmen robber barons is something that even classical liberals have done from time to time, wittingly and unwittingly; the term has been incorporated into American speech, where it remains unnoticed, unconsidered, and unevaluated.

 

What is bothersome about such an adjectival mishap is not that millions of people mislabel something so often, but that they genuinely misunderstand the very nature of capitalism.

 

Calling businessmen robber barons is the same as saying that businessmen are marauding feudal lords subjugating citizens and initiating armed conflicts on a whim. This is, in the United States at least, grossly inaccurate.

 

In an interventionist or socialist economy (somewhat similar to a feudal or mercantilist system in that favored businessmen either wield power or influence in or over the ruthless coercive force known as the state) it would be supremely appropriate to label state cronies – in charge of the collectivized or nationalized means of production – as robber barons.

 

After all, any individual who unfairly benefits from government resources is benefiting not from conjured-up state funds with which the government has a right to do as it pleases; this individual is profiting from the hard-earned property of citizens, seized under the guise of legal plunder.

 

It would be entirely accurate to call a head of a state-owned corporation or a government-funded businessman a robber baron, and here’s why: government is sheer force, coercion, rules, mandatory action. And if anything, the fact that government is most famous for taking (in excess) what doesn’t belong to it should be an indicator that it is the institution comprised of robber barons, not private sector businesses that can only operate on the basis of persuasion, supply and demand, and natural market forces.

 

Taxing and then spending the money on private interests is deplorable in the eyes of citizens, save the citizens whose private interests are benefiting. Depriving the populace of the fruits of its labor and subsequently handing over cash to the politically favored is unjust.

 

As Thomas DiLorenzo notes, there is a difference between a political entrepreneur and a market entrepreneur. One connives, manipulates, and lobbies to exclude or stifle competition or to obtain illicit government funding; the other works to build a better product or offer a more efficient service, and thus to convince consumers that his product is the one worth buying.

The former are always essentially robber barons – the go about their business through coercion – but the latter are working through mutually beneficial exchanges, with consent from all parties involved.

 

Capitalism’s beauty lies in its freedom for the individual and mutual benefits. Mises famously said that “cotton kings” or “chocolate kings” or “automobile kings” or any type of industry leader cannot satisfy the implicit definition of the term robber baron without resorting to methods strictly outside of the free market’s bounds. In a free market, businessmen cannot force anyone to do anything without breaking the law or violating the principles of the free market itself.

 

Do robber barons say things like “the customer is always right”? Certainly not – but robber barons do, in fact, attempt to limit or ban the imports of competitors’ products, establish a licensing racket, lobby lawmakers to fund or cut their business some slack, and a host of other shady interferences in the free market.

 

In a capitalist economy, it is possible – as unfortunate as it sounds – for a participant to be financially exploited, misused, or wronged; but only if the aforementioned participant agreed to it first. If he didn’t agree, then it’s violating the inherent rights of this consumer to life, liberty, and property and thus cannot fit, legally, within the capitalist system.

 

Feudal lords and socialist taskmasters, most people will intuit, did not and do not generally ask their victims’ permission before plundering, taxing, raising prices exorbitantly, stealing land, or demanding bribes.

 

In a free market, businessmen aren’t and can’t be robber barons – in crony capitalism, feudalism, socialism, interventionism, or mercantilism, there are always robber barons. In the absence of a free market, an economy will revolve around central planning and bureaucracy. Central planning and bureaucracy always mean corruption, stagnation, and (you guessed it) the likes of robber barons: individuals using public resources to further private interests.

 

Conversely, in a free market businessmen are forced not only to ask permission, but to treat customers and employees well. Wages and working conditions must be satisfactory or the employer will be bought out and left without competent workers, or any workers at all; in capitalism, there is a financial and self-benefiting incentive to “do the right thing”; in socialism, other than the shady restrictions laid out by the state, there remains no reason to maintain a pretense of niceties – there is no competition, no alternative, no way out, and no reason to do a good job or innovate.

 

In the end, the totalitarian nickname for capitalist businessmen – the robber baron – is only applicable to socialists, crony capitalists, and yes, feudal lords, operating within their own system.

Obama: “We don’t have a strategy yet”

we don't have a strategy yet

President Obama wore a light tan suit for the second time in recorded history last wednesday.

WASHINGTON – After the onset of nuclear war, an epidemic of a lethal airborne respiratory virus that slowly transforms humans into rabid flying squirrels, and the beginning of the end of the world, President Obama said at a Wednesday press conference that he does not have a strategy.

“I don’t want to put the cart before the horse,” he said, “We don’t have a strategy yet.”

He went on to explain, “We need to make sure that we’ve got clear plans, that we’re developing them. At that point, I will consult with Congress and make sure that their voices are heard … but there’s no point in me asking for action on the part of Congress before I know exactly what it is that is going to be required for us to get the job done.”

The President later stated that he will decide when and how to take action in a couple of weeks (assuming the earth is still in existence) after he consults with top political donors and politically correct celebrities, and after several days of intense golfing.

“I can’t rush my decision,” he continued, “Whatever strategy I develop needs to be the right one, for the American people and the world.”

President Obama made no further remarks on the doomsday situation on planet earth nor on his second wearing of a light suit, noting that “it’s five o’ clock and the day is over.”

The Blood of Patriots and Tyrants

"President Abraham Lincoln, signer of the Declaration of Independence and the great general who led the (unknown number) of French colonies against the tyrannical empire of Canada."

“President Abraham Lincoln, signer of the Constitution on July 4th, and the great general who led the seventeen original French colonies against the tyrannical empire of Canada.”

“Time after time mankind is driven against the rocks of the horrid reality of a fallen creation. And time after time mankind must learn the hard lessons of history – the lessons that for some dangerous and awful reason we can’t seem to keep in our collective memory.” – Hilaire Belloc

Of any age group, teenagers and young adults are the least likely to know the correct answers to basic United States history questions – a disturbing trend that threatens not only national identity, but also national well-being.

More than a fifth of American teens do not know which country the thirteen colonies declared independence from in 1776 – 14% think it was France, 5% think it was Canada.

82% of interviewed Lumberton residents do not recognize the name “Millard Fillmore.”

89% could not name the first six U.S. Presidents, in order or out of order.

48% identified Abraham Lincoln as a signer of the Declaration of Independence. (Hint: he was elected President 84 years after 1776.)

26% cannot name the sides that fought in the Civil War – some said it involved Canada, others said Mexico, and some mentioned that it was between West and East.

Evangelist Ray Comfort and political activist Mark Dice are just two examples of interviewers who have asked “the man on the street” elementary questions, like “Who was Adolf Hitler?”

In the age of information, when so much of the world’s history is at our fingertips, when the knowledge and experience of the generations before us are accessible to the masses like never before, how come we don’t know the most basic details about how our nation came to be?

Thomas Jefferson said that the “tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”

Millions of Americans gave their lives so that we may live free from the yoke of tyrants and oppressors. Is it even in our place as Americans, living in the freest, most privileged, most prosperous nation on earth, to forget them who gave their lives so we may live ours to the fullest — in freedom and comfort?

Around the globe, hundreds of millions have perished under the very tyrants that selfless patriots have opposed. Dare we forget the millions upon millions of victims who have died as a result of human carelessness, tyranny, and depravity, some of it evils our own ancestors died fighting?

Ultimately, the one death that will matter to the end of time is Christ’s. Our nation has most of all forgotten His undying love, His ultimate sacrifice, and the blood He shed so that we may live in spiritual freedom.

The state of affairs is less than ideal when a people refuses to remember the blood of patriots and refuses to acknowledge the reign of tyrants, but how much worse it is when that people refuses to recognize the blood of Christ.

Knowing and understanding history is essential to maintaining the freedom and prosperity of the United States, and more importantly, Christianity’s unhindered presence here.

Learning the past gives us an identity, a sense of where we have been, where we should go, where we should never go, and where we are now. America has forgotten the consequences of accepting what God hates and spurning what he loves – and yes, there are most tangible consequences.

Samuel Johnson said that “the recollection of the past is only useful by way of provision for the future.”  And as Richard Weaver said, “Those who have no concern for their ancestors will, by simple application of the same rule, have none for their descendants.”

For reasons that exceed earthly bounds and go past the grave, history is important: never forget the blood of patriots and tyrants.

 

Patriotism: Good or Bad?

 

True patriotism is love of one's country. Its antithesis: love of government.

True patriotism is love of one’s country. Its antithesis: love of government.

 

In 2014, to some the word patriotism carries with it an aura of hero-worship from FDR’s days, a hint of Washington propaganda, and most of all a dangerous – and unfortunately, oftentimes effective – push for unconditional support of the central government’s policy, all in the name of national image and “American exceptionalism.”

The term “patriotism” bothers many libertarians and advocates of smaller government. The Austrian School of Economics is quick to point out the damage done in the name of “patriotism” and national pride; some have even gone so far as to say that love of country is economically detrimental and opens a door for big government.

Essentially, what has come to be known as liberalism – a better name for it is totalitarianism – is in direct conflict with traditional patriotism: a patriot loves his country, a liberal loves his government. There is a difference. One is good, the other is a statist variation.

Muddled terms and blurred lines

It is true: politicians and government-loving interventionists everywhere have hijacked the word that once signified a force holding our government to its constitution. They have used it to the advantage of the traditional patriot’s antithesis, the totalitarian. After a busy century of term-swapping and muddling borders (physical, ideological, and terminological), the left has fostered a misconception that patriotism includes unconditional support of government.

Most libertarians have no issue with national or cultural pride, but any true libertarian (or any conservative-minded citizen) will disagree with unconditional loyalty to all government policies.

For instance, an American disgruntled with Washington may say he is no longer “patriotic” or “proud of my country” when what he really means to say is that he disagrees with Washington’s power-grabbing policies. Occasionally libertarians will claim that patriotism is hurtful to the cause of freedom; quite the opposite.

True textbook-definition patriotism is very helpful, almost essential, to winning and maintaining freedom – if you didn’t love your country, do you think you would really care whether or not future generations had the benefits of liberty? Would you care if there was government oppression? Would you risk your life to tell the government that it was wrong?

Some libertarians have misjudged the importance of American patriotism: while it is not impossible for freedom to come into being without it, it is a powerful motivator that pushes passionate patriots to fight against oppression.

True patriotism, a love of one’s nation, is not love of one’s government. When a person is willing to die for the cause of liberty, that is patriotism, not blind loyalty to government.

In 1776, those in favor of secession from Britain were known as the Patriots – and most definitely not because they supported their government. They did, however, love their people and their freedom.

The Darker Side

Although patriotism is a beautiful thing, it has a darker side when the left contorts its definition. For one, the manner in which politicians will ensnare citizens with the word patriotism; for two, the way that incompatible ideologies like socialism will exploit a love of country and transform it into a sinister, cult-like mob movement; and for three, confusing citizens into accepting short-sighted policies like trade protectionism, claiming that the alternative hurts Americans and America when in reality it’s only a lobbyist-sparked initiative to allow businessmen extra profits and a near-monopoly status.

This is where patriotism can become a bad thing. It’s the side of “patriotism” that has libertarians and small-government activists worried.

Presidents plead with citizens to endorse plans for war, invoking patriotism and promising that national greatness will diminish without it. Lawmakers insist that the true patriot will do his part to support Washington’s next great scheme. Nearly every politician in America is at some time or other forced to admit or lie that they have a scrap of “patriotism” in them just to appease their voter base.

In almost all official definitions, patriotism is defined as a love of country; not a love of government, government policy, or sheep-like loyalty to Washington.

A country is so much more than its government: it is a culture (sometimes many), a way of life, a common cause. Government does not equal a country; it is merely the official political and legal representation of that country’s people (official, maybe, but as is the case in North Korea, certainly not legitimate representation).

Patriotism and support of the government are as different as supporting our troops and endorsing a war. There is a distinct difference.

Totalitarianism and Patriotism

Totalitarianism wants nothing more than to exploit patriotism for a time, to establish an unfaltering obedience and support from citizens.

To accomplish this goal, an ideology naturally opposed to true American patriotism had to appear as if it were patriotic. In the end, the left’s advocates did what they always do: change the meaning of a word and then base a decades-long propaganda campaign on it.

Modern liberalism (to clarify, we are most definitely not referencing classical liberalism) does not really want the best for America, its people, or even the world – it merely wants power. Ultimately, a government powerful enough to control everything about life is the end result of modern liberalism.

American patriotism is national pride and a desire for a people’s and a nation’s well-being, to fend off attackers, enemies, and detractors of that nation.

Liberalism is patriotism’s enemy: it is the attacker and the detractor that wants to bring down what our founding fathers built up.

Modern liberalism’s goal is for America to be defined by government only, to blur the very lines between culture, lifestyle, language, and political issues, to introduce everything into the government’s scope.

Love of Country

It is clear that patriotism is not bad – but its mutant-like variants engineered, exploited, and misconstrued by politicians have a very dark side.

The 1776 patriots weren’t acting out of loyalty for a political institution or government, they were acting for freedom, for themselves and for their people. Unlike what the left would have you believe, a patriot does not agree and accept everything that government tries to cram down his throat.

A patriot loves his country, a liberal loves his government. Love of country sometimes means opposing one’s government. Love of government always means opposing one’s country.

The FDA: All About Fads

Widespread dietary issues in the United States don't need to be subjected to more federal interference, but rather, less.

Widespread dietary issues in the United States don’t need to be subjected to more federal interference, but rather, less.

Hundreds of lawsuits, thousands of fuming activists, an entire government administration, dozens of significant Congressional moves, and even proposals to cap the size of sodas have resulted from America’s supposedly offensive eating habits.

 

Advocates of government intervention are all too quick to find a problem (currently the most hyped-up issue is the obesity epidemic) and demand that Washington, D.C. address the situation by throwing money at it, assigning a few Congressional-Chief-of-Staff wannabes to a federal administration, and tossing a couple hundred tactical Barney Fifes in the mix for good measure.

 

After successfully shooting down decent education standards and methods, punishing men and women who chose to risk their lives serving our country, butting into medical matters, squeezing between manufacturers and consumers everywhere, and regulating everything from chemical elements in dish soap to the size of seat belts, it was only natural that the federal government would also insist on meddling in what Americans are and are not allowed to eat.

 

The Left despises almost everything American, and yes – that includes diet.

 

The “obesity epidemic” and the rise of weight-related health problems in the United States is definitely a problem, but Washington bureaucrats aren’t the solution and never will be. Government can only do a few things in any situation: tax, subsidize, ban, ignore, or talk about a given problem.

 

For years now, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has adopted a policy of doing each and every one of those things to different foods, manufacturers, and corporations –it isn’t a game of chance, nor is it a matter of what’s scientifically or nutritionally better for the American people. Everything is decided by lobbyists’ money.

 

Government taxing, subsidizing, or banning a product almost always has a negative effect, but it can get worse. When lobbyists introduce cash and the bureaucrats accept it, the American people end up with a corrupt stronghold of special interests dollars fighting against their best interests.

 

Limited consumer options, wealth redistribution, and high food prices are the best the federal government has to offer; the only true solution to America’s dietary woes – if they can be called woes – is to permanently do away with the middleman between consumers and food: namely, government. Allowing free market forces to prosper is the only solution to the problem.

 

Constitutional Authority: Zilch

 

First and foremost, the federal government has no constitutional authority to interfere with food: the Tenth and Ninth Amendments strictly prohibit it. “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people,” reads the Ninth — meaning that even though there isn’t an amendment specifically regarding federal regulation of food, you still have the right.

The Tenth Amendment is fairly self-explanatory: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” The FDA has no legal right to exist in the United States.

 

Central planners, the only beings that can make adequate food choices.

 

The very concept of central planners – particularly in the area of diet, food choices, and food manufacturing – defies everything that modern liberalism claims to support. Specifically equality, diversity, and justice.

 

If the entire nation (except for the gifted minority running the FDA) is deemed incapable of making its own dietary choices, the left’s “equality” façade becomes apparent. Big government in and of itself assumes that a nation is an institution full of sheep-like citizens so dull they cannot be trusted to make a satisfactory decision about what’s for dinner. Central planners are not the only adequately equipped beings on the planet that can make food choices – although that’s a stretch, because it has yet to be decided if central planners as individuals are capable of making decent dietary choices.

 

The definition of liberty: “the state of being free within society from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one’s way of life, behavior, or political views.” One’s way of life most definitely does include eating habits. Even from a textbook-defined point of view, the FDA curtails freedoms and intrudes where it’s not welcome.

 

FDA: all about fads

 

Central planners are not only against equality, liberty, and property, they’re corrupt. And they’re government, meaning that they are first in line to accept politically correct standards and fads.

 

The FDA never does promote food safety; it promotes political correctness. In the 60s and 70s, Washington began promoting eating less meat, eggs, and dairy; in the 90s, it began pushing carbohydrates and low-fat options. Currently the government is attempting to promote more vegetables and whole grains.

 

If you sense a flip-flop, maybe that’s because there is one. Knowledge is constantly changing, the scientifically proven and nutritionally ideal diet is always morphing into something new.

 

When it’s considered that what may be assumed as healthy at the moment may actually be tantamount to poison, it makes even less sense to have a central planning organization that bans certain foods and promotes their “safe” and “healthy” alternatives.

 

Barney Fife, revisited

 

barney fifeWhoever thought it was a good idea to give milk regulators machine guns? The FDA is more than a nuisance, it’s a dangerous nuisance. If you start to sell raw cheese or unpasteurized milk, expect a visit from the FDA’s modern-day equivalent of Barney Fife.

 

When government micromanages citizens’ lives, it fosters a police-state mentality. Evidenced by federal sting operations on Amish farms and food co-ops, personal food preference is a crime with the FDA. Importing your food may land you in jail; eating your favorite cheese may be a federal crime; bringing your own lunch to school could be a no-no with stiff consequences.

 

Diet is one of the most personal aspects of life on earth: religion, lifestyle, health problems, preferences, allergies, and price ranges define what a person eats. When government mandates what is allowed and what isn’t, whether raw milk is bad for you or if organic food must be certified, the state eliminates possibilities and violates the inherent rights of mankind.

 

The only solution

 

In the 70s, the FDA’s pet peeve was heart disease; now it’s the obesity epidemic. No matter what the case, the problem could be solved not by more government intervention in what Americans eat, but by less. Fewer regulations means lower food prices; lower food prices means more healthy eating options (for those of us with less grocery money than Michelle Obama has at her disposal).

 

A free market allows you to eat what you want, when you want – but you have to pay, and you have to face the consequences of your decisions.

 

In the end, the lawsuits, fuming activists, and insanely unworkable proposals about banning fast food or GMOs, keeping raw milk illegal, or mandating “nutritious” school lunches is unjustifiable totalitarian baloney.

 

We the People: the relevance of constitutions

The Constitution is at its strongest when "We the People" stand behind it and protect it. At this point, the nation isn't. Where does that leave the conservative movement?

The Constitution is at its strongest when “We the People” stand behind it and protect it. At this point, “We the People” most definitely aren’t. Where does that leave the conservative movement?

“Don’t interfere with anything in the Constitution. That must be maintained, for it is the only safeguard of our liberties,” Abraham Lincoln once said.

 

Lincoln, perhaps the most unconstitutionally-inclined president in United States history, managed a half-truth in the above quote. While the U.S. Constitution is the best of its kind and probably always will be, it remains a mere piece of paper – an aging piece of paper, at that: signed over two hundred years ago; forgotten altogether by Washington, D.C.; and trampled on by decades of bureaucracy, scandals, corruption, and undue government intervention.

 

If the Constitution was the only safeguard of liberty, the United States would have been a dictatorship ten years into its existence.

 

Unconstitutionality is an undesirable thing in the United States, from a viewpoint favorable to life, liberty, and property, because our Constitution is a critical element in preserving freedom.

 

Disregarding one’s own constitution may be thought of as a bad thing; yet human-rights abominations such as North Korea, Cuba, and China all more or less follow their own constitutions. In every country with a constitution, there will also be constitutionalists – oftentimes individuals that will ideologically deify a document.

 

A communist or a Nazi can be a constitutionalist – it simply depends on which constitution they ideologically adhere to. Constitutions in and of themselves are nothing, in the grand scheme of things.

 

The United States constitution is meant to be a tyranny preventative, but the protection it offers is far from an automatic occurrence. Lincoln was wrong about the exclusivity of the Constitution as safeguard of our liberties:

 

“The strength of the Constitution lies entirely in the determination of each citizen to defend it. Only if every single citizen feels duty bound to do his share in this defense are the constitutional rights secure.” – Albert Einstein

 

Today’s conservatives consistently point to “unconstitutional” goings-on – government activities breaching the legal parameters the Founders left for them – but never bring up another reason why the law or action is wrong. It’s a fatal mistake for the cause of liberty.

 

If the people do not respect the Constitution, neither do the lawmakers; if the lawmakers do not respect the Constitution, it is a powerless legal boundary meaningful only to schoolchildren and tourists, peering at it through several inches of bulletproof glass and layers upon layers of excuses in the National Archives.

 

At this point, “We the People” are miserable failures when it comes to protecting and standing behind our constitution; like Einstein said, public acknowledgment and demand for Constitutional protection of freedom is necessary for the document to remain relevant.

 

Pointing to a document isn’t the worst way to prove a point about the right or wrong nature of something, but it certainly isn’t the best way either. If the Constitution is the only means by which you can define your political thought, what position would you be in if it were drastically amended – or perhaps abolished altogether?

 

ObamaCare isn’t constitutional, but if it were constitutional, does that mean it’s right? A document is a document, after all.

 

Constitutionalism in America is still an honorable thing, and should not be abandoned; but conservatives would do themselves a favor by giving more than just constitutional arguments to support their cause.

 

Documents can change, amendments can happen, and yes, sometimes constitutions can be abolished, but the cause of freedom in and of itself will never change.

 

The Difference Between Jefferson and Obama

Jefferson the liberal and Obama the liberal have next to nothing in common.

Jefferson the liberal and Obama the liberal have next to nothing in common.

If you’re a libertarian, you have likely had this conversation dozens of times:

“Are you a republican?”

“No, I’m a libertarian.”

“So you’re a liberal?”

Technically, yes and no. This exchange is a case in point: advocates for the cause of freedom don’t really know what to call themselves anymore.

 

Many Americans don’t know what they’re really saying when it comes to political terms, warped, twisted, and misused for decades to fit party agendas.

 

The best example of a confused term is liberalism.

 

Thomas Jefferson was considered a liberal; Barack Obama is also considered a liberal. Yet the two presidents are opposites.

 

Jefferson:

 

“When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty.”

“A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have.” — Thomas Jefferson

 

Obama:

 

“Unfortunately, you’ve grown up hearing voices that incessantly warn of government as nothing more than some separate, sinister entity that’s at the root of all our problems … They’ll warn that tyranny always lurking just around the corner. You should reject these voices.”

“I actually believe in redistribution.” – Barack Obama

 

If eternal vigilance is the price of liberty, as Jefferson tells us, why is Obama saying the exact opposite? Why does Jefferson so adamantly oppose gun control while Obama is chomping at the bit to stifle the right to keep and bear arms?

 

Are they different reincarnations of a specific ideology? Are the two types of liberalism one and the same, merely placed in a different political environment? Or has liberalism evolved?

 

No, no, and no.

 

Obama’s liberalism and Jefferson’s liberalism are not remotely similar. They share nothing except the name.

 

in-dependence

 

One is liberal with freedom, the other is liberal with government. In modern political speak, it’s classical liberalism vs. modern liberalism.

 

Jefferson would be considered “conservative” and “right-wing” in 2014.

 

Here’s some perspective on political terms:

 

King George III was conservative, by the classical definition of the word. However, Jefferson the “conservative” was one of the King’s most passionate and emboldened enemies.

 

Nazis were technically “right-wing,” promoting a form of fascism similar, although drastically darker and more harmful, to the variety that drove the American colonies to secede in 1776.

 

The discrepancy between the classical and modern definitions reveals a disturbing trend in political thought.

 

When voters have a guiding sense of morals and a well-defined ideology, they know which party is right or wrong, which causes they support, and which issues are really issues.

 

However, the majority of people lack these political necessities. They rely on terms including left-wing, right-wing, conservative, liberal, and progressive to know who to vote for.

 

It might work, except that parties tend to change the meaning of these words every fifty years or so.

 

This confusion over terms has made it impossible for those known as libertarians to identify themselves as liberals (and just to clarify, here we’re referring to Jeffersonian liberals, the classical liberals). Alas, it’s an unfortunate reality.

 

But next time someone tells you they’re a libertarian, don’t associate them with modern “liberalism” – much less democrats. If for anything else, it’s useful to understand the difference between classical liberalism and modern liberalism if you are studying history books published before 1850.

 

The word conservatism now refers to something akin to Locke’s ideology, not Mussolini’s; liberalism refers to a variant of Stalin’s creed, not Jefferson’s cause.

 

In the end, how can Thomas Jefferson and Barack Obama both be liberals? They can’t. The first is a liberal, the other is a statist.

The Question of Copyrights

Copyrights and patents: the scourge of creators.

The Discussion at Hand

“Our economic freedom is founded on individual property rights; government should never be permitted to take those away.” – Ernest Istook

Property rights have been the subject of a centuries-long political struggle – who has the right to own what, how much can they own, and are others allowed to take it from them?

From the theocracy of the ancient Israelites to the tribal-centric government operating under the Code of Hammurabi, almost all societies have come to the conclusion that taking another’s property is wrong, and that those who do so should be punished.

Most ancient laws against thievery were straightforward, with easy-to-grasp consequences and implications. Theorists and thinkers, for centuries, came to the conclusion that economies rely on property.

However, not until the 1500s did another issue come up entirely: intellectual property (known as IP). IP is exactly what its name suggests: “property” that is purely intellectual and ideological – for example, an idea, book, poem, word, plan, or catch-phrase.

The fuzzy litigation surrounding IP began around five hundred years ago. In the latter half of the 1500s, Queen Elizabeth I began issuing royal grants for monopoly privileges (common in the mercantilist economies of Europe during that time). It was the beginning of a complicated legal system surrounding IP, spanning many centuries and crossing over into the United States and almost every country in the world.

Copyrights, trademarks, and patents are the three main extensions of IP.

  • Copyrights are the most well known, offering a designer, author, or creator the exclusive rights to their work. Distribution, reproduction, sales, and advertising of the work are completely controlled within the copyright.
  • Trademarks are typically an easily recognizable symbol, sign, design, expression, or phrase of a particular organization, source, individual, or corporation legally controlled in its usage by the aforementioned entity.
  • Patents grant an inventor – or perhaps a creator who manages to get to the patent office first – the chance to completely restrict other producers from manufacturing, utilizing, selling, or importing a particular invention (for a limited amount of time).

Like most bad ideas, the idea of protecting IP through copyrights, trademarks, patents, trade secrets, and other government-enforced monopolistic contracts sounded like a good one at first.

 

Ideas Aren’t Scarce

IP laws offered a legal means by which to curb the vice of plagiarism (and the obvious annoyance of having an idea stolen).

But instead of helping the creative individuals in our society, IP laws stifle innovation, open a door for useless and costly litigation, and have backfired on the ones who needed their alleged benefits most. (More than one inventor can have the same idea, but only one can get a patent.)

All of these dreadful side effects have resulted from the underappreciated fact that intellectual property is not property. 

While stealing ideas is clearly a moral downfall, government cannot stop it any more than government can prevent a child from thinking about slapping his brother. Government’s involvement in IP is impractical, at best, as it ignores the gaping gulf between the physical and the mental.

Ideas are thoughts; the extensions of thoughts may or may not be physical creations, but “stealing” an idea is not something easily tracked.

When an idea is “stolen,” there is neither a physical absence nor a for-sure method of verifying that the idea was stolen. There is not a way to track which man came up with the idea first.

One definition of economics is the study of the allocation of scarce resources. Cars, iPhones, timber, kittens, chocolate, paper, and homes are all physical resources that can be defined as scarce because they are tangibly limited. While the demand for the aforementioned items can be infinite, the creation and existence of said items cannot.

While cars will always have physical limits on their numbers – even if the entire universe existed to make cars, there would eventually be a shortage of the required resources – ideas have no limits. Ideas are infinitely reproducible. “Stealing” an idea does not deprive its original owner of the idea, unlike stealing a car would.

News flash: ideas are infinitely reproducible. 

Ideas are an incredibly important basis for an economy. Despite that they are hugely marketable, they are not – by definition – a physical part of any given economy. They can’t be.

In a purely ideological sense, IP laws are not valid. But in a more practical sense, IP laws are a drain and constant source of stress to innovators.

While having a patent will protect an inventor from theft, there’s nothing that can be done before the patent is obtained – and what’s even worse is when the thief is the one who gets to the patent office first. The costs outweigh the benefits.

Producers are oftentimes using patents to beat competitors upside the head, using the full force of the government in simple matters of industry competition. More of then not it’s a violation of free market principles and an interference in natural business-to-business relations.

It can backfire in a very painful, life-changing way. Historically, there are numerous examples of how IP laws have affected rightful inventors; IP laws are mainly used to punish competitors, not encourage innovation or even insure that credit is given where credit is due.

This either results in a business failure (almost always if there’s a small business involved) or it ends up in a massive lawsuit, which boils down to lawyers deciding who thought of what first.

A World Without IP Laws (a better one)

In a world without heavily enforced trademarks, copyrights, or patents, there would still be extensive innovation. Classic books in the “public domain” have no copyright, yet are even now bestsellers after a century – or maybe even more.

IP laws are not within the rightful scope of government, and IP itself is not within the bounds of a physical economy. It’s long past time that the experiment in IP laws end.

Plagiarism is morally wrong, yet its absence is impossible to enforce. “Pirating” is sometimes unethical, but creating laws to punish it does nothing but expand a rent-seeking sector.

Jeffery Tucker put it this way:

“… Ninety-nine percent of the patents issued are never used. Most patents just sit there like time bombs to blow up other attempts to enter the market. They don’t inspire people to invent; they inspire people to use parasitic methods to stop others from inventing.

What a strange system of central planning it all is! You can’t have free enterprise when the government is slicing and dicing ideas and assigning monopolistic titles to them. The purpose of property and prices is to provide for the peaceful allocation of scarce resources. Ideas, once public, are no longer scarce.

As Thomas Jefferson said in a letter from 1813: “If nature has made any one thing less susceptible than all others of exclusive property, it is the action of the thinking power called an idea . . . He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me.”

Open Letter to Politicians

This letter was submitted by a reader. 

 

Hello. This letter is for all the politicians out there that are counting on our votes as citizens.

Stop it! Obviously, only one of you is the best for the job, and only one of you can be elected. But the competence of a candidate has nothing to do with the propaganda that his campaign committee spits out. We the people are tired of all the negative printing and back-biting that we get in our mailboxes every day.

Not only does it become tiring to listen to and to read, it also implies the wrong things about people. Please remember, politicians, that your opponents are still people, people made in the image of the creator, and that we are people as well. If we were machines that were swayed by the volume of advertisements we get, this tactic would work, but as it is this literature gives us the impression that you don’t trust us to make our own decisions, and that you think you must spoon-feed your message to us in little, brightly colored papers.

Remember, politicians, that if someone is old enough to vote, that person has the responsibility to check the facts for themselves. Though some of the facts are necessary to vote wisely, saying the same things over and over only makes you sound like parrots. Another thing you might have forgotten is that people hate arguments, especially arguments between grown adults who should know better. If you can’t work it out between yourselves, don’t send hate mail to everyone in the district. It really isn’t our fault that you can’t get along. Besides, all this negativity will start to turn off the voters, and they might end up voting for your opponent even if they liked you better in the first place.

Then again, these arguments aren’t gonna clear up on election day. Ok, so you’ve won. But what if you’ve won by spreading lies about others? Is that really victory? Is all the muckraking worth it?

Lastly, it’s the phone calls. How you people get our numbers is beyond me, but since you don’t like telemarketers yourselves, why do you think we want all these ads? If we’re really interested, we’ll get your e-mails, if not, you’re wasting your effort anyway.

Please stop attacking one another. All is fair in love and war, but in this carnivorous profession someone is going to get hurt. I don’t know if you candidates are Christians, but if you are, please act like them. How do you get your point across? Speak the Truth in Love.

I’ll endorse no candidate here. That is the public’s responsibility, and though you can help them along, don’t try to do it for them. We’re the ones voting.

Sincerely,

A concerned voter

(Used by permission)

Parental Rights: Streusand vs. Babin

President Ronald Reagan said, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.”

When the people’s representatives cease to fight, freedom ceases to be. In a famous quote by Edmund Burke, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

“We stopped fighting back against the left’s attacks,” said Liz, of Lumberton, “Freedom ends wherever the apathy starts.”

Who has what it takes to stand against Washington and its invasion of local schools and to stand up for home school freedoms and parental rights?

Who has what it takes to stand against Washington and its invasion of local schools? Who can we trust to stand up for home school freedoms and parental rights?

With the advent of Common Core, the Department of Education’s antics, sweeping education “reforms,” and standardized testing, private schools and home schooling families are faced with the possibility that the educational freedoms they campaigned for, fought for, and sometimes even faced legal consequences for could disappear.

In the similar battle for parental rights, liberals are forever trying to gain the upper hand; through political tools like CPS, they might one day succeed. Even in Texas, educational freedoms and parental rights are under fire: CSCOPE revealed a threatening trend in public schools’ curriculum, while legal situations including the Tutt family’s plight show that the battle for a family’s rights is waging even at the local level.

As John Philpot Curran said, “The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance.”

Unfortunately, not many representatives in Washington are vigilant.

Every session, hostile congressmen introduce bills that would abolish academic freedom as we know it.

As the Texas Home School Coalition’s (THSC) President, Tim Lambert, has mentioned numerous times, candidates who agree with freedom are no longer enough; we need those who are willing to fight for freedom.

One of the crucial races in our area is the runoff between Congressional candidates Ben Streusand and Brian Babin. While Streusand opposed CSCOPE as Texas chairman of the pro-home schooling organization Americans for Prosperity, Babin’s record and position on the detailed aspects of academic freedom and parental rights are unclear at best.

Streusand and Babin are examples of the fault line in the Republican Party: tea party vs. establishment. The difference between Streusand and Babin is the difference between a vocal, passionate representative and a silent, behind-the-scenes Washington shadow who exists to occupy a chair.

Streusand has received the endorsement of numerous pro-home schooling organizations, among them a difficult-to-obtain stamp of approval from the THSC.

While Babin would sit quietly in his Capitol Hill office building, Streusand intends to fight from the very start, beginning his war on cronyism and corruption with a vote against John Boehner as Speaker of the House.

Streusand—who has made it painfully clear where he stands on issues like the Department of Education, state-mandated testing, and CPS overreach—is willing to fight for Texas from the minute he takes office.

At this point, voters should ask themselves not just what a candidate believes, but also if he will fight for those beliefs. Brian Babin (despite having home schooled for a few years) doesn’t have what it takes to stand up for Texas home schooling families or for their parental rights.

As President Reagan said, freedom is never more than one generation from extinction—if on May 27 voters choose Streusand to be their representative, perhaps oppression can be held at bay for another two years: Streusand is the champion for home schooling rights that Congressional District 36 needs.

 

 

Congressman Investigated After Bluegrass Gangs Scare Voters in KY

Voter suppression has become a serious problem in states north of Kentucky.

Voter suppression has become a serious problem in states north of Kentucky.

FRANKFORT—A Kentucky Congressman is being investigated for criminally suppressing voter turnout at the polls in 2012, after allegedly hiring a group of banjo players to perform at every voting location in his district.

The banjo players were ordered “not to tune their banjos” and even to “deliberately sing through their noses” while performing, in a desperate bid to keep left-leaning voters away from the polls.

Voter intimidation through banjo gangs is nothing new, a tactic utilized particularly in Northern states—where it is not only most effective, but most brutal. Banjo performers are oftentimes ordered to bring amplifiers and even transportable stages.

“It’s a heinous crime to intimidate voters to the extent they can’t walk into the polling location,” said Bob Porter, “I tried to vote that day and they scared me away with the noise.”

The Congressman, a Republican with a conservative reputation, was correct in his assumption that the very blocs that would vote against him would be deterred by bluegrass-country tunes—particularly younger voters.

“I tried my best to walk in, but the constant banjo music … well, I can’t describe the effect it had on me. I couldn’t help but walk away,” said Leah Beryl, a classical musician with perfect pitch, “In the end, I didn’t get to vote for my candidate.”

The representative is likely to be faced with massive fines, but his strategy thus far has been to greet the media—interested in the case and seeking press conferences—with a prelude of Foggy Mountain Breakdown. Strangely, the controversial case has not received much coverage.

Too Many Ribbons, Too Little Time: No-Show Babin Strikes Again

Babin withdrew his scheduled presence at the Tri-County Tea Party's forum (presumably to avoid debating his opponent) for a ribbon-cutting elsewhere.

Babin withdrew his scheduled presence at the Tri-County Tea Party’s forum (presumably to avoid debating his opponent) for a ribbon-cutting elsewhere.

For the fourth time, congressional candidate Brian Babin cancelled a scheduled public appearance —a move that is frustrating Tea Party supporters who want to hear both sides of the race.

Hosted by the Tri-County Tea Party, the May 12th event has been planned for months. Babin withdrew from the event with only a few days to spare. The cancellation has disappointed many of his supporters, undecided voters planning on attending, and particularly the group’s members, who continue to point out the investments of time and money that were poured into the now-futile event.

The Tea Party’s leader, Aubrey Vaughn, noted that the spaghetti dinner and forum has been in the works for over three months; the Tea Party had contacted the campaigns in early to mid-April, when both of them confirmed their presence at the event.

Babin’s campaign contacted the Tea Party on Friday—three days before the event—and deserted the group for a ribbon cutting in less challenging territory.

“He’s a fair-weather debater,” said Lynn, a Lumberton resident, “He can’t hold his own against Streusand and he seems to know it.”

“Is this becoming of someone who wants to serve? The issue here is above politics. People attending these events are not just his opponent’s supporters, they are his very own. There are still undecided voters who have made it a point to attend events where he hasn’t shown up,” said a spokesperson for the Tri-County Tea Party.

Many of Babin’s supporters maintain that it’s a commonplace scheduling conflict, not an unusual occurrence considering the hectic lifestyles of politicians up for election. Others are suspecting a pattern.

“It’s the fourth time a public event like this one has been cancelled. Is it just me, or is Dr. Babin afraid to face his opponent?” said Elizabeth.

The four cancellations have not only earned Dr. Babin the nickname “No-Show Brian,” but have also been described as a “near dereliction of duty” inappropriate for the “real East-Texan” image that his campaign has been desperately attempting to convey.

Meanwhile, Mr. Vaughn explained that the show must go on: Mr. Streusand is intending to keep his commitment and will still make an appearance despite Dr. Babin’s last-minute decision.