Archives for category: Political

“Inherent factors have predetermined the Covid-19 mortality:”


Primary fact found: the higher a grouping’s life expectancy, the higher the death rate due to COVID-19.


It is an extensive paper you won’t bother reading. Perhaps you could read the introductory paragraphs.


My summary is nothing governments did helped. Lockdowns didn’t help. Mandates and other restrictions didn’t help. Call it the luck of the draw, but that isn’t right. What mattered was where people lived and how dependent people were on government. The more the government mattered in the society, the worse things went regarding the virus.


Sadly, of course, what most people will conclude is they need more government involvement in their lives.


Another tidbit one can conclude from this study is that economics really does equal lives. That is, the better off the economy, the more lives are saved (and vice versa). And, frankly, the more decadent people get, the more susceptible they are to stresses, like a new infection. Which, of course, means good economics also tends to make us lazy, which kills us. I suppose, in the end, we all die regardless.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpubh.2020.604339/full

A thoughtful fellow commented on how someone could argue for mandating a moral good. He pointed out how nearly everyone agrees religion is a moral good, but we all insist on freedom of religion. Of course. (Wise man, isn’t he?)

I add that available evidence shows clearly that individual religious observance is beneficial for the individuals and their groups. On the other hand, available evidence shows masks have no benefit with regard to viruses, and they result in grave harm to individuals and groups in psychological factors. Masks and distancing interfere with what makes us human; we are communal, and masks break the communion.

I here provide a link, https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/26/5/19-0994_article, to a definitive study from authoritative sources that establishes mechanistic measures do not impede virus transmission. Masks do not slow the spread of viruses.

The study was completed before politics entered disease research. If you look, you can find several older studies concluding the same, though most aren’t as thorough and definitive. I’m not offering any supporting evidence regarding religious practice, but you all know that, and you can look for yourself if you want evidence. When religions are abused for evil, it is by authoritarianism. Authoritarianism is always bad regardless of the level of application or the means. Authoritarianism can be inflicted by science and experts as easily as by religious officials. It can be wielded by bosses or politicians or police or menial bureaucrats. The result is the same, coercion. Coercion is evil.

Masks don’t help. Please don’t mandate masks. If you call for the imposition of masks and other socially harmful measures, understand I define your actions as evil; you are causing unnecessary, unjustifiable suffering. Perhaps you don’t care about my opinion, but if it is evil, are you willing to live with that? Are you intentionally inflicting evil on society and your fellows? I say so.

I ask why? Why are you willing to coerce your neighbor when coercion is certainly evil? Are you afraid? Then I say grow up.

Politics is the now. Religion is the always. Politics is irrevocably rooted in personality. Religion is rooted in truth. Let’s be honest with ourselves and deemphasize the politics and differences; let us focus on honesty, understanding, and truth; let us live out the heart-felt religion we all claim to believe. What you do is what you believe. You can’t say you believe in peace while practicing (or calling for) violence and coercion. You can’t believe in healing while causing harm.

Environmentalism, notionally, is trying to solve problems. The air was dirty. We solved that. Water was dirty. We solved that. Problems got more esoteric and ill defined with problems like acid rain and CFCs, but we seemingly solved those purported problems. The key was intractability. The environmentalists and those who saw the movement as a means to power needed an unsolvable problem. Telling humans their use of energy is the problem provides an unsolvable problem. Thus was born the notion of carbon dioxide causing climate change. The eternal problem for the unending alarm. There is your politics. There is your will to power. That is why climate alarmism will still be a thing generations from now when the world moves along in spite of it.

Ever heard that water is an incompressible fluid? Well, that is an approximation, and it is reasonable in freshman physics classes.

However, water compresses plenty. All matter will compress. An increase in pressure on the matter will compress it. This compression is work. This work is lost (used up) and unavailable for other purposes. The work typically heats the material, increasing its temperature.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve had many arguments about this bit of oversimplification throughout my years. It is one of those situations where a little knowledge (an inadequate amount of knowledge) is dangerous. Fortunately, it is only the kind of danger that is annoying, not destructive.

My point is when we consider a hydraulic system, we generalize and simplify, and we say that a force acting on the water or hydraulic fluid within an enclosed system will act on all surfaces equally. Yes, kinda. Nature will not let you get away with the approximation.

Applying 1 pound-force on 10 in2 allows us to calculate 10 pound-force on a 1-in2 ram, but not all the 10 pounds-force is actually there on the ram. Some of it was lost in work compressing the fluid, and some more was lost in friction acting on the liquid moving through the ram channel to push against the 1-in2 ram.

Accountants make up all kinds of formulas and rules. Each has its purpose and use, and some are limited and not usable in all situations. No amount of accounting can eliminate cost incurred. Obfuscating it somewhere other than final price is sleight of hand.

When a petroleum company incurs cost, such as gross production or severance tax, and every other tax they incur, the petroleum company must account the cost, and somewhere, they must pay it. Revenues must be higher than costs, or the company goes bankrupt (and all the employees become unemployed). Sooner or later, in all circumstances, increasing costs, even gross production taxes, increase the price the petroleum company must charge in sales or fees.

Refiners will pay more. In turn, they must cover the costs with revenues, and the end result is a rise in the price every poor sod pays to fill his vehicle so he can get to work and feed his family. If fuel costs increase, and his paycheck doesn’t, he will have less with which to feed his family.

Real life, be it accounting or physics, never lets us get away with anything. Everything has its costs. To do anything, one must expend time and energy. For anything to happen, time and energy are used up. (That is the purpose of the universe, to use up all time and all enthalpy.)

We all know these things when we pay attention. Pay attention. One can never be so poor as to be unable to pay attention.

In physics, if work is done, it is used up. We have to get energy from somewhere again to do more (or just to do it again). The same goes for money and costs. If we had to pay it, it is gone. We have to get money from somewhere else, or we fail. In the world we live in, you and I, the end consumers, pay that extra money. It doesn’t come from anywhere but us (in general, the business owner, even an oil baron, is one of us; not so the government; they don’t make money; they only take it). Everywhere (like a bank or the government) that has money got it from us. We paid. To the bank, we hope we get more (in interest or intangibles) than we put on deposit. With the government, we can only hope they don’t waste it all, and we live in fear they will only keep coming for more.

All my life, as well as I can remember, supposed experts have been saying our deficit spending is going to bankrupt the country. Sooner or later that has to happen. If we don’t stop borrowing, eventually we will get past a point of no return. Will it be another 50 years? Longer? Shorter? The warnings I recall from the 70s were no less dire than today, with this article as an example. There is more data now; it looks bad. There is more inflation now, but for some reason, it doesn’t look bad. There are more growth and global trade now, and it is hard to tell how much that matters. Regardless, we are overspending and over-borrowing. Sooner or later, the bills come due. If we don’t reduce spending soon, the day of reckoning will be grim indeed.

Yes, I was paying attention 50 years ago. It is why it is hard to get excited about the latest alarm. I’ve heard it all before, and nobody else seems to remember. My cynicism has been acquired honestly, and its payment was (and is) extracted painfully.

Every step of the way, the role of government at all levels has increased. Every step has been made harder by that government involvement.

We need less government in every way.

The video at the end of the article is worth watching, in my opinion.

Source: The US Is Burying Young People and the Unborn Under a Mountain of Government Debt – Foundation for Economic Education

My State Congressional Representative, Andy Fugate https://www.andyfugate.com/about, shared a Tulsa newspaper editorial about our state having the happy condition of a revenue excess in closing out the books for the year. The funds go into the rainy day emergency fund.

The Tulsa paper thought it necessary to deride our “red” legislature and governor, so I decided not to link it. Negativity is to be avoided, and your favored search engine will make it easy to find if you wish, but I’m also irked by their use of intrusive ads and their refusal to allow reading with the ad-blocking software enabled.

Governor Stitt asserted he wants the rainy day fund to stand at more than twice its current level. The Tulsa editors thought it proper to deride the amount and pretend if a little more is good, why not a lot more? Hardly a helpful observation.

There was a ballot initiative recently voted down that was designed to set aside a small percentage of the budget for a few years, allowing the set-aside to accumulate, and with fiscally-conservative investment, the amount would grow beyond the amounts set aside. It would be like an endowment or retirement account, with the notion the State could eventually “retire” at least some of the taxes. Wouldn’t that be nice? Of course, naysayers decried it, and it failed to pass.

I’m not sure why. It was likely to require 20 to 25 years to become a significant portion of the state government’s revenue, and after that long, tax reductions would be easy conversations. Alarmism and emotional appeals would be hard to make, and fiscal considerations could be made on merit. The taxes might not then go down because the majority might prefer the extra services, but at least the argument would be on merit, not fear. In the meantime, it would have mattered almost nothing. The set-aside was small, and with a year like this one, we’d have looked rather sagacious. Oh well. Maybe it will come up again. Maybe we will be wiser next time. For now, we have editors whining we are not taxed enough.

I’m not a fan of a significant rainy day fund. We need very little sustained surplus for unforeseen shortfalls. We could, however, use excess funds to set up self-sustainment for programs.

Given the nature of politics and other factors influencing state government spending and desires for programs, just having a large endowment for funding the government would just lead to more spending and more waste (and more intrusion into everyday lives of Oklahomans).

I suspect we could set up endowments for programs, though. We could structure the investment restrictions and funding and spending requirements to incentivize the program directors to wisely and frugally run the endowments to the best advantage of their program.

Considering Oklahoma’s highways and toll roads could be instructive. It is a system that has its drawbacks, and plenty of detractors, but overall, the system is relatively efficient, and the toll revenues relieve some burden from the budgets. The tolls are not set up as an endowment but as a supplement to the highways moneys. It isn’t a strong analogy, but we can look at it and how other such things work (and failures, too), and we could lower the tax burden on our children and grandchildren without depriving them of important government services.

In general, I want less government. A set of invested endowments probably would increase government more than I’d like. Government is part of the problem, but taxes are most of the problem. Taxation is theft, and one simply doesn’t get sustainable good moral results from inherently immoral acts like forcing people to relinquish honestly earned income for services they generally don’t want and seldom use.

I’m willing to risk a bit more government if it comes with less taxes.

Regarding wanting a hefty state budget reserve, I must point out that Governor Stitt ran a rather successful business. I think it unwise to dismiss his financial advice. I’m not inclined to accept it this time, but I’ll give reasons for that, not derision.

Source: The Founders Were Flawed. The Nation Is Imperfect. The Constitution Is Still a ‘Glorious Liberty Document.’ – Reason.com

The article denounces the New York Times for their efforts at revisionist history.

I said some relevant things here:

https://gottadobetterthanthis.wordpress.com/2018/02/06/most-important/

I also added that Christianity essentially stamped out slavery for a few centuries, here: https://gottadobetterthanthis.wordpress.com/2016/07/16/summer-reading-6/

The United States of America has plenty of both shame and accolade. CS Lewis said it to children like this:

“You come of the Lord Adam and the Lady Eve,” said Aslan. “And that is both honour enough to erect the head of the poorest beggar, and shame enough to bow the shoulders of the greatest emperor on earth. Be content.”

― C.S. Lewis, Prince Caspian

We owe it to ourselves and our posterity to never rest. There is always more.

Sometimes it’s good to look back down
We’ve come so far – we’ve gained such ground
But joy is not in where we’ve been
Joy is who’s waiting at the end

It was reported that our current Congressional clown is advocating for pay raises for herself and fellow congress-critters. The assertion is it would reduce the tendency to corruption and bribes. Of course, the obvious reason is she wants more money for herself.

Regardless of her motive, the assertion that increasing the salaries of public officials will counter corruption is like saying Lori Loughlin wouldn’t have committed fraud and bribed officials if she’d been a little more rich and famous. (I mean, her 19-yo daughter’s net worth is only estimated at $400k; it’s not like she’s a millionaire or anything. /sarc)

Power corrupts. Money can sometimes provide power, especially for those who are already powerful.

It struck me that the author of the article I happened upon uncritically claimed “studies show” higher salaries reduce corruption. The notion is absurd on its face. We all have firsthand experience of money worsening bad people. Corruption is innate. Empowering further cannot have results that are good.

Here is the result of a moment of research: http://cega.berkeley.edu/assets/miscellaneous_files/118_-_Opoku-Agyemang_Ghana_Police_Corruption_paper_revised_v3.pdf

It concludes increase the salaries of the police increased their level of graft. Power corrupts.

Given my revulsion by the idea, I trust you will forgive that my research was limited. I googled “raising politicians salary reduces corruption” and found only negatives. Higher salaries do not reduce corruption.

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.)

 

The New York Times restricts readership, but if you visit them infrequently, you should be able to read this entire article:

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/11/09/opinion/expanded-house-representatives-size.html

The article is even and well-reasoned. It is the kind of useful journalism the Times used to be known for. Perhaps they can still do it when they block The Donald from their minds.

We simply must increase the House of Representatives. It is a major factor in our current political unbalance and unrest. People know they are not represented, yet they are taxed more and more. It is hard to shake the adversity of it. It is, after all, what separated us from British rule.

I’m generally opposed to anything that increases government, and I may regret it, but this seems too essential. The pros outweigh the cons substantially. We must increase the number of seats in Congress substantially. I honestly don’t think the proposed increase here is enough. Perhaps going back to the Constitution and per-30,000 is too many, but I believe changing the rules to do most of the Representative’s work from their respective home districts, and coordinating everything on openly viewable social-media-like electronic-media, it can work well, and openly, and with solid representation for the people of these United States.

It is doable. It is workable. It may take a few election cycles to iron out the kinks, but with so much more accountability, I bet it gets done. I bet it will work well and solve many of the political problems within a decade of implementation.

The first step is to increase the number of Representatives. It is an essential step in trying to balance the many diverse concerns and interests of We-the-People. Let’s all push to increase the size of the US House of Representatives. Write your Congresscritter and Senators. Start talking about it when political and governmental subjects come up.

Shouting louder and instigating violence is certainly not helping. This suggested change is positive and doable.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My comments:
793 seems an easy yes. Your current doctor will keep the same office. This will allow normal competition and eliminate the state-imposed restrictions that keep costs high and horn out the little guys.
794 seems good, but it will increase costs for law enforcement.
798 seems silly and irrelevant either way.
800 sets up a retirement fund for the state. That is, we start putting in a little now, and that amount increases a little each year as we go. After five years, some of the gains from investment are used to fund regular state budget. After 3 or 4 decades, there will be enough money in there, and enough gains, to start paying for most everything the state does, and hopefully, that will reduce taxes. The notion of making it constitutional is intended to make it hard for short-sighted lawmakers to screw it up. Of course, no guarantees. The question is, do we want to set up a retirement-type fund for our state government (to fund the government, not retirement)? I say we should try.
801, well, it won’t help much, but probably a little. It gives more local control and less government control. That is a general positive.
• State Question 793 – a citizen-initiated referendum to allow optometrists and opticians to operate in retail establishments;
• State Question 794 – expanding the constitutional rights of crime victims, known as ‘Marcy’s Law’;
• State Question 798 – providing for the election of Governor and Lieutenant Governor on a joint ticket starting in 2026;
• State Question 800 – creating a new budget reserve fund, the Oklahoma Vision Fund, to receive a portion of gross production tax revenues;
• State Question 801 – allowing local building fund revenues to be used for school operations.
 
Learn more about each state question with our fact sheets, which include a brief summary of the state question, background information, what supporters and opponents are saying, the full ballot language, and links to other resources. Find links to all five fact sheets on our #OKvotes page: http://www.okpolicy.org/OKvotes
https://okpolicy.org/state-question-798-governor-and-lieutenant-governor-joint-ticket/
https://okpolicy.org/state-question-800-new-reserve-fund-for-oil-and-gas-revenue/
I don’t understand calling this a “reserve” fund. It will be a state-owned asset for the state budget. It isn’t reserved. It will be five years before it pays back anything to the state budget, and it will probably be at least 30 years before it puts substantial money into the state budget, but the idea is that it will be a self-sustaining asset for the state budget. It is like a retirement account, an investment account. Save a little today so tomorrow eventually becomes more well funded. The notion is to reduce taxes eventually, especially considering we may stop using oil and gas in a few decades. Without them, the state will have MUCH less tax base. This “Vision Fund” will hedge against such possibilities, and will probably be able to lower the state tax burden in coming decades.
https://okpolicy.org/state-question-801-allow-building-fund-revenue-for-school-operations/
If you want to help the schools, make a state question that constitutionally bans truancy laws and any other attempts to coerce people into schools. Let freedom prove education can be done better.

“Perryman Comments on Wind Catcher Project Cancellation”

State Rep. David Perryman issued an official statement from the State House regarding the cancelation of the Wind Catcher project. Typical of politicians nowadays, he disparaged and cast blame. I’m not sure why the most important industry in Oklahoma was the target, but maybe it is good for votes in his district (but I doubt it). How does casting blame and disparagement make the world a better place?

Oklahoma dodged a bullet, and we should be appreciative to Texas for taking the brunt of the blame.

Big money investors, including Warren Buffett’s folks, were backing Wind Catcher. Their spiel was that the $4.5 billion would be rewarded over the next 25 years with net savings to the whole project (of which Oklahoma only had about a fifth) would amount to $7 billion. Of course, Oklahoma bears all the property value costs, none of which would ever be recovered. If it was so good, why did they need ratepayers to foot the bill so early?

I think politicians mourning the loss are disingenuous at best.

Oklahoma didn’t need Wind Catcher, and we don’t need make-work government projects, which is more or less what it would amount to.

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.

 

 

 

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