Politics

The Blood of Patriots and Tyrants

Rachel Clark : August 22, 2014 3:40 pm : Columns, Lumberton Gazette, Politics, Rachel

"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.

 

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Patriotism: Good or Bad?

Rachel Clark : August 13, 2014 3:22 pm : Columns, Politics, Rachel

 

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.

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The FDA: All About Fads

Rachel Clark : August 6, 2014 5:43 pm : Columns, News, Politics, Rachel

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.

 

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We the People: the relevance of constitutions

Rachel Clark : August 5, 2014 8:52 pm : Columns, Politics, Rachel

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.

 

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The Difference Between Jefferson and Obama

Rachel Clark : July 25, 2014 12:37 pm : Columns, Politics, Rachel

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.

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The Question of Copyrights

Rachel Clark : July 5, 2014 1:53 pm : Columns, Politics, Rachel

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.”

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Open Letter to Politicians

Rebekah Hair : May 22, 2014 7:17 pm : Guest Author, Politics

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)

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Parental Rights: Streusand vs. Babin

Rachel Clark : May 21, 2014 7:53 pm : News, Politics

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.

 

 

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Congressman Investigated After Bluegrass Gangs Scare Voters in KY

Rachel Clark : May 16, 2014 5:04 pm : Politics, Spoofs

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.

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

Rachel Clark : May 10, 2014 8:31 pm : Columns, News, Politics, Rachel

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.

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