Paper Alpha Male? Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Over at LewRockwell.com, Linda Schrock Taylor (a "homeschooling mom, and public school special ed teacher" -- ??) declares her support for Cesar Millan as VP-pick for El Prez-potentate Ron Paul, urging all patriotic-blooded Americans to submit to Authoritah':
Cesar Millan is my choice for Vice President because---if any nation on Earth is out-of-control; living in a dangerous 'red zone'; gravely in need of Discipline, Boundaries and Limitations, it is today's United States of America. The Constitution must again become the "Leader of the Pack" and everyone --- everyone --- must recognize and respect its Authority.
I hate to sound like a broken record here as I notice I end up linking to this document about once every three posts, but, what Authority?
The Constitution is a piece of paper, and a pretty worn out one at that. Neither the trees that made the paper, nor the ink that was used to scribble on it, have any intrinsic authority that any humans, animals or any other manifestations of nature must respect and submit to. And the men who wrote that document, as great as they may have been in many other ways, were not born with nor voluntarily developed any innate authority to command other men or set down on paper laws and traditions that they must live by.
Any declarations a document such as the Constitution might make concerning man's possession of rights and freedoms (such as the right to bear arms, freedom of speech, of religion, of the press, etc.) are redundant literal annunciations of rights and freedoms that every man would and does possess even if some good men had not taken the time to write them down. And every declaration a document such as the Constitution might make authorizing one man (the officeholder) to initiate force against another, peaceable man (the poor, downtrodden "citizen") are nothing but arbitrary and delusional claims to a power that is not theirs based on an Authority that does not exist and was not granted to them.
More disgusting, disappointing and mostly unintelligible collectivist drivel from LewRockwell.com.
The Righteous Authority Of The State Shall Not Be Challenged Tuesday, July 17, 2007A "delusional" man in a tuxedo showed up at the Colorado State Capitol building recently to announce his new reign as emperor. He was immeadiately blown away.
You've got to be crazy to think you can wear some fancy clothes, arm yourself with a gun and start prancing around calling yourself emperor and making decisions about other people's lives.
Wear some fancy clothes, arm yourself with a gun and call yourself the democratically-elected governor, however... heh, let the stars be the guide to your dreams.
On the newly installed metal detectors at the CSC building:
"This is the people's building. However, if we have another incident like this,We've simply been left with no choices, don't you see? We tried to let you live like humans but you behaved like animals. We're left with no other options. You forced our hand. It's for your own good.
I don't think we'll have a choice. We'll have to make it permanent," he said.
"I've never had to walk through metal detectors here before, it's kind of a bigA few seconds, minutes, hours, dollars. Whatever it takes for everyone to be safer. Or at least feel safer.
change," said bike messenger Jonathan Tamesue. "There's a few seconds of
inconvenience and you're through. And everyone's safer."
An Ethical Question: Voluntarily Socialized Costs Monday, July 16, 2007
Consider the following scenario:
You're sitting in your car in a parking lot, idling beside a row of cars as you look around for a spot. Suddenly, a car backs out of one of the spots to the left of your car and right into you! The collision occurs at low speed so the damage is slight. Regardless, there is some damage to your vehicle and taking it in to the body shop is probably going to cost about $1,000 (those guys know how to charge!).
As if to complicate things, you see the driver of the vehicle that crashed into you slowly maneuver herself out of her door and into a standing position-- it's a frail old woman! She looks terrified... she's got insurance but she won't be able to afford it after an accident like this gets reported. You get the feeling that this isn't necessarily the first time something like this has happened. You also get the feeling that, although she is obviously sorry she crashed into you, she seems to be worrying even more about the ramifications of this incident for her, her insurance company and her future ability to drive.
Still, you fell sorry for her. While you're not exactly in the prime of your youth, you are this woman's junior by at least twenty years and you're better situated to cover the cost of the accident than she is. She's just called her husband and he's coming down to see what happened. She sounds like he's going to be disappointed with her and when he gets there you're going to have to figure out who is paying for the damage. So, who pays for the damage?
This situation occured with my mother this weekend. She was in the car that was backed into, and after discussing what happened with my father, they decided to pay for the body work that needed to be done, rather than have the old woman's insurance cover it, which would then force her costs up to a level she'd be unable to pay and hence lose her ability to drive lawfully.
I understand the decision my parents made, and yet I wonder if it was as ethical as it seems from first glance. After all, haven't my parents essentially enabled this woman to continue driving by their decision, and thus to ensure this woman is a continued risk to other people? There is a high probability that this woman, in the physical shape she is in, will plow into someone else in the future-- had my parents decided to not cover the costs of this first accident, this woman would not be driving around and this seemingly inevitable future accident would not occur. And this future accident might be with someone who is even less able to pay than the old woman.
Which brings to mind another consideration, namely, the old woman's actual ethical culpability in the accident. Sure, it was an accident, but by being in the car in the first place while knowing she can't afford the consequences of a mishap she's showing a level of malicious unconcern for other drivers. It seems selfish, at the very least (not that there's necessarily anything wrong with being selfish).
My ethical question, then, if you couldn't glean it from the above is this: while voluntarily socializing costs is more ethical than forcefully (aka government) socializing costs, just how ethical is it when such a decision basically guarantees future costs and risks for other people?
Anarchy (And Chaos) Monday, July 09, 2007Anarchy (and chaos) partially descend on Pennsylvania!
Watch the misery, terror, death and destruction unfold.
This quote near the top of the story got me thinking...
Monday morning, the shutdown set in as the partisan battle of wills between the Democratic governor and Republicans who control the Senate entered the ninth day of the new fiscal year. Lacking an approved state budget, the state has lost the authority to spend money on nonessential services.
With Rendell's order, state workers deemed not critical to health or safety were furloughed without pay.
..."I wonder whose arbitrary definition of 'essential services' is being referred to, and what that arbitrary definition is defined as in this situation."
One paragraph later, I had my answer:
Only critical services such as health care for the poor, state police and prisons remain in operation.
Welfare is an "essential service" these days?
I should think a lot of Pennsylvanians are scratching their heads right about now, "If the governor puts 'non-essential services' on hold and 24,000 state employees go on furlough as a result, what exactly are we paying these 'non-essential' people to do?"
Where are the environuts? This story is about the Pennsylvania government being shut down over an inability to pass a budget due to some fighting concerning the governor's energy plan for the state. As the article states, "even" the lights atop the Capitol dome have been turned off as a result.
Somehow, those lights turning off only illuminate just how much energy the State of Pennsylvania uses (and wastes, since all spending of money by government is non-productive waste) in my mind. What about the environuts? This seems like a ripe opportunity for them, while public attention is turned on the drama of crafting a state-wide energy policy, to point out to the public that all State-use of energy must be curtailed from now on in the interests of conservation and saving the planet from global warming.
Finally, it looks like there is an issue that both libertarians and environuts can agree on!James has reminded me that I don't need to prove anarchy is a superior solution from a utilitarian perspective to critics/skeptics, even though it's fairly easy to do so as long as your debating opponent doesn't notify you ahead of time that certain arguments he has no response to are off limits. Instead, the liberty-hater needs to explain where they or their preferred local violence monopolist gets a right to curtail the freedoms they are interested in curtailing.
Either way, an honest proponent of liberty would admit, as David Friedman has in his Machinery of Freedom, that the transition to a free "system" would not be without some turbulence. There are some tough questions and situations out there that could occur, and regardless of whether or not liberty-minded people ever get their wish, it can be an exercise for the mind to consider what might happen.
One thing I thought of several weeks ago (perhaps after catching a glimpse of one of the seeming millions of inside-prison documentaries on MSNBC while channel-surfing one day) is this: what happens to all the prisoners?
Many anarchists feel fairly confident that they have simple, orderly solutions for desocializing many of the "most important" parts of the economy, such as police and fire services, courts, roads, public utilities and the post office. What about a secondary aspect of the primary law enforcement function, that of incarceration?
Off the top of my head, it would seem that all positive law criminals would most likely be released during the transition-- drug users, drug dealers, DUI-offenders and various violators of municipal, state and federal laws having to do with tax evasion, non-payment of fines, etc. Violent crime offenders, on the other hand, would probably continue their sentences.
But how long should they serve for? What about criminals in these cases who might've been imprisoned unfairly, or on faulty or few pieces of evidence?
Most importantly, who is going to pay for that? Murray Rothbard mentions in For A New Liberty that libertarian criminal codes would most likely focus on compensation as a means of adjudicating a crime that results in property-violation, as the victims are often punished twice when they're forced to support their assailants behind bars. Because these violent crime offenders would be transferred from a desocialized system, someone would have to pick up the tab for their continued incarceration, or else they'd simply be released back onto the streets.
And could it be possible that a spate of "destablizing" vigilante tit-for-tat murders might occur in such a situation as a gang member accused of murder of a rival gang member getting set free, only to be shot dead a few feet away from the newly desocialized prison?
Who Owns Public Property? Friday, July 06, 2007Outside the local post office today I noticed a sign next to the open gate leading to the back of the post office. The sign said, "Warning! U.S. Property. No trespassing."
It got me thinking: to whom does "U.S. Property" belong? Once I know the answer to that question, I might be able to figure out who is actually capable of trespassing against it. And certainly some other revelations might follow from acknowledging who the rightful owners of "U.S. Property" are.
Frenzied Excitement Before The Storm Monday, July 02, 2007A few months ago I remember seeing on television a little sight-bite about Barack Obama speaking to some kind of "regional economic development association" situated in Detroit. In the sight-bite, Obama assailed his hosts (he was the featured guest speaker at the organization's conference), who were mostly involved in the declining domestic auto industry, for the fuel-mileage and emissions standards of their products.
Decidedly unimpressed and displeased with these two characteristics in consideration of the industry as a whole, Obama called for all kinds of measures -- all within the ten or fifteen seconds of the sight-bite -- at the national level that would, in the long run, most likely completely destroy what's left of the industry through additional regulation that would concurrently reduce competition and profitability. The crowd, in response, stood and applauded.
Now, I've developed some kind of allergy recently, or perhaps the latent allergies I most likely inherited from my mother (and father?) have finally activated, and so the pressures in my head are often in disequilibrium, and as a result my ears are sometimes plugged up and I don't hear as well as I normally can. Seeing as how the crowd's reaction didn't seem to mesh logically with Obama's hostile declaration (er, I mean, message of hope), I figured my allergies were just acting up and I hadn't actually heard correctly. Luckily, there was a TiVo attached to the TV I was watching this on, so I quickly rewound and replayed the segment in question.
After repeating this series of actions three or four times (and pinching myself furiously to see if I'd wake up), I had to conclude that my ears did not deceive me and in fact I had just beared witness to what was, essentially, a bunch of hot cheerleaders rallying their potential rapist, or the Three Little Pigs inviting the Big Bad Wolf over for brunch and then letting him know they'll just go ahead and leave their doors unlocked for him after he announces his intent to blow their houses down one by one.
Have politics always been this insane throughout history? Did the Greeks put up with similar inanities from their fellow citizens long before the fall of a decadent Athens? Or is this stuff a kind of doomsayer for our own time, the more frequently it occurs and the more outrageous it is?
And then, as if to further confuse me while simultaneously further enraging me, I hear that Obama has already raised $32.5 million. Man, people will pay for anything these days if you sell it to them.
Forget the first two metaphors-- this is like hearing there's a man in the neighborhood who would like to be a mafia don, but he doesn't have the requisite start-up capital to get his guns so he can start extorting people. Being compassionate people, the neighbors say, "Gee, what a tragedy," and start writing him checks so he can get the goods.
What's next, steadying the guy's hand for him when he's got the gun pointed at their heads?
I oughta buy a sales training video and get in on this gravy train before people figure out they're getting taken for a ride.
Higher taxes are good, negativity toward politicians is bad? Sunday, July 01, 2007I had to make sure my eyes were working properly when I read this:
"Freeman Ng, a software designer in Oakland, Calif., reported getting a call late in the morning of May 5.I don't have much in the way of commentary on this one. Actually, I'm just at a loss here. Does this fellow not know that he could impose a tax increase on himself just by writing a check to the IRS? Are there really people who think in this way?
He wrote on DailyKos that day that he was asked how the fact that "Barack Obama failed to vote in favor of abortion rights nine times as a state senator" might affect his vote.
He said he was also asked a question that associated Edwards with tax hikes.
"A lot of the statements struck me as being very conservative and moderate in orientation, like the tax thing," said Ng, who stands well to the left of center.
"To me, that was a plus that he's going to raise my taxes. [Emphasis mine.]" Ng, like other respondents interviewed, was angered by the negativity of the questions from a caller who said he was from PSA Interviewing, which runs Penn's Denver call center.
"I was really pissed," he said."