Archives for posts with tag: government

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

 

 

 

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 »

It seems to me, Islam is quite capable of working itself out and peacefully meeting the needs of its adherents without conflict against other faiths. However, governments (Kings and tyrants in some cases) meddle. Governments in Islamic communities are pushing and skewing, and even funding and enabling radicals who support the preferred views.

Our nation, our government, needs to get out and leave the people alone.

If our nation can work with the rest of the world to free religion from government completely, at all levels, I’m confident all faiths can fulfill the need we have.

Fundamentally, government is the problem. Ronaldus Maximus was correct.

We need to address the correct problem.

The civil authority and the religious authority need to be completely separate, and the civil authority needs to be limited, strictly limited.

Isn’t this an embarrassment?

Section XIII-4: Compulsory school attendance.
The Legislature shall provide for the compulsory attendance at some public or other school, unless other means of education are provided, of all the children in the State who are sound in mind and body, between the ages of eight and sixteen years, for at least three months in each year.

Compulsion is evil. Yet, here we require it in our state constitution. We institute evil in our governance at its inception.

Coercion is evil. Compulsion is evil. It can only be justified in the prevention of worse evil.

Can we argue that granting someone the freedom, the right, of self-determination is a worse evil than forcing attendance at education?

We all know better. We know it is right and good to allow each self-determination. It is unalienable. Liberty, freedom of association, these are rights with which we are each individually created. Certainly parents and responsible adults owe protection to our young, our childish ones, until they gain modest maturity, but the longer I live, the less mature I realize we all are. Responsibility must accompany privilege, but self-determination is not a privilege, it is innate right. Self-determination is a property of a person. It is part of the very definition of what each of us is.

No one can argue that coercion, compulsion is other than evil. We aver religious freedom. We generally allow so many freedoms, even some freedoms most of us judge as immoral. Yet, we want to deny the right of self-determination and free association to all our citizens less than 16, even 18, years of age.

We all instinctively, rightly, understand that being forced to do anything deprives us, degrades us. Most will comply, but the degradation remains. No matter the end results, the end never justifies evil means.

The end never justifies evil means.

Coercion, compulsion is evil.

The end never justifies coercive means.

Education is a good that has been sought hard through all history. Knowledge is power. We instinctively know that. We understand that information and understanding, with wisdom and sound judgment empower us to fulfill our dreams and to live our lives well. No one has to force us to do good things for ourselves. Indeed, no one can.

Yes, we are always tempted to sloth, but we know the ant. We know the fiddle-playing grasshopper.

It is not possible to justify righteously the compulsion of the grasshopper for his own good. It does him no good, and it diminishes the rest of us, at best decreasing our own productivity and efficiency, and often going much farther bringing forth in us the worst of human nature, especially arrogance, self-righteousness, condescension, and even worse.

There is no need for compulsion in education. Mothers understand its value for their children. Children understand its value when simply allowed to enjoy the process. Joy cannot flourish under compulsion. Children do not enjoy being told they must. No one enjoys being told what to do. Children must learn self-discipline, but that is an entirely different thing than education. Children learn when they play. They learn when they interact. They learn when they are shown how to do something new. They learn when they are shown the usefulness of reading, writing, and mathematics. The same applies to skills in all areas of interest, including sports and trade or industry.

The state must ensure access. The state must protect those seeking education. I will even support state provision of schools and educational resource, but no good can come of forcing our young citizens and their parents to participate and attend.

It is my right to be ignorant if I so choose.

It is mama’s right to insist her child participate in education. Mama can insist her child attend. The state cannot. The state has no right to coerce with regard to self-determination and freedom of association. Mama will choose what is best for her child. We need only ensure her right is unhindered. It is mama’s right to raise her child anyway she sees fit. There are limits. We acknowledge abuse occurs, and sometimes the state must intervene, but in nearly all cases, mother really does know best. Empower her, and protect her from hindrance, and ensure she has at least one adequate option, such as a public school, and let her prove it. Mothers the world over have been proving it over and over since time immemorial.

I will always stand for mothers and fathers, for families. It is what works. For the exceptions, coercion cannot help.

Societally, we must work together and try to make up for shortfalls. We must also stand with those who see things nontraditionally, even when we have sound studies and reproducible data that show the traditional works best. But, we cannot do so by trying to force behavior.

Focus on what is most important. Freedom, self-determination, acceptance of responsibility, owning what we earn, be it for better or for worse. These are the things that are important for human dignity. These are the essentials of society. Understanding these is much more important than acquisition of some arbitrary standard of education as guessed at by some standardized test.

Children are, first, citizens. Children are not resources of the state. Children are not resources of the economy. Children are not property. We adults, specifically, we parents, are responsible for helping our children grow, and we must provide them with the tools they need for success in life. We must prepare them to stand on their own and take our places. We cannot arbitrarily set the standard. We cannot pretend to know the STEM needs of the future. Heaven forbid that for anyone we ever try to determine for him or her. Each child has the right to pursue happiness. Each child must be allowed self-determination in it.

We must amend our state constitution. We must remove the words of Section XIII-4 and replace with words prohibiting coercion, prohibiting compulsory attendance. We must free our citizens, especially the teachers in our publicly funded schools.

“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. This very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be “cured” against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals.”
― C.S. Lewis, God in the Dock: Essays on Theology (Making of Modern Theology)

Statistics don’t care to be saved.

“As a physician, I am intrigued, if not put off, by the EPA concept of “premature deaths.” How am I to know that that unfortunate patient, who has just died, died prematurely? If asked, he would undoubtedly claim that he had died before his time, no matter the actual cause. All deaths are “premature” when viewed subjectively.” Dr. Charles Battig

http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2015/10/new_climate_regulations_will_save_lots_of_imaginary_people.htm

Dr. Batting uses examples to explain why EPA rules will help no one. While reading Dr. Battig’s keep in mind that our air and water in the USA have gotten significantly cleaner every year since 1970 when we first started keeping track. Every year cleaner for 45 years. Our air and water are cleaner than they were 100 years ago? How clean do we need to be?

Cleaner than clean hurts.

The bottom line is the EPA rules will hurt the bottom line, especially for those with the lowest bottom line. EPA rules passed the point of diminishing returns long ago. The EPA causes far more harm than it mitigates. The EPA is the most dangerous thing known to mankind.

End the EPA.

The practical way to end the EPA is to repeal the Clean Air Act. I hope that is possible.

Political will will have to be high. Those voting to repeal the laws that empower the EPA must have sufficient backbone to take the name calling and threats.

The politicians will have to replace the laws, because we do actually need to protect our air and water, but the laws must be targeted and specifically limited in scope and control. Very specific. I expect that will cause some problems and confusion for a while as lawyers fight each other and politicians to iron out the details. Still, it has to be better than what we have.

EPA is killing us.

EPA is the most dangerous thing on earth.

Over at First Things, Roger Scruton has provided an insightful review of why we have government, why we need it, and what we seem to be doing with it at present.

What he presents here should be something everyone can read regardless of where they fit on the political spectrum. Conservatives and liberals alike should be able to learn from these words.

http://www.firstthings.com/article/2014/06/the-good-of-government

You owe it to yourself to go read the article. Follow the link, read, apply it in yourself, and share.

Good political article at First Things.

Quoting Mr. Roger Scruton

It is therefore pertinent to consider not only the bad side of government—which Americans can easily recognize—but also the good. For American conservatives are in danger of appearing as though they had no positive idea of government at all, and were in the business simply of opposing all new federal programs, however necessary they may be to the future and security of the nation. Most of all, they seem to be losing sight of the truth that government is not only natural to the human condition, but an expression of those extended loyalties over time, which bind generation to generation in a relation of mutual commitment.

http://www.firstthings.com/article/2014/06/the-good-of-government

Long article, worth reading now, and worth referring back to.

On the personal level, the fact is, we are free moral agents. We are free to choose, and our will to choose rightly must be developed. We are most free when we rule ourselves and internalize the fact that we will give account. We will be judged justly. All scores will be settled. I am accountable to God. I must act accountable to every other individual. I must do justice, love kindness, and to walk humbly with God. That realizes freedom for me and those around me and for our country and our world.

A Forbes article, http://www.forbes.com/sites/harrybinswanger/2013/12/31/obama-to-americans-you-dont-deserve-to-be-free/, got me thinking. Harry Binswanger writes an article titled “Obama To Americans: You Don’t Deserve To Be Free”. He makes his case well. He also points out that the Republican Party establishment is essentially of the same mindset, but with a few limits.

It got me thinking about government’s role.

First, historically, what does a government do well? Mainly, it kills people and takes things away from people, especially citizens. (Noncitizens it mostly just kills.)

Accordingly, our founders tried to limit the Federal Government’s power with the Constitution and Bill of Rights. We require, at least nominally, due process before the government can take anything away from anyone.

Of course, I can’t find any due process in what most regulations take from us. No one can find due process in what the government extracts in taxes, but that is a bit of a different area.

Back to the point. Governments are good at taking things from people and killing people. War is obviously one way for governments to kill people, but police functions and prisons, including executions, are also things governments are good at, well, effective at. Good often does not apply to police efforts, prisons, executions, especially when oversight systems breakdown or when examining efficiency.

What else are governments good at?

Correct, nothing.

The only reasonable role of government is to enforce the rights of free people. Our founders seem clearly to have thought so. We will best secure our rights when we have our government responsible for very little.

Governments take things, including freedoms, unless the governments are restrained by law and the people.

Governments also consolidate their own power; it is just the nature of the beast. Once a means of compulsion is established, the government will increase its ability to force that compulsion and expand that compulsion.

Our schools and truancy are the easy example. We need to free ourselves from government compulsion in our public schools, in all means of schooling, for that matter.

Another is the notions of civil rights.

There is no right for anyone under any circumstance to demand of a vendor a product. The vendor always has the right to refuse to sell for any and all reasons. It is the proprietor’s choice and freedom. It is the proprietor’s right.

So, when a couple of fellas go to a baker and ask for a wedding cake, it is the right of the baker to refuse.

It is the role of the government to ensure that the two fellas cannot compel the baker against his will. It is also the right of the fellas to take their business elsewhere, and it is the right of all the baker’s customers to take their business elsewhere or to continue to trade with him, regardless of whether they consider the incident or not. It is also each person’s right whether (and how) to consider the incident. In short, it ain’t nobody’s business. Further, no one else should get involved unless the fellas try to compel the baker. Then the police should come and hinder the fellas. If the lawyers come, well, that is sad.

Regardless, the role of government is to ensure no one compels anyone else to do anything!

This is most clear in cases of murder and rape. Both are easy justifications of capital punishment. “It’s a hell of a thing killin’ a man. You take away all he’s got and all he’s ever gonna have.” If that doesn’t justify the power of the state to execute in that given instance, after due process, then nothing would. Further, rape is the same, only worse. The rape victim must live with the horror of that fact.

Back to the two fellas and the baker. I’m not here addressing at all right vs. wrong with regard to the situation. The moral aspects of such a situation are an absolutely unrelated set of considerations. The fact is, the baker voluntarily offers her baked goods. She can choose to unvolunteer at anytime, with or to anyone, for any reason. It is her right to bake and sell. It is her right to stop baking or stop selling, or to do so selectively, even to do so capriciously. The Soup Nazi may have been despicable, but he was always within his rights, “No soup for you!”

It is government’s role to ensure the Soup Nazi can be as strict and capricious as he cares to be. It is government’s role to enforce freedom, to maintain the basis of free trade and free association. Of course, in real life, such a soup vendor would have few customers. It would also be government’s role to ensure the rights of those who do not wish to trade with the Soup Nazi, and ensure that proprietor cannot force locals to trade with him. Freedom, preference, choice. It is easy. Morals don’t matter to that. No matter how immoral the choice, if it does not compel another, nor deprives another of freedom, life, property, then the choice must be honored and protected, by application of state force if necessary.

Mr. Binswanger is correct in asserting that Capitalism and true freedom in the traditional sense were abandoned in our government and politics a century or so ago.

Our current system is going to collapse, and “The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!

As the Archbishop of Chicago has indicated, approximately, “I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square. What is omitted from the reports is a final phrase I added about the bishop who follows a possibly martyred bishop: ‘His successor will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization, as the church has done so often in human history.

For good measure, from the same reference, “The Cardinal’s entire column is well worth reading. The end, in particular is quite poignant.

Analogies can easily be multiplied, if one wants to push a thesis; but the point is that the greatest threat to world peace and international justice is the nation state gone bad, claiming an absolute power, deciding questions and making “laws” beyond its competence. Few there are, however, who would venture to ask if there might be a better way for humanity to organize itself for the sake of the common good. Few, that is, beyond a prophetic voice like that of Dorothy Day, speaking acerbically about “Holy Mother the State,” or the ecclesiastical voice that calls the world, from generation to generation, to live at peace in the kingdom of God.

God sustains the world, in good times and in bad. Catholics, along with many others, believe that only one person has overcome and rescued history: Jesus Christ, Son of God and Son of the Virgin Mary, savior of the world and head of his body, the church. Those who gather at his cross and by his empty tomb, no matter their nationality, are on the right side of history. Those who lie about him and persecute or harass his followers in any age might imagine they are bringing something new to history, but they inevitably end up ringing the changes on the old human story of sin and oppression. There is nothing “progressive” about sin, even when it is promoted as “enlightened.” 

The world divorced from the God who created and redeemed it inevitably comes to a bad end.

From my perspective, it seems things will continue to improve in some ways, but overall, it will get worse, much worse, before it truly gets better. I pray that our fall and climb back up will be short, in relative historical terms, and lacking in the worst extremes of historic societal falls.

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