Archive for the ‘Individual Liberty’ Category

Censorship, Yet Again

July 13, 2017

Censorship exists only in one fashion:  when the goverment forbids you from speaking/writing/etc.  Censorship cannot occur unless THE GOVERNMENT forbids speech.  A person, a corporation, Facebook, etc., cannot “censor” anything.

There has been quite a few misconceptions about this over the past few weeks, starting with the Kathy Griffin incident, where she displayed a model of a beheaded Donald Trump.  No, Kathy, CNN did not “censor” you.  You are free to speak, but you cannot demand CNN, or anyone else, for that matter, to provide you a platform to do so.

I have also seen quite a few posts recently talking about how Facebook “censored” them.  No, it didn’t.  Facebook can choose to keep or discard any information they want. It is their platform.  They don’t have to support your views, nor are they required to provide you a microphone.

If you go to a concert, security is not “censoring” you when they do not let you run up on stage and take the microphone from the lead singer.  They are not “censoring” you by not giving you “equal time” or any other nonsense.

Unpopular Opinion Time:  The same is true for Net Neutrality.  A company can decide what content travels along their equipment, and at what speed.  Plenty of you will point out that the internet operates under Net Neutrality at this time, and that blogs like mine could be blocked.  So what?  I should not be able to force someone else to display my content.

Would this be the death of the internet?  No.  In fact, it opens up a huge door for companies to CHOOSE to be Net Neutral.  I bet that a few internet providers that choose to be net netural, instead of being forced to be net neutral, will very quickly displace the companies that choose to reject net neutrality.

Even so, whether or not the internet will change with no net neutrality requirement should not supercede the rights of the provider to run their network how they wish.

Really, it comes down to property rights again.  The KKK cannot show up in an interracial couple’s bedroom and protest, because the couple’s property rights supercede the KKK’s rights to “free speech.”  In the same way, an internet provider should be able to determine what content and at what speed and conditions messages are passed through their property.

Thank you for reading my post.

What Government and Business Have in Common

March 24, 2017

I recently ran across a video explaining why government and business were not compatible, and how a CEO should not become president.  The video itself isn’t worth posting, but I will give you the highlights:  condescending casual businessman-looking jerk talks down to you for five minutes.  The jerkface makes random claims:

1.   CEOs “just” have to make profit, and that is not as complex as running a country.
2.  Presidents are representatives of the people, but CEOs represent themselves.
3.  The government pays for things.

First, the challenge of making a profit is what makes a CEO’s job difficult.  There is no “just” about it.  Whether or not it is as complex as running a country depends entirely on how your mind works.  Really, they are different types of work in some respects, and it is hard to compare them.

Second, a CEO answers to the board of directors.  The board of directors is elected through its share holders.  A president is elected through the electoral college, who base their votes on their state’s popular vote.  So, just as a president must answer to the voters, a CEO must answer to the share holders.

One may argue that a CEO can blow off the concerns of John Q. Shareholder.   We could say the same about any given president.  One could argue that the nominating committee of the corporation determines who gets to run for the board of directors.  One could look at the Democratic Party’s nomination of Hilary Clinton over Bernie Sanders to see the parallel.

Finally, the video argued that services, like the US Postal Service, are required to serve the good, poor people of Bratislavia, Pennsyltucky.  At any cost, Bratislavian people are owed mail service.   He mention how UPS or FedEx neither one will support offices in small towns, and that it was the duty of the USPS to operate in that town so that the people could send mail form that town. He also states that the existence of the USPS keeps the prices of the UPS and FedEx low.   He also speaks of several other govenment services, and how they are required to give people what they need, even though fulfilling needs is not economical.

The big problem with this entire story is that the video assumes that the government just has money.  Where does it come from?  Nobody knows.  The government just has money.  Infinite money to pay for heavily subsidized health care and postal delivery in every town, especially those where industry knows are unable to support such a service.

In the ultimate slap in the face, this money comes from taxes.  Taxes taken from the companies who know it is not economical to run a delivery service to these towns.  Taxes then used to undercut their businesses in towns where there is (or perhaps was) enough customers to support them.

A good CEO president would trim the areas that were not economical to run.  Bratislavia, Pennsyltucky would not have postal service, but they are not owed postal service, either.  And just like towns that do not have a Walmart, UPS or Ford dealership, the residents would either commute to another town, or do without.  People of New York City, or Bratislavia or wherever are not owed postal delivery or health insurance any more than they are owed a Ford Dealership or an In N Out Burger.

That is what this video was missing.  The understanding that the government’s sole purpose is to protect the life, liberty and pursuit of happiness of its residents.  Courts to uphold the law and police to arrest those who choose to violate the rights of others.

The government is not here to supply your needs on any level.

The Problem with Lists

June 23, 2016

I had plenty of fodder to destroy on this blog, all related to the unfortunate shooting in Orlando.  Renewed calls for gun control are a favorite topic for me to disassemble.  This particular time, plenty of folks made complete fools of themselves attempting to push an anti-gun agenda:  from the reporter who complained of PTSD after firing an AR-15, to the inane sit-in, I could post once a day for months over just this content.

Instead, I’m going to briefly address the issue with the “No-Fly” List, and the “Terror Watch List.”

There was a piece of legislation that would block folks on these lists from passing background checks for purchasing firearms.  It sounds kinda like a good idea, on the surface.  Certainly, it is being billed as “preventing terrorists from buying guns,” which sounds like the type of thing that only a terrorist would not support.

I am not a terrorist and I don’t support it.

My issue is not with preventing terrorists from owning guns, but rather from skipping due process.  An individiual can be placed on these lists without fair trial, and in some cases, without their knowledge.  I could already be on it, and so could you.

A free society does not take away rights without a fair trial.  Furthermore, a person is innocent until proven guilt.  Associated with that statement is that a person does not need to prove that he or she is innocent; the accuser must prove their guilt.  These lists are the exact opposite of this process.

I’ve heard folks discuss adding a mechanism for contesting the terror watch list so that a person can be removed from this list.  This is guilt until proven innocence.  The police cannot arrest you and take you to jail until you can prove your innocence; they can only take you to court and then prove your guilt.

Some will say that, “well, nobody is going to jail, we are only talking about guns or boarding airplanes.”  It does not matter. I do not need to ask the government permission to travel or own a piece of metal, plastic, or wood, at least not in a free society.

Don’t fall for the trap.  If this legislation smells fishy, it is because it is.  As tempting as it would be to trust the FBI and Homeland Security to weed out the terrorists, and prevent them from buying firearms, think about what is possible with this type of  legislation.  Here is a short list of group memberships that qualify as terrorists,  according to Facebook:

Muslims, Jews, gun owners, atheists, Christians, Creationists, Chick Fil-A, homosexuals, people who wrote spoilers for the Star Wars movie, men, Yankee fans, Republicans, Democrats, cancer, residents of Chicago…

Once this system is in place, it WILL be abused.

Now, back to the crybabies sitting on the floor, all of your elected representatives, fighting to turn your rights over to this arbitary list.

Scared yet?

Huffington Post Writer Pro-Violence

June 10, 2016

I wrote about this a few weeks ago, but here we go again.  Loser McSucksALot, better known as Jesse Benn wrote an article about how Anti-Trump protesters are justified in their violence.  He sites several historial examples of how violence has changed things for the better, and that we’ve been fed lies about non-violent movements.

Violence has one legitimate purpose- as a defense against those who have directly initiated violence against you.  It has several qualifications:

  1.  As a defense against an IMMEDIATE threat to life, liberty or property.
  2. As a defense against a SPECIFIC threat to life, liberty and property.
  3. As a stop-gap until law enforcement arrives.

Violence as such is immoral, as it is the violation of the individual rights of the person who is being attacked.  Self-defense is moral, as, the attacker has already demonstrated that he or she is willing to violate individual rights, and thus has none him or herself.  Therefore, in preservation of your life (or family/friend/etc.) you are justified in self-defense.

However, self-defense is constrained in time. It is only for the immediate threat, and only until the police, who hold a legal monopoly of force, arrive.  It is never pre-emptive, and is never retaliatory, the former being the judgment of a person before he or she has done anything immoral, and the latter being the purpose of the courts.

Self-defense is also against a specific threat.  Joe Biden’s mindless dribbling about shooting shotguns through doors aside, a criminal in your home is self-defense, as he or she has already violated your right to property by being in there uninvited.  Shooting randomly into a crowd of people who may have taken your wallet is not, as the threat is non-specific, and you are violating the rights of those who did not take your wallet.

Back to Loser McSucksALot.  He advocates violence against people speaking. Really, that’s all that is happening at a presidential candidate’s speech.  Regardless of how you feel about Trump, Sanders or Clinton, that’s all that really happens.  This author calls for violence at any time one of these candidates speaks (not time-limited), and towards ANYONE at the rally (non-specific).

There is no case for self-defense, which is the only time violence is justified.

So then, what kind of person calls for random violence against non-specific targets (those people over there that disagree with me), at non-specific times (any time someone speaks freely)?  I think you know.

Throughout his blog post, he refers to Trump as a fascist.  Yet, when I check   the Merriam-Webster Dictionary for the definition of fascism, I see that it is a government in which, “the people are not allowed to disagree with the government.”  And yet, Loser McSucksALot advocates violence to silence the voices of those who disagree with him.

I guess it’s true that you are the angriest at what you can’t be with in yourself.

The Albuquerque Riots -Just a Rerun

May 28, 2016

As many of you know, Donald Trump spoke in Albuquerque earlier this week.  Outside a “protest” took the form of rioting and setting fires.  Not all protestors were involved or supported these actions, but plenty did.  A quick scan among my Facebook “friends” showed varying degrees of support for these actions.

But where have I seen this before?

Today, I was reading the next chapter in Capitalism:  The Unknown Ideal, by Ayn Rand, and it all made sense.  In this collection of essays and speeches, there is one titled, The Cashing-In:  The Student “Rebellion” that sums up what is happening.  The Student “Rebellion” took place on the UC Berkley campus in the 1960’s, concerning students’ rights and free speech on campus (which included soliciting funds for the Vietcong).  However, what these students were advocating was not free speech, but the “freedom” to speak whatever they wanted regardless of who owned the land.   (Rand, 295) This particular situation was a little bit muddier, as the land was state-owned property.  However, the protesters’ message was clear.

The implications of this are huge. Don’t like interracial couples?  Feel free to protest in their bedrooms.  After all, how dare them try to block your free speech?  This is what happens when we throw away property rights in the false name of “free speech.”

In the middle of this essay, Ayn Rand highlights a few of the points this “rebellion” was actually about, philosophically, and then we’ll compare it to the Trump protest:

“…there is no justification, in a civilized society, for the kind of mass civil disobedience that involves the violation of the rights of others–regardless of whether the demonstrators’ goal is good or evil.  The end does not justify the means.  No one’s rights can be secured by the violation of the rights of others.”  (Rand, 291).

“The forcible occupation [sit-ins] of another man’s property or the obstruction of a public thoroughfare is so blatant a violation of rights that an attempt to justify it becomes an abrogation of morality.  An individual has no right to do a “sit-in” in the home or office of a person he disagrees with–and he does not acquire such a  right by joining a gang.  Rights are not a matter of numbers–and there can be no such thing, in law or in morality as actions forbidden to an individual, but permitted to a mob.”  (Rand, 291)

Another goal is, “To facilitate the acceptance of force, the Berkley rebels attempted to establish a special distinction between force and violence:  force, they claimed explicitly, is a proper form of social action, but violence is not.  Their definition of the terms was as follows:  coercion by means of a literal physical contact is “violence” and is reprehensible; any other way of violating rights is merely “force” and is a legitimate, peaceful method of dealing with opponents.”  (Rand, 292).  “The theoretical purpose of that grotesque absurdity is to establish a moral inversion:  to make the initiation of force moral, and the resistance to force immoral–and thus to obliterate the right of self-defense.”  (Rand, 292-293).

Just a few statements that I agree with, and we’ll apply them to the next Trump protest to see how many of them are violated.

Rand, Ayn.  Capitalism:  The Unknown Ideal.  Signet, New York, 1966.

Imagined Freedoms

February 19, 2016

Often, a politician will make up new rights.  We’ve all heard a politician talk about a “right to clean water,” or a “right to a living wage,” or a “right to a fulfilling job,” or any other such drivel.  This is a corruption of the true meaning of rights.

There is only one fundamental right for human beings; “the right to choose to think, or not.”  This means that regardless of what choices an individual makes, the only choice is “Do I think, or not?”

The corollary to this is that, while free choice can be made, one cannot avoid the consequences.  One can choose to jump off a building, but one cannot avoid the rapidly-approaching ground.

While this may seem like a trivial issue, the real problem is what ISN’T being said.  In order for there to be a “right to food,”there needs to be food to distribute.  Because food isn’t always free, and must be produced by SOMEONE, to claim such a right is to make claim to the productive work of someone else.

The original Bill of Rights was written to specify what a government cannot do.  It promises nothing; you have a right to plant a garden, but are not guaranteed to have growing plants. Your choices can help determine the output of the garden: plant seeds, water, weed, etc.   Because a government cannot legislate how many degree days this year will have, nor can it demand your garden to grow, to demand a “right to food,” requires that food appear from thin air upon the table, or that food is to be taken from a table belonging to those who have abundance.

Thank yo for reading my very-tired post.  I will revisit this topic sometime when I am not falling asleep at my computer.  Good night!

 

 

From Freedom to Slavery, by Gerry Spence

January 22, 2016

This book was most disappointing.  The title sounded promising, and Gerry Spence was the defense attorney for Randy Weaver.  For those of you who do not know, Randy Weaver was the separatist involved in the Ruby Ridge incident, which left his son, wife, and at least one federal officer dead, all over a shotgun barrel that was 1/4″ too short and a rescheduled trial.  During this trial, the FBI admitted to manufacturing evidence, withholding evidence, and shooting an unarmed woman while she held a baby.

There was plenty of abuses of power to write about during this trial.  However, only two chapters dealt with the trial.  The rest of the book was a long political rant about “Freedom from” which, by the way, is not really freedom.  He speaks of the “Tyranny of the Media” and the “Tyranny of Maleness” and several other topics where the end result is that capitalism is an evil religion.

Throughout the book he refers to corporations as “the New King” and says how man is enslaved to them, even though corporations are not real.  He proposes,instead that “the people” run everything; the media should be controlled by “the people.”  Which people?  Anyone claiming to be the people, I guess.  He gives examples such as “Black people” and “the teachers’ unions.”  Anyone claiming to speak for more than themselves.

He also has one chapter (“Tyranny of Viewpoint”) where he argues that trees and animals get to have a say in the way government is run, just like corporations do.

He claims that the free-market is a religion, one that enslaves everyone and convinces them that they are free.  What anti-technology, anti-capitalists have in common is their need-based standard of values.  Rather than swapping value for value, they believe that need IS the standard of value, and that by simply needing something, it should appear.

An infant can do this; a baby has no choice, and lives by the graces of his or her parents.  In this case, the value that is swapped is love and care from the parents for the happiness that the child brings, and will continue to bring in the future.  Those who believe in a need-based system of values expect to be cared for like infants for the rest of their lives.  However, as an infant swaps some value for value, a crackhead may not.  A thief, a drunkard, a bum, they may not.  We are expected to care for them anyway, and give them whatever they need.

Their claim is that they deserve freedom; freedoms that do not exist.  “Freedom from hunger” or “freedom from cold.”  At whose expense?  Food must come from somewhere.  Somewhere, someone has to labor for that food.  If this person is not willing to give it freely, how does it get distributed such that everyone is “free from hunger?”  I’ll tell you how- force.

Overall, this book was terrible.  I finished it out of determination for completion, and for no other reason.

Thank you for reading my post, and don’t bother with reading this book.  I give it two middle fingers up.

Reading – From Freedom to Slavery

January 15, 2016

I started reading Gerry Spence’s book, “From Freedom to Slavery.”  This book looks to be interesting, as Spence was the lawyer who defended Randy Weaver when he went on trial for murdering a federal officer during the Ruby Ridge standoff in Idaho in the 1990’s.

This event was a big deal to me, as I was a boy when this happened. A boy, growing up in the People’s Republic of Maryland, where we weren’t allowed to talk about guns.  Meanwhile, guns were my favorite thing in the world, and I went shooting whenever I could.

There were a lot of misconceptions and half-truths around this standoff, and it will be interesting to read what was presented at the trial, versus what we saw on the news a long ways away.

My understanding was that Randy Weaver had sold a shotgun with a barrel that was too short for Federal Law.  Due to a snow storm, his trial was moved and he was not notified.  When he didn’t show up for trial, FBI/ATF agents began staking out his place.  At some point, Randy’s son (14) was hunting with a dog and the dog was going to give away the federal officer’s positions, so they shot the dog.  Randy Weaver’s son shot back, and then was shot and killed. Over the course of a few more days, Randy’s wife was shot and killed while holding a baby, Randy was wounded, and a family friend was wounded as well.

It’s a big mess, and we’ll never know the full truth, but perhaps this will shed a little light on the subject.

Thank you for reading this post, and I’ll let you know what I learn.

Town Hall, Guns, and Suicide

January 8, 2016

It’s unpopular opinion time: suicide is a personal decision. It is a horrible, nasty, short-sighted, personal decision that affects everyone around the person who chooses it.

But, as the abortionists have been screaming for years, “My body, my choice.”

You may wonder why I am addressing this in my politics blog. I want to address the fact that around 2/3 of “gun deaths” are actually suicides. These represent people who, unfortunately, decided to end their lives. It is unfortunate, and it hurts everyone who made this decision, but should not be a crime. These deaths have a clear target that is not you, unless you are suicidal. Therefore, the gun related deaths of concern for the average, healthy citizen are murders and accidents. Therefore, the government’s focus on gun control is directed at the 11,000 or murders or accidental shootings, or, towards the 20,000 people who decide to end their lives relatively quickly.

We accept this because nobody wants to think of their relatives or friends committing suicide. We can’t bear to think of a loved one reaching the point where he or she believes that there is no hope left.

One of the fundamental principles of property rights is that in order to truly have property rights, one has the right to dispose of their property as he or she sees fit. If you buy a fancy, exotic sports car and then place it in the car crusher five minutes later, I can think it is a giant waste- but it’s your car. In much the same way, each of us owns our own life .If we truly have rights around our life, we must acknowledge that we have the right to its disposal, as well.

Like I said, unpopular opinion.

Thank you for reading my post.