Tag Archives: Politics

The Many Problems of Afghanistan

It is beyond pathetic for what has happened in Afghanistan.

Millions of people are now being subjected to tyranny, oppression, and genocide.

And the fact is this is a clear moral issue. Not a single member of the Taliban deserves anything more than a painful, screaming death. They are all filth, and they deserve nothing but pain. Nothing. There are no exceptions.

But given the speed at which Afghanistan fell, it is clear that staying was a bit of a waste of time. If people cannot fight for their freedom, you can’t give it to them by holding back the evil.

It is regrettably clear that even if we had stayed for another decade, we would not have improved anything.

Now, while I believe Biden has to take the blame for this is how it was carried out, I also realize that he had only three options. (1) Do the right thing and send 200,000+ active-duty soldiers in with the express intent of killing every last member of the Taliban, Dresden-style firebombing of the mountain hideouts, burning every lost poppy field, and establishing successful industries in Afghanistan even if they will compete against American industries…there was zero chance of getting support from Congress or the American public on this. Zero. While every “America First” fascist (and yes, if you have ever uttered the phrase “America First” in the last five years, you are a fascist) deserves the exact same treatment of their Taliban brethren, they regrettably make up a disturbing portion of America and an even more disturbing percentage of the legislature. It might have been the right thing to do, but we know it could never be done. All too often the case in America. (2) He could have continued the status quo and kept things going in their inefficient way. This, of course, would have broken Trump’s deal with the Taliban. Now, no one thinks Trump and all his followers should be viciously tortured to death for his vast treason more than me, but the fact is that said corrupt deal did give us several months of almost no U.S. military deaths. Even if Biden had wanted to do the right thing and say “fuck Trump’s deal,” it would have meant a new onslaught of murders by the Taliban against U.S. forces…which would have led to Congress and the American public demanding a complete and immediate withdrawal. Which would have just left us in the same situation but with only more U.S. dead. I get the bind Biden was in. Trump made a deal with the Devil and did it in a way that would only screw anyone who took over. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. (3) The third option was to pull out. So the same end as Option 2 but with fewer U.S. deaths. And the fact is that it appears now that the President of Afghanistan was in league with the Taliban, which led to such a quick fall of the country. Maybe this was the worst-case scenario of Option 3, but this was never going to go well simply because isolationists and fascists (is there a difference?) had made the first and second options impossible to carry out. I don’t like what is happening. I just don’t know if I was in the same position that I would have done much differently.

This was a cluster fuck of epic proportions spanning over 30 years of bad decisions.

And this is due to a series of mistakes. Ones we must acknowledge so to prevent an evil like this from ever happening.

So first, let me deal with Carter and Reagan, whom I am going to give a pass for the most part. As much as I think Jimmy Carter is an anti-Semitic piece of shit who would roll over and play dead in the face of any move by Soviet Russia…I also don’t think there was any viable option for Afghanistan when the Soviets invaded. Post-Vietnam, there was no way to convince Congress and the American people to send in troops to oppose the Soviet invasions, nor was there support at the time to send the Mujahideen weapons to fight the Soviets. So as much as I despise him as a pathetic excuse for a human being, I’m not sure any president, given the Congress he had, could have done anything. Meanwhile, Reagan did the best he could, working with congressman Charlie Wilson; he provided the best opposition he could have against the Soviets. Had he been president for the collapse of the Soviet regime, I believe in my heart of hearts he would have offered the necessary support to rebuild the country, we will never know for certain, but I know of no evidence to the contrary that he would have believed in nation-building.

So let’s start with where blame does belong. George H. W. Bush started the worst of policy choices here. He had the opportunity to send money to rebuilt Afghanistan after the Soviets left (he had the option to rebuild the entire Warsaw Pact) but failed to do so. Because, in the end, the Bush clan is a bunch of brain-dead isolationists. Utterly worthless. Reagan’s single biggest mistake was not dropping Bush in 1984. Had Bush worked to build democracy in the former Communist nations, we would be living in a much better world today. But like all isolationists, he could only see the immediate issues. Yeah, he would stand up to a lunatic who had visions of nuking Israel and other allies, but if someone didn’t present an immediate danger, he couldn’t be bothered to care about anything.

The lesson to learn from Bush is that we always have the opportunity to build positive relations with other nations to strengthen democracy and capitalism throughout the world. Globalism isn’t a debate; it’s a fact. Anyone who thinks they can stand against globalism belongs to be listed with the Neanderthals and Homo Erectus (no offense to those noble species who were never as dumb as the MAGA crowd) as their ideas aren’t just old; they’re extinct. We need to strengthen EVERY LAST NATION in its efforts to establish the rule of law, free markets, open government, and individual freedom because it is the only way to ensure our prosperity and liberty. Right now, that means sending out vaccines to the whole world; soon, it will mean signing TPP and every other free trade chance we can. But we can never stop in this push toward universals liberty, and any hiccup in that push will only result in suffering for us and the world.

Then we had Bill Clinton, whose attitude to almost all foreign issues was to ignore them. Tony Blair may have been able to drag Clinton into defeating the evil of fascism in the Balkans, but it was a pathetically small amount of effort. Clinton’s indifference proved the warning of P.J. O’Rourke: “Our previous attempts at isolationism were successful. Unfortunately, they were successful for Hitler’s Germany and Tojo’s Japan. Evil is an outreach programme. A solitary bad person sitting alone, harbouring genocidal thoughts, and wishing he ruled the world is not a problem unless he lives next to us in the trailer park..” The lesson here is clear, isolationism NEVER works. Never has, never will. And anyone who claims it does is a short-sighted idiot who should be ignored on all issues (looking at you libertarians).

Then, of course, you had W. From stating in his debates with Gore that he did not believe in nation-building, you knew that this man was never going to be good at this (as opposed to Gore promising the continued indifference of Clinton, which would have been just as bad if not worse). The problem was that after 9/11, it was obvious that isolationism didn’t work. But someone who only believed in isolationism wasn’t equipped to rebuild a nation. Bush and his whole cabinet seemed to believe that democracy would magically spring up in Afghanistan and Iraq once we get rid of the tyrants. The problem is that isolationists don’t understand how much work went into creating this nation (or any successful democracy in history). It takes time and effort, and none of the people in the Bush administration wanted to do this work.

The lesson here is that if you’re going to do nation-building, actually do nation-building. There should not have been a police station, D.A.’s office, or government bureaucracy in America that did not have an exchange from Afghanistan learning U.S. methods (which not only would have improved Afghanistan methods but probably would also have decreased the systemic racism we have regrettably learned are still all too present in too many parts of the U.S. government). There should not have been a single school in the U.S. that did not have at least one Afghani or Iraqi foreign exchange student. The Peace Corps should have been expanded and sent to Afghanistan in ways that the office has never seen. We should have been sending contractors to build infrastructure and build relations with that nation. There should have been no consideration for how building the Afghani industry would affect American competitors… that’s the free market deal with it. We should have burned every poppy field, killed every drug pushing warlord, shot every man raping children or beating women, trained every woman in Afghanistan in how to use a gun, knife, or her hands to disarm misogynists—with the intent to kill—and killed through summary judgment any man who acted against a woman who defended herself. Leaving the broken bodies of misogynists hanging in the center of town probably would violate some war crimes tribunal, but they would have been in line with actual Justice. No, it’s not a cultural thing…treating women as less than human is evil. If your culture makes that claim, then YOUR CULTURE IS INFERIOR. And it needs to be destroyed. Islam can be practiced without evil, and I’m more than willing to say anyone who believes that Islam has to be practiced with should be shot, be it the Taliban or a MAGA racist. We did none of that. We need to never make that mistake again.

Then Obama pretty much continued the same mistakes of Clinton with a touch of W. Indifference mixed with just a bit of isolationism that doesn’t understand that building a democracy is a work in progress.

Of course, the worst was Trump. Trump was unquestionably evil, and he admired evil. So when presented with the evil of the Taliban, he loved it. He thought they were his kind of people. He made a terrible deal with them and released thousands of the most vicious members of the Taliban. If you don’t think the fall of Afghanistan would have occurred much, much slower if Trump had not released all these criminals, you’re an idiot.

What we learned from Trump is fairly obvious. First that the Secret Service is a bunch of traitors for not doing their duty and protecting us from “all enemies foreign AND DOMESTIC.” There is not a Secret Service member who does not deserve to be charged with every crime against humanity Trump committed. You had guns and could have chosen to make the world a better place. You chose evil under the excuse of “I was just following orders” to protect him, like the rest of your Nazi brethren. Fuck all of you coke-snorting, whoring, traitors. I’m not a big fan of a military officer who was in the room with Trump, either. You had a duty to defend this nation; you failed. You sat by while he and his ilk planned to leave our allies in Afghanistan to the butchers, released the very criminals in power right now, not to mention the planned sterilization of immigrants, the torture of immigrants, using the office to get foreign powers to lie for him for political reasons, and while he planned a coup. Just because Trump and his allies were incompetent does not forgive the fact that they are criminals guilty of treason, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. And the Secret Service did nothing to protect us from that evil even they could have. Every last member of the Trump Administration and Secret Service should be rotting in The Hague right now.

What we really learned is that Rome was really onto something when they had a law that demanded every citizen kill anyone who would attempt to set themselves up as a king. And we need more Republicans like Brutus and Cassius.

Biden, and for the most part, we have learned from Biden that government needs to plan for worst-case scenarios. All too often, be it in war, social programs, tax schemes, anything…they assume everything will work perfectly and there will not be any problems. This is possibly the government’s single dumbest flaw, and so the fact that Biden committed it isn’t exactly a shock…but it’s still offensive that not a single person in government seems to have learned to stop engaging in this kind of foolishness. We need to start having people in government who ask, “yeah but what if your assumptions go badly, what are you going to do then?” I know the last 20 years have shown that the government has planned for a lot less than any thought could be possible, but we desperately need to gear our plans for worst-case scenarios.

What we also learned its that we need to join the International Criminal Court, and the second after signing that treaty, putting Trump and all his allies on a plane for The Hague where they will all die in prison. We learned that we can no longer tolerate this evil, and at this moment that is exactly what we’re doing by allowing Trump to exist.

Given the recent news in the world, I can easily believe there are gathering clouds somewhere that I don’t see immediately. Over the last couple of decades, I have learned that what I know of foreign policy, or what anyone outside the government, is usually incomplete at best. So maybe in 20 years, I’ll learn something the will make me understand why Biden pulled out on this timetable…time will tell. And I damn Clinton and Obama for not doing anything, but I also admit that it would have required them to spend all their political capital early in their presidencies to push for major reform—in Obama’s case, that would have better use of his political capital—so I don’t know it if believable to believe they would have done it. It was the wrong thing to do, but I’m a fool if I expect politicians to be saints. If I’m going to put somewhere, it is because, despite the fact that the Bushs were all branded with the label neoconservative, they were unquestionably isolationist who did nothing that neoconservatives would have advised. Nothing. The greatest blame sits with Bush senior, who had the greatest opportunity to rebuild not just Afghanistan but the entire Eastern Block…but because of his short-sighted idiocy, he laid the groundwork for nearly all the foreign policy hells that we are not dealing with. W. might have had the right intentions, but he had his father’s vile tendencies and was not fit to run this show. And Trump is just a terrorist who, of course, supported other terrorists.

In short, this fiasco has shown that there are years and years and years of blame. And that if we are going to stop the endless circle of only half-heartedly supporting democracy. If we are to survive, we need to learn from our successes in Germany and Japan, and to a lesser degree, Taiwan and South Korea, and do what we can to help our current allies from becoming the next Afghanistan or next Hungary.

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What to do about college loans

So Biden is again talking about college loan forgiveness, there is once again a lot of buzz about reducing or outright excusing college loans, and both sides are providing feeble arguments.

So, just upfront on this, let me state that there are, at present, no government college loans in my name. I have paid off everything in that department, so while I know people whom this will affect, nothing here affects my credit report or bank account one way or the other.

So I think the best way to go over this is to go over some of the bad arguments.

Bad Argument 1 (from the Right): “You took out a loan; it is your responsibility to pay it back.”

This argument wants to treat a college loan as it is entirely equivalent to a small business loan or a mortgage.

Let’s test this out.

Okay, first, college costs have risen drastically over the last few decades because (1) Government subsidies and loans have allowed colleges to jack up their prices (2) Government has been less than accommodating to the expansion of colleges, either cracking down on institutions with low standards with the intent of shutting them down rather than working with them to improve their standards or conversely not caring at all and letting the low standard places grow like weeds (depending on which side is in power it’s on of these extremes or the other…no moderate way of regulation to offer incentives to improve) (3) government has all but shut out private loans except at the most usury stakes.

Does this compare to a traditional loan? Well, in the way that the government has had a hand in creating the housing bubble through their encouragement of the sub-prime market, there is a comparison, and indeed, some cities with their NIMBY nonsense have instituted a similar lack of competition. But this is where the comparisons cease.

It should also be noted that as it is the government who is responsible for the price increases, it’s hard to say, “here we jacked up the price you pay for it.”

But unlike a lot of those loans, where you could declare bankruptcy if can’t pay your loans, you can’t declare bankruptcy for most college loans. Now you might think that is a good thing because people shouldn’t have to pay back what they borrow, realize that one of reasons why Congress is granted the power to set laws on bankruptcy is because that even in the 1780s that saddling people with life long debt is the surest way to stifle an economy. Even in an era where they understood next to nothing about economics, they knew this. People need to get out from debt sometimes and shouldn’t be punished for their entire life for a bad decision…and the way we treat college loans throw that out the window.

Bad Argument 2 (from the left): Education should be free

No. No, it shouldn’t. Things cost money. Whether medical care or education or anything else, the dimwitted progressives who think it is a right simply because they want it. Things cost money. You have to pay people to perform these functions. Teachers need money to live. Building requires capital to be built and be kept up to code. There need to be administrations to make sure the whole thing runs well, and there need to be regulations and thus regulators to ensure that standards are met from an outside perspective. And all that costs money. Hence it cannot be free.

And just having the government pay for it isn’t free because people pay taxes to provide that government money and history shows that things that the government pays for are usually wasted. For instance, the highest-paid government figure in almost every state is a college basketball or football coach… significant investment of taxpayer funds right there. All of it wasted on the the most useless of expenditures.

And before the crazy left says tax the rich…please remember that your beloved Nordic countries tax the rich at a lower percentage than the US does. That’s right; it’s the middle class that gets their pockets picked in your beloved Sweden and Norway. Stop saying you want to be like Sweden until you admit that would require driving up taxes on the middle class and the poor—which personally I would rather avoid as the middle class is traditionally where innovation comes from.

Now, what is a fact is that college should not cost as much as it does. And the government could have a hand in that. College textbook prices are the definition of a cartel designed to create monopolistic price controls. Justice Department could get on that. The government could also state that it would only supply specific percentages of funds for individual colleges that do not meet the criteria of cost-saving measures. Maybe cut the useless taxpayer-funded sports programs at all public schools. The rest of the world runs sports by the free market; perhaps we could try doing the same thing.

Bad Argument 3 (from the Right): It’s wrong to make taxpayers pay for this.

While things should not be free, it is not like this is not something that has a high rate of return for taxpayers. The fact of the matter is, for most people, the better the economy does, the better they do in the aggregate. The more people who are educated, the better the economy does, especially right now if we focus that kind of education in STEM fields.

We are burdening the portion of our society with the most potential with ridiculously high loans on the very thing that made them have high potential.

It is hurting economic progress, which is something we very much need. While the stock market has been going up, more meaningful metrics like worker productivity and innovation have been stagnant for the last decade. And while I’m sure there are more than a thousand causes for this, probably the fact that the people most likely to come up with innovations that will breathe true life into the economy have a college loan to worry about and thus can’t afford to open the next Apple or Amazon might have something to do with it . Keeping this segment of the workforce burdened hurts the economy and therefore hurts taxpayers who didn’t get a college degree because their life is not being made better by the educated as it should be.

Now the question really should be which method would most benefit the average person, but neither side wants to deal in this kind of technical and rational debate about models of investment. But this is more egregious when the argument that comes from the Right, which was supposed to be the side that understood investment and prosperity.

Bad Argument 4 (from the left): everyone should go to college

Wouldn’t that be nice? Maybe someday.

But right now, not everyone is up to that. Indeed, probably more people need to invest in trade skills, and we should likely expand what loan programs exist to more readily include such options. But not everyone is capable of handling college-level work, and right now, the Flynn effect isn’t exactly working fast enough to make me think that this will change at any point in my life. However, we should put more investment into vocation and trade school training for rising markets.

But let’s make something clear.

The future is people with a college education.

If you think you can have a nation that survives on people without education, you are looking for a nation that will quickly join Rome, Byzantium, Athens, the Tang Dynasty, the Gupta Empire, and Carthage in the dust bin. Every year machines and computers do more and more work and nothing is going to change that. All those great jobs that you look to vocational training programs to provide workers for…well, guess what, they’re going to be gone sooner rather than later.

Now here are some good arguments:

The government, through their ill-thought-out loan program, has incentivized colleges to jack up prices, they have helped create a monopolistic market, viler than any trust they have broken up, that forces people to choose between not having an education and, ergo, not having economic security later in life and or having an education and debt. There are many people to blame for this, but the federal government has a great deal of blood on its hands in this situation.

So should the government forgive loans? Perhaps, they caused this, and they should foot the bill to some degree, but they should do so in a way that stops this death spiral of inflation and unacceptable loans.

Biden’s proposal for a 10K across the board forgiveness is probably a good start; it is relatively neutral in forgiving loans that people have no matter what economic bracket they’re in. It vastly improves the economic outlook of the group of people, educated adults, who having more financial security will translate that security into more innovation and investment in the economy at a time that we desperately need such things. And this will have economic effects that benefit even those who don’t have college loans. But the Biden administration or whoever comes next should work further on some other issues.

1. They should offer a further 5-10K reduction for students who go to or went to colleges that agree to a governing set of cost-cutting measures. Things like getting rid of sports programs which only waste money and do nothing for education; reducing funding for unnecessary extracurriculars (student unions can charge more on a voluntary basis to find some way to pay for their activities through market means); encouraging programs that put lower-level courses into online systems that can serve more students with less overhead costs.

2. Federal and state governments should work to change all funding for education from the current model where schools own the children to a completely voucher-based program where every American citizen from the age of 3 to 21 gets a voucher that can go to any accredited school program, or their parents can spend it on approved homeschooling resources. This will encourage more people to get their first two years of college done at a community college (as a state voucher would probably cover a community college but not a typical four-year institution). The aftereffect of this is that more resources don’t have to be wasted on programs for freshman and sophomore undergrads. It would also, coupled with strict state and federal standards, and making vocational and trade schools more open to people. Further, this would encourage more gifted students to—rather than going the AP/IB route in high school— to simply get their GED in their mid-teens, then go to a community college in the space that would usually be filled with their Junior and Senior year and then use the remaining years of the vouchers for paying a for a good portion of the rest of their undergrad.

3. To further encourage the growth of community colleges that can offer the same education that the first two years of any four-year university can, we need to admit that having a Master’s degree does not make you a better teacher (at least not in non-STEM fields) and that good teacher are what we need in these community colleges. Thus we have to come up with a program designed to accredit people who want to teach at a higher level than just high school but who may not want to go through all the bizarre theory classes that are usually (A) so specific they don’t come up the content for a community college course and (B) so detached from reality that they don’t make better teachers.

4. We need to encourage private loans to be the primary choice before federal loans for college. There have been several options, such as allowing loans to take a percentage of income for the first 20-30 years off a person’s income. This places a more significant market force on college education as people will be driven to loans with better rates, and those rates will be based on likely earned income by profession. Yes, as an English major, it might seem a little hypocritical of me to suggest we should put in a system that encourages more and more STEM majors and fewer humanities majors—but STEM is typically more valuable to society in terms of immediate quality of life. However, the fact is that most loaning institutions will probably quickly realize that double majors (one in STEM, one in the humanities) are the best investments, and they will encourage people to be as broadly educated as possible—a true liberal education that encompasses all fields of learning.

5. Another possibility is for states to offer tax credits for companies to pay for their employees to get further education that will be fully vested after so many years of education. * The private sector needs more educated people; they can pay for it. All they need is the legal coverage to say that if an employee leaves before they get their investment back, that they can require the employee to pay them back on a reasonable timetable and at an affordable interest rate. This would also make employers far more invested in providing a positive workplace because the only way they will really get their money’s worth is to have the employee stay.

If all of these items, along with others I probably haven’t heard of, were put in place, it would reduce debt by individuals, minimize government interference in colleges, and improve the economy and quality of life for the American people.

*I say the states because if I had my way, there would only be one federal income tax rate, same rate for all income brackets, only individuals, no married or single distinction, and corporations pay the exact same rate on their profits. There would only be a single deduction for all individuals, and most costs for businesses would not be taxed. The last thing I want is more loopholes and incentives in the tax code as, even for the best reasons, such efforts at the federal level always lead to more disaster and corruption. States can be far more responsive and adaptive for the best policy in this matter.

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Biden’s proposes $15 minimum wage…what should we really do about that?

So let’s talk about Biden’s $15 an hour minimum wage proposal.

I could talk about how this doesn’t need to be in a bill about COVID relief, but those who believe that this is an important issue will take the ‘take advantage of any opportunity opening.’ And since both sides have foolishly engaged in that behavior, there is no chance of arguing for not doing it again because no one wants to be rational and seek polite behavior that will make politics more stable right now.

I could talk about how this will make a moderate increase in inflation and probably a massive increase in the amount of unemployment for those who do not have higher education while also negatively affecting minority groups across the board. But economists have been banging that drum for years, and if you’re not going to listen to their facts in all those previous times, then why would you now.

I could talk about how this will even further increase incentives to mechanize and automate as much as possible as the machines will be so much more attractive as they now have to be worth $14.99, not the $13.49 set by the highest state minimum wage in Washington. Because again, you’re not concerned with economics…or apparently that Biden’s plan doesn’t have nearly enough investment in education to counter the fact this will put a lot of people out of jobs.

I’m also not going to point out that this will kill the economies in all those red states that still are at the national level of $7.25…meaning that vast numbers of those people in those red states are going to move to places that have better economies…meaning the MAGA idiots are going to move into other states and this will probably shift the electoral college map a little more to the red, which, right now, is a terrible idea. (I may have no deep abiding love for the Democrats, but right now, the opposition is a bunch of Nazis, so I have to throw in with the liberal idiots until the opposition can stop being evil).

No, what I’m going to point out is the continual problem all opponents of minimum wage increases have. They don’t come up with better ideas.

Let’s go over how all problems go—housing, minimum wages, unions, health care, climate change. One side identifies a problem. They then blow it out of proportion, making something that is a serious problem only for a small segment of the population for a period of time and makes it seem like it affects almost everyone for perpetual periods of time. This works because people are, regrettably, easily susceptible to fear. People fear they won’t have enough, so they fear they won’t have income or healthcare, They’re afraid of what they can’t control, and the weather is always the thing that none of us can control. They fear they won’t be needed anymore, so they fear an economy that requires constant change and growth. And, of course, there is the fear of the other that dominates the mental processes of too many people. They then suggest a solution that makes the situation worse. The opposition to this lousy proposal then does two things that don’t work (and I certainly have been guilty of this) they either try to argue that the problem isn’t that big. We shouldn’t freak out, and they argue that we shouldn’t do anything because what the other side suggested is a bad idea. The problem here is that if people are afraid, they’re not going to listen to reason. It took me too long to realize this, but at least I have realized it…unlike so many. You can’t reason with a person who is afraid, and if you try, you’re going to lose. And if you suggest that we shouldn’t do anything about the situation they’re afraid of, then you’re going to lose.

However, better would be to propose something that addresses the small issue that people were afraid of and deal with serious issues, and not only soothe people’s fears but fix the real problems.

For instance, when Obama suggested a terrible, bloated, pork-filled monstrosity of a healthcare plan that just exacerbated the problems it was meant to fix, the right should have come out with a that would have solved the existing problems…like every citizen in the country gets sent a voucher for $3000. Every private insurance company to stay in business has to offer a plan covering all major medical, long-term care, and emergency medical costs for $3,000. If you want better coverage, you can pay for it. If your employer wants to negotiate a group deal that employees can sign over their voucher and get a more robust plan through the company policy, they can. And Medicaid, Medicare, and a dozen smaller bureaucracies in the state and federal budget can just be disbanded. Everyone gets coverage, less government, costs less, and no forcing people to buy things (if you don’t want to use your voucher, that’s your call, it would be a stupid choice, but it’s still your choice). But no, they just said, let’s not do that.

And the same with minimum wage.

We could argue why the minimum wage is a terrible idea, why it will hurt economies and growth, and most importantly, the people it is most claims to want to help. But those people who are afraid won’t be comforted by the idea that is remaining with the status quo they’re afraid of.

So what should those who know the minimum wage is a terrible idea be proposing?

We’ll it may sound like beating a dead horse on this website but, the Universal Basic Income.

Unlike a minimum wage that will only benefit some for a tune of about $20K a year (taxed at the federal and state, with social security and Medicare also taken out) with still all the fear that comes with the possibility of losing your job…we could give EVERY adult citizen $1,200 a month, free of all taxes, and relieve not only the fear of not having a safety net but there are so many other benefits. People wouldn’t waste time filling out forms for unemployment or welfare, which can take over forty hours a week and leaves no time to find a job or get the education you might need to get a new job. We could eliminate the boondoggles of Social Security, SNAP, unemployment benefits, or the fear that comes that if you earn too much, you will be thrown off welfare. There would no longer be the incentives in the current welfare programs not to get married or get a promotion—just the security of knowing that no matter what, you will have a safety net.

And as a net bonus, because we would have a Universal Basic Income, that would mean we could eliminate the minimum wage. You know all those reasoned arguments on how raising the minimum wage hurts employment numbers and prevents people from getting experience…well, the reverse is true too. With no minimum wage, employers would be more willing to hire low-skilled workers at younger ages meaning that more people would necessary job experience and opportunities to be promoted earlier in life at lower education levels. If the positive effects of that aren’t apparent, then I think you oppose a minimum wage increase not because it makes good economic sense but because one party promotes it. And that is the worst reason ever to oppose something.

So your options are (A) oppose a minimum wage increase and lose (B) support a minimum wage increase and have ill economic effects (C) support a UBI which would eliminate vast swaths of government interference in the economy, promote growth, and reduce people’s worries about instability. And reducing that fear is one of the key reasons we have a government in the first place because when those fears are left unchecked, you have a second French Revolution.

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Filed under Budget, Government is useless, UBI, Welfare

The Private Sector Should Handle Social Issues, Not Government

This was a weird week. I actually saw supposed libertarian Rand Paul talk about “fair” in a Senate hearing. This was weird because traditionally, libertarians have been all about what is true, right, or just—these terms, while still not exact, are far more meaningful in an adult life than the concept of fairness. The libertarian position for decades has been, “Children whine about fair. Adults care about what is just.” And this is because we were all told that “Life is not fair” as children, or, at least, I thought we were. But there is some other odd things about these actions from the supposed libertarian.

To put this in context, these comments came during the hearings for Secretary of Education nominee Miguel Cardona. Paul asked if it was fair to have biologically male transgender students compete in athletics against female students. Cardona pointed out that not allowing students to compete can be equally unfair, politely held to the Biden administration line of enforcing discrimination laws for this aspect of public education, and Paul kept hammering on this being unfair.

Now to be fair, this is not the easiest situation. In an ideal world, biology would never mix up and make the brain set for one gender and the body for another. But life isn’t fair. Nor in a perfect world would people be ignorant and need education. But, again, life isn’t fair. And these aren’t things we can’t fix with the wave of a magic wand. We can, however, in addition to attempts of medical solutions, mitigate some of the hell of having your brain and body not agree by trying to be tolerant and accepting of people and judge them only on their character and merit.

But instead, we choose to argue should the government force transgender girls to not be allowed to compete against biological girls or will the government force natural girls against transgender girls. Either way, the government is forcing something.

Wacky idea. Why don’t we stop the government from forcing people to do things? Why don’t we stop paying for this crap in general?

Hear me out here.

In the great lands of socialism known as Europe, sports are pretty much a private venture. Yeah, there’s some basic P.E. education in school, and I’m sure there’s an exception somewhere, but all actual sports like football or rugby are clubs paid for by those who participate or by revenue from fans. I know it’s weird, in America, supposedly the land of capitalism, where we taxpayers pay to train the players in high school and then college and then pay to have stadiums built in our cities (and there are other ways taxpayers are bilked by professional and non-professional sports)…but in most other countries it’s the private sector that pays for sports. I realize that the U.S. has a long way to go to be number one on a listing of economic freedom, but this is just so egregious that it boggles the mind.

So why don’t we do that? Spin-off all competitive sports away from taxpayer-funded schools and rather let the private sector handle it. Private league and clubs would be formed. And not only would they cost less because suddenly it’s not the haphazardness of spending other people’s money, but every league spending its own hard-earned money. I’m sure there would be leagues that allow transgender athletes, and I’m sure there would be ones that wouldn’t, and I’m sure there would be ones in between that regulate hormone levels in the blood or something. And I most certainly trust that the leagues that are filled with bigots would not be popular and not get private funding and die very quickly because as we’ve seen by Parler’s death and a certain moron’s twitter account, the private sector can be a more effective in squashing hate than the government can. We as the public just have to let them know that we support businesses that have nothing to do with hate.

It’s a shame there wasn’t a libertarian there to bring this up.

Now some people are hating the private sector right now. And wouldn’t trust a set up like this. But they also hate that a private company is telling them what they can and can’t trade on that private company’s app. They hate that some companies are telling them what they can’t post on that private company’s program. There are still the fools who hate if a business decides if they want to bake you a cake or not.

They’re all wrong.

We should be praising private companies for being able to decide how they want to do business.

This last couple of weeks has shown that there are huge problems with some of these trading apps and that they allow idiots hellbent on burning the system down. Still, we also see that the apps and brokerages in question quickly responded in ways that would prevent them from having to declare bankruptcy (and probably to avoid being considered a co-conspirator) in what the SEC may decide is malicious and illegal market manipulation. The government would just have let a company they rango bankrupt and then bail it out with our taxpayer money (the names Fannie and Freddie come to mind for some reason).

While the government doesn’t understand that speech has to be free except when it presents a clear and present danger to public safety (specifically when you have a party that wants to silence companies that don’t agree with them while at the same time telling a crowd of lunatics to engage in a coup). Social media companies finally realize they can shut idiots up, and they don’t have to host them. And as it’s not the government, they can do that.

But while you might not be personally thrilled with the policies Robinhood, Facebook, or Twitter, you have to admit that if the government was in charge of these, they wouldn’t be a tenth as effective or a millionth as responsive.

And most importantly, those companies followed their terms and services. No one will be able to sue Robinhood or Facebook, or Twitter because we all agreed to their terms and conditions. What they did was all there to see if we looked.

And that is probably the one thing the government should be forcing other private companies to do.

If you’re a baker who doesn’t want to bake gay wedding cakes, it is better for people to see out front of the store on a large sign.

If you’re a private Christian school that doesn’t want to hire a homosexual teacher, that better be in the big, bold letters in the want-ad.

If you’re a private sports league that doesn’t want transgender athletes, you have to make it clear in the paperwork that the public can see and decide if they want to do business with you or not.

And once you announce you are a bigot you will lose business and once you announce you are against bigotry you will be in a safe place and only have to worry about the usual economic issues.

And I’m more than happy to not only make that kind of disclosure be public…but to make the violation of this not just some sort of fine for breaking a civil code or something you can be sued for…no let’s make not publishing this kind of thing fraud. A full-on criminal violation. So people will have three choices engage in the market and sell or work with people you don’t like, announce you’re a bigot (and hopefully go out of business), go to jail. The only government force here is ensuring truth in the market place, one of the actual functions that any libertarian would approve of.

But again, why would we ever look to the free market to fix things when we can go round and round in pointless squabbles for the camera.

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It needs to be about policy not personality from now on.

Thank God. Our long national nightmare is sorta kinda over. Trump is gone, and hopefully, he will soon be in cuffs and a jumpsuit of roughly the same color as his skin for the rest of his life.

The problem is, of course, that the problems don’t go away with Trump.

There is still a sizable amount of vile scum on the right who believes in authoritarianism, populism, fascism, and racism. They’re now organizing and in control of way too large a portion of the Republican Party. For instance, in my home state of Arizona, the GOP just put certifiable lunatic Kelly Ward as head of the state party again. To say this woman is crazy is to insult everyone with schizophrenia. No sane party would ever have given this mentally challenged loon any power, let alone control of a state political machine. And we know that this is not just an Arizona problem.

And then you have all those idiots in the House and Senate. They voted to try and overturn a completely legal election. A just society would have them forcibly ejected out of Congress, in a courtroom for treason, and as quickly as due process allows onto a gallows.

And it’s not like the other side is much better. On the one hand, while Joe is a decent human being free of most corruption, it’s not like he is great. He was there cheering when Obama did all the same shit Trump did, just to a lesser degree. And it’s not like Joe has ever been on the sane side of the Democrats; he just repositions himself constantly in the middle of where the Democrat Caucus is. Yes, this speaks to a certain common-sense pragmatism that has been sorely lacking in the executive. While it won’t fix all of our problems, it will help restore a certain amount of normality and following of the law by our government. But it’s not going to fix all the problems.

Further, the less said about the far left of the Democrat party with Bernie, Warren, and AOC, the better as they and their followers are no better than Trump and his ilk and would likely have the same dismissive attitude toward the Constitution and the rule of law if they were in power as the outgoing administration.

So how do we deal with the fact that all sides have their fair share of a sick mix of crazy, evil, and stupid?

We’re going to have to stop looking at the personal side.

We don’t like any of these people. At all.

But we have to deal with whom we have. And since that is not great, we can only care about policies.

No caring about personality or character until at least the next primary season. Everything has to be about policy.

We have to support policies, not people, for the immediate future.

I don’t like Mike Lee, it makes sense, but all that matters is if he votes for laws that make sense and votes against ones that don’t.

I don’t like Biden; I can’t blame you, he wasn’t my favorite until the other options were vastly worse. Still, all that matters now is if his policy is good for America in the long run or not.

From this point forward, we have to only deal with facts, figures, and logical arguments about the policies.

I know I have had more than my fair share of insulting politicians on a personal level. And I know I could go forward as there is practically no one I would trust right now aside from Romney, Amash, and maybe Buttigieg. But with such a plethora of personal and intellectual failing to one degree or another, we have can either insult everyone or just focus on the policy.

We have to argue for the policies we support with facts.

We have to argue against the policies we dislike with facts.

And we have to search for facts from as many sources as possible.

If we see someone going back to personal attacks, we have to just respond with facts.

Every one of us has to only deal with facts.

It doesn’t matter that pretty much for all of us, the last couple of decades has been nothing but sniping at each other with increasingly petty insults. Many of them are justly earned by our interlocutors.

It’s not helping.

We need to get back to being for and against policies, not people, not parties. Certainly, we have seen character plays a big part in this, but we got to the point of the character being so crucial because we stopped caring about policy, and unless we all go cold turkey off the insults, it’s not going to get better.

And the reason we have to do this is that if we deal in the nearly infinitive moral failings of every side, we will get bogged down in the same swamp of extremism. If we make this personal, then we let politics continue to be the realm of populism versus progressivism, of socialism versus fascism, of a system where we lose.

The only way to stop this nonsense is to make everything about policy and policy only. If AOC and Ted Cruz, with their two collective brain cells, develop an acceptable policy (it won’t happen, but go with the powerful argument), we have to support it. Granted, from those two, you would want to make sure there are no devils in the details, but due diligence should be given to everything.

The demagogues always lose if we focus on policy. Tyranny always wins if we only make this about how much we hate one or both sides.

One last thing. Votes for tyranny and in favor of tyrants is bad policy and those who vote in such ways must be removed by any legal means available from any and all positions of power.

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An open letter to Joe Biden

Thank you for helping to remove Donald Trump from office. The last four years have probably been the most dangerous since the Civil War. And I think I can speak for everyone when I say I support your call to be the President for everyone, free from all parties, not just there for the people who voted for you.

However, if we’re going to start restoring correct political norms that will benefit everyone, one of the first norms from the public has to be that we can not give in to a cult of personality and that we have a duty to oppose those in power, and especially those whom we voted for.

I voted for you, not because I agree with much of the policies you proposed, but because you seem to be a decent human being and that is what we need right now (I’d prefer a decent human being who has the correct policies, but I didn’t have that as an option this time). And I think that many of the people who voted for you are in the same camp. We are moderates, a few practical Libertarians, and Never Trump Republicans. We didn’t vote for you to expand the ACA or tax the rich or bring about the Green New Deal, but because we needed someone to restore sanity to America. And that milquetoast victory speech that was more boilerplate than substance is not a good start—I can admit that a victory speech may not be the best time to pick a fight and it might be a tactical choice to wait until January 20th before picking fights, but there did seem some missed opportunities there, but again, I will write it up as a tactical choice.

Now, I hope that you are looking to be what we hope you would be, but I’m going to state what I think most of us believe, and hope that at least the ideas presented here will reach you in some form.

First off you need to bridge the gap with conservatives, real conservatives, not the populist hacks that have taken over the PR functions of the party. That means there should be three to four Never Trump Republicans in your cabinet. Just one token Republican in the Department of Transportation won’t do it. You need to make a sincere effort to reach across the aisle and find the best people for every position. It might be a bit too much to hope that you put Paul Ryan in as Secretary of Treasury, but something that blatant is needed. Further, you need to reject BOTH extremes, obviously the Trump wing of insanity must be rejected, but so must the Warren/Sanders/AOC wing of your own party—if you want to heal this nation then these illiberal extremes must be given exactly zero power—the illiberal left is just as dangerous as the illiberal right. To embrace the far left is just as bad as Trump’s embrace of populism, it is an illiberal philosophy that has no place in America and if you tolerate it, then your words of hope, opportunity, and healing are only words. Also, if you’re going to go after Trump and work on reforming the police through legal federal means, you’re going to need a Republican AG to avoid making it look like a liberal crusade—I have no idea who, but a conservative AG would deflect most the criticism from all but the Alex Jones crowd (and there was never any hope of getting their support).

Second, you need to calm the worries over the Supreme Court. The left is justifiably angry over McConnell’s court-packing and the right is worried about court-packing from the left (whether that’s rational or not, that’s what governing for all side is, you have to calm as many fears as possible, even the irrational ones). My suggestion is you go to Justices Thomas and Alito, who are both in their 70s and might want to enjoy the end of their lives instead of dropping dead waiting for another Republican president. Come up with a list of Libertarian/moderate justices who believe in abortion and LBGT rights but in limited government in all other things (those first two are about limited government as well so it would be looking for actually consistent justices) and work with them to find a pick they can agree that they will retire if you appoint that pick. This calms the left and the right, defends the most important right you care about, and restores faith in the Court for all sides.

Now let’s come to your goals. First and foremost you need to re-establish our place in the world. That means a heavy use of diplomacy, of not just reestablishing free trade but pushing it (rejoining TPP, ending the Jones Act, quickly getting a new trade agreement with the UK, rolling back all of Trump’s tariffs, and challenging China in the legal format of the WTO). Free trade is an absolute good, and it needs to be encouraged no matter how much the illiberal sides of both parties hate it. And while Trump has done a lot of stupid stuff, don’t compound the stupid by just reversing his idiocy—for instance moving the embassy to Jerusalem was silly, moving it back would be just as silly and petty. Don’t be petty. And while we need to re-establish our relationship with the world let’s not be groveling and begging forgiveness. The world wants the US to be the world cop and the stable one in the room they can all look to for support, that does not involve going around and groveling (like your former boss did). We can admit that Trump was wrong without acting like America is always in the wrong.

Next, you must establish limits on the Executive branch. You need to push for a Department of Internal Affairs that can investigate every president and every elected official and which is free from partisan politics. Presidents are not above the law and this needs to be made clear. A president who breaks the law needs to know that he or she can be arrested and hauled out of the Oval Office in handcuffs. If you don’t push for some kind of way to limit criminal behavior in the executive then you’ve missed what the mandate you were given was.

Further, you need to limit the capricious dictatorial power of the Presidency. A president who refuses to work with Congress and just says “I have a pen and a phone” and rules by fiat is not a president but a wannabe tyrant. This can no longer be tolerated from either side. You are the president, if Congress is being obstructionist, you have the bully pulpit and your job is to convince the people to push Congress to act. Now, part of this must be using that bully pulpit to push Congress to return power to committee created legislation and not just letting the House and Senate being the fiefdoms of the Speaker and Majority Leader respectively. I know full well this is a long-term project that you will not see the end of, but it has to start sometime, and the sooner the better.

In terms of economics, again: Free trade. You’re not going to bring manufacturing jobs back, because even if a company moved production back to the US it would be done by machines. But what you can do is open up more trade which will create more opportunities in new fields. I’m fine with more investment for vocational training and retraining but we are never returning to a 1950s manufacturing economy, and I have to hope your rhetoric on this point during the campaign was simply a pragmatic realization that right now you weren’t going to win without that voting bloc. But now act in that voting blocs best interest and bring them jobs for the future, not lying to them about bring back the past.

In terms of taxes. Don’t raise taxes. Just get rid of the myriad of stupid deductions that exist. You know all those loopholes that Trump uses to avoid taxes. Get rid of all of those. The smaller the tax code the better. And if the upper and upper-middle class can’t just deduct all their income then tax revenues will increase.

It goes without saying that immigration needs to be reformed. But it needs to be said again and again that there is no power given to Congress to regulate immigration. NONE. Any laws that try to limit immigration are unconstitutional along with evil and economically idiotic. ICE needs to be ended and the borders need to be opened.

The CIA needs to put anything they can into Putin’s water that will speed up his Parkinson’s.

Finally, there needs to be a return to a semblance of honesty, reality, and humility. Real daily press corp briefings, hold the White House Press Correspondents dinner and demand they do a full roast of you (I get there is a pandemic, but this is a norm that needs to be restored).

Of course, there is a plethora of other things that need to be dealt with, but let’s focus on these.

Now, Mr. President-Elect, you could be all talk, and like your former always willing to give into bitter partisanship, always foolishly throwing gas on a culture war fire, always only looking to play to the most infantile of your base…but I, and I think most of America, is hoping you’ll be better than that.

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A Long-Term Case for Optimism

“The past can teach us, through experience, how to accomplish things in the future, comfort us with cherished memories, and provide the foundation of what has already been accomplished. But only the future holds life. To live in the past is to embrace what is dead. To live life to its fullest, each day must be created anew. As rational, thinking beings, we must use our intellect, not a blind devotion to what has come before, to make rational choices.”—Wizard’s Seventh Rule, The Pillars of Creation, Terry Goodkind

So, in a bizarre way to treat optimism let’s first look at how bad this is going to get. That may seem very counterintuitive but go with me on this for a minute. “Of all mindfulness meditation, that on death is supreme,” says the Buddha as he calls for an awareness of death (maranasati)…and some research shows that there are emotional and intellectual benefits to contemplating our death. When you have faced the worst end, analyzed it, accept it, and moved on, you are no longer bounded by the fears of the the worst-case scenario.

The same is true of any terrible situation.
So, let’s deal with the worst that this could possibly be. COVID 19 at worst has a fatality rate of 4%, and we will probably have a second round of it next cold and flu season. That is upwards of 8% dead. In the US that is 26.4 million people. Worldwide that is 624 million people.
That is beyond tragic. That is over four times more than communism killed in its entire existence. That is somewhere between 56-100 times the deaths of the Holocaust. It is nearly everyone you know over 65, parents, friends, certainly grandparents, and depending on who is reading this, possibly you. A new word might need to be invented to deal with death at these levels.
I want everyone reading this to take a few minutes, maybe even days to consider this, and let it sink in. It will be horrible.
It’s okay, it’s worth crying over, worth being horrified by, and worth being revolted that more could not be done.
Let it sink in.
Okay? If not, maybe this is a time to stop reading and think about why you’re still not okay with this. Do you need to make amends with people who might be gone or who might lose you? Then why are you still reading and not doing that? Didn’t accomplish all you wanted in life? Again, if that’s what is really bothering you, you might want to deal with that while you have time. Didn’t’ go on that trip or buy that car or retire to that beach…you know these are the kind of moments that are supposed to make it clear that life isn’t things, and you may need to think about what is bothering you.
Okay, have we come to terms with this worst-case scenario?
Now let’s move on.
This is unspeakably terrible, but there is one thing it is not. It is not the end of the world.
The Black Death killed 50 million people in Europe. That sounds like a lot less but it was closer to 35-65% of the population of Europe. (Data on what it did in Asia is a little harder to get, but over the course of centuries it probably did a bang-up job there too). And you know what happened? Europe survived. Possibly two-thirds of the population gone. Two out of every three people dead. And Europe survived. This is a disease that strikes hardest at the elderly, which was a disease that was indiscriminate to age. And they survived. We will survive 8% of the population dying.
Now, I’m not saying that we shouldn’t’t care about the people who die, not do every reasonable and even a few unreasonable efforts to save them. But understand this will be tragic deaths of people we love—it will not be the end of the world. If a bunch of illiterate peasants who are civilized only by the barest of definitions can survive two-thirds of their civilization, we will survive. *
This is not the end of the world.
Let that sink in.
Really, let that sink in because to get to the optimism for the future this might come off as a little callous if you haven’t accepted the previous points.

The plagues that struck Athens which led to their conquest by the Spartans led to Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. The Black Death was followed by the Renaissance. The Napoleonic Wars led to the Industrial Revolution on the European Continent, and the Civil War was followed by the Industrial Revolution in America. WWI and the Spanish Flu were followed by the Roaring ’20s. And the post-WWII economics was nothing short of miraculous. The universe has a way of balancing great tragedy with a spectacular moment of growth economically, intellectually, and spiritually. I’m not saying that everything about these periods was great, but the good certainly outweighed the bad. And granted, not every great tragedy is followed by prosperity. But assuming we get better at what we’re doing (either by toughing it out until January, or maybe blessedly COVID will walk down Pennsylvania Avenue) and learn that the free market with light direction is often a better innovator to our problems, and then hopefully set the groundwork for prosperity when this passes—and this too shall—then we will rise from this better than before.
That might not seem logical, but consider that we’re already coping remarkably well. Restaurants are still serving people via delivery and so while they won’t be in a great situation come to the end of this, they will still be there and ready to grow again. Companies will find that most people can be more effective from home, and will probably find out that 30 hours from home (so long as they have support from the corporate office) will be more effective than 40 in the office for a lot of jobs, which will not only help bring about a new jump in productivity but hopefully give vast new hours for people to spend on pet projects, artistic endeavors, and side business possibilities. This is giving us the opportunity to put in a lot of automated systems that unions and regulation had previously stood in the way of, which will raise the quality of life for numerous people and drop the costs of products worldwide. I’m sure we will see a massive increase in the money for self-driving cars and drone delivery to help reduce human to human transmission of the COVID, which will have an unspeakably massive drop in transaction costs of almost every economic transaction. We have been on the verge of a change as great as the change from an agrarian culture to an industrial one—and it promises to be a world where there is far less poverty and institutional injustice, and it’s sad this is the price we may have to pay for that change, but it is a better world on the other side of this.

And if you’re still not convinced, let me be exceptionally coldly rational here. The average person over the age of 65 in the US has an average net value of over a million dollars. In the worst-case situation, you’re looking at 20 million senior citizens dead. I hate to be callous but, that’s $20 Trillion being pumped into the economy. Granted a good deal of that is in housing, which that kind of glut on the market will radically drop housing prices (but that is affordable housing that isn’t bad) …but that’s still about $10 Trillion being pumped into the economy in the next year and a half. This is terrible, but it relieves a huge strain on our safety nets which can give us the opportunity to fix them properly without having to cut the benefits of those who depend on them while we fix them to be sustainable.
If we think long term here and amidst trying to save as many as possible, but we also need to work to set the groundwork for the world that comes after. And that world is better with less government (which I think we can easily see how stupid and short-sighted government is), with more guardrails in government to prevent the idiotic and unethical from achieving power over anyone, with more efforts put into the technologies and innovations that can make our lives better, and by using the time to reflect on how much we do need human connection in our lives and how we need to re-establish a greater sense of community with others in our lives after this.

What I am not saying is that we should help those who are vulnerable to this disease, who are suffering from it, or who are afraid. We most certainly should be there for them in any way that we find we are able to without going further than we feel comfortable doing.
That we need to understand that it was globalization that gave us exposure to so many diseases before this that we had better immunities and that this will only be, at worst, 8% and not 20% or 70%.
We should take time to ask if this is the best plan to save the most people unlike right now which only cares about deaths from COVID ignoring that the economic harm we’re causing will also cause death from more suicide, accident, stress, domestic violence…and the fact is that I can’t find anyone seriously asking which will have more death, it would likely be COVID is the greater danger, I would just love to know somebody looked toward the long term…you know in a way the government never does.
That science and free markets are working hard to find solutions while governments dither and sputter in incompetence.
And that life is a mixture of good and bad, and we shouldn’t give up on the good just because of terrible, but undeniably momentary, bad.
The world on the other side of this is easily a better one than behind us. Take comfort in that.

*A caveat. I know there are some older parents out there who are worried that they might not be there for their children. I wish I could transfer my faith that the universe is an ordered place, and that they will not be challenged with anything more than they can take, and any loss they endure will be a loss they knew about coming into this life and that it will give them the opportunity for growth. But I can’t transfer that faith. I can only advise that you seek some reconciliation with your own beliefs. But I understand that logically there is probably nothing I can do to ally your fears.

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Filed under Capitalism, Election 2020

Health Care is Not A Right

So Republicans in typical fashion are trying to shoot themselves in the foot with their “Defund Obamacare push”  (hint the liberals want the GOP to win on this one so they don’t have to have Obamacare hanging around their necks in 2014 and 2016, so they can keep the White House and take back Congress just long enough to make sure no one can ever take Obamacare out…if you want to get rid of Obamacare, really, really get rid of it, you need to make people see, and unfortunately feel, the misery they voted for. The point here is to get rid of the idea that government is the answer, not just a temporary reprieve on one horrific law.  The Defund Obamacare group is looking to win the battle, possibly at the cost of losing the war).   But while this is going on, Democrats are spending billions just to advertise Obamacare (if a law is so bad you have to advertise it, that should tell you something).  And to top it all off, a couple days ago Obama made his one of his typically brain less statements.  “Because in the United States of America, health insurance isn’t a privilege – it is your right.”

Why do I bring all of these different groups up in the same paragraph? Because they’re all idiots. They are all predicated on the idea that the government has to do something (less idiotic for the Republicans, but they seem to have given up the idea of full repeal, the only real answer, because they seem to acknowledge the lie that government needs to provide something). At best this belief is idiotic. At worst it’s just plain evil. (On another side note evil people are very rare, but evil ideas are all too common, and morons have a long history of latching onto evil ideas with the best of intentions. So please understand I’m not calling the people supporting Obamacare evil–unless their name is Harry/Nancy/Barrack/Michelle–merely their idea is). Why is it stupid/evil? Well, let me be as clear as I can possibly be:

YOU DO NOT HAVE A !@#$%^& RIGHT TO HEALTHCARE!!!!

Like the right to property, and the right to pursue happiness, you have the right to earn a living and to use that money as you see fit, perhaps by buying healthcare or healthcare insurance, but you have no natural right to healthcare.

Sorry, Barry, but just because you want something, it’s not a right.

I know I am about to repeat things that I have said before, but I feel I need to. I feel everyone needs to until this country learns that rights are not entitlements, rights are not things given to you but opportunities to be taken care of, and to exercise your rights does not require the acts, intentions, or contribution of anyone else.

A natural right as conceived of in the theory of natural rights and in the Declaration of Independence is something you would have without the presence of government or even society. It’s what does Robinson Crusoe have when he’s on the island before he decides to violate Friday’s natural right to freedom. Well, if you find yourself trapped in a bad episode of “Lost” you have the right to life, liberty, property, and to pursue happiness. A lot of what the original Bill of Rights includes is also there (speech, religion, assembly, arms, and self-incrimination) but notice that if you’re on an island by yourself you don’t have medical care. You have the right to take care of yourself, but islands in the middle of nowhere are not staffed with hospitals and doctors just waiting for you to get sick. So it’s certainly not a natural right.

But we don’t live on an island in the middle of nowhere. The upside to this is that we don’t have to engage in a philosophical war with a black cloud; the downside to this is that we do have to deal with other people. And while most people are rational and good intentioned, there are the random people who don’t respect your rights and try to take what isn’t theirs. Because of these random few who ruin everything, and because, we want complex things that we can’t do without laws and someone being in charge (like roads) we turn to the necessary evil of government. Now good government is a skill and it took us a while to realize that limits need to be put on it because just following the guy who can kill you or the guy with the best bullshit may not have been the best choice in the beginning, even though it’s what historically happened. So we had to come up with a whole new set of rights (quartering, due process, equality under the law). But notice all these other rights limit what the government does. Nowhere have you been given anything. You were either born with your rights, some of which you gave away to ensure protection against stupid people violating your rights, and other “rights” were restrictions placed on the government on top of which your natural rights were completely off-limits. But still no right has been given to you that you already didn’t have. And again, you didn’t have the right to health care if you were stuck in the state of nature.

The right to healthcare is a ridiculous, idiotic and borderline evil idea called a “positive right.” A negative right means something that no one has the right to take away from you–like your life, your liberty, or your property. Those are things you’re entitled to, thus no one has any right to reduce your rights to them. A positive right on the other hand means something that you have a right to expect to be given to you. If you’re reading that last sentence a few times because it seems to make no sense, good, that means you’re sane. Healthcare is a positive right. It is the idea that just because I showed up you have to give me healthcare. Just because you’re alive other people have to give something to you? Well I know that really egocentric people act like this, but to actually portray this as a theory of government is insane. And while virtues of love and charity say that ethically we should give people more than they may deserve, it doesn’t work in the opposite way where you have the right to demand people give you more than you serve—that’s not ethics it’s also insanity.

But more than insane it’s wrong. You can’t give a piece of property or a service without taking it from someone else–i.e. theft or slavery. Now while I believe the capitalist system isn’t a zero-sum game that always creates more and more, theoretically having no limit to how much wealth it can create, the kind of property transfer that the government deals in is a zero-sum for whatever moment it exists in. The government stealing things and giving it to others, transferring wealth from one person to another, not only harms the ability to create more wealth, but given government inefficiency, it actually creates less wealth (especially given the government’s addiction to spending money it doesn’t have). The government can’t just give people drugs without stealing it from drugs companies…if it pays for those drugs then it can only do that by stealing hard earned wealth from the taxpayers. Either way it’s theft. A person can’t be guaranteed healthcare without doctors being forced to treat them. After all either the doctors are paid (and if the government’s involved it’s paid with stolen taxpayer money) or simply forced to work as a slave. And you’ll find most doctors will not want to work in that system which will cause the greatest healthcare system in the world, the US, to become one of the worst when all the doctors leave or simply retire.

But some idiots (Alan Colmes to name one) say that the government has a right to help the people under the actual Constitution. They quote Article I Section 8:

“The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and
Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general
Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be
uniform throughout the United States;”

And then they point to the part that says “General welfare” , isn’t providing healthcare promoting the general welfare? Well one that would first depend on the government being able to do anything well, which it can’t, but more importantly it is a gross misunderstanding of the meaning of “general welfare.” Even if you took the most liberal meaning of the phrase at the time the Constitution was written the term general welfare does not mean helping people like our current meaning of welfare–it means providing improvements to the whole of the country that affects everyone (roads, bridges, communication systems, in other words – infrastructure). The key is the word general. It needs to be something that can be used by everyone. I can’t take your doctor prescribed drugs after you’ve taken them, so there is nothing general about a system that helps individuals. (And don’t even give me that bullshit about their being able to provide for society if they were healthy…if they were providing for society they would have a job with which they could afford healthcare).

The government isn’t there to protect you from yourself or from nature. It’s there to protect you from other idiots. Your bad living habits and your genetic disposition toward a disease, while unfortunate, is not the government’s responsibility. But given that the government has stolen and inefficiently used the money that people who might have been able to charitably donate to your healthcare, the government is not only destroying their rights it’s destroying their ability to help you.

The government destroys all it touches–it can’t help it, it’s its nature. Especially when it tries to give you things you don’t have a right to. And you don’t have a right to healthcare!

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Filed under Capitalism, Civil Liberties, Conservative, Constitution, Economics, Evils of Liberalism, GOP, Government is corrupt, Government is useless, Health Care, Obama, People Are Stupid, politics

Overpopulation, another liberal bout of baseless hysteria…

So a friend shared with me this gruesomely titled article, “Top Democrat Pushing For “One Child” Population Control In America.”   Now, the Democrat in question is Michael E. Arth, a failed Democratic candidate for the governor’s mansion in Florida.  So I’m not sure if I would say “Top Democrat” is completely accurate…but he’s certainly up there…but his statements are actually rather typical for liberals and their insane fear of overpopulation.

 

Here are some fun highlights:

 

Now, thanks to the one-child policy – to which there are many exceptions, by the way – China’s ageing population will probably not grow much more from now on, as long as they don’t remove the restrictions.

 

China, and the rest of the world, would be better served by a choice-based marketable birth license plan, or “birth credits,” that could stop or reverse population growth on a dime. Birth credits allow people to have as many children as they desire and can manage and reward people who are willing to give up that right.

 

The limit to individual freedom is where the exercise of an individual right begins to infringe on the rights we hold in common.

 

 

 

If you feel like vomiting, I can’t blame you.

 

Liberals seem to think that the world is heading to an apocalyptic scenario where every part of the world is crammed with people stacked on top of each other while simultaneously the Malthusian nightmare of perpetual famine, war, pollution and death.  And of course the only way to solve this problem is the same answer liberals have for every single problem in the history of human existence*: more government regulation.  To a liberal we of course need the government to limit how many children we can have, license who can have children, punish those whom we don’t like having children, and provide free ways to dispose of those nasty little bastards when you don’t want to have them.**  I think we’ve all joked, upon seeing the inept wretches out there that have children, that there should be licensing to have children…but we also all agree that the idiots who run the DMV with such efficiency, the NSA with such high moral standards, and Treasury with such common sense and restraint, are quite literally the most unqualified people to issue such license, and are in fact the people whose births we hoped would have been prevented by such regulation.  I think we can all agree Joe Biden’s mother made a terrible, terrible mistake in deciding to keep him.  Now you may think I’m exaggerating, that it’s only a few kooks…but no.  A search of the terms Overpopulation, Sustainability, Carrying Capacity yield articles from CNN, MSNBC, Salon, and of course this one from the UN itself on the horrific terror that overpopulation brings.  And there is a plethora of even less reputable sources.  Granted I may not always view these as the most accurate of sources, but it does show a mentality that thinks that overpopulation is a problem…and for them it is a problem related to all their whiny fake environmentalist hysteria, and just general hatred of the individual who makes their own choices.

 

You can see this hatred is for the individual in Arth’s words:

 

The limit to individual freedom is where the exercise of an individual right begins to infringe on the rights we hold in common.

 

There is no such thing as “rights held in common.”  Only individuals have rights.  ONLY INDIVIDUALS.  Groups do not hold rights.  We can talk about balancing the needs of the whole versus the rights of one person, we can talk about practicality, but never make the mistake that the call for pragmatism in policy has anything to do with the rights of groups.  Only individuals hold rights, because only individuals can make the choices to exercise those rights.  When people talk about group rights held in common, they are only saying that a government task master will be the one exercising control and choice over the sheep they control.  And what greater control could there be than to say who can and cannot have a child and when they can or can’t.  This coming from the party that says government has no right to say what you do in the bedroom or with whom.

 

 

World Birth Rate

See all the blue…that is areas that is going to experience a very large population drop within a generation…the green will be lucky to stay at current levels.

There is of course one tiny little problem.  US population is dropping, European population is dropping,   Hell, world population may be dropping.  If it wasn’t for immigration it would be even more evident.  And even if it isn’t dropping, you could actually fit all 6.9 billion people in Texas if you packed them in at the population density of New York City…doesn’t exactly sound like there is no room for anyone else. Now for liberals who statistically live in crowded cities, it may seem like there is no room left, in reality there is A LOT of land left.

 

Part of the problem is they hold Malthus’s ideas as gospel.  For those not familiar with them, here is the short, short version.  Malthus believes that technology increased food production arithmetically (10, 12, 14, 16, 18…all plus 2) while population grew geometrically (2, 4, 8, 16, 32…all times 2) over a certain period of time.  So when you start and there is food for 10,000 people and you only have 2,000, you’re all good…but after a while you have food for 16,000 and a population of 16,000…still good until the next generation when you don’t have enough food to feed 14,000.  This leads to wars over food, famine from lack, disease from malnutrition (modern liberals would add pollution from over farming habits) and just suffering in general.  The problem here is that Malthus understood nothing about the coming effects of science, technology, innovation, mass production, the industrial revolution, and of course capitalism.  ***

 

Overpopulation is a lie.  It is not a global problem.  Like so many things it is merely a tool of fear, an excuse to expand the power of those in control over the rest of us.

 

However, I would like to say that this does not mean that the opposite is completely true as some foolish conservatives seems to claim.  Overpopulation isn’t a global problem…but it is a problem in certain areas.  The third world has a major problem with over population.  Yes capitalism and all the benefits it brings make Malthus’ predictions pointless…but without capitalism everything Malthus feared goes on in the third world with deadly accuracy.  And overpopulation makes it worse because it actually works against creating capitalism.  The most egregious example is of course parts of Sub-Saharan Africa.  There you see overpopulation continue in a way that actually prevents capitalism from taking root.  It keeps the population just malnourished enough to prevent them from really having the energy to find the entrepreneurial spirit.  It keeps any attempt to build the infrastructure necessary for the modern economy just out of reach because once you plan, invest, and create infrastructure for one level of population the population has grown just enough to make that level of infrastructure inadequate.  It prevents the growth of a middle class and hampers mass education since so much time must be spent looking for what resources there are that must be spread out among the whole.  Malthus wasn’t wrong about what happens, he just didn’t know you had to add the caveat “unless you have capitalism.”

 

onechild

All I can say is that I think we should all feel very lucky that the government isn’t in control of every aspect of our medical care…oh wait…well crap…

And there is no easy answer here.  Because the government controls vile idiots like Arth propose would only make it worse.  Don’t believe me, look at what wonders they did in Detroit…do you really want to let liberals have control over a place that’s already doing badly.   Of course helping promote capitalism in these area might not stop the suffering immediately but it will promote the long term prosperity.

 

But despite the fact that overpopulation may be a problem in certain areas due more to lack of economic infrastructure than actual population, overpopulation, is not, has never been and will never be a global problem.

 

 

 

*Unless it involves narcotics or regulation the health standards of abortion clinics.  The liberals are quite dead set against government even acknowledging such things exist beyond your absolute right to use such things.

**I’m prochoice, but the way the left defend the absolute right of any woman to abort a fetus the day before her due date is just a tad disturbing.  Like most rational prochoice people I find little problem with abortion in the first trimester, but anything after that starts getting ethically iffy…although, conversely, if you’re so unspeakably stupid that you haven’t made up your mind by 20 weeks, you may not be qualified to have children.

***I’ll attack the idea, but honestly, I have a hard time really blaming Malthus who wrote around 1800. He wasn’t that far off for his time.  Yes there had been many technological advances over the 2,000 years before him…like crop rotation, and how to make really bad steel, and gun powder.  But in the grand scheme of things the 2,000 years before Malthus saw almost no advances when compared to the 200 years that followed him.  Yeah we can look to the Renaissance and see where the groundwork was laid for modern science and technology, but almost none of it had materialized into anything practical when Malthus wrote.  They were still using chamber pots.  Bleeding was still a popular medical technique, and in terms of practicality quantum mechanics has more meaning to your life than electricity had for Malthus.  So I really can’t blame him for not seeing how much technology driven by capitalism (also a new idea in Malthus’s time) could radically change the way people lived.  He had no way to foresee the massive upheaval of technology that would follow him

 

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Filed under Capitalism, Civil Liberties, Evils of Liberalism, Fear, Government is corrupt, Natural Rights, politics, Tyranny

Republican’s Slighted Reputation and How They Should Respond

“Reputation is an idle and most false imposition, oft got without merit and lost without deserving.”—William Shakespeare, Othello

 

So there is a new report out from the College Republicans on how Republicans can make new inroads with younger voters.  While some of their points are obvious* and some are just a little naïve**, one of the points being most centered on by a lot of the media is:

It is not that young voters are enamored of the Democratic Party. They simply dislike the Republican Party more. In the focus group research conducted in January 2013, the young “winnable” Obama voters were asked to say what words came to mind when they heard “Republican Party.” The responses were brutal: closed-minded, racist, rigid, old-fashioned.

[…]

The descriptions of the Democratic Party were more charitable. While some respondents viewed Democrats as “soft” or as supporting big spending, most noted that they were “tolerant,” “diverse,” and “open-minded.”

Now response to this has been two fold.  One is most on the right are looking at this with the attitude of ‘oh wow, 20 somethings who have never done anything think the Republicans are evil, shocker that naïve, inexperienced, overgrown children know shit about shit;’ the response from the other side is ‘gee you’re doing so well, don’t you think this is the time for self reflection.’

Let’s deal with those attacking the GOP and calling for self-reflection. Specifically let’s deal with the point of Republicans are “closed-minded, racist, rigid, old-fashioned” and Democrats are “’tolerant,’ ‘diverse,’ and ‘open-minded.’”  Exactly what in that statement, which seems to be the thrust of most of the argument, exactly calls for self-reflection? If I accuse Obama of eating the still beating hearts of children and it causes his poll numbers to drop, should he do some self- reflection on his behavior…no not really.  While there are many other points he should think about, dealing with bullshit accusations requires little to no self-reflection. And let’s be clear those comments are such a worthless pile of bullshit it’s not even funny. But let’s take a moment to look at a couple of them.

Republicans are close minded and Democrats open minded.

Yes, Republicans the party of fiscal conservatives, RINOS, social conservatives, neoconservatives, paleoconservatives, the Tea Party, rational libertarians, and some people I’m not even sure why they’re here is the close minded party.  The party of Chicago School economics, Austrian economics and some bizarre Neo-Keynesian economics, all tearing at each other.  The party that questions its own, attacks its own, has not one single philosophy, and every primary eats its own…yeah we’re the close minded ones.  Meanwhile the Democrats have one philosophy, Keynesianism.  They have one goal… larger government.  They march lock step behind whoever controls the party and there is little to no dissent.

Republicans are racist

Yes, this is clearly what a party of racists and bigots looks like.

Republicans are racist and Democrats tolerant.  Republican, the party of those who marched for civil rights like George Romney, Charleton Heston, and Martin Luther King Jr., versus the Democrats who were turning hoses and dogs on the Civil Rights marches.  The Republicans who voted for Civil Rights when the Democrats didn’t.  The Republicans who have at every turn opposed the welfare state that is destructive to the growth of the middle class for all groups.  But the Democrats who blindly support Planned Parenthood, a racist eugenics group designed to destroy minority groups, are the tolerant ones…even I who am very pro-choice find Planned Parenthood a disgusting organization.

MLKJr RepublicanRepublicans are old-fashioned and Democrats are new and hip and want change.  Republicans go with what is true and what works.  Just because something is new doesn’t make it good.  And also Republicans believe in real change (in the 80’s we were for amnesty but when we saw that didn’t work at all we’ve dropped that idea) whereas Democrats are still peddling the same big government line they always have, they just keep giving it a new coat of paint to make it seem new and exciting, when it’s the same damn failed idea it’s always been.

I could go on, I have time and time again, but let’s face it  Democrats look only only look at people based on what minority they’re in, they don’t see people they see groups.  They don’t seek solutions, they seek the same solution they always have: control. They tolerate difference, open-mindedness or dissension.  They embrace “diversity” only as a tool to divide and conquer. They are the most racist group out there, the most close-minded, the most vicious, the most rigid and the most despicable.

Young people and idiot liberals believe this not because of facts, but because of propaganda and a lack of actually being open-minded enough.  There is no factual basis for these claims against Republicans, thus no amount of soul searching will help us fix it.  You can’t respond to slander through logic—it’s why individuals are allowed to sue for damages, because nothing will ever get you back your good name even if the charges aren’t true.

Now someone out there is probably going to point out idiots like Todd Akin.  Yes, yes that man was stupid beyond the War on Womentelling of it. He also got the nomination because liberals in the state’s open primary put him as the winner of the primary because he was easier to defeat—they weren’t wrong.  But you know what.  I don’t care if you can point out examples of this racist that misogynist or some such homophobe.  Why?  Because the Westboro Baptist Church is a bunch of registered Democrats (if they were Republicans it would be the lead story every day, but as they’re liberal the story gets buried), because liberals kept electing a man who killed a woman in cold blood (Teddy Kennedy) and a rapist (Bill Clinton) and also kept re-electing a member of the KKK (Robert Bryd…also don’t forget the Klan was an invention of the Democratic Party).   Yeah we have some screwed up people, but at least we don’t have idiots too dumb to understand ‘tweeting a picture of my !@#$% might not be the brightest idea’.  If the media were honest, on every point the Democratic Party would come behind every time.

As the quote that began this blog points out, reputations often have nothing to do with reality.  The reputation of the good is often maligned by the vile without a factual basis for the claims.

Democrats are the racist ones

Yeah, the Democrats are just a bastion of tolerance.

Now should this study be completely ignored?  Not entirely.  But when you consider that they tried to get a sense of how 20-somethings and small business owners felt about government regulation, their genius move was to ask 20-somethings if they had dreams of starting a business…yes this is the group I should listen to, to understand how the law and economics should be set up, people in their 20’s who want to be their own boss…while I’m at it why don’t I go ask a quarterback on a high school J.V. team how to manage a pro football team at the Super Bowl, both think they’ll one day be in charge and both know nothing about anything…what I’m most surprised at is that they found people in their 20’s who didn’t dream of being their own boss and starting their own business one day (that’s sad when you think about it). So perhaps the study’s methodology was a bit off.

But flaws of the College Republican poll aside,

the fact does remain that conservatives have a problem with young people. Because young people are ignorant and stupid.  The human brain doesn’t stop developing until 25 or 26 and we were dumb enough to give every 18 year old the vote. Short of doing the intelligent thing and raising the voting age to 30 (which would pretty much guarantee perpetual defeat of leftist ideology)…no really I’m serious, we need at some point to overturn the 26th Amendment…and the 17th while we’re at it…what can we do for now.  Well one of the reasons young people are so unbelievably dumb is the propaganda machine the left has going.  I’ve already gone over ways we can get the free market to help put the kibosh on that font of bile.  The next point would be education, educated people tend to be less liberal…but since homeschooling and charters are up, so I’m not terribly worried there either, if someone learns to think early on, they’re less likely to be indoctrinated in the later years of formal education that mistakes letters after your name for real knowledge.

Honestly, besides actually just growing a spine, continuing the growth of new media, challenging liberal lies, and convincing one person at a time through reason I don’t see much else we can do.  Yes we need to do a better job of getting our message out, but that is something we need to work on at a media and personal level, not at a RNC level.   And certainly we could do a better job at keeping idiots like Akin and Santorum out of the public eye…but again the Democrats have worse than we do, and it’s just the media protecting them that makes this appear to be a problem in our favor. Young voters aren’t some special interest group we should change our tactics for, that’s the liberal way of divide and conquer…either we hold to the truth of our principles or they mean nothing.

*1) Focus on the economic issues that affect young people today: education, the cost of health care, unemployment.

2) Capture the brand attributes of intelligence, hard work, and responsibility.

3) Don’t concede “caring” and “open-minded” to the left.

** 4) Fix the debt and cut spending, but recognize that messages about principle and “big government” are the least effective way to win this battle of ideas with young voters.

5) Go where young voters are and give them something to share.

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Filed under Conservative, Education, Evils of Liberalism, GOP, Government is useless, liberal arrogance, People Are Stupid, politics

Ron Paul is championing home schooling…God help us all…

I think we are all very happy that Rand has not inherited his father's raving lunacy.

I think we are all very happy that Rand has not inherited his father’s raving lunacy.

I believe so strongly in the homeschooling movement that I have just announced my own curriculum for homeschooling families. Please visit this revolutionary new project at http://www.ronpaulcurriculum.com.–Ron Paul on the-free-foundation.org

Ron Paul is championing home schooling.

 

Usually I would say this is a good thing.  Homeschooling can be one of the most rewarding forms of education around (so long as the parents are involved and also willing to put in the time and effort needed).  For instance I always recommend The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home by Susan Wise Bauer for anyone considering homeschooling… it is a reasoned, balanced, and in depth curriculum for homeschooling that stresses critical thinking and reading primary sources.

And at first glance the program Ron Paul is pushing seems to be that…what with things like:

  • It should be an academically rigorous curriculum that is tied to primary source documents — not textbooks. Textbooks are screened by committees. They dumb down the material.

  • If your child completes the entire curriculum — which runs from K through 12 — here is what he or she should be able to do, again quoting.

  • Speak in public and speak confidently

  • Write effectively

But then you see things like:

“It should provide a thorough understanding of Austrian school economics.”

And I think as a Chicago school monetarist, isn’t that just as bad as Keynesian indoctrination…maybe teach them Keynesian, Chicago, and Austrian principles and trust that reason will work…(and then I remember that if we’re trusting reason, that would lead them to the Chicago school, and those Austrians can’t have any of that).

But it gets worse….

  • It should teach the Biblical principle of self-government and personal responsibility, which is also the foundation of the free market economy.

Ummm… am I the only one that remembers the self-government things can more be traced to Athens, and Aristotle, and the Enlightenment?  Certainly many of the ethics of the Bible lead to the ethics or capitalist democratic-republics…but the Bible wasn’t enough for republican limited government—there were other parts involved.

So this leads one to take a closer look at the person actually in charge of the project that Ron Paul is championing?  Well on the page of instructors is this guy named Gary North.

And this is where it gets fun.  And by “fun,” I mean unspeakably terrifying.  I pulled this quote off of Gary North’s own web side, garynorth.com

So let us be blunt about it: we must use the doctrine of religious liberty to gain independence for Christian schools until we trak up a generation of people who know that there is no religious neutrality, no neutral law, no neutral education, and no neutral civil government. Then they will get busy in constructing a Bible-based social, political, and religious order which finally denies the religious liberty of the enemies of God. Murder, abortion, and pornography will be illegal. God’s law will be enforced. It will take time. A minority religion cannot do this. Theocracy must flow from the hearts of a majority of citizens, just as compulsory education came only after most people had their children in schools of some sort. But religious anarchy, like  “democratic freedom” in ancient Greece, is a temporary phenomenon; it lasts only as long as no single group gets sufficient power and accepted authority to abandon the principle.

I’m going to give you a few seconds to re-read that.  Several times.  Because I’m sure you’re thinking he can’t actually be advocating a complete theocracy that will destroy all opposing religions.  But yes, yes he is. This guy wants a Christian Caliphate to wipe out all the non-Christians.  This guy makes Sarah Palin and Rick Santorum’s rhetoric look stable (I’m not sure if Ricky is stable, I suspect he may be in favor of this, but at least he has the good sense not to say it aloud).  Gary North is the psycho-Christian that the entire left thinks all Republicans are.  This is the Taliban of Christianity.

And this is the guy Ron Paul wants to create a home schooling system for the next generation.

Take a moment to think about this.  If the Paulbots had had their way, Gary North might have been Secretary of Education.  Even though Ron Paul never stood a serious chance, that he even came as close as he did, that should scare the shit out of you.

Now what is more frightening is when you consider how many Paulbots there are who follow the word of their master blindly (I mean they overlooked the racism and the anti-Semitism).  We have enough issues in this nation trying to fight the left without also having to fight blindly following groups of libertarian-theocrats (yes I know, those terms should be opposed to each other just on the face of it, but let’s be honest here, in real life, people are a mass of contradiction).  Think of it Paulbots, but now they’re also motivated by religious fervor—if this gets any traction, it is possible it could be more insane than Westboro.

I’m not saying everything this man is going to put out is wrong, nor should homeschooling not be considered if you have the time and resources…but I don’t think anyone should blindly follow whatever program Ron Paul and Gary North put out.

Ron Paul is brining his insanity to education

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Filed under Anti-Semitism, Education, God, Long Term Thinking, Teaching

Drop the meaningless phrase “Judeo-Christian Values” and other ways for Conservatives to win

Okay so several times I have asked what the phrase “Judeo-Christian Values” means and how it is different from the values of other beliefs and religions.  I haven’t received many good answers.  Yes there are certainly differences between them in the nature of God or in the rituals and the structure of the community…but in terms of values there is little difference…everyone regards the soul as divine in some way* and proper understanding of any of these religions lends one to a virtue based ethics in line with the Classical Realism of Aristotle and Plato.  In fact, when you look at most religions there are some pretty strong parallels in all the virtues—some may be more detailed than others in some areas and less in others, but they seem to focus on the same general virtues.

virtue

Granted there is not a point for point comparison between the virtues that I am showing here, and there are shades of difference and meaning, often caused more by culture and period of time they were written in, but in terms of broad swaths, every religion believes in the same general set of virtues. Also this chart could be much more inclusive of a variety of religions and still hold true…but I think you get the point.

So the term Judeo-Christian values, which supposedly would mean the virtues and ethics this group holds to be good and right and true is just the same as the virtues of every other religion, then it’s not that meaningful a phrase.  Yes there are differences between Judeo-Christian beliefs and other religions, but none of these differences have anything to do with the political context of how the phrase “Judeo-Christian values” is used.

The phrase is meant to draw a contrast between spiritual/religious values and those of the secular, progressive, fascist, fanatical sections of society that actually don’t share either a belief in virtue based ethics or have some very radically different values.

So why is this an important point to bring up?

Well because it makes a pretty clear distinction between those who follow Judeo-Christianity and everyone else.  Including people of lots of different faiths who were not intended to be alienated.  Is this relevant?

Well first off I think it’s a fair statement that the term Judeo-Christian values is primarily used by conservatives.  Second I would assume we want to win.  We lost the last election by 3.9% points.  A 3% shift of the vote would have given Romney the popular and Electoral College vote and about 6 Senate seats (i.e., complete Republican control).  So it then becomes a question, is there 3% of the electorate who is religious and spiritual, not already voting Republican, that is not in the Judeo-Christian bracket?

Let’s look at the polls.

Trends in Religion PewPew does a major poll every year looking at the trends in religion in America.  It’s a sample of 17,000 people so it’s fairly accurate as polls go.

So of the “other” religion we have 6% of the nation and of the “nothing in particular” group we have 13.9% of the population.  Together they make 19.9% of the population.  Common sense alone says that if you have 20% of the country, two-thirds of whom are voting against your party, then maybe if you stopped alienating them with an us vs. them term (or at least picked a new term) you could pick up a few…maybe?

So let’s look at the 19.9% a little more closely.  Okay so we can discount about 1% of the “other” group as they are the “religion of peace” and their fairly fascist beliefs are moderately antithetical to conservative principles and the values/ethics being promoted.  So we’re down to 18.9% up for grabs.

Now the let’s look at how the remaining 5% of the “Other” and the 13.9% of “nothing in particular.”  Now a flaw of this report is that they lump the ““nothing in particular” in with Atheists and Agnostics under the heading of Unaffiliated (but for Trend in Religion by party Pewthe purpose of this let’s just assume the numbers are about the same throughout all the unaffiliated, it doesn’t make a terribly large difference anyway).  From the data we can see that only about 57% of the Other group and 69% of the unaffiliated are voting for Democrats (trust me the math works).  So give or take (you know there are some independents we’re not taking into account) that’s about 12%.  12% that probably share the values of the Christian voters who lean toward voting Republican, but for some reason aren’t voting Republican.  Do you think that term “Judeo-Christianity” might have something, even a small part, to do with it?

Isn’t this just a call for political correctness?  No.  The idiocy of political correctness is saying you have to watch everything you say because it might hurt someone’s feelings.   And it is for all levels of life, from the public and political to the personal.  I am not saying you have to adjust your personal language or beliefs.  This is merely a political reality.  We as conservatives have certain values and policies we know will work and better the lives of everyone.  Politics is as much about emotion and perception as it is about facts and plans, probably more so. Political Correctness has nothing to do with practical ends, which is why it has to be enforced by the left so viciously else reason would drive most people to that end anyway; what I am talking about is something very different than being PC, I’m talking about selling an idea with very real consequences.  A term like “Judeo-Christian values” is loaded from the get go, it creates an us vs. them mentality, at a time when we need more of the people in the “them” category to vote for us.  If we switched to using the term “spiritual value” or “God centered” more often, it would mean the exact same thing in terms of everything relevant to politics and ethics, and it wouldn’t emotionally alienate those we are trying to win over.  You can still use “Judeo-Christian” if you really feel strongly about it, but do it knowing you’re hurting the chance to actually see your goals accomplished.

Is this stupid?  Yeah.  It’s silly and ridiculous to think we should have to be this nitpicky about our language and terms to win people to our side.  But, the last time I checked we already had reason, logic, facts, truth, plans, and vision on our side.  Didn’t notice that doing us any good.  Oh, wait this is politics. Stupid thing like word choice do matter.  Is it stupid?  Yeah, but it’s something you have to do.

New Age beliefsBut should we end our discussion of this group of “nothing in particular” with just this term?  Well that might work towards making in-roads with maybe 1% of those 12%, in-roads that would allow the rest of our arguments to make a difference, and that 1% we get to follow reason would be a third of the way we need to go, but it’s still not enough.

Let’s take a look at some of the actual beliefs of this group.  Namely that 25% of them believe in reincarnation (If you assume that all the atheists and agnostics do not believe in reincarnation then it’s actually about 35% of the “nothing in particular” group…or about 4% of the general public.)  Further while there is nothing in this year’s report, previous year’s reports showed that a belief in reincarnation was more popular with women, minorities, the young, Democrats, liberals, moderates, independents, and Christians who attend church less often (i.e., the people we need to win over).

So it is safe to assume that most of those in that 4% are not voting Republican.

But they should.

A belief in reincarnation by its very nature lends to long term thinking—the policies I put in place today won’t just affect my children and grandchildren, they’ll affect me over and over and over again.  Thus anyone who believes in reincarnation has to believe in plans that aren’t as concerned with momentary problems, but with building long term systems that self-perpetuate and offer prosperity to the most people for the longest time with most chance of growth…that would be the capitalism and republicanism officered by real conservative belief.  This is an argument I’ve made before, extensively in Republicans & Reincarnation, and one that we should all make to anyone who holds this article of faith in reincarnation.  If you actually approach them on their own terms, and showed that the logical consequence of their beliefs is conservatism, we could get another 1% of that group…which means of the 49% left we only have to convince another 1% and given the abysmal failure of a second Obama term, that should be easy.

You don’t have to agree with people on faith. But you’re not going to convince them on politics if your stance is mine is the only religion worth following by using terms like “Judeo-Christian value.”  Say “spiritual values” instead, it means the same thing, it still separates you from the secular liberal base you are trying to show a contrast with, and it may pick up a few votes. And if you’re arguing with someone who doesn’t agree with your religion or your politics, you’ll never convince them to give up a faith because of reason, it just doesn’t work (even if you do show contradictions and put them on the path to agreeing with you spiritually, it will initially only dig in their heels more on every other topic against you)…but if you approach them on their terms spiritually and show them how their beliefs do dictate a conservative point of view, then you at least get something.

*The only two exceptions to this are followers of the religion of peace (Sufis excluded) and atheists.

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Filed under A Course in Miracles, Aristotle, Atheism, Bhagavad Gita, Capitalism, Conservative, Economics, Education, Evils of Liberalism, Faith, Free Will, God, Individualism, Long Term Thinking, New Age, philosophy, politics, Problems with the GOP, Religion, Spirituality, virtue

In Defense of Intellectual Property Rights

So, no matter how annoying RINO’s and the psycho-Santorum social conservative wing is within the GOP, the fact is that our problems are nothing compared to how the libertarians are going out of their goddamn minds. The argument between libertarians and conservatives used to be over the need for social constraints—libertarians believed we didn’t need any and conservatives believed those needs could be handled mostly by church, private charity, community organizations, and local government (with maybe just a touch of state government in special circumstances)*—but not anymore. Now libertarians are becoming a big tent party that has no ideological center, in addition to old school libertarians, the anti-war left, drug addicts, and anarchists seem to all be flocking to the name libertarian under a truly perverse idea of liberty.

For instance I’m now seeing an attack on intellectual property. This seems to come from the a response to the poorly conceived SOPA and PIPA laws, in addition to the continual and idiotic extension of copyright laws (driven a great deal by Disney Corp.)…but to say because there is bad copyright and patent laws we should get rid of the concept of intellectual property is about as logical and ethical as saying that because you can find some innocent people who were convicted of murder then we should simply stop making murder a crime.

First let’s go over the bizarre argument from the libertarian organization Learn Liberty**

So the argument is that intellectual property isn’t like private property.

Well before we get into this argument let’s look at why you have private property rights in the first place.

To do this we go back to John Locke and the Theory of Natural Rights. The theory of natural rights is always best understood in the context of living on a deserted island. So let’s say, like Robinson Crusoe, you get stranded on a deserted island for 10 years. You build a house, you farm the land, you pick fruit. Everything is yours. Why? Because according to the theory of natural rights you have mixed your labor, something that is most certainly yours, with something that no one had any claim to beforehand (the land, the fruit, the materials you used to build your house). Now let’s say someone else gets stranded on the same island. Do they have to bow down to you because you own the entire island? No. You only have right to that which you worked for. You have a right to your house, the land you farmed, and any fruit you picked up yourself, but the new guy has the right to start farming on any land you haven’t, to build a house with any materials you haven’t used, and to pick up any fruit you didn’t. On the deserted island you only have a right to what you worked for and you can consume it yourself or give it to anyone you wish.
Now moving to actual civilization where all the land is owned by someone and you can’t just mix your labor and property that hasn’t been claimed by because pretty much everything has been claims (anyone (and there are actually laws like prescriptive easements and homesteading), Locke and the theory of natural rights points out, that you are compensated either in money or by barter for your labor. And for the sake of ease, I will simply refer to money as property as well. So even though you are no longer mixing your labor with something no one owns, you are being compensated for your labor at a rate that you agree to. You have a right to all the property that is a result of your labor. Why? Because your labor is an extension of you, thus your property is an extension of you. Which is why Locke’s three basic natural rights were Life, Liberty and Property (which Jefferson later tied to the point of life, Happiness).***

Let me say that again: You have a right to all the property that is a result of your labor because your labor is an extension of you, making all the property you have earned an extension of you and your person.

But we don’t live in the state of nature, we live in a society, under a social contract. And under the basic theories of Locke we have given up a portion of our rights to maintain the rest (because all it takes is one jerk to turn the state of nature from paradise into a living hell, and for all of its potential, society certainly has more than one jerk in its midst). One of the rights we give a little on is the right to property—we agree that a government must be funded with taxes, which are an imposition on our right to property, but better to give a little to protect the rest than to have none at all. I would argue anything over 10% of your income is tyranny and anyone who wants to take more than that should meet the end of Julius Caesar, Caligula, Richard III, Charles I, and the redcoats armies, but that’s another debate for another time—we all agree that we give up a little of our right to property under the social contract, to maintain the bulk of our property. This will be important later so keep this in mind.

Now how is intellectual property different from normal private property? Now if you were to buy the argument of the libertarian/anarchist video above they’re not the same at all. The argument seems to be that you are entitled to the property rights that come from your labor but not from your mind. This strikes me as odd because, according to Theory of Natural Rights, property is yours because it has become an extension of you through your labor. I find it hard to believe that the labor of my physical body can make something an extension of me, but the inspiration of my soul and the creativity of my mind and the works thereof are somehow not mine. I have to say that an individual is much more their soul and their mind than they are their body. So why if the work of their body makes something theirs, but the work of their mind isn’t theirs. From the Constitution, to Adam Smith, to arguments of Friedman and Hayek, to the speeches of Atlas Shrugged, well articulated philosophy and understanding of history and human nature to poorly worded intrinsic understanding, people have understood that if you have the right to the results of your body you certainly have a right to the results of your mind. The work of your mind is even more you than the work of your body. And if you have the right to creations from your body you certainly have rights to creations from your mind. In fact before seeing this video, I knew of only one work in history that valued the works of the mind as lower in value than the works of the body: Das Kapital by Karl Marx. Remind me where that philosophic line leads to. To say you don’t have the rights to the works of your mind is actually worse than anarchy; it is among the most vicious foundations of socialism and collectivism. (This is also part of the liberal ideal that those that work physically are equal or greater than those that work with the mind).

Now the speaker in this video claims that intellectual property rights are intellectually incoherent. But only if you use his 3 part system. Absolute rights, rights created by the government, or no rights at all. What he seems to ignore is what we really have: absolute rights tempered by the needs of the social contract. The social contract does not create rights, it infringes on them here or there so that the bulk of those rights may be saved from the chaos of anarchy. Now taking the traditional view of natural rights, the first view, that intellectual property rights would continue on in perpetuity would actually be correct in the state of nature. In the state of nature your intellectual property rights would be eternal and you could will them to any inheritor you wished or to the public. However because of the social contract, something that is not addressed at all in this video, and actually quite conveniently ignored, we understand and enter into a state where there are certain limitations placed on intellectual property through copyright, trademark, and patent law.

The primary restriction on these rights is time. Copyrights, patents expire after time? Now we know the reason why, so people can build off of other ideas, stand on the shoulders of giants, and further society. No one denies that society is made better by building ideas on each other. But why should intellectual property fade where physical property doesn’t? The answer is quite simple, physical property does fade. Houses decay, land that is not worked produces nothing, business mismanaged fails, and all other forms of physical property decay. If a multi-billionaire leaves their entire fortune to their children, that fortune will not last forever. If the children are idiots they will quickly squander even the most vast fortune. Fortunes are only maintained if the next generation continues to work and continues to produce. All physical items will decay if they are not kept up, and up keep costs money which means either money for up keep will have to be earned, the items will have to be sold, or they will just decay. Physical property decays. Limits are placed on intellectual property not because they are special and should be treated differently from other property rights but so they are actually treated like physical property rights. The parchment Homer wrote the Iliad on has long turned to dust, but the idea still shines as brightly as ever, and thus to make both the physical and intellectual property rights equivalent the intellectual property rights must be given a end date. We can debate what that should be (I like life of the artist + 25 years or 75 years after creation, whichever is longer, for copyright, and 20 years for patents…but that is negotiable). So the argument that intellectual property rights are contradictory is simply intellectually dishonest.

Now the second claim that this video makes against property rights is that to enforce intellectual property rights “You have to interfere with people’s other property rights in real physical objects and to stop them from using those objects as they wish to.” This is just patently false and either a bald face lie or the speaker in the video ain’t bright. If I want to buy a computer, hack into Windows and rewrite as much code as I want I can do that. And nothing is going to happen to me. I have the right to buy anything I want, make modifications or changes to my property. And no one is going to stop me and no one is going to care…as long as I keep my property in my house. The kind of enforcement that he is talking about here is when you take something that belonged to someone else and either share it or try to resell your new product. In either case you’re offering competition to the original creator. Your cutting into the profits they worked for and are not enjoying any of the benefits of. In a lot of cases people are more than happy to have their patents used by others, so long as they get paid. Tesla was more than happy that Marconi got credit for inventing the radio, which Tesla invented, because Marconi had to pay him on 13 patents. Youtube and fanfic websites are allowed to operate and have so much copy-written material on them because it’s free advertising. It’s only when you start cutting into the profit share or start making money that patent and copyright holders start objecting. So it’s not that your property rights are violated, its that your hurting their property rights and they get kind of testy about that. Who’d of thought?

Then of course he makes the claim that you can still have creativity and invention without patents and copyrights. Let’s ignore the fact that Venice and Florence offered a version of patents and copyright in the 1400’s (remind me which cities were the center of the Renaissance in the 1400 and 1500’s) or that England and France have the origins of copyright and patent laws since the 1500’s (again centers of the later Renaissance and Industrial Revolution)…remind me again why the Spanish Empire kind of shriveled up and died intellectually and economically without any kind of those laws (might also have something to do with their love of the gold standard, but again another discussion for another time).

But the inherent claim is that free exchange of ideas leads to better creativity and innovation. By that argument fanfic site should have the highest quality literature in the world and Unix and Linux should be the most effective and user friendly systems on earth. Oh wait. The vast, vast, of fan fiction just sucks and Linux, while praised as a more stable system, is absolutely worthless to anyone who isn’t a computer geek. Also by that argument Open Office should be a better product than Microsoft Office. Pardon me while I laugh hysterically. Strangely enough you get what you pay for, and you can’t pay people for ideas when there isn’t protection for intellectual copyright.

Oh but wait they have a rebuttal that shows an artist can make money even without intellectual property rights.

Their example, Verdi. Since Verdi didn’t have intellectual property rights to fall back on, but still made enough to live off of, this shows you don’t need intellectual property rights. This again conveniently ignores little things, like the fact that Verdi was commissioned (i.e. he got paid upfront) to write several of his operas, and that his operas were quite famous in countries with intellectual property rights which he could fall back on if he had to. It also ignores that before intellectual property rights art existed only when the artist was paid by a patron, and that almost all scientific advancement for most of the dark ages was only in military science, because people were actually paid for that. It also ignores the problem for writers. A musician like Verdi could make money as a performance artist. A writer can’t. If there are no intellectual property rights, then when a writer publishes a book a publisher could theoretically just take the book and reprint it without paying the author and the author would have no recourse (see the history of Google Books)…it should come as no shock that as the patronage system died out the only place you found a lot of writers is in nations that had copyright laws.

One final point. If this video is supposed to be from a libertarian group then they should believe in liberty and capitalism (let’s ignore they already have given up on capitalism as capitalism cannot possibly operate without intellectual property rights). And as such they must believe in the sacrosanct nature of contract law (the current administration may not believe it’s sacrosanct, or even vaguely relevant, but any intelligent human understands that a contract is a contract is a contract). As such, many contracts legally include nondisclosure agreements. Without intellectual property rights I can almost guarantee you that every book, every movie, every album will come with a 20 page boiler plate contract that states ‘by buying this product you agree to not share…blah, blah, blah” having basically the same effect as copyright but taking up much more costs in court time as companies will have to exponentially increase prosecutions for contract violation and the fact that there will not be a standard (like copyright law is) so each contract will be slightly different and the merits of each judged individually. Yes, because I want a system that creates more lawsuits, I’m sure that will be wonderful for the economy.

Yes SOPA and PIPA and Disney’s efforts to keep Steamboat Willie under copyright are bad laws. The system needs correction: we need to reduce the length of time for copyright, to make patents more logical, to stop giving special considerations to fields that don’t deserve it and stop regulating the patents in certain fields out of existence. And Tort reform, we need tort reform to get the companies to stop suing everyone for even the slightest unintended infraction of copyright or patent law. But just because the system needs work and we need legal reform is not a reason to just do away with the natural rights of property to the creations of your mind and soul. The argument of these videos are that because the system is broken we should just do away with everything—throw the baby, the crib, and that entire nursery out with the bath water.

Intellectual property is the heart and soul of capitalism and without capitalism there is no liberty. So Learn Liberty should learn what liberty is based on, things like intellectual property rights.

*Yes I will fully admit that the social conservative wing does not understand this part and that government should not be used to implement these social constraints.
**Whom I usually like, but in this case are out of their gourd.
***Now one last caveat that was more applicable in Locke’s time than in ours. Locke stated that there is a limit to how much you could own, that limit being you only had the right to own what you could use. For instance, let’s say a person could only farm 30 acres, then they had a right to only 30 acres unless they were willing to hire people to help them farm anything above that 30. This is a distinction that really only relevant in Locke’s time because with the advent of capitalism very little isn’t used. That land you own but don’t do anything with isn’t wasted, it’s collateral for future projects. That money sitting in the bank isn’t wasted, it is being used by the bank to make loans. With the advent of capitalism and investment nothing really is lies fallow, resources may not be used wisely but next to nothing is deliberately wasted. Yes I guess there could be a case of someone buying up food just to let it rot, but first I don’t think you’ll find many people that insane who have the capital to do that (at least outside of our government), and second any law you could make to prevent people from not wasting resources would be so impossible to justly enforce that it would likely cause more harm than the evil it wished to stop.

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Filed under Art, Capitalism, Civil Liberties, Conservative, Constitution, Economics, Evils of Liberalism, People Are Stupid, politics

A Compromise We Should Offer Liberals If We Want To Win

Did we forget we're conservatives and we want to limit the power of the federal government?

A couple of years ago I did a series on laws the GOP should pass and in that I did a series of compromises I suggested we conservatives should suggest some laws that give liberals what they say they want but in such a way that we also get something in return and even though we’re giving them what they want we’re doing it in a way that does not violate our values (for instance make marriage a religious issue that government has nothing to do with, government only offers civil unions—they get the equality under law they want, we get the religious nature of marriage untouched by government).

 

And in this vein I have come up with the ultimate compromise, one that will in the end mean the decimation of Democratic and progressive power, but one that will be just too good an offer for the stupid liberals to turn down.

 

Lately there has been a call among the libs, idiots that they are, to overturn the 22nd Amendment…now to save you the time (because I’ll be honest after 19 they all get a little mixed up for me too) the 22nd is the one that limits any person from serving more than 2 terms (technically 10 years total) in the office of the president.  Why?  Because the liberals are so enamored of their divine savior that they think that His Holiness the transcendent Obama should just be allowed to serve 3 or 4 or 10 terms.  He is just that good.  (Yeah because that doesn’t sound like a dictator at all.)

 

And I say we give it to them.  Pass an amendment that overturns the 22nd Amendment.

 

What!  Do I want this nation to be destroyed?  Do I want us to have a GDP lower than a hunter-gatherer tribe lost in the Gobi?  Am I looking to spark a 2nd Dark Ages?

 

No. Hear me out.

 

For this, in the same Amendment (because this has to be an all or nothing thing) we overturn the 26th (the idiotic one that says unspeakably stupid and immature 18 year olds can vote).   And not only do we overturn it we replace it with the new bar that no one younger than 30 can vote* for a federal office (House, Senate, Electoral College)** AND that all states must verify their electoral votes by making voters show valid ID.

 

Okay so?  Why would that make allowing Obama have a chance at a third term acceptable?

 

Gosh...how can I best kill my base and help Romney's?

Because it will mean the end of the liberal movement.  It should come as no shock that the young, the immature, and the stupid from lack of experience tend to be liberal.  Also people who have not built up any property (again mostly the young) tend to liberal—yes I know it’s a shocker that the correct (read, conservative) governments, for whom one of the central functions is protection of property rights, isn’t popular with the people who haven’t been alive long enough to earn much. Also strangely the age group that finds the Daily Show to be their primary source of information tends to be the most liberal.

 

Okay, so we know that young people are dumb, big deal.  So what?

 

Well the benefits of Voter ID alone are almost too good to pass up. We all know that liberals have stolen an obscene number of elections through illegal voting.

 

I’ll tell you so what.  If voters under 30 had been barred from voting Romney would have won by nearly 70 Electoral College votes. Obama would have only won California by about 9 points (I could pull up the charts with all the math, but I don’t want to make your eyes bleed)…that’s right California would be at just the edge of swing state territory.  Swing states would become solid red and states that haven’t seen a Republican in ages would suddenly be battleground territory.  (And that’s before you take out all the illegals voting through Voter ID…if you had those 2 things it’s conceivable that California could once again be the state that gave us Reagan).

 

Almost every single thing that makes a person more inclined to be fiscally conservative (experience, marriage, children, income, wealth, employment, spirituality) is tied to age.  And think about it when the voting age was 21 in the colonial era, it wasn’t because people were so much more mature than by nature it was because the life expectancy was around 45.  You were already living on your own by the age of 19, still two years before you could vote.

 

By doing this conservatives gain an easy majority in the Senate and likely a consistent veto-proof majority in the House.

 

Now social issues will probably continue to lean a little left, but that’s just the evolution of society.

 

Now you may say, okay that will work for now, but once those 20 somethings get older they’ll be liberal with a vengeance in their 30’s.  Not so, because after a conservative Congress and conservative president institute real pro-growth policies, these otherwise idiotic young people will actually have something to work for and earn in their 20’s, will have families to care for, will have experience to guide them, and statistically they will vote for conservative economic policy.

 

Or you may say, the Democrats will never fall for it.

 

To which I have to say, you’re forgetting these are the idiots who fell for Obama’s shtick, deep thinkers they are not. If you offer them the chance to re-elect their God-king one more time they’d do things far worse than destroy their own party.  They’re deluded to think that he’ll get re-elected every time no matter what.  Yet the numbers show that’s not the case, but these idiots don’t understand numbers very much (as shown by their economic policies).

 

Now some of you still probably believe they’re not dumb enough to fall for this.  That they’ll see through the ruse and just vote for Obama-lite in 2016 and 2020.  Let me just point out that some of his idiot followers are attributing a cure for AIDS to the man, trust me they’re well beyond the point of being dumb enough. They really think this man is their lord and savior.  They’re well beyond dumb enough.  Well, well beyond.

 

They’ll fall for it.  And they’ll destroy their party in doing so.  So who’s with me on this?

 

 

*I’m more than willing to include an exception for active duty members of the military and veterans under 30.

**If states want to let the immature vote in state and local elections that’s their stupid choice.

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Basic economics lesson #4: Ricardo’s Law and why we should drop Social Conservatism

republicans

If we don’t start having a unified message we will keep losing time and time again.

It’s amazing how quickly I’ve seen the god-awful resurgence of social conservatism.  Somehow the fact of the combination of social conservative Santorum undercutting Romney at every chance, social conservative Akin and Mourdock undercutting the whole party with their mentally handicapped statements, and more instances of voter fraud than I know what do with, all led to the downfall of Romney…the social conservatives have taken from this that just running on economics doesn’t work and we need to focus on social issues.  It must be interesting to live in the Bizarro universe where social conservatives being part of the reason we lost is a reason why we should focus on social conservatism—but I don’t live in that world, I live in reality.

(…stay with me here it’s going to take a little while to get back to social conservatism…)

And in reality we have this economic principle called Ricardo’s Law or the Law of Comparative Advantage.  While the best explanation of this law is found in P.J. O’Rourke’s Eat the Rich: A Treatise on Economics (best books on economics ever) I’ll quickly sum it up here.  If you can do two things for a living, let’s say be a carpenter or write computer code you should do what you do better….even if you’re above average in both.   It doesn’t matter if you’re good at both, when you split your time between two things you’ll end up producing less, even though in either field you’d produce more than anyone else could.  Just trust me that the math works out that everyone should do what they’re best at to create the highest yield of goods.*

When you split your time between two things you always get less of things you’re looking for.  Focus on what will give you the highest yield of what you’re looking for and only that.

So what does this have to do with social conservatism?

Well, most social conservatives in the Republican Party are probably also fiscal conservatives (certainly not all, Rick Santorum for instance never met a tax, a regulation, or moment of crony capitalism that he didn’t love) but for the most part the vast majority of social conservatives are fiscal conservatives.  Now basic level common sense might seem to suggest that, as a party (ignoring that the party is actually made up of social conservatives, moderates, and liberals) we should try a dual attack of both social conservatism and fiscal conservatism and thus try to get the most voters to come in.

And this is one of those rare times where science/math/economics actually don’t converge with what may seem like common sense.

We can focus on two narratives (that are not always in agreement) trying to pick the most voters, or we can devote all of our time and money into one narrative, which if we apply Ricardo’s law to this situation, and find even greater results than working on both. (Yes it’s always dangerous to apply principles from one field to another, but if you stay with me here you’ll see it does work).

So which narrative should we focus on?
Well let’s look at social conservatism first.   First off social conservatism holds a very small appeal (only 18% want abortion completely outlawed, and only 44% consider themselves Pro-life , and the majority of people also favor gay marriage).  Further, while you can make excellent arguments for the corrosive effects of low marriage rates on society or this or that point, the issues of social conservatism will, probably more than any other field of public debate, come down  to deal entirely with emotion and faith.  You can’t argue emotion or faith.  You can have the grandest proof in the world, with all the stats and figures and charts you could ever want…still won’t have any effect on emotion and faith.  Would any argument convince you to be in favor of abortion?  I doubt it.  Why do you think the other side will be different?  Listen to the stories of people who changed their minds on this issue, it’s not because of some argument, it was because of some personal, emotional experience.  Arguments of the social conservative kind only rally those who already believe, the do not attract more voters.
Next let’s assume, by some miracle you win with that argument and that argument only.  And just looking at, say abortion, let’s say somehow Roe v. Wade is overturned by a new court (and the problem with that is that conservative judges hate overturning precedent, they hate it, so the likelihood is very low)…guess what, it’s still not going to matter.  Why? Because the federal government, while it may have to power to prevent laws, it can’t outlaw things that don’t cross state lines—thus without Roe it just becomes another state’s rights issues.  And guess what you may win a few states in the South and a few in the midwest, but with 52% saying they support abortion to some degree and another 28% want it legal in all cases, you would be lucky to get 20 states to outlaw abortion…and they won’t be the states where most of the abortions are occurring already.  So for all that work, it will pretty much be the same as it is now.  The results are similar for just about every other social issue you can think of.  To have the federal government do ANYTHING directly about social issues would require us to ignore the 9th and 10th Amendments (which as good conservatives, we never could).

And let’s just ignore how many people the social conservatism pushes away.

Few votes, few results for a lot of time and effort.

Doesn’t seem like a good result.

Now what if we just made the case fiscal conservatism.  Well if you just made the argument for fiscal conservatism (taking a good, conservative, social issues are at best a state’s rights argument and have no place in a federal election)  what happens with votes.  We gain the real libertarians (ignoring the anti-war leftists who have invaded the party) and moderates who are primarily fiscal conservatives and social moderates.  Figure a 6 point gain in the voting for conservatives.

Would wining be the only advantage?  No.  If you got conservatives in both houses of Congress and in the White House…and I do mean conservatives not wishy-washy RINOs like McCain and Bush…and what will happen.  Well the economy will boom as regulation, bureaucracy, red tape and taxes go down.   This part we know.

And what else? Welfare will also get reformed, shrunken and possibly sent entirely to the states.  And then a funny thing happens.  As taxes are no longer written in such complicated ways as to discourage marriage, as welfare no longer incentivizes single parenthood to a brood you can’t afford, strangely enough people will start turning to more socially conservative practices in their own lives.  When you take away the incentives to stay single and remove the disincentives to marriage more people will get married.  When you take away the incentives to be pregnant for as long as possible before getting a government-funded abortion strangely fewer women will have abortions. When you don’t reward having enough children that you could start your own sports league people will have fewer people having litters they can’t afford.  People at all levels of society are terrible at long term planning, but they’re also very good at understanding short-term consequences and rewards.  If we remove the perverted set of incentives put in place by the New Deal, the Great Society and Obama you will not only have economic prosperity you will have far, far more people acting in the pattern that social conservatives praise.

And as icing on the cake, as numerous studies have shown, married people are more likely to be conservative as they have less of a need for a government to take care of them, so fiscal conservatism will breed socially conservative practices which will create more fiscal conservatives.

Social Conservatism does not lead to economic growth (France is very opposed to gay marriage, all the economic good it does them, dozens of nations are socially conservative, it does nothing for them).

Fiscal conservatism leads to people making the choices that social conservatives like because it makes good economic sense.

And the only people the economic conservatism is likely going to offend is a few wacky social conservatives who, in addition to social issues think the government should also be in charge of financial ones.  A small minority in the Republican Party indeed.

And here’s the point of why I brought up Ricardo’s law. Making the social conservative argument only alienates people, and gains nothing long term…it only helps the left.  So any mixture of the two arguments actually works against the goals of social conservatives.

Scream to the heavens all you want about abortion.**  It won’t help you win.  But discuss how low taxes and low regulation can help the poor, how less bureaucracy can increase opportunity, and how capitalism increases equality not the other way around and you can actually win people.  And in that win you create the habits that you actually wanted to see in people.

*Yes this doesn’t take into account things like the needs and wants of the economy, or that in reality you should do what makes you happiest, not what gets you the most money (although that’s really just Ricardo’s Law looking at ethical goods not monetary ones), and a lot of other variables.  Economics has a great term for this, “all things being equal,” if all other variables are controlled for you should do what you do best at, and only that.

** Just give up on gay rights.  It’s going to happen.  There’s nothing to stop it.  On the other hand without liberal funding in education and other various forms of funding the crazy extreme of homosexuals will no longer have the pulpit, and the vast majority of gays who are as boring as the rest of us will take over.

war

In a war the goal should first and foremost should be winning. Social conservatism isn’t a winning message.

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