Friday, October 25, 2013

David Nolan's Five Points Of "No Compromise"

Libertarian Party founder David Nolan had 5 points (yeah, a litmus test) that he used to determine if someone was a Libertarian. 

I like 'em. 

YOU OWN YOURSELF      First and foremost, libertarians believe in the the principle of self-ownership. You own your own body and mind; no extermal power has the right to force you into the service of "society" or "mankind" or any other individual or group for any purpose, however noble. Slavery is wrong, period.    Because you own yourself, you are responsible for your own well-being. Others are not obligated to feed you, clothe you, or provide you with health care. Most of us choose to help one another voluntarily, for a variety of reasons -- and that's as it should be -- but "forced compassion" is an oxymoron, a contradiction in terms.  THE RIGHT TO SELF-DEFENSE     Self-ownership implies the right to self-defense. Libertarians yield to no one in their support for our right as individuals to keep and bear arms. We only wish that the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution said "The right to self-defense being inalienable..." instead of that stuff about a "well-regulated militia".  Anyone who thinks that government -- any government -- has the right to disarm its citizens is NOT a libertarian!  NO "CRIMINAL POSSESSION" LAWS     In fact, libertarians believe that individuals have the right to own and use anything- gold, guns, marijuana, sexually explicit material- so long as they do not harm others through force or the threat of force. Laws criminalizing the simple possession of anything are tailor-made for police states; it is all too easy to plant a forbidden substance in someone's home, car or pocket. Libertarians are as tough on crime- real crime- as anyone. But criminal possession laws are an affront to liberty, whatever the rhetoric used to defend them.  NO TAXES ON PRODUCTIVITY     In an ideal world, there would be no taxation. All services would be paid for on an as-used basis. But in a less-than-ideal world, some services will be force-financed for the foreseeable future. However, not all taxes are equally deleterious, and the worst form of taxation is a tax on productivity -- i.e., an income tax -- and no libertarian supports this type of taxation.    What kind of taxation is least harmful? This is a topic still open for debate. My own preference is for a single tax on land. Is this "the" libertarian position on taxes? No. But all libertarians oppose any form of income tax.  A SOUND MONEY SYSTEM     The fifth and final key test of anyone's claim to being a libertarian is their support for an honest money system; i.e. one where the currency is backed by something of true value (usually gold or silver). Fiat money -- money with no backing, whose acceptance is mandated by the State -- is simply legalized counterfeiting and is one of the keys to expanding government power.    The five points enumerated here are not a complete, comprehensive prescription for freedom... but they would take us most of the way. A government which cannot conscript, confiscate, or counterfeit, and which imposes no criminal penalties for the mere possession and peaceful use of anything, is one that almost all libertarians would be comfortable with.

All of these seem to be common-sense principles. 
98% of the U.S. population disagrees with me. 

I got to meet the great David Nolan about a year before he passed away.  A really great guy. 


Thursday, October 24, 2013

Infamous U.C. Davis Pepper Spray Cop Awarded $38,000 in damages for.....?

(10-23) 17:18 PDT DAVIS -- A former UC Davis police officer whose pepper-spraying of protesters gained worldwide notice thanks to a viral video has been awarded more than $38,000 in workers' compensation from the university for suffering he experienced after the incident.

Former police Lt. John Pike, who gained a degree of infamy for his role in the incident, was awarded the settlement Oct. 16 by the state Division of Workers' Compensation Appeals Board. The claim "resolves all claims of psychiatric injury specific or due to continuous trauma from applicant's employment at UC Davis."

The incident that resulted in the $38,055 settlement happened Nov. 18, 2011, on the UC Davis quad during a demonstration opposing tuition increases. On the widely circulated video, Pike is seen dousing protesters for about 15 seconds with orange pepper spray.

Pike was suspended with pay afterward. According to a database of state worker salaries, he earned $119,067 in 2011, the last year for which figures are available.

More than 17,000 angry or threatening e-mails, 10,000 text messages and hundreds of letters were sent to Pike after the video went viral, according to the police union.

Pike repeatedly changed his phone number and e-mail address and lived in various locations. He left the campus police force in July 2012.

In a statement, UC Davis spokesman Andy Fell said, "This case has been resolved in accordance with state law and processes on workers' compensation. The final resolution is in line with permanent impairment as calculated by the state's disability evaluation unit."

Earlier this year, UC Davis settled a federal lawsuit by paying $1 million to three dozen protesters who were pepper-sprayed.

The images from the glorious "Pepper Spray Cop" meme collection came from here. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

On "Secular Theism"

As a result of reading every scrap of libertarian/free market/Austrian economics scribbling that I can get my hands on, I've been thinking more and more about the idea of "Secular Theism". 

First, a few definitions...  A Deist is someone who believes that there is something called "god" and that god may or may not have set the world in motion.  Deists usually reject the Trinitarian formula of Father/Son/Holy Spirit.  Deists simply believe that there is a powerful entity out there called "god", and that there's just one of them.  And that's about it. 

Theists take it up a notch.  They believe that there is a god, and that god cares and god gets involved.  You could say that Christianity, Islam, Judaism, and most of the other rigmaroles are all Theistic religions. 

The term "Secular Theist", as I've seen it used, is somewhat of an insult. 

I have friends and acquaintances on the left who are rabidly anti-Christian.  They are proud to tell you that they don't believe in ghosts, goblins, gods, spirits, witches, the afterlife, or anything supernatural.  So that makes them secular, right? 

But they also have a charming, creationist-style belief that nothing happens unless guided from above.  They are the first to ask "But who would build the roads in a libertarian society?", almost like the guy in the fundamentalist fable who finds a watch on the beach, and knows that if there is a watch, there must be a skilled watchmaker.  Roads wouldn't be built without god government. 

They can't imagine a free market medical system, a system whose costs and prices would plummet (like the costs associated with lap-band surgery, liposuction, boob jobs, etc.) in an environment where government stayed the hell out.  People would be left to die without god government.

My buddies on the left look at the success of somewhat deregulated countries like Korea, Taiwan, and China in the same way that Pentecostal preachers look at 65,000,000-year-old Brontosaurus bones.  It just doesn't compute for them.  Countries can't truly prosper without more god government.

Most of my liberal friends are Theists, and when I say this, I truly mean that they are Theists of the most superstitious sort. 

Does that sound kinda harsh?  Well, here's some Luddy Von Mises, quoted by Don Boudreaux:
Organization is an association based on authority, organism is mutuality.  The primitive thinker always sees things as having been organized from outside, never as having grown themselves, organically.  He sees the arrow which he has carved, he knows how it came into existence and how it was set in motion.  So he asks of everything he sees, who made it and who sets it in motion.  He inquires after the creation of every form of life, the authors of every change in nature, and discovers an animistic explanation.

"Nobody" made the internet.  It happened.  The process, no matter what Al Gore says, was an evolutionary process involving billions and billions of both good and bad decisions. 

The same can be said for our current healthcare system, your house, your first tricycle, your car, the device you're using to read this post, and every stitch of clothing you're now wearing.  Nobody made it.  Everybody made it.  (Unless you live in a Worker's Paradise like North Korea, where, if you're lucky and have a few of these items, they were provided for you as part of a process dictated by the gods at the top of the system.) 

The older I get, the less I believe in gods - secular or theological.  They're given too much credit for things they had little or no part in. 

Monday, October 21, 2013

Just wait til they're shuttling you between Doctors and Specialists !

The latest Catch-22 buried within Barack Obama's wretched Healthcare plan. 

Folks, this bunch hasn't been involved a single Dr. visit yet.  That's when it'll get really interesting. 

(For readers in the U.K. and China, Barack Obama's website has more timeouts than a 6-year-old's basketball game.  They've put in a stopgap 1-800 "no charge" telephone service until the website is running.) 

Hope.  Change. 


Sunday, October 20, 2013

We're going to protest against....YOU

The Tarrant County Libertarians have participated in protests against the Federal Reserve, the Porkulus Package, gun restrictions, and anti-gay/lesbian legislation. 

If I get my way, the next protest will be in your yard.  We're going to protest against you.  Yeah, you.  You there, sitting at work, reading this when you know you should be working.  You're the one we're talking about. 

We are so irritated at you that we can't see straight. 

There are tens of millions of teenagers, minorities, and unskilled laborers working in minimum-wage jobs.  All of these good people could be paid more. 

Advocates of minimum wages believe the villains in this situation are companies like KFC or Dunkin' Donuts.  They are wrong.  The enemy is you. 

McDonald's, Burger King, Taco Bell, Sears, Target, Wal-Mart, Domino's and Macy's and several others are acting as a safety-net for these low-skilled workers.  These companies are purchasing the time, labor, and effort of low-skilled workers for much more than you are willing to pay. 

How do I know that you aren't willing to hire low-skilled workers?  Because they're all still working at McDonald's and Burger King!!  And we are pissed about it.  You could start purchasing labor at higher than market prices, but you don't.  And we're not going to take it. 
No Justice, No Peace, Mofo. 

Besides setting up picket lines in your front yard, we're going to picket Fort Worth defense contractor Lockheed Martin.  This morning, there are clerks and stockboys working at Target and Subway sandwich shops who could be getting paid 5 times as much by working as an engineer or project manager, designing and building F-16's for Lockheed. 

But no.  Lockheed isn't going to purchase labor from those people.  Lockheed (and General Dynamics and Apple and Google and Goldman Sachs) leaves that task to Red Lobster and Olive Garden restaurants.  Bastards.   

Costco doesn't pay minimum wage.  Wal-Mart does.  Wal-Mart is willing to purchase the labor that Costco won't. 

Admit it....  If you're on the political left, you think of Costco as good and Wal-Mart as evil, don't you?  We're going to change all that.  Purchasing the labor of unskilled workers isn't someone else's job, it's YOUR job. 

So get ready.  We're coming to your driveway, and we're going to block your car.  We're going to attack you with glitter bombs.  We're going to do some hardcore "shaming".  You know that you could create an industry that would pay every teenage mall-rat a Living Wage of $15 per hour. 

You could be paying more for labor than Pizza Hut does, but you don't.  You greedy, selfish bastard.