Thoughts on ‘Patriotism’ – and thoughts on Mr. Snowden…

Now we must use the words ‘patriot’ and ‘patriotism’ with a bit of caution…and when we hear it, with a grain of salt.

Along with such terms like ‘American’ (as in, ‘it’s the American thing to do’) – we now must be careful. Most would say that such terms imply pride in one’s country, but now it is being tainted by political officials.

It’s a detail in such novels like Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged or George Orwell’s 1984 – in the context of ‘patriotic duty’ and so on. But now we see that things are jumping off the pages of fiction and into reality. Who saw Kooky Kerry’s response to Mr. Snowden’s NBC interview? Well, here’s the most disturbing part:

Kerry: “He should come back. That’s what a patriot would do. A patriot would not run away and look for refuge in Russia or Cuba or some other country. A patriot would stand up and make his case to the American People…”

First of all, is anyone fooled? The American people listen very well but unfortunately, the government (the real problem here) isn’t all ears. It seems like their minds have been made up.

Secondly, now, what is the real meaning of ‘patriotism’? Is it doing what is best for freedom and country (even if it is contrary to the law) or does it mean blind obedience to the all knowing government? I’ll allow you to answer that.

While we are here I want to make a few brief comments on Mr. Snowden himself. I think we all know what the real problem here is. Mr. Snowden did not compromise American lives. He did not give information to any enemies, at least that we know of. He brought attention to the mass NSA spying – something that was already known but never addressed. Never addressed by the Republicans because of Bush’s involvement, never addressed by the Democrats because of Obama’s involvement.

But Snowden came along and brought mainstream attention to it (quite an accomplishment in itself – mainstream attention on something important, for once!) He not only questioned the will and whims of our government, but encouraged others to do so. And that, friends, is what the problem is.

Always ready to hear your comments.

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Compromise isn’t actually all that great…

For so many years it has been stressed that compromise is essential to the democratic system, without it, constant gridlock would occur.

Now what I think about it may or may not be well received. Dare I suggest that compromise is bad?

I suppose it would depend upon what is being compromised. On our mainstream political spectrum, there is the left, which is socialism in everything but name; and the right, which is statism in everything but name. Somehow I don’t understand how compromise between two flawed philosophies (which sum up to be: well, we’ll spend a lot of money on what we like, and none on what we don’t) will get anything accomplished.

Then, too, what does compromise mean anymore? Constructive negotiation, or completely giving into the prevailing winds?

A common example of Compromise in history, as it is always cited to us, as being successful – is our constitutional convention of 1787. I fail to see what was so successful about it.

Slowly I have come to understand that not only is our constitution imperfect, it was corrupted by the tyrannical philosophies of Hamilton and his, as they became known, federalists. Had they been kept away, maybe we could have had a constitution that is truly effective in protecting freedom. But, as it turns out, the anti-federalists compromised to the federalists, and what did they get?

A constitution without any real mechanism for restraining the growth of government and a flimsy bill of rights which has done little to keep our rights from being trampled upon. Now, see, what does compromise get us?

Stand your ground, my friends, stand for your principles.

Are Child Labor Laws Ruining this Country…?

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…and further, are they hurting the world? Even Keynesian Kook Krugman pointed out several years ago that in other, less civilized countries, labor laws don’t magically bring children to school and bring an end to poverty – instead, honest factory work is replaced with crime on the streets.

But the subject is this country, and I do share, with our friend Mr. Ron Swanson, that child labor laws are ruining this country. We have this idea that if it weren’t for child labor laws all children would be working in coal mines for twenty cents a day, and I think such a notion in our modern times, in the United States, is certainly unreasonable.

The biggest part of liberty – economic and personal liberty – is choice. Surely there is a great segment of students who aren’t taking school seriously and are nothing more – if you allow me to phrase it in such a way – a burden on the system. If these children would rather be working, doing reasonable jobs for reasonable pay at a reasonable age, I don’t think it is our place – and certainly isn’t government’s place – to object.

And further, working that is co-operative with school (such as during summers) is difficult to do legally before sixteen, but many kids would like to work before that time, say at age 13, 14, or 15. Of course, this would be up to the parents and the child, as it should be.

Of course I don’t think it should be entirely unregulated, but children should have the opportunity to work if they wish, especially if there is a need within the household. If not, no big deal either.

But this is quite impossible, thanks to a government which always likes to think it knows best for everyone.

Comments, welcome, as always.

 

The Ethics of Taxation . . .

I was thinking quite recently, is cheating on taxes unethical?

“Well yeah” one normally says, “it’s illegal to avoid or cheat on taxes!”

But is it ethical in the scope of things?

“But everyone has to pay taxes, it wouldn’t be fair!”

Save me from talk on fairness! But really, the question here, is it ethical to do everything to keep what rightly belongs to you?

Now the situation is a bit different. Taxes, we see, are no more than legalized theft, organized by professional pirates and thieves, who only live by mooching on everyone else.

I consider it entirely reasonable to keep all that belongs to you, especially if you earned it by your own work, rather than let it go to a government which will certainly misuse the money and abuse the privilege like a spoiled child with his allowance.

Let’s look at taxes from another angle: we are willingly granting government money in exchange for the defense of our life, liberty, and property – such is the function of government. But when it exceeds or no longer fulfills this function, aren’t we entitled to say, no more of our money for you? In free exchange we are able to do so.

If a government would accomplish its main function efficiently and sees to it that this function is not exceeded, then we have no problem. But look at the government now: it has long ago exceeded that main function and is even working against it. So I think that it would be reasonable to withhold what is rightly ours from such a corrupt institution.

 And even further, is it ethical for the government to steal what is rightly ours, in defense of the law and the force that comes along with it? Of course it isn’t entirely ethical, especially considering what that money is spent on.

But the law says otherwise. Very eager to hear your thoughts on this – please, comment below, and I shall attend to them in a very quick and prompt manner.

Selfishness (or Self-Interest) is actually okay…

…perhaps there is a more eloquent way to put this. But let’s get straight to the point.

 (and indeed, this is not rhetoric often found these days)

What I mean by selfishness is self-interest – the thing that drives our economy. It’s the thing that gets us out of bed to do work – it’s in our self-interest. It’s what motivates great industrialists to innovate and produce better things for less money – profit is in their self-interest. And in this way we see it benefits the whole of society.

It tires me to hear claims that the rich are greedy pigs. In many ways the industrialists of yesteryear and the rich of today are smeared in the media, in education, in all sorts of places. And indeed, the public’s attitude toward the rich is varied and at times paradoxical, as this (rather old, predating last election) article tells us:

 http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-08-27/rich-are-admirable-greedy-people-paying-too-few-taxes.html

And it tires me more than anything to hear that the rich have some sort of moral or social responsibility just because they are rich. If a rich man wants to engage in philanthropic efforts, that is very commendable I grant; however, there should be no obligation on his part to do so – especially in efforts to equalize the playing field.

 I think the rich do enough. They invest; those that innovate make better things faster and cheaper, which ends up helping the whole of society. And in this sense nothing more than an honest exchange is made between the rich and the rest of society. The rich man, with profit ; and society, some form of new innovation or other produce. If this isn’t enough, I don’t know what is.

It disturbs me to hear the – as they are called – “robber barons” – demonized because they were so wealthy. Perhaps there was a bit of worker mistreatment, I grant that. However, look where we would be without those captains of industry, who by their own perusal to maximize profits, ended up benefiting the whole of society.

Comments, welcome, as always.

Some words to conservatives and Tea Party members…

All I have been seeing on the Conservative or Tea Party pages is calls and cries like, “Justice for Benghazi !” “Investigate Benghazi!” and so on.

No, I am not trying to diminish what a crime it was. No, I am not denying that Obama and his cronies lied and ignored the situation. However, I have been seeing and hearing conservatives harp on this a lot lately, which made me think: what are the intentions of the conservatives?

Well, we all should know that there will never be a meaningful government investigation. “Oh, but so-and-so is heading it up and…” nope. Sorry. Ultimately they’re all in it together. That being considered, that leaves one thing: it’s being used, by conservatives, for political ends. Not that the tea party and the right are above such things. It’s all mainstream, dirty politics.

And, admittedly, it could be very good ammunition against Hillary in 2016, should it be needed, and it will. The only problem is how is it to be deployed?

It is legitimate political ammunition. However, the right will exhaust any legitimacy their argument has if they continue with their current rhetoric – two years away from 2016.

Now please don’t misunderstand me; Benghazi was terrible. Far worse than Watergate was but, handle it carefully.

I would say, drop it for now (if it is indeed being used for Political ends, and we all know it is, no matter what one may say) and take a breath. Maybe together we can figure out a way to form our rhetoric in the meantime before 2016.

Climate Change and Terror – What do they have in common ?

…They are both abstract, indefinable ideas, presented to an easily frightened people.

A decade ago we were confronted with an enemy – the boogey man of our generation – which was most peculiar in its form. And we quickly resolved that we must fight it. These terrorists had no nationality, no clearly defined aspects. But we knew that we were dangerous and that we should find them and defeat them. Well, the only problem is that the concept of ‘terror’ is just an idea; that it can never truly be defeated here on this Earth. But that mattered little, we were spending money and lots of it, fighting a boogeyman that can never actually defeated.

Indeed, how convenient is it for a growing government and a growing industrial complex to fight an enemy that never goes away? Perpetual war on…something!

And now we find ourselves another boogeyman, this time, more domestic in its focus. Climate Change! The boogeyman of the next generation.

From the horses’  (or, ehem, the donkey’s ) mouth: http://www.whitehouse.gov/share/climate-action-plan

In short: New Regulations! Bliss, is always just a few regulations away!

And like terror, I don’t believe that climate change – if it is even caused by us to begin with, there is still some dispute in that regard – can be stopped with a few petty industrial regulations. But that doesn’t matter to these planners – in fact, they don’t want to see the end of climate change. That would just take away an excuse for government to grow and regulate.

And most disturbing of these regulations is that many of them exist without congressional approval and, they outright challenge what the market – the power of the collective consumer – has to say. Now, the market says that fossil fuels are best. How do I know this? Because that is the dominant form now. If some other thing should come along more practical, than the market will go to that, because it would be more advantageous. But obviously no form of alternative energy is practical enough yet…

Comments, as always, very appreciated !