Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Why We Shouldn't Close the Gender Pay Gap

You Tube Channel "Learn Liberty" sometimes produces good videos, but unfortunately they put out some garbage too, like "How to Close the Gender Gap" wherein the speaker, Professor Lauren Hall, surrounds a valid point (the gap is largely created by the free choices of individuals) with some typical "leftist"/feminist nonsense.

The wage gap exists because the average woman has major career distractions: children. Average men have an edge because they are able to invest more time in improving their value to employers. The video's speaker seems to have a problem with this, and proposes that men should take on more household duties to balance things out so women can put more into their careers.

But why should "closing the gender gap" be a concern at all? I see no reason why the statistics must be  balanced. Indeed, it makes more sense to be unbalanced... it's called specialization- which increases our prosperity. Because women have the children and must be closely involved with them when they are first born, it's natural the women will specialize in running the home while men will specialize in bringing in the dough. 

None of this diminishes the value of women (or men) one iota. We are not valued by our income. Needless to say, women are and should be equally free (legally) to pursue careers as they wish, and misogyny should be eradicated (it is for the most part), but beyond that, this is a non-problem- it's often a good thing. Many families find it works best for them for the man to focus on supporting the household while the woman focuses on running the household.

Let's spend our energy focused on real problems. To bad "Learn Liberty" is getting distracted.

Friday, July 4, 2014

"My Breakup Letter to Hobby Lobby" Refuted Line by Line

Huffington Post can always be counted on to publish illogical, illiterate, and erroneous pieces. Today I came across one that makes the case against the Hobby Lobby decision and liberty in general. Let's examine the whole thing and see how it falls apart. The indented portions make up the complete letter, followed by my commentary.
Since corporations are people now, I thought this corporation deserved a human breakup letter.
"Corporations are people" is not a phrase I use; I prefer "corporations are private property". It's a lot more accurate and gets to the root of the issue, and it avoids sparking silly comments like this writer made.
Dear Hobby Lobby, 
I think it's time I see other craft stores. I used to really like you despite some of your quirks (like not being open for business on Sundays). I thought, "Well, nobody's perfect." But after recent events, I'm afraid I just can't do it anymore. It's time for us to part ways, and I want you to know:
Aren't free markets great! You're not forced to associate with this company, unlike the government.
It's not me. It's you. 
It's that you believe your rights as a for-profit corporation are more important than mine.
Dear author, you write as if our rights are in conflict. They are not. Your wish that Hobby Lobby offers a particular kind of compensation package for it's employees is not something you have a right to. It's a wish. And your wishes do not trump other's rights.
It's that you and I have very different beliefs, and while I've always respected your right to have those beliefs, I don't respect you forcing those beliefs on me.
Hobby Lobby isn't forcing a thing upon you. It is offering a compensation package that does not include certain kinds of birth control. You are free to refuse it. No one is forcing you to work for Hobby Lobby, give them money, or anything, you're just making up fantasies.
It's that you're kind of controlling. I mean, I used to think it was kind of cute -- like you were being protective. Now, I just see that you want to make all my decisions for me (and my uterus) without any concern for how it will impact me.
Again, no. You're free to buy your own birth control, that's your decision. It's also your decision to write a letter like this, announcing that you're exercising your freedom to not associate with the company. Hobby Lobby isn't deciding any of this. It's only deciding how it wants to pay it's workers.

Ironically, it's you that is trying to force and make decisions for others. You want to force the company to pay for your birth control. What gives you that right to make their decision for them? Where is your concern about the impact this will have on the people who own the company?
It's that you think women take Plan B as a means to an abortion rather than as a means to prevent a pregnancy that has not yet occurred. 
It's that you're a corporation run by men making decisions for a constituency of women.
There it is again, making decision for others. That's you. They are making decisions for themselves (what they are willing to offer in trade for labor).
So, we're over. Done. Finished. I'm changing my relationship status. I'm not going to be one of those people who keeps doing something just because it's comfortable. I'll get my puff paint and poster boards somewhere else -- even if it's further away or more expensive. I need a corporation who will treat me right. You know, like a person... with rights.
Ok, you're free to do so. It's your property, do as you please. All we ask is the same respect in return, but your letter is a call to violate our rights. And you have the gall to say we're not treating you as a person with rights.
And I know the proper thing to say here is that I'll still be there for you no matter what happens, that we can stay friends. But I don't want to stay friends, Hobby Lobby. The fact is, I don't understand you, I don't respect you and I certainly don't like you anymore. I promise you, this is the last you'll be seeing of me.
Go away already. You're embarrassing yourself.
I know what you're probably thinking -- "I'm better off without you, anyway." But, the truth is, you're really not. A large percentage of your employees are women, and I'd bet an even higher percentage of your shoppers are. Sure, they won't all be turned off by what you've done -- some girls like a bad corporation. But a lot of them will be. And those who are will tell their friends (just like I have). Pretty soon, you might start to notice you have a certain reputation and that your "type" (crafters, scrapbookers and DIYers) isn't going to be interested anymore. They say you don't know what you've got until it's gone. By then, it will be too late.
Maybe, maybe not. It's a price the owners seem happy to pay, however small it ends up being. Remember Chick-fil-A?
I'd like to end by saying no hard feelings, but that would just be a lie. So, I'll just say that I'm sure you're going to make somebody very happy someday -- probably not any women who want control over their reproductive health, but somebody nonetheless. I'm sorry it had to end this way. I hope you understand.
I also have hard feelings for those who want to trample our liberty. You are sorry people. Shut up, go away, and stay away, until you are educated and decent enough to respect others.
Forever (not) yours, 
A former customer 
PS: I have some of your stuff. I'll be setting it out on the curb -- I don't have a use for it anymore.
LOL. Whatever makes you happy. I doubt you're actually going to take things that far- it's only going to cost you, not the rest of us.

Good riddance!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Imagine That! A Business is Private Property!

Left-leaning statists are freaking out following today's SCOTUS opinion on the Hobby Lobby case, wherein the company's owners want to... wait for it... run their own business consistent with their religious beliefs. Imagine that, a business is private property. What a scary thought, eh?

"Not my Boss's Business" they cry, about which birth control their employer wants to pay for. But the business is paying for it, so of course it is their business. Maybe you should be asking why they are paying for healthcare in the first place? We don't want them to buy our food or housing or much anything else, but healthcare? It doesn't make any sense, until you notice the one incentive for this: the tax code.  Change that- and our rights and your desires will no longer be in conflict on this issue.

Back to the bigger picture, though. In dissent, "Justice" Ginsberg wrote:
"In a decision of startling breadth, the Court holds that commercial enterprises, including corporations, along with partnerships and sole proprietorships, can opt out of any law (saving only tax laws) they judge incompatible with their sincerely held religious beliefs"
Indeed, the implications of treating a business as private property are very startling to the statist. She is correct to see this could, if applied consistently, undermine any of the countless government regulations of business. It's sad to see her and so many others so in love with slavery and so afraid of freedom. If you own a business, it's your property, and you should be able to do anything you want with it. If others dislike it, they are free to not associate with you. It's real simple.

Fortunately, the advance of statism is not without setbacks. We welcome today's good news, while keeping in mind that overall, the political momentum continues to run in the wrong direction. We're working to change that.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Good or Bad? College Students Don't Know American Government


Mixed feelings, that's what I have regarding videos like this. On the one hand, it suggests a failure in government education (big surprise) and an ignorance that will probably not help any political cause except allow the status quo to continue. On the other hand, it's encouraging how little many Americans think of the government; they are much more concerned with their own lives and interests. Such persons are much more open to libertarianism, and that's why education, particularly of the younger generations, has always been the key to changing politics.

For better or for worse, I can name a lot of sitting Senators, from memory: Rand Paul, Mike Lee, Marco Rubio, John McCain, Harry Reid, Barbara Boxer, Dianne Feinstein, Orrin Hatch, Patty Murray, Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham, Lisa Murkowski, Chris Murphy, Kristen Gillibrand, and uhhh... that's all for now. Two years ago when I followed politics much more closely and might have named over 50. Thankfully, I have better things to do these days.

P.S. How did I forget Ted Cruz... oh well, he's just another scumbag.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Environmentalist Professor Attacks Free Speech

Lawrence Torcello recently penned a controversial article for theconverstion.com, titled "Is misinformation about the climate criminally negligent?" He argues yes, and I was curious to see how he would justify what seemed like a attack on freedom of speech. Here it goes:
"We have good reason to consider the funding of climate denial to be criminally and morally negligent. The charge of criminal and moral negligence ought to extend to all activities of the climate deniers who receive funding as part of a sustained campaign to undermine the public’s understanding of scientific consensus.  
Criminal negligence is normally understood to result from failures to avoid reasonably foreseeable harms, or the threat of harms to public safety, consequent of certain activities. Those funding climate denial campaigns can reasonably predict the public’s diminished ability to respond to climate change as a result of their behaviour. Indeed, public uncertainty regarding climate science, and the resulting failure to respond to climate change, is the intentional aim of politically and financially motivated denialists."
In other words, Torcello wants to criminalize certain speech that he believes is influencing people to make bad choices. This is a complete rejection of free speech: the same charge can be levied against a million other ideas, some of which are undoubtedly causing much greater harm.

Perhaps ironically, Torcello denies that he is discarding free speech:
My argument probably raises an understandable, if misguided, concern regarding free speech. We must make the critical distinction between the protected voicing of one’s unpopular beliefs, and the funding of a strategically organised campaign to undermine the public’s ability to develop and voice informed opinions. Protecting the latter as a form of free speech stretches the definition of free speech to a degree that undermines the very concept.
"Beliefs" and "opinions" are synonyms, so it's impossible to see a distinction here. His same arguments can be used against all other "unpopular", "uniformed", or "controversial" speech; what he advocates, then, undermines and abolishes the very concept of free speech.

Fortunately, Torcello is not going to get anywhere with his bizarre attack on free speech, which will probably do nothing but give fodder to the very people he wants to shut up. If we are going to start criminalizing speech, how about we start with Torcello and his statist allies. I jest; free speech extends even to those foolish enough to call for its end.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

USA no more: Welcome to the United Provinces of America

It occurred to me recently that the left and right wing nationalists, which is pretty much everyone, whether they realize it or not (just ask who their favorite President is; Lincoln will come up quickly), cede too much ground to their Constitutionalist, historically enlightened foes. So I am going to help them out a bit: you need to give up on the name United States of America, and go with something like United Provinces of America.

Why? Because you deny the 50 states their statehood, which in case we forgot, means:
a politically organized body of people usually occupying a definite territory; especially :  one that is sovereign 
Meanwhile, province seems much more accurate for the nationalist's view of the Constitution:
any one of the large parts that some countries are divided into 
an administrative district or division of a country 
And that's exactly how nationalists view the states: the federal government is the only sovereign in their minds, with all 50 states making up one nation ruled by Washington D.C., which both retains the sole power of defining the Constitution and also forbids secession. That this came about illegally and through violence doesn't seem to bother them, but that's beside the point.

Nationalists are a bit late fixing this oversight, but better late than never, right? And you're welcome.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

It's Never too Late to Repeal Obamacare, Or Anything Else

Government legislation and programs become entrenched with the passage of time. It is far easier to nip it in the bud rather than come back at a later time to dismantle it. Some are starting to argue this time is coming, and may already be here, for the monstrosity called Obamacare. But it's never too late, though, and Dom Armentano reminds us of one such occasion, when the SCOTUS struck down the National Industrial Recovery Act (NRA).

His point is valid, though I think a better historical comparison would be the abolition of chattel slavery- a long standing institution that, over a period of time, was undermined and entirely abolished through a lengthy education process that eventually enlightened the whole population.

If you want to see Obamacare gone- as well as a host of other burdensome government interventions and programs, from Social Security to the minimum wage, or perhaps militarism or the drug war, or all of it- it's not going to come by petitioning Congress or getting the right politicians or party elected. (Should Republicans actually repeal it- which I don't believe they ever will, they will replace it with something similarly bad.) It's going to come by changing the minds of the people. And it's never to late to do that. Rest assured we're going to get rid of Obamacare, Medicare, Social Security, and the rest of the drags on society, and sooner the more people focus their efforts toward proper education of the masses.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Is There Such a Thing as a Good Cop?

Perhaps relative to other cops, yes, but in general there are no "good cops", as Eric Peters explains. They all violate the non-aggression principle when they enforce unlibertarian laws, which is most of the time they are on the beat.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Government Regulations Screw the Little Guy, Episode 4762

(See my previous installment in this series here).

So, I got an email from my bank about "Regulation D":
which places a limit of six withdrawals or outgoing transfers per month from savings or money market accounts via several transaction methods. Transactions counted against the limit include "preauthorized or automatic transfer, or telephonic (including data transmission) agreement, order or instruction, or by check, draft, debit card, or similar order made by the depositor and payable to third parties." Transactions not counted against the limit include "mail, messenger, automated teller machine, or in person or when such withdrawals are made by telephone (via check mailed to the depositor)."
Violating this limit results in a $15 fee (at my bank) and repeatedly doing so will force the account to be converted to checking or closed.

I'm posting this because it never ceases to amaze how deep the state reaches in its control and regulation of every aspect of our life. This is another example of the government screwing us over, and violating our basic rights of customers and businesses to make their own contracts. It is another example out of a billion that we've long abandoned the title "free country". We supposedly learned long ago to separate the church and state; it's about time we do this to banking (and everything else).

Monday, November 25, 2013

Move Review: "Terms and Conditions May Apply"

I just viewed the movie "Terms and Conditions May Apply". While it doesn't seem to be a film produced by libertarians, it does a decent job highlighting how extensive the collection, permanent storage, and use of information about us has become. And it is alarming, even to those of us who were quite aware of the situation: nothing - nothing - you share online is really private. No matter how long you have known this, it remains a stunning fact.

A large amount of this information sharing is something we agree to without fully realizing it. This, of course, does not violate libertarianism; we just sign contracts without reading them. Dumb, but not illegal. (I might add, a lot of this legalese garbage is only required because of a vast number of absurd, anti-libertarian lawsuits that are allowed in today's society). Of course, I do not argue that all information should be private. 100% privacy and 0% privacy would both be unnecessary, impractical, and destructive. It should be up to the individual to strike the right balance. Unfortunately, many people- due to ignorance and/or laziness- are not making these decisions for themselves as they should, and end up giving businesses vast quantities of data under conditions that allow it to be used differently than they would expect. It's good to see efforts to educate others about the situation as this film does.

I do not agree that "privacy legislation" is the solution to businesses collecting, storing, and sharing our data, as this film seems to suggest at a few points. First of all, it's impossible to believe any legislation coming out of Washington D.C. would actually restrict data collection, storage, and sharing valued so highly by politicians and large corporations (which donate to politicians). Secondly, it's not a legitimate role of the state, and would be unconstitutional, for the government to control the contracts people make with businesses about their data.

The other entity collecting, storing, and using our info is the government. As noted at the end of the film, the Snowden leaks have revealed a trove of additional details about what’s really going on, but there is still a lot we don’t know. However, we know enough to say there’s a gigantic surveillance state that fundamentally violates the 4th Amendment. While government does directly collect information about us, most of the time it does so indirectly, by forcing businesses like Verizon, Google, or Facebook to turn over data. Shamefully, there has been little resistance to this by corporations.

Governments possessing our private information are a much greater concern than business possessing it. Businesses cannot obtain your information by force; you have to give it to them. Business cannot use the information for much more than improving marketing, which is actually a good thing (if we are going to see an advertisement, its better if it provides us with useful information). Governments, on the other hand, can abuse the information (inadvertently or not) and do anything with it, including entering your home, detaining you, and throwing you in jail, or worse.

The film takes on the common argument "if you have done nothing wrong, you have nothing to hide". It also provides the correct answer, that's garbage nobody really believes and puts to practice. (Next time someone offers that argument, see if he is willing to turn over all his passwords, keys, etc. or have cameras installed in his home.) There are plenty of activities that are not wrong yet may need to remain private. Humans act different- self-censoring- when they are being watched, and the end of the film brilliantly demonstrates this, when the crew meets Mark Zuckerberg, who asks to not be recorded and then acts differently when the cameras are "turned off".

It may be possible for all this to change, but all the powerful business and governmental interests are lined up behind the status quo, meaning the only hope is changing the minds of millions of Americans. It is hard to see a widespread recognition of the value of privacy trump the lazy convenience of going with the flow. Whatever happens, all we can do now is be prudent with what we share, knowing that whatever we post online or do in public view is likely recorded, analyzed, and permanently stored by someone else.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Some "Free Country": Why is it Illegal to Trade with an Employer?

One of the most basic components of liberty is freedom of trade. Yet in this "free country", it's illegal for me to make numerous trades with an employer. Back in the days when I was young and unskilled with no work history, I looked for months before I could find someone willing to hire me. There was plenty of work to be done at hundreds of businesses around me, but I wasn't allowed to do it and build the skills and reputation needed to start climbing the ladder. All because I wasn't productive enough, or at least could not prove that with a work history.

Why wasn't I productive "enough"? I was productive- just about anyone can do hundreds of basic jobs with no significant training costs. But I wasn't productive enough because there was a barrier that neither I nor my potential employers had any control over. I had to be worth a specific amount of money per hour- something north of $8 once all employer costs are counted. Sounds bizarre, arbitrary, and unjust, right? It is, and it is called the minimum wage. And it's still outlawing jobs today, and many people that want to raise this barrier even higher. Worse, they actually think they are being helpful and caring.

But the minimum wage doesn't increase anyone's productivity. It only outlaws the employment of anyone who doesn't have the ability to produce whatever arbitrary value is set by the state. As a result, those people, which I was one of, earn a wage of $0.00. They miss out on an income, the chance to build their skills, and establish a work record; and our economy loses out on their production and is that much poorer as a result.

Though I eventually made it past that barrier, I continue to face others just as arbitrary and unjust. Where I'm currently employed there is no shortage of work to be done, and by supervisors are very happy with my productivity. Meanwhile, my budget is tight and I'd be happy to trade additional hours of labor to increase my income. It's another trade that benefits both of us, but it's illegal.

The same federal legislation that started the minimum wage barrier is also outlawing other trades. I can't work more than 40 hours a week without my employer being forced to pay an "overtime" rate of 150%. They can't afford to do this right now, so I do not have the opportunity to easily increase my income and they do not have the opportunity to benefit from the extra labor of an experienced employee.

As a result, I and many others in my shoes are forced to look for a secondary job elsewhere to get the same number of hours per week (say, 60) without overtime pay rates. Overtime pay law does not actually give us extra pay, it only instead limits choices for workers like me. Choices I would certainly make- just consider the extra costs I face by working for two employers instead of one. Upfront, I'll have to hunt for the job, interview, deal with training; and then daily face an extra commute and uniform changes, all while balancing the schedules between the two. The math quickly becomes clear: I'd be much better off doing over 40 hours with just my current employer - but once again people that think they are helping workers are just making life a whole lot harder for them.

If you're the average reader, you're supportive of the web of regulations in place today, including minimum wage and overtime pay. Do you realize the harm you are causing with these policies you support, which limit choices for employees, reduces our productivity (and thus the whole economy's), and violates our most basic liberties such as freedom to trade? How can you possibly justify this? Let us make our own choices, and you make your own. Everyday issues like these is why I am a libertarian, the only ethically, economically, logically sound political philosophy I can find.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Government Worker's Day, Again

As Laurence Vance points out, "Veteran's Day" is the third holiday (after Memorial Day and Independence day) Americans celebrate and honor certain government workers that make up the military and increasingly, police and firemen and such:
 This holiday began as Armistice Day – a day to commemorate the signing of the armistice on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month that ended fighting on the Western Front in World War I, "the war to end all wars." A few years after World War II, the holiday was changed to Veterans Day as a tribute to all soldiers who fought for their country. Veterans Day has now become a day to honor, not just those who have served in the military during wartime, but those who have served during peacetime or are serving now. It is now just a day to honor all things military.
Unfortunately, these government workers working in the military are some of the most expensive, unnecessary, and destructive of the bunch. Why? Instead of serving as only a means of self-defense,  most everything they do is a boondoggle, and it involves exploding property and killing innocent people- activity that would be criminal in any other situation. What is possibly honorable about that? Nothing. To the contrary, it is dishonorable. I would be ashamed if I were a military veteran. We should not honor them or thank them for their service to the state its corporate benefactors. They should not accept our thanks, but rather apologize to us for helping to further destroy our freedoms and possibly putting us in greater danger by provoking blowback.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Libertarian Thoughts on the Government “Shutdown”

First off, it’s not really a shutdown. At best, it’s a slight shutdown. Only a small fraction of government workers are sent home and only a fraction of government activities are reduced or stopped. I am not aware of any regulations or taxes that will cease. Worse, it’s not clear that we will come through this paying less net taxes. Government workers may well be getting a paid vacation, depending on what Congress does.

In other words, this shutdown is hardly libertarian in the end- certainly nothing to get too excited about. We’ll have to see what happens. At the same time, it doesn't seem to be anti-libertarian. And the longer it lasts, the more ridiculous media and government hysteria will look. We frankly don’t miss what is shut down as much as they would like us to. And the only reason Americans will miss it at all is because the state has monopolized some services we want, not allowing them to be provided in the private sector.

Republicans, including Rand Paul, sadly want to fund all of the government except Obamacare. Anyone that wants even a small move towards libertarianism is foolish to put their hope in the GOP. The party is nowhere near ready to deliver anything except more government.

It is, however, not accurate to hold Obama and the Democrats blameless for the shutdown, as many try to do. The fact is, Republicans have offered to fund just about everything and the Democrats have taken up the role of obstructionists and absolutely refused any compromise. Republicans have even offered to reduce their demands but the Democrats won’t budge from my way or the highway. An objective look at this situation leaves the majority of responsibility for the shutdown on the shoulders of Democrats.

Every talking point offered by the Democrats crumbles easily, usually by flipping it around. The GOP is holding us “hostage”, they say. Yeah, just like Democrats are holding us “hostage”, by preferring shut down over giving up even part of Obamacare. But Obamcare is a “law”, they say. It’s also the law the House can fund what it wants. But funding the government is too important and should never be connected to other agendas. Cute opinion, but it can be, so deal with reality. If funding the government is so important you wouldn't prevent it over not getting everything you want on Obamacare.

Now that Republicans have gone this far, they had better go all the way and actually get something in return. If they cave now, they did the shutdown for nothing. The longer Democrats refuse negotiation, the worse they will look. If Republicans have any political smarts they will wait and get something out of this. Hopefully, they manage to get something libertarian, even if just a delay of Obamacare.

As for really shutting down the government, we will accomplish that one mind at a time. Ron Paul’s new curriculum and book is another exciting development in that process.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Matt Druge: It's Authoritarian vs. Libertarian, not Democrats vs. Republicans

This is the real divide in politics. Those who want to control your life and rule over you, and those who don't. The typical left vs. right, republican vs. democrat, etc. is just Authoritarian A vs. Authoritarian B. It's a distraction that enables authoritarianism.
Because they are caught up in the authoritarian A vs. B game, and because they are authoritarians (whether they realize it or not).

Authoritarianism is simply disgusting. People that espouse it and defend it are everywhere right now and it's not completely fair to be angry with them about it, because it's really all they know. Just like we typically 'forgive' famous past figures such as Jefferson or Lincoln for their views on slavery and race, the same could be said for many people today. However, there are many who don't have this excuse: they understand libertarianism but continue to advocate authoritarianism. Their philosophy is much worse than racism, one of the most discussed taboos in America. I look forward to the day when authoritarians are shunned as much as - and more than - racists.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Gotta Laugh When Some Complain About Their Liberty Being Violated

It's never a good thing when libertarianism is discarded, such as this judge apparently did in changing a baby's first name against the parents will. But I can't muster much sympathy for most people whining about this case, because nearly every other aspect of their politics involves imposing a myriad of other views on everyone. It's rather amusing but also sad to watch the ignorance and hypocrisy of statists as they get a taste of their own medicine.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Libertarianism Would Have Saved Trayvon Martin's Life

Putting libertarianism to practice would have prevented the death of Trayvon Martin, as Robert Wenzel notes in an excellent post (he also has a follow-up). Obviously, there was an aggressor in the altercation. Many people are convinced it was Geroge Zimmerman, but such could not be proven. Rather, from my casual observation, just about all the evidence seems to line up with Geroge's story-line. And that means Trayvon Martin was, as best we can tell, the aggressor.

Far to many don't even seem able to acknowledge this a possibility, no doubt because of a strange campaign that portrayed Trayvon as an innocent kid merely trying to walk home with iced tea and a bag of Skittles, only to be killed by a racist wanna-be cop. Yet even if George was the aggressor, unlikely as that is, libertarianism would have prevented needless death and injuries.

Why? Because libertarianism is non-aggression, exactly the principle that someone violated that unfortunate night. That's why I find libertarianism such a meaningful and pressing issue: tragic events like this are happening all the time because people as individuals or groups, including and especially governments, are committing acts of aggression. Humans will never cease all aggression - that is a utopian dream - but I know improvements are possible, particularly in reducing institutionalized aggression (the government).

Let our energies in reaction to this case be channeled towards decreasing aggression, not increasing it, as many are wont to do.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Intellectual Barbarians Attack Jack Hunter

It's amusing to watch the dim-wits get in a tizzy over their discovery of Jack Hunter, a former radio host and current aide to Senator Rand Paul. They can't stand that he would support the right of secession, even though they just got through celebrating the 237th anniversary of our secession from Great Britain. You've got to be a part of the Lincoln cult to be respected by them, as that is what the whole federal government is based on today.

Over his career Hunter has made some inflammatory statements, some of which I would not be able to agree with, either. But never mind that. Chris Hayes' segment on the issue is why I'm posting in the first place. You can watch it here. He says:
"In the final analysis, there are certain things, certain views, that just put you outside of the boundaries of being listened to on anything. I'd say White supremacy is one of those. And association with people that hold those views or endorsements of feature of those views, well, they render you unfit. even if you take the most charitable view possible, that say, you get three white supremacist strikes, Rand Paul is in trouble."
He goes on to list three "strikes". I am not very familiar with the first one and don't really care about it right now. So I will grant, for the sake of argument, that you could fault the Rand Paul team for hiring a spokesperson like that.

The second strike, Hayes claims, is consistently supporting private property. No kidding. In the delusional world of Chris Hayes, there is only the false dichotomy of being for the Civil Rights Act or being a white supremacist.

The third strike is Jack Hunter. Evidently, he is a racist/white supremacist, despite the lack of evidence in the original hit piece at Free Beacon or any of the follow-up stories. That doesn't stop raving lunatics like Chris Hayes from trying to make a connection, though.

I have followed Hunter's work for some time, though I stopped after he drifted to far from libertarianism to be worth my time. I never saw anything racist at all. Leftist morons really need to let go of the race card. It's sad and comical how they see racism everywhere, when most of it is all in their head. Perhaps they should get out of their cocoons and meet the people they demonize.

As far as Chris Hayes and his ilk, I'd say his worldview of statism puts him outside of the boundaries of being listened to on anything, and intellectually bankrupt segments like he did for MSNBC render him unfit to be given any respect at all.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Government Doesn't Like it When You Know the Rules

Here's a new video from this past July 4th (a belated happy Secession Day, btw!). It's always nice to see people asserting their rights like this. Unfortunately, most of us do not know the "law" well enough and frequently waive our rights without realizing it. Note the police admits the driver's innocence as he continues his illegal search - after which he finds the camera.


Here's another classic - the government is again caught trying to pry far beyond what its own law says it can do. We need more of this educated resistance. Each state needs organizations to help citizens understand their rights under the arbitrary "laws" of their area. If enough of us know the basics and assert our rights, this routine abuse can be greatly curtailed.


Friday, June 21, 2013

John Stossel is Right and Wrong on NSA Spying: Can I Convince Him?

It made my day to get a direct response on Twitter from none other than John Stossel of Fox News:



Background: Stossel has stated his view many times, including in these two Reason articles (here, here). I think this summarizes his argument best:
“So it's invasive, probably illegal and maybe useless. I ought to be very angry. But I'm not. Why? 
I need to keep thinking about this issue, but for now, two reasons: 
  1. Terrorists do want to murder us. If the NSA is halfway competent, Big Data should help detect plots.
  2. My electronic privacy has already been utterly shredded by Google, Amazon, YouTube and so on. 
They know with whom I talk, what interests me and how much time I spend doing this or that. They creep me out with targeted ads. How did they know I want that?! Oh, right ... I spent an hour searching ... 
Then I go outside in New York City, where 16 cameras record me on my way to work.
Greedy lawyers can subpoena my private records. My employer has a right to read my emails. 
My privacy is already blown. 
I'm angrier about other things Big Government does in the name of keeping me safe: forcing me to wear safety gear, limiting where I may go, stripping me at airports, forcing me to pay $2,300 for more military than we need.”
For a libertarian, Stossel’s take on the NSA spying is mind-boggling at first glance, but he does have a point. There’s a hundred other things to be angry about, and more. Some which have been around a long time, unlike the news of NSA spying. Naturally we are focused on that topic while it’s hot, and for good reason, strategically: now is the time to nip it in the bud, before it becomes entrenched policy like the 100 other things in John Stossel’s list.

Stossel is not wrong to prefer certain freedoms over others. We all have our own preferences. For a famous media figure, privacy is largely "blown", in exchange for the other rewards that come with your work. That’s fine… but what about the rest of us? Not all of us make that choice. And it is our right to do so, as much as any other right.

Stossel argues that private companies have a lot of our data. But surely the difference is glaring. We gave these private companies our information. The NSA, on the other hand, takes it by force.

What about the terrorists? I say, what about the 4th amendment? We are not going to give that up, are we, John?

Stossel is a spokesman for the cause of liberty. We’re disappointed because he doesn't seem interested in defending a right he personally doesn't find important. We don't ask that he change his own preferences, but merely that he defend all of our freedoms. Likewise, there are freedoms I would not find personally important- such as the freedom to smoke marijuana- but I will vigorously oppose the drug war because it is right to do so and because it has negative consequences on me (e.g. higher tax and crime rates). There's also negative consequences from NSA spying: higher taxes, people refraining from exercising their rights because the government is watching their data, etc.

I hope you're on the way to being convinced, Mr. Stossel.  If not, what is wrong with our rebuttal? Now is the perfect time to defend privacy, while momentum is on our side. Please join us!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Amid Scandals and Leaks, Obama Escalates Syrian War

With the various scandals and especially the NSA leaks, it's an awfully convenient time to throttle up a new unnecessary, unconstitutional, wasteful, and evil war, by arming the Syrian rebels. Everyone openly admits the rebels are partially composed of Al-Qaeda. It's so transparently absurd, I cannot believe decent, rational people could possibly support this. It remains to be seen how the public will react; we can only hope the government is vastly overreaching and about to shatter the consent of it's victims. Every bit of education for liberty makes that more likely.

As usual, Ron Paul's response to the news is spot on.