Archives for category: Liberty

My local state representative, Andy, shared an article by John, a former teacher turned legislator (by statute, not choice, a statute I’m not sure I support). Andy and John are in the minority party in Oklahoma. I seldom agree with the minority party, but I find myself supporting them almost as often as the majority party. I’m registered independent. I can’t even aline with the Libertarian Party. I think I’m about as Libertarian as anyone might be, but I can’t get into the Party aspects of it and some of the policies.

Anyway, in the article that John wrote, he said, “As teachers, we need to realize that teaching is a political act. It affects everyone, and therefore we need to advocate for good policies that invest public resources wisely in the common good.”

I absolutely oppose such a course of action. It is abuse of power. It is abuse of children. Teaching is not a political act, at least not by honest people who only care about children learning and gaining mastery of tools to meet the challenges of life.

I replied with several comments on Andy’s Facebook page. I’m listing some.

Andy, it truly saddens me that you and Mr. Waldron advocate politicizing our government run classrooms. He decries partisan politics but advocates for indoctrinating our children in the policies of the Democratic Party. How do either of you justify that?

Andy promptly replied that he does not advocate that, but he didn’t explain why he shared the article. Perhaps I’ll ask specifically.

I also commented:

“As teachers, we need to realize that teaching is a political act. It affects everyone, and therefore we need to advocate for good policies that invest public resources wisely in the common good.” There are no public resources. The only money government has was taken under threat of force from supposedly free individuals who earned their wages by the honest sweat of their own brows.

Why are my policies bad and yours good?

John replied:

I really don’t know where to begin. You apparently believe there should be no taxes for schools, or I suppose roads, national security or public health. I don’t think we can bridge that gap over facebook. Perhaps you would like to meet face to face? I promise to read up on Bastiat to prepare for our discussion.

His reference to Bastiat might stem from the fact I’ve posted a few items about Bastiat recently, and I invited Andy and my local senator, Rob, to comment. So, a couple of my Facebook shares about Bastiat showed on Andy’s page just below Andy’s shared article.

I replied to John that he assumes too much.

I appreciate Andy’s comment:

I absolutely do *not* advocate for politicizing classrooms. Teachers should teach students how to think for themselves — not *what* to think.

Not all parents are like you. There are tens of thousands of kids in this state who don’t even live with their parents. They are institutionalized, shuffled in foster care, living with distant relatives, etc. 

What of them?

To which I replied:

Them, I won’t forget. I do not advocate for no government school, just no government coercion. I want less government because I see the net result of more government as causing more harm than good. Less government might find us a sweet spot where we seldom complain of it, or the other political party. Less is often more.

I don’t believe government schools will be driven out by school choice. I don’t like vouchers, and Epic is a rotten taste in my mouth at the moment. I’ve never supported the schemes and plans for choice. The plans all seem to have too many flaws. Government money invariably leads to waste, fraud, and abuse, and giving government money to private parties has the most likelihood of graft and selfish ambition ensuring waste, fraud, and abuse, and good intentions too often have bad side effects.

End truancy laws, and let parents be in charge of their own children with full responsibility. Most parents will step up. It is government as fallback that is the root of most of the deficiencies that lead to so many parents being in tough circumstances. It isn’t a perfect world. Life really is suffering, and government cannot fix that. Democratic Party policies cannot fix it. GOP policies cannot fix it. Advocacy groups of whatever stripe cannot fix it. Only personal responsibility can fix it. Be the change you want to see in the world. DON’T write a law pretending the State can fix it. Don’t assume sending the guys with guns will set all to rights.

How long will we keep screaming that more money will fix the schools or the police? It doesn’t work. It cannot work. It isn’t a matter of policy. It is a matter of misplaced responsibility and accountability. The State is not accountable. The State cannot be held accountable. The State can only be limited. When the power of the State is too limited for power-seekers to abuse it, government will stop being abusive. Then out-of-balance party politics won’t be so corrupting. Government is the problem, not balance. We have to have some authority, but we have gone much too far, especially in government enforcement of schooling.

If government schooling is so good, why can’t it be given the chance to fend for itself? I believe enough people will demand it for it to continue. I think there is ample justification for our current system until we have something clearly better. (I don’t see anything clearly better taking over in our lifetimes.) I don’t want rid of government-funded public schools. I want rid of coercive laws that make mothers feel powerless to fight for their children. I want Momma to be able to stand up for her child for herself, not dependent upon support from government and teachers’ unions.

Do you not understand that parents with children who have problems in the schools feel powerless? It is not because of lack of programs. It is because the parents have no alternatives. That is the fault of truancy laws and current government policies, policies mostly advocated by both major parties. (I again emphasize it is NOT a party problem.)

Literacy rates [in North America] were highest before government schools and truancy laws. Government schools have not helped. How many copies of Common Sense sold? How many were pirated and copied by anyone with the wherewithal? It seems to me too many had (and have) motive to exaggerate the numbers, but the pamphlet was not light reading, and it was widely read, and widely read aloud. There is no doubt the written word and civic responsibility were strong in our land long before any of our modern conventions. “Knowledge is power.” What parent doesn’t know that? What parent conscientiously deprives offspring of any and all tools that might equip them for the trials of life?

The point isn’t schooling. The point isn’t even education. The point is learning and mastering tools for living meaningful lives. The goal of every parent is helping children achieve their potential, or at least to do better. Each generation wants the next generation to do better. Our government-enforced schools are thwarting that now. Our government at all levels works at cross purposes to all that free citizens try to accomplish, and it applies to citizens of all ages.

We err when we consider children as less than citizens. Every individual at every stage of life is self-sovereign. We are all partners. Yes, children are childish, and we parents have extra responsibilities, but it is a partnership. It is not a dictatorship where the parent rules. It is a gradual turning over of responsibility to the child at each stage of maturity.

Obviously, I’ve grown too verbose. I hope there is something in this that gives you a bit of insight into my perspective.

I support school choice, but I haven’t found any programs or laws for choice that I can back. Such programs still depend on government authority and threat of force no matter how it is set up. I want freedom of choice, not programs for choice. Children learn if we let them. A gentle guiding hand can accomplish wonders in a child’s own learning.

Constitutionally outlaw truancy laws.

I added:

The key challenge to choice is leaving the choice to the individual. When an authority dictates, or simply endorses, the authority is responsible. No bureaucrat can satisfactorily be held accountable under all but the most extreme situations of criminality. We have the wherewithal now in our digital age to hold everyone individually accountable by reputation. The systems are immature and flawed, but I doubt most individual-based review systems are more error-prone than our bureaucracies.

Leave choices to the individuals. Don’t rule by law. Law is power. Power corrupts. There are no exceptions. Knowledge is the only power I’m eager to leave unfettered.

Andy and John haven’t had time to reply more.

John’s article listed significant credentials for him. I suggest John Taylor Gatto had more credentials and a more fascinating story.

https://www.johntaylorgatto.com/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Taylor_Gatto

https://fee.org/articles/john-taylor-gatto-1935-2018-remembering-americas-most-courageous-teacher/

https://www.naturalchild.org/articles/guest/john_gatto.html

For those who hold to authoritarian views and formal organization and lesson planning by “experts” I suggest looking into the work of Sugata Mitra.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sugata_Mitra

http://www.hole-in-the-wall.com/

His TED talks are easy to find, and here is a recent article:

https://universe.byu.edu/2019/03/26/physicist-encourages-change-in-the-use-of-technology-in-education/

Personally, I advocate for homeschooling without rigid standards. Reading aloud to a child from the earliest age, and routinely, is the most effective thing we can do for children. There really aren’t any hard and fast rules for what a person needs to know now. We need to know how to read, but living the example as adults is far better than a schoolroom. There isn’t much else we need to know to get along in the world because of the ease of use of technology.

Decry tech and screens all you want, but that is our world now. We are not going back. I have access to anything I want to study, anything. A screen and internet access extends my reach to anything I might need. Children will learn all they need if we just guide a little and let them learn. They will learn to love the classics because that is why they are classics, because we love them. The same goes for anything they need. They will want it, and if we don’t hinder them, they will learn it. They will master the tools they need to reach their potential and to be assets to partners, families, communities, and society at large.

For further reading, go to FEE.org , and I especially recommend Kerry McDonald, https://fee.org/people/kerry-mcdonald/

Advertisements

I live in Oklahoma House District 94.

Our district is fully within Oklahoma County, and Del City is one-third, with Oklahoma City encompassing the remainder. Most of us consider ourselves Mid-Del, I suppose, though folks south of I-240 might think of themselves more as a part of Moore.

Anyway, there are about 37,000 of us in the district in general. That, of course, includes children and others not eligible to vote, but 19,238 of us were registered as of 01 November 2018 (for the general midterm election). Thus, 52% of residents (whom the Congresscritter is to represent), can vote.

I’m guessing, since my half-hearted effort to look it up revealed nothing; if there are 10,000 residents under 18, then our registered percentage is roughly 72%. Seems decent, but I’m not looking up anything to make a comparison.

8,634 D; 6,707 R; 108 L; 3,789 I (registered voters in our district)
44.88%; 34.86%; 0.56%; 19.70% (percentage of registered voters)

It is sad that so many want to identify with the overtly self-serving major parties. It is sad that so few are willing to identify with the party that stands for the liberty of the people and restrictions on the government. It is not surprising many Okies identify as independent. Most of us are, but politics is politics. Tribalism is instinctive, but we rational and educated adults should be able to do better.

ABSENTEE MAIL EARLY VOTING ELECTION DAY TOTAL
JASON SANSONE (REP) 279 118 3458 3855 39.61%
ANDY FUGATE (DEM) 488 317 5072 5877 60.39%
Total 767 435 8530 9732

The table above is cut-paste from the State Election Board’s official results. Roughly 43% of the district registered voters he represents voted for Andy. Less than a third (31%) of all residents he represents voted for him. I suspect most of the Republicans, Libertarians, and Independents, and some minority of Democrats feel unrepresented (at least at the gut level). That is our system. I do hope it helps Andy keep perspective and a sense of humility.

I’ve friended Andy on Facebook. I have higher hopes for him than our prior representative. We shall see. Still, I honestly suspect that even if Andy treats nearly all his representees with respect and reasonable attention, he is still going to be voicing positions that most of us do not agree with, at least on most subjects. (The situation is similar or reversed in most districts.) Again, that is our system.

How does this situation qualify as a representative democracy?

Our system is broken. It isn’t working. Leaving our system as-is proves we are lobotomized sheep, willing to be fleeced by the political bosses.

By the way, I’d register Libertarian, but I just can’t accept the party system in general. I cannot condone the party system by registering in one of the parties. Thus, I have my registration as an independent.

That causes restrictions for votes. The party system restricts voters in primaries and other “party” elections. Not being an active member in good standing of one of the parties results in one being shut out from most of the political process. Again, a broken part of our system. It is broken and unjustifiable. It needs to be fixed.

The parties get to set their own voting rules for the “party” elections, and they change often. Generally, they won’t let voters registered with a different party to vote on their ballot, but sometimes they allow those registered as independents.

Ideally, our representatives study the legislative issues that arise in the legislature, and, hopefully, they consider our suggestions, weigh alternatives and arguments for and against, and they raise these issues in the legislature for us. Ideally, they spend most of their time improving existing laws, repealing bad laws, and improving the liberty of the citizenry while reining in and restricting the long arm of the law to infringe on the liberty of the citizenry.

Party politics and rules encumber the process and restrict our representatives, especially when in the minority party, but the idea is they take our input, add in all they can learn, and make the best decision they are capable of. If Andy does that, I’ll be satisfied. I’ll feel I’m represented.

Party politics stand in the way, especially for aspiring pols. Scott Inman is a good example. I supported his opponent each of the seven elections he ran for. (Eight if you count his abortive run for OK Governor.) Despite opposing him, I found him to be a great guy, and I liked him. There was even an off-year when I got so annoyed at the OKGOP that I told Scott I was going to support him. Apparently, I had bad timing. That is when Scott stopped listening to me. He became a grandstander, continuously beating the drum for the Democratic Party, continuously denigrating, deriding, and accusing all who weren’t in line with his stances (which seemed fully aligned with DNC policy). Scott went so far as to unfriend me, and block me, on Facebook, deleting many of my comments on his page. (I am (and was) a legal and voting resident of his district. I had known him (as a politician) since 2003, actively (generally cordially) engaging him often.)

It didn’t take me long to realize Scott was first a politician. It truly disappointed me as he more and more routinely threw his constituents under the bus in order to advance his standing in Democratic Party politics. He had his sights set on the highest ranks of Democratic politics and office. His whole strategy of campaigning his last four years in office (and make no mistake, it was a 24/7 campaign from just after the 2014 elections) were aimed at the Oklahoma Governorship, followed by a jump to national politics in the course of time.

Perhaps my opinion is colored by his treatment of me and so much of what I try to stand for. Regardless, I see him as a quintessential example of what is wrong with US politics and what our representative democracy has degenerated to. Scott seemed to represent the district honestly his first four years. He grew more vocal and more confrontational as he became more prominent in the Democratic Party, both in Oklahoma and nationally. He proved to be corrupted by his power. He ruined his life and family because of it. He failed to represent his professed Catholic faith. He did not represent the people of District 94 in any reasonable and honest way his last four years in office, especially for those who are not staunchly aligned with the DNC.

Following up, on 06 November, shortly after the polls closed, I walked over to our precinct to review the vote-tally that is always posted in the window by the door. Two fellows were eagerly helping the pole official complete the task. (I mean that complementarily; they were being appropriately helpful.) They quickly took a couple of notes and snapped a couple of photos, and they were hurrying on (obviously collecting information for a campaign or party). And, I recognized the voice of Scott Inman. As he hurried off, I queried. His associate heard me and responded in the affirmative. That caught Scott’s attention, and he waved and shouted, “Good to see you,” as he hurried to their vehicle. I asked how life was going, and he replied, “Quite well, thank you, but we must hurry to the next precinct.” Fair enough, but no, his life isn’t going well at all by any standard I hold. Oh well. Not my business. Not my call. Regardless, it shocked me that I would see him in our district. After his fall from grace, Scott reportedly moved to Tulsa as a banking executive. (Tulsa World) I still cannot fathom why he was collecting poll results in his old district so far from Tulsa. I assume his disgrace has been forgotten by the Democratic Party. I won’t be surprised if I start seeing his name in the news again.

I’ve waxed too verbose. I’ve vented, but I mean it. I’ll never succeed in politics if I unwisely decide to try, because I’m too open, too transparent. I have no intention of changing that. I’m getting better at keeping my mouth shut (face to face), but when asked, I’m going to be as clear, and honest, and open as I can be.

Here is looking forward to representation by someone more focused on representing us than on headlines and securing votes for higher office. Andy Fugate, we are counting on you.

 

State Totals 781,091 D; 1,003,182 R; 8,675 L; 327,895 I; Total 2,120,843
Oklahoma’s 2017 estimated populate was 3,930,864. (Approximately 54% of residents are registered to vote.)

 

Philadelphia Dec. 23. 1791.

I would rather be exposed to the inconveniencies attending too much liberty than those attending too small a degree of it. — Thomas Jefferson

A friend posted on Facebook about the Oklahoma State Question 788 legalizing marijuana per doctor’s note. I had commented about the legal prohibition forcing me to be responsible for the harm caused by the law.

I was camping for a few days, so now I’m able to take time to write a bit. We Oklahomans vote on the matter tomorrow (26 June 2018).

To be blunt, I oppose all legal prohibitions of vices. If there is no victim, there can be no justification for laws criminalizing the action. (Rationalizations and mental gymnastics should be employed for liberty, not for coercion.)

I’m using the word vice to mean actions that are reasonably called bad, even harmful to oneself, and perhaps, by extension, hurtful to ones loved-ones. I mean actions that are done willingly, even if unwisely, with malice toward no one. That is, if I abuse a substance, I will likely harm myself, but I’m not doing it with malice. I don’t intend to harm anyone, even if the end result will hurt those who care about me. On the other hand, there are natural crimes where my actions intentionally, or at least directly, harm someone else. The most obvious is murder.

It’s a hell of a thing, killing a man. Take away all he’s got and all he’s ever gonna have. Will Munny (Clint Eastwood’s character in Unforgiven.)

If I may use “natural crimes” to mean that which victimizes at least one other, and vices to mean that which harms no one directly except the doer, then perhaps I can be clear.

I first must set forth my consideration of law, any law, every law. When I consider whether a law is justifiable, I use this criterion: If someone was about to violate the law, and if I had a gun to the would-be criminal’s head, would I be willing to say, “Stop, or else!” If they persisted, would I be willing to pull the trigger?

If the law they are violating is life, if the perpetrator is about to commit murder (a natural crime), or inflict grave injury and harm, then, yes, I could suppose I’d be willing to pull the trigger, and I suppose I would be justified.

If the law they are violating is texting while driving, or smoking a joint, no. Don’t be absurd. Of course not. Yet, we have the laws.

Sure, driving while intoxicated or negligently distracted is dangerous, but it is not intentionally malicious. If someone is negligent along such lines, we have reasonable and justifiable liability laws. We hold them accountable.

Someone might object that a negligent driver may accidentally take a life as a result, and liability and reparations cannot bring back the dead nor satisfy the bereaved. Certainly, but let us consider the natural and often likely extreme; if law-enforcement attempts to apprehend the negligent driver (for citation or arrest), the driver may refuse to comply, and it doesn’t take much for someone to die in such circumstance. A high-speed chase is too often fatal. A “criminal” who objects to being criminalized for a vice often becomes belligerent, and, far too often, such situations end in someone dying.

In many instances, our protection is merely hypothetical. How can we justify proactively coercing someone to protect a life, when the coercion itself is an evil act and very well may result in loss of life. Life for life in the abstract is not justifiable. Life for life can only be justified when the threat of death is clear and imminent. Even in war, it is morally reprehensible for me to take the life of an enemy combatant who is clearly attempting to surrender.

Here is the point I hoped to make on Facebook regarding State Question 788 and the decriminalization of marijuana if a doctor signs off on it. The Law currently criminalizes the possessor or seller of a naturally grown plant. Said criminal is subject to all manner of force and coercion at the hands of law enforcement officials. I cannot justify sending our police to enforce such unjustifiable laws. Our police are armed, and they are trained to use force, even deadly force, to uphold the law. Whether the law is justifiable or not, I am literally responsible, given that is our system, and in it, I am the authority and basis of the government. The government rules by my consent. If I consent, I am responsible.

As Thomas Jefferson pointed out, I am much more willing to deal with the problems attendant to too much liberty. I do not have a clear conscience if I am responsible for too little liberty. I am responsible, in our society, here in the USA, here in Oklahoma, if our government is, in fact, tyrannical. I will act in legal, civil, and voluntary ways to increase liberty and to minimize tyranny. I must make a legitimate effort to repeal unjustifiable and unnecessary laws. I must support decriminalize of drug use, even if it is only halfway.

The same goes for immigration, but that is not the topic here. We must have constraints on immigration, but our laws are too restrictive, and worse, too complicated and hard to enforce. Many of our laws are based on fear. Many of our laws are based on favoring some at the expense of others. That is tyranny, and it is wrong.

I hope my point is clear. I oppose prohibitions on vices because I find the prohibitions more immoral than the vices prohibited. I oppose prohibitions on vices because such prohibitions require our police to enforce unjustifiable laws. Further, unjustifiable laws result in unfair enforcement and unfair judicial practice because mercy and justice cannot be consistently considered. Further still, excess laws, unjustifiable or simply unneeded, push our police beyond their warrant. Excessive laws force our police to overextend, increasing their risks unjustifiably.

Specifically, how many police have died because of a marijuana arrest? How many times have drug raids and drug enforcement deprived a more worthy use of police capabilities?

Again, all of this is my fault, our fault, collectively, because we vote for it. We don’t bend the ears of our legislators and peacefully persuade them to repeal the unjustifiable laws. We don’t vote them out and install representatives who will listen.

Prohibition of vices causes more harm than good. Prohibition of vices is more immoral than the vice.

We have the example of alcohol. Of course, it is different. Yet, it is simply a vice. Many people, good, bad, innocent, and otherwise, died trying to prohibit alcohol in our country. We have many problems associated with alcohol. Many people suffer, and many people die. Yet, we don’t cause it. We, collectively, are not responsible for suffering and death resultant from free choices of free people. Our responsibility ends with our innate obligation to love our neighbor as ourselves. I have a simple obligation to my neighbor, my relative, my friend, who has a problem with addiction, or whatever, in so far as I care about them and want the best for them, within my capabilities.

Passing a law and sending the police to enforce it is not the same; it is not a way to fulfill my obligation to love my neighbor. It is coercion, and coercion is evil.

Coercion, being evil, is only justifiable when the coercion enforced is obviously less evil than the harm prevented. By obvious, I mean a clear and imminent harm.

Again, I stand with Jefferson. No doubt, there are problems associated with decriminalizing drugs, but the problems of liberty are not immoral. The problems caused by coercion are immoral. Let us all choose to stand for liberty. Let us all honor every individual as self-sovereign. Let us all refuse to coerce.

 

 

 

Instead of fighting over whether the census should ask about citizenship, like Fred said to Ginger, let’s call the whole thing off.

We should work an amendment through the processes and fix it permanently, but Congress has the power to pass laws to direct the manner of census. They could simply direct the manner to be statistical.

We know how to do it, and it would save a lot of money. Of course, there is that “actual enumeration” phrase. My argument is that an actual enumeration of every person, citizen or otherwise, is quite impossible. The confidence intervals are hardly tighter for the full census than for thorough statistical estimates. Congress has the power to enforce. They can do this if they have the will.

The worry is apportionments. While Representatives and corresponding electoral votes are decided this way, it’s really all about the money. (Isn’t it always?) Which State gets more money is partly based on which State has more people. The definition of people has changed throughout history. So the change continues.

The question is really addressing how we should define people nowadays. I support treating every individual as one individual, not as a member of a group or class, but as a single, self-sovereign individual. So, let the statisticians and pollsters count heads, every head, regardless of other characteristics. Let them satisfy the proven models (and reprove and improve the models with oversight and some regularity), and let’s use the numbers for apportionment. The portion is never fully based on just the numbers. (Some Congresscritters are just better at bringing home the bacon.)

The apportionments for 350,000,000 people split unevenly among the States, and cannot be evenly, fairly divided, at least not perfectly. We are human after all. The population is also dynamic, so what was “perfect” yesterday is faulty tomorrow.

Let’s drop the full mansion-to-mansion, door-to-door, hovel-to-hovel, bridge-to-bridge, shelter-to-shelter notion of census. The money saved will more than make up for any slight deviation of this group versus that group. There will be more money left over to apportion, so even the underestimated groups will end up with more. Win-win!

The point of the census is apportionment. A person is a person. The community deals with every member. We have needful reasons to be mindful of the ramifications of citizenship, et al., but not here, not with the census. Apportionment must consider persons, nothing more.

Note, the Constitution very specifically considers citizens for privileges, such as the vote, but it just as specifically considers persons, individuals without regard to other characteristics, for protection and due process. No person can be denied equal protection under the law. Every jurisdiction in the USA is bound to provide protection to every person within the jurisdiction so far as the law is concerned. Every protection equally, to citizen or alien, sinner or saint. Equal under the law.

Please, also, don’t conflate need to offer protection with general aid. No, the jurisdiction doesn’t owe you anything except protection from others infringing your basic rights as a human, as a fellow traveler in this brief moment we have, this experience we share.

Some background:

https://usconstitution.net/

Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers…actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct. Originally Reps per State could not exceed one per 30,000. (Getting back to that proportion is an idea worth considering.)

14th
All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Since no taxation without representation was a founding principle, our Constitution says no representation if you aren’t taxed. Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding [those] not taxed. The wording in this section is outdated, but the point is, the vote can be denied to criminals, but those who cannot vote cannot be counted for apportionments.

Many offices in the USA and the States require an oath. Ever breaking that oath disqualifies you from holding Federal elected office. Congress can override with 2/3rd.

USA debt cannot be questioned. It is valid by law, etc.

Congress has the power to send armed enforcers if they want to keep you in line.

 

 

Here is a hard thing. “The only way to grow out of the state is to not treat it as an alien “other” but as a reflection of a violence-addicted culture.”

We, you and I, commit violence against others with our laws, with our regulations, with our prisons.

You and I have blood on our hands. Our lawmakers ensure it.

For every evil a state-enforced regulation alleviates, it perpetrates more, maybe many more, maybe many times worse. You and I are responsible.

When one causes suffering, that one is responsible. When our government, our state, our laws, our police cause suffering, we are all responsible. All of us have the blood on our hands.

“Don’t be evil,” the saying goes. What is evil? It is at least the causing of suffering unnecessarily. Do our prohibitions cause suffering? Yes. You know our drug laws, our prostitution laws, our petty prohibitions of this and that, our requirement of this or that, they all cause suffering. They all result in harming people and families in prisons and other obvious harms. Why continue?

“I would rather be exposed to the inconveniencies attending too much liberty than those attending too small a degree of it.” Thomas Jefferson, Philadelphia Dec. 23. 1791.

If we live to “protect,” how? How can we protect anyone older than about six years? We can only protect people by imposing on them. Coercion is evil. Coercion is always evil. Why commit evil to protect? There is one reasonable justification: when the evil prevented is obviously worse than the evil imposed by the coercion, when that evil prevented was clear, present, and imminent.

Coercion, imposition of law, needs to be stripped of its layers and accoutrements, especially the pretty ones. We pretend our laws are for the good, but what good? Strip the law down to its ultimate: Every law has you, ultimately, holding a gun to someone’s head and saying, “Comply or else!”

You scoff. You recoil. You would never do that. Heck,  you may even protest you own no gun, you may even claim you’ve never held a gun, but did you vote? Did you pay taxes? Don’t you sanction the police, at least when you need them? Did you cheer when the law passed? “No more texting and driving,” you cried in triumph. Yet, what of the young person who does so anyway, who is seen, caught red-handed, by an officer of the law? Who, when the siren sounds and the lights flash, refuses to submit? What then? High speed chase? Property damage, injury, loss of life? All because you insisted on assigning enforcement, the guys with the guns, to enforce your coercive, self-serving, even narcissistic and egotistical, will.

You! You supported that. You are responsible. There is blood on your hands.

We must change our ways. We must change our laws. We must abandon punishment in our civic culture. We all know what harm is. When there is a responsible party, intentional, negligent, or something similar, we understand justice. We understand the harm, the wrong, must be set right in some way. Punishing the responsible party is seldom warranted. Locking the person in a cage, how have we remained so evil so long?

When someone is harmed, we must find ways to set it right, ways that may involve substantial hardship for the responsible party. We can be reasonable, merciful, and still see justice done.

The old rule of eye-for-eye and life-for-life may need to be applied on rare occasions, but we normally have much more rational, even more effective, options.

Imposing harm willingly is the height of evil. Yet, we do it every day.

We harm those who violate our laws daily, and we harm those who love them or depend on them. We cause the harm, and we know it! That is the evil of our society, not supposed slights and unconscious bias.

Our laws need to focus on harm done and reparation. We must abandon punishment in most civil and criminal matters. We must figure out how to stop locking up all but our most dangerous fellow humans.

Here is another idea we must internalize, “There, but for the grace of God, go I.”

I am the monster. You are the monster. Our society, our laws, our enforcement, our systems! We are the monster! “There is none righteous, no not one!

Think, are you not frightened whenever you think of doing something out of the ordinary? Don’t you wonder if it is illegal, if someone might call the police, if the police just might show up for you? Oh, what evil we have wrought! We live in a society where the sensitive among us live in fear of the police, the state. Why?

When we impose regulation on children, on parents, on education, we are restricting, coercing, demanding what is not rightfully ours.

For many thousands of years, we have made do just fine with no imposition of regulations on parents. How can our hubris reach so high as to think this or that rule improves the human lot? Nemesis visits us already. Her reminders to return to humility, to minding our own business, are not usually extreme, but they will become so if we continue our imposing, coercive ways. It is simply the nature of existence. TANSTAAFL and “Mind own business.” That is the existence we have. It is what we should celebrate. We can only have the best when we all trust one another to the good, to be honest, to accomplish our own necessities. Our meddling only, almost always, increases suffering more than necessary.

I allow for the needs, for the necessities, because nothing is ever perfect, at least not in the existence we live.

I want less government, less law, less meddling, less imposition, less coercion. I’m not advocating for overthrow. No! What we have works pretty well. Let’s not blow it up. But, we can start restricting it. We can start repealing laws. We can start lowering budgets and eliminating programs. Such is the road to less harm and more general welfare.

There are no government programs that don’t cause harm. Get it? All government programs, all government action, causes harm. Government programs and actions harm some, some individuals. In many instances, the government action is causing more harm, more human suffering, than it alleviates, even when the best of intentions are legitimate and even when well supervised.

Government causes harm. It is inarguable. Freedom is better. Of course, there are those who will take advantage when opportunity arises, and that is why we need the sanctioned violence, the enforcement, the police, the guys with the guns. Yes, we need them. (We also need to be able to defend ourselves from them.)

However, we need less than we have.

Our needs our meager when it comes to government, yet we surfeit! Why?

Why is government excess the one excess we revel in. Is revelling in excess not sin, simply by definition! Of course, it is. Let us stop insisting on continuing this sin.

Less government, and let’s start with less laws.

 

 

 

I’m not going to explain any of my own history, but I identify fully, exactly, with Jordan Peterson. #jordanbpeterson @jordanbpeterson
Also with Lindsey Shepard.
My views don’t align well with any group I know of. I suspect Peterson would say the same of himself, except maybe for some of his fellow clinical psychiatrists.
 
If he happens to see this, I encourage him to stay strong and to focus on doing what is right. Stay faithful to your heart, your convictions, and the truth as best you can see it.
 
I stand pragmatically. I stand for all I know of history and science, and for realizing what can work, and what cannot.
 
Freedom is the only thing that can work.
 
Coercion is evil, always.
 
Stand for everyone, every group, every segment, no matter their differences, no matter their color, no matter their age, no matter their politics, no matter their religion, no matter their nationality, no matter their conformity. Stand for the individual! Stand for free exercise of conscience.
I support Peterson in his stand against using public education as indoctrination. https://youtu.be/s0EuQe6BOWo
I stand for the abolition of coercive, compulsory education laws.
There are many things that need fixed in education, including basic civility, respect, and freedom in all regards, but none of it matters while we officially coerce parents to force their children to conformity. Public education fails because its only true goal is to make conforming drones, compliant to the political will of the dominant faction.
We are free people, free individuals. It is fundamental. Everywhere freedom is suppressed, every time people resist, and resistance is not futile.
Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations

Sin

We usually define it as messing up, missing the mark. We know, for the most part, what we need to aim at, yet we often miss, either from simple failings or bad choices.

We don’t get around to doing the things we should. We don’t show a kindness when it was deserved. Or we know good and well we shouldn’t do a thing, yet we did it.

Most such, we deal with by repenting, formally for the religious, but in other ways for all the rest. Charitable giving, resolutions (especially at the New Year), we all do it, trying to make right, trying to do better. Good. That is the way of it, and nearly all of us get it, and most of us are pretty tolerant of it because we’ve been there, done that.

There is another sin, though, of knowingly causing harm, inflicting suffering. In general, such are what we, as a society, judge as worthy of punishment and prison. For the most heinous intentional harms, we tend to want our officials to take the sinner’s life. For better or worse, that is the way it is. (It could change. Perhaps we should engage.)

There is a sin, however, one that causes grave harm, that nearly everyone commits, and no one is ever punished for: Supporting compulsory education.

Making laws and forcing people to send their children to government schools, school designed to indoctrinate and to regiment, schools necessarily forcing compliance, conformance, and all things sedentary. These schools would be better for simply removing the compulsory requirements. Why do you support something that so obviously, demonstrably, repeatably, results in harm for so many?

You force it. You cause it. You are responsible. Why do you persist?

Outlaw truancy laws. End this intentional harm.

 

We humans tend to look for the strong to protect us, instead of realizing that the power of the strong corrupts them, and they will abuse us.

We need not fear which administration holds sway, either right or left or in between.

We have only cause to fear the ever-growing government itself.

I was quite impressed by Reggie Hamm’s articles (reblogged previously), and I was sharing Scott Adams’ ( @ScottAdamsSays #ScottAdams ) blog post on Facebook, and I wrote more than I expected. I’m reproducing it here, since Facebook is so hard to find anything on. Read the rest of this entry »

My wife and my sons were able to go to Hidden Figures tonight.

Go see this movie!

Excellent movie. I figure they played a bit fast and loose with the factual history, but I think they got what it meant. I think they portrayed the meaning right. Perhaps some day I will try to figure out the historical details. Regardless, the movie makes the main point quite well.

One of the important aspects was encapsulated in a clip of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. explaining that the civil rights movement aimed to save the American soul. We are still working to accomplish it, and we will get to the promised land.

We, each of us, individually, must face every person as unique and worthwhile. We each must resolve to never allow such prejudice as depicted in the movie to arise again, and we must work it every day because it isn’t gone.

I resolve to live giving every person the benefit of the doubt. I have always tried to live that way, and this movie redoubles my resolve. We must judge every individual only by the content of his character (or her character, character knows no male nor female, no gender at all). We must judge only character, ever supposing the best until proven the less. We must always give each other the benefit of the doubt.

Aside from being a good backstory for the early space history, the movie treats well the basics of life.

We all mostly just want to get along. We all have our dreams and aspirations. We should be able to pursue our aims without restrictions imposed by prejudice.

The movie captures a lot of the emotion of the routine as well as the extraordinary. We all know the results of the early manned flights, but no one knew as each occurred. The movie captures some of that quite well, at least it did for me. It also captured some of those little things, the personal things, the basics of life and love.

Determination is well portrayed as well.

Overall, quite a good movie with a message we all must remember and take to heart in every interaction we have with one another.

Each of us must be mindful that we are all in this together. For nearly all of us want the exact same things, chief of which are the love of family and friends, and the satisfaction of an honorably lived life with work well done.

I enjoyed the movie, and I learned. I expect most everyone else will too.

“I do not pretend to understand the moral universe; the arc is a long one, my eye reaches but little ways; I cannot calculate the curve and complete the figure by the experience of sight; I can divine it by conscience. And from what I see I am sure it bends towards justice.” Theodore Parker

Of course, those words inspired Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. decades later to say, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”

Each of us is personally responsible to help the bend toward justice, liberty, respect, and genuine love. No matter how far we ever manage to reach out into the stars, we must take these truths with us and live them.

 

 

~

Are you worried about WWIII? You should read this. Do you love history? You should read this. Do you wonder at Russia, especially the enigma of the old USSR? You should read this. Russia is not the USSR. Putin may be cold, but he is rational, and he is a patriot. Russia plays defense. It does not think offense. Even the unimaginable numbers asserted by the Soviet at the height of the Cold War, Russia thought of defense. Her offense was only intended, at least in the Russian heart, to ensure the battle lines were drawn far from Russia’s heartland.

Perhaps the grand communist experiment, the epic failure (which was and always will be inevitable), was able to happen largely due to the mindset of the Russian-related peoples. Perhaps they had lived in danger so long, that stable dread was tolerable. I hope it cannot happen again. Surely enough people know that communism, socialism, in all its forms, fails, moreover, it kills and destroys.

The article is long. Read it anyway. Grab a mug and learn, enjoy it all.

Mr. Hitchens mentions a movie, a documentary of the sorry conditions in the USSR.

In Russian, of course. No English text. So, learn your Russian or guess.

A note of one who was looking for the movie in 2015. https://www.reddit.com/r/russia/comments/2uhv7b/trying_to_find_a_movie/

From the Internet Movie Database: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0100738/

 


The misreading of Russia’s geopolitical situation is especially sad because for the first time in . . . .

Source: The Cold War Is Over by Peter Hitchens | Articles | First Things

Happy Veterans’ Day.

I am thankful for all who have served, even those who never managed to fit the legal definition, like myself. Those who sign, all, pledge their lives. When I signed, I knew I was likely to never have a dangerous assignment. I knew I would likely never point a lethal weapon at another human being with the intent to kill. However, I knew I might, and I knew I was ready. I would have. I could have.

Remember that when you honor a veteran. That person promised a lot, whether called on your not. That person might have delivered on those promises, perhaps is incomprehensible ways.

I am thankful that HDR will not be Commander in Chief over my son and the rest who serve. Each would have continued to fulfill the oath. Yet, I am glad we will never know the darkness that might have fallen had HDR been Commander in Chief of the most deadly fighting force the earth has ever known.

Again, I am thankful this Veterans’ Day.

Quoting:

Pluralism holds the key to the vitality of American religiousness as well as to the development of religious civility. One might think that economists long ago would have pointed this out to their colleagues in sociology who were so enamored of the strength of monopolies, since Adam Smith had laid out the whole analysis with such clarity long ago. Trouble is that until very recently, economists were so little interested in religion that the entire chapter on these matters in Smith’s classic The Wealth of Nations was (and is) omitted from most editions. It was not until I began working out the stimulating effects of pluralism on my own that someone suggested I read Smith–and I found this puzzling because initially I could find nothing on the topic in the readily available editions. Today, colleagues in economics find my emphasis on pluralism and competition fairly obvious, while many sociologists of religion continue to believe that I am obviously wrong–that competition harms religion and that I have been misled by inappropriate analogies with capitalism. Of course, the great majority of social scientists pay no attention to such peripheral matters, being secure in their knowledge that religion is doomed and soon must vanish.

Rodney Stark, The Triumph of Christianity, 2011, HarperOne, HarperCollins paperback edition 2012, page 367.

Here is an online source for Smith’s Wealth of Nations:

http://www.econlib.org/library/Smith/smWN20.html#V.1.195

Mr. Gornoski has hit it.

I add my agreement. I add CS Lewis:

“When the time comes to you at which you will be forced at last to utter the speech which has lain at the center of your soul for years, which you have, all that time, idiot-like, been saying over and over, you’ll not talk about the joy of words. I saw well why the gods do not speak to us openly, nor let us answer. Till that word can be dug out of us, why should they hear the babble that we think we mean? How can they meet us face to face till we have faces?”

Faces. We all have one, and only one, even if we try to present more than one. The gods, our God, only knows the one face. Each of us must present our truest face as truly as we are able, and we must each consider the face of our neighbor, be it black, or any other color. Be it gay, addicted, prostituted, abused, rich, powerful, humble or proud, we must face each other openly and equally.

We must speak in truth. We must try to understand. Sure, we need tolerance to ensure we only bounce, that we don’t break, but we need so much more. We must try to understand, and we must walk in love in the understanding.

——————————

Who among you will carry out the next act of violence against your nonviolent neighbor? We cannot hide behind the veil of the voting or jury booth. Face to face, we must make our choice.

Source: Law Has Become the Anonymous Violence of the Crowd | Foundation for Economic Education

%d bloggers like this: