Adventure in Absurdity #7 – “Religious Freedom Restoration Act”

There has been national outrage over a law that is already on the books in countless other states.

That’s right – the Indiana “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” which is – under the exact same title, I might add – also being considered in our own legislature.  So the purpose is clear, for both sides: playing politics.

Whether or not this bill or those similar allows business owners to discriminate based on their religious beliefs is up for debate, the left making claims and the right struggling to “clarify” – but here that debate is irrelevant.  Let’s say for a moment, that indeed, that is the purpose of the bill.

So what?

We would never seek to force consumers to patronize a certain sort of business.  So, why should we force a business to serve someone?

I will never deny that it would be incredibly stupid, from a business perspective, for a business to “discriminate” based on such things.  Not only do you lose that business, you lose the patronage of those who sympathize with those being discriminated against.

However, as a business owner, this is entirely your right.  A transaction implies two consenting parties.  We would never question the freedom of the consumer (at least, I hope not) so then, why would we question the freedom of the business owner?  If he wishes to discriminate on such silly things – distractions, really – let him.  After all, a choice has consequences, either positive or negative.

Simply this: if you think that it is unjust that a business is discriminating against anyone for any reason, BOYCOTT THAT BUSINESS.  As a consumer, it is your right.

But do not call upon government to do what the free market – the collective force of free consumers – should be doing, for it is not the duty of government to do so.  A government cannot make us all equal, such is an impossible task.  Rather, the only duty of government in this scenario is to remove the obstacles that prevent us from making free choices.

However, this issue is not being discussed in the interests of ideals, but to score cheap points in this massive political circus.

A Lesson on Cause and Effect…

…certainly our state legislators are in need of such a lesson.

A certain cause gives way to an effect, which may also lead to a series of effects.

HB 1965 passed the house and is now being considered in the Senate.  Its purpose?  To ban texting while driving, for sake of “safety.”  Why anyone would want to keep in constant, never ending contact with everyone is beyond me – but that isn’t the focus here.

Our goal is to prevent reckless driving – very well.  Instead of punishing based on the effect (reckless driving) we seek to punish the perceived causes of reckless driving.   However, can it not be said that a certain cause does not always give way to the same effect?

Let’s say you are texting while driving.  Two scenarios present themselves: either you are so bad about it that you pose a danger to other drivers, or you are capable enough to handle both operations at once.  The former causes reckless driving – the latter does not.

Or, one is constantly on the phone during the duration of the drive, constantly posing a danger.  The other does so once or twice during the duration of the trip briefly.  If caught, the punishment would be the same for both persons.

Would it be fair to punish both?  I don’t think so.

Similarly, with intoxicated driving.  Some intoxicated drivers will pose a danger to other drivers, others will not.  The former is not able to handle his alcohol; the latter handles it well enough to make their way home without posing a danger to anyone.  However, the law seeks to punish both (if they are caught) and technically, you can make it to your driveway safe and sound – and still be busted for intoxication while driving.

Here we are punishing causes, not effects.

One may say that we could not really know if you pose a danger to others until you do end up harming others.  Therefore, in order to be safe, we must punish and in the process ruin, the life of any driver caught with a bit of alcohol on his breath.

Granted, the consequences of the texting law is less severe (a $250 fine for the first offense, $500 for every subsequent offense) but the idea is all the same – punishing causes instead of effects.

But not only are we trying to fight causes, but we are also trying to fight the inevitable.

Cars are dangerous things; there will always be fatalities on the roads, unfortunately – such is life.  Not all fatalities are a result of a distraction or intoxication.  Some are just from general incompetence or from being a butthole (and the Oklahoma roads are an immense testament to this problem).  How are we to punish this?

We should then punish the effect – reckless driving – and not these causes.   You know, swerving in and out of traffic, driving too fast, constantly on another driver’s tail, I could go on – these are the reasons for accidents.

Then too, are we actually so naïve as to think the state has in mind the personal safety of everyone?  Let’s see this for what it is: merely another way to further fill the coffers of a rapidly expanding police force.

Petty criticism and Ted Cruz…

…Every politician has shortcomings in one way or another.  And no politician whatsoever is above criticism.

However, not twenty four hours after Cruz’ big announcement, the media was already criticizing the man, much of that criticism being quite petty.  There has been little discussion on what the man believes in, or what his policies will be – no, instead, we are seeing criticism ranging from the typical to the absurd.

The most prominent of them thus far is the birther argument.  It will be interesting to see the left on the other side of this argument.  So what exactly is the difference between Cruz and Obama in this matter?  For one, Obama’s birth is still shrouded in mystery, especially if you find the birth certificate provided a few years ago to be a phony.  There are no secrets with Cruz – yes, he was born in Canada but to a mother with American citizenship.  His eligibility then, depends on how you interpret Article Two.

Then there is criticism about his lack of experience.  If this gives any doubt to potential supporters, consider this:

If a former governor runs for president, he will be criticized for lack of legislative experience.

If a former legislator runs for president, he will be criticized for lack of executive experience.

If a businessman runs for president, he will be criticized for lack of political experience.

If a career politician runs for president, he will be criticized for lack of business experience.

And so on.  Altogether we will only run in circles.  But what is the true intent of the critics?  Are they actually concerned about a candidate’s level experience?

Goodness no!  The critics (in the media) are just looking for anything simple to disqualify a candidate to safe himself from having to delve deep into a candidate’s past and beliefs.  Simply, it is an easy way out.

CNN yesterday stretched it to an absurd length, implying that Cruz had a voice in his ear giving him advice during his announcement at Liberty University.  Like that old episode of SpongeBob?  ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j468DpLzSiY ).

See what we will be reduced to?

Ted Cruz today Announced his Candidacy…

Already the list of presidential contenders of the GOP is becoming quite crowded.  Yesterday, Ted Cruz was the first to officially announce his candidacy for the president of the United States.

As things stand now, the Big Blog of Freedom and Justice gives it’s endorsement to Rand Paul due to his libertarian tendencies and non-interventionist foreign policy.  However, Ted Cruz is also deeply admired – after all, he wants to abolish the IRS – though his support of the Patriot Act is somewhat concerning.

Not only that, Ted Cruz should be considered because of all his peers he seems to have the most, shall we say, cojones.  He stood for twenty one hours filibustering the debt level increase – this made him many enemies not only in the DNC but enemies in the GOP, of all places.  That same GOP which supposedly makes fiscal responsibility one of it’s “priorities.”

He has taken hard, firm stances – which contrasts deeply with the GOP establishment’s never ending quest for the center vote (which will only hurt them in the end, as we will see).  He did not go to Washington to make friends – and that’s the sort of man we should want in high office.

Simply this: if the GOP wants to get anywhere close to success in 2016, a strong, decisive, and firm nominee is imperative. If they again attempt to pander to the moderate vote with a weak and wimpy candidate (such as Christie or Jeb Bush) they will find the same result as 2008 and 2012 – certain failure.

If the DNC does end up nominating Hillary, the center vote ship will sail for the GOP – most moderate voters will be attracted to her rhetoric and the chance to “make history” by electing the first female president.  Rather, if the GOP does plan on winning the White House in 2016, they must energize the conservative base of the party, just as Reagan did in 1980, and hope for the best.  The other way of doing things hasn’t exactly been working for them.

We must also admire Cruz for willing to take on the battle which will ensue.  Not only will he be attacked mercilessly by the left (which is to be expected) – he will also have to endure attacks from his own party, which will do anything to discredit him for sake of a more “moderate” candidate with a “chance to win.”

Scandals, Scandals Everywhere…

… and already it is becoming a headache, even though the general election is over a year away.

And the preliminary steps of the campaign are already beginning.  On the right, Jeb Bush has begun the obligatory campaign stops; Rand Paul has announced his candidacy, and so on.

Meanwhile we’ve got another scandal on the left, and already it is being run into the ground.  Hillary’s emails have been the top topic of much of the conservative media lately, with no end in sight.  The purpose is clear: anything to discredit Hillary, and the same was attempted with Benghazi.

Doubtless you remember; the feigning of outrage over an attack of an embassy in a place many voters couldn’t find on a map; outrage over the death of an ambassador no one had heard of twelve hours before.   Outrageous or no, their purpose then was thinly veiled: to discredit Hillary.

Let me be perfectly clear: it would be a disaster if Hillary were elected.   But it will be equally as disastrous if Jeb Bush or another establishment republican were elected.

However, I fear that while we are so busy talking about and being outraged over these petty scandals which, in a very short amount of time will be forgotten altogether, we will neglect the most important thing: ideals.

Now don’t misunderstand me, I like a good dirty campaign as much as the next guy; it is fun to watch grown adults act like eighth graders.   However, when it is at the expense of productive discussion over ideals and policy that is intolerable – and such is why campaign seasons have become such a headache.  It’s just a bunch of noise: one party complaining about the outrages of the other, and the other party trying to match it.

If you oppose Hillary, state WHY, and do not include complaints about what she did with her emails.  How much would it really affect us in the long scheme of things?  No, rather, look at her policies, her beliefs, etc, and stop playing politics.  This should be the main point of discussion in the conservative media but, alas, I know better than to get my hopes up.

Libertarianism comes to Oklahoma…

…and it’s about time.  http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/religion/oklahoma-bill-would-abolish-states-role-in-granting-marriage-licenses-leave-it-in-clergy-hands/2015/03/12/570f7748-c8ee-11e4-bea5-b893e7ac3fb3_story.html

I have said before that both sides of the gay marriage argument have proved to be ridiculous in their own way; and this puts an end to an argument that otherwise would never have ended.  Whether you are for gay marriage or against it – who is the state to decide?  What is the state doing meddling in marriage anyway?

This bill would effectively take the State out of marriage all together.  Common law marriages are still possible; the clergy are not the only ones that are allowed to preform marriages.  This is the sensible solution Oklahoma Libertarians have been calling for!

Alas, it still isn’t good enough for the LGBT groups in the state, who have offered up such ridiculous complaints, complaints that could easily be answered by actually reading the provisions of the bill.   So the true purpose of these groups and activists become evident: to make as much noise as possible.  Freedom to do something isn’t enough apparently – they also want endorsement.  A state, however, should not be in the business of endorsing things no matter what it is.

Meanwhile another bill dubbed the “Oklahoma Religious Freedom Restoration Act” which protects business owners who want to refuse transactions that would violate their religious beliefs, seems like a contradiction.  On one hand, we have pulled the state out of marriage making same-sex marriages and yet on the other, we have legislation which allows discrimination of them.

Yet a closer examination reveals that they are entirely harmonious, through freedom.  A free market is based on voluntary associations – if you do not want to engage in a transaction with another party, you do not have to.   We do not force customers to associate with certain businesses? So why not the other way around?

I grant that would be silly to discriminate on such grounds as not only would it be a loss of business, it would be bad PR.  However, if it is your business, it is your right.

I hope such simple libertarian philosophies continue to influence our legislature, especially in other matters in desperate need of meaningful attention.