Archives for category: Liberty

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.

 

 

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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

What is socialism, even in the ideal, if not state-enforced charity?

1“Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.

2“Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 3But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

Is not this a direct injunction directly from the mouth of our lord against socialism?

 With socialism, not only does our left hand know what our right is doing, but so does half the government.

 Forced charity, forced humility, is worthy of no accolades.

Money is not the problem. More money will not fix any of the problems.

Testing is part of the problem. More testing will cause more harm.

Accountability is not part of the problem. More accountability will not help.

Politics is part of the problem. More politics, especially more heated partisan rhetoric, will only make it worse and burn us all in the process.

Coercion is evil.

End compulsory education. Then, we can start to fix the things that are the cause of the problem. Nothing that matters can be fixed while we coerce our young citizens and incarcerate them “for their own good.”

Lawrence Reed, quoting Tocqueville,
“Even despots accept the excellence of liberty. The simple truth is that they wish to keep it for themselves and promote the idea that no one else is at all worthy of it. Thus, our opinion of liberty does not reveal our differences but the relative value which we place on our fellow man. We can state with conviction, therefore, that a man’s support for absolute government is in direct proportion to the contempt he feels for his country” — Alexis de Tocqueville, 1858.
Don’t you agree?
 
“Thus, our opinion of liberty does not reveal our differences but the relative value which we place on our fellow man.”
 
Isn’t it that simple?
 
“We can state with conviction, therefore, that a man’s support for absolute government is in direct proportion to the contempt he feels for his country””
 
Yes! The less willing you are to let your fellow citizens alone, the more you contempt you have for them and the more you distrust the people of your country.
 
Like Thomas Jefferson said, “I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than those attending too small a degree of it.”
 
Forcing people by forcing the armed police to force them leads to all kinds of troubles, all kinds of harm. While it is inconvenient to trust people, since they will so often fail, it does show our love, respect, and patriotism.
 
It is worth it.
Liberty is worth the effort. Every person is worth it, every single person on earth, born or unborn, native or immigrant, legal or otherwise, wise or foolish, healthy or infirm, rich or poor, talented or plain, gifted or needy, yes, every single person!
Mr. Reed ends his statement with the following:
See Jim Powell’s essay, “Alexis de Tocqueville: How People Gain Liberty and Lose It” here: http://bit.ly/211zP8I. Tocqueville warned that a welfare state could seduce people into servitude.
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