Archive for the ‘Eastern New Mexico News’ Category

Anti-gun laws good for criminals

March 21, 2018

(My Eastern New Mexico News column for March 21, 2018)

How much do you respect self-destructive people?

Do you honor those who engage in self-harm such as “cutting”? Do you celebrate those who burn up their mind and body by abusing drugs and alcohol? Do you respect those who commit suicide as soon as life doesn’t go their way?

Then why praise teenagers (or anyone else) who protest for more anti-gun “laws”? Just because they are “doing something” with conviction? If that’s all it takes, young ISIS recruits deserve your respect, too…read the rest

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Space thrilling despite government

March 18, 2018

(My Eastern New Mexico News column for February 14, 2018)

Space exploration thrills me. I’ve followed Apollo moon landings, Skylab, various Martian landers and rovers, Space Shuttle launches, and every other manned or robotic mission I could watch.

So I got even more excited when private individuals became serious about going to space. The latest feat– last week’s launch of the SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket, carrying Elon Musk’s Tesla Roadster and “Starman” to the asteroid belt– was amazing.

Many people dislike Musk for making deals with government, and I completely understand their disgust. I share it– tempered with a dose of harsh reality.

While I would prefer private space travel, free of the stain of tax money, I realize there is no such thing in the real world, yet.

Unless you keep your space project secret, government is going to discover what you’re doing and demand you beg for licenses. Refuse, and they will kill you. Such a project is too big to hide, and any test flights will be shot down (if the military jets can catch them) and your launch facility will be invaded and possibly bombed; your other property stolen by government employees “just following orders”.

The FAA has no “authority” but has power masquerading as “authority”. Unless you can hide from or outrun the hired guns of the State, seeking government permission, for the time being, is probably unavoidable.

But, what about accepting “tax” money to help finance your project? This bothers me about Musk’s endeavor.

Yet the part which disappoints me most is that he accepts government payloads, including US military payloads. That’s just wrong. Yes, I realize the landscape of the real world in which he must currently operate dictates a certain partnership with those who believe they own the sky and everything above and below it. You buy government favors both by accepting the stolen money and by taking on government as a “paying customer”. Otherwise, your business and your life will be destroyed. It doesn’t make it right, but how could anyone manage to avoid this?

I would prefer this not be the case. I don’t think I could enter into such a “partnership” with government, even knowing it might eventually result in people escaping the grasp of the State. This is part of why I’m not a billionaire, and why Elon Musk is.

Whatever you think of space travel, anything which helps people move off-planet, and out of the reach of governments, will greatly benefit the future of the human species.

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Laws frequently only cause harm

March 11, 2018

(My Eastern New Mexico News column for February 7, 2018)

Laws can’t solve anything, and often destroy things which worked. Sometimes this is due to the unintended consequences of trying to stop something which might actually be harmful, but more often it is due to the person who made the rule simply not understanding how things work in the real world.

Being harmed by laws is probably more common than being helped or protected by them. It’s a consequence of meddling; one I have personally experienced.

Years ago I was looking for a job after moving across the country. I had checked the “help wanted” ads, and they were all for huge corporations with horrible working conditions I wasn’t anxious to endure. So, I set out to explore the area and see what else I could discover. I checked out businesses I thought I’d like to work for. Mostly small family businesses, since those are the ones where I’ve always fit in best.

There were so many little shops which looked interesting. Some in industries I had experience with. But I kept running into the same problem.

One day, for example, I found a dim and dusty sporting goods store. It was obvious they didn’t have time to clean or arrange their inventory, yet they seemed to care about their customers. They were friendly and likable, and I knew I could help them. I really wanted the chance to show them I could benefit their business.

Unfortunately, like all the small businesses I spoke to, they couldn’t afford to hire an employee. They couldn’t afford to pay anyone “minimum wage”, nor could they afford all the other costs– taxes, paperwork, insurance– associated with legally having an employee.

I wasn’t ready to give up so easily, since any money was better than none.

Outlaw that I am, I begged to be allowed to work “under the table” for an amount agreeable to both of us, but they weren’t willing to risk being caught making a mutually acceptable, consensual arrangement with me that violated “laws”. “Laws” which hurt us both.

I was protected out of a job by not being allowed to work where I wanted, for an amount someone was willing to pay. When I think of all the people like me who are priced out of the job market by rules they don’t want and which hurt them in the long run, I get angry at those who pretend to care about people while hurting them for their own good.

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Any tyranny is too much tyranny

March 7, 2018

(My Eastern New Mexico News column for March 7, 2018)

How much is enough?

When it turns out stronger anti-drug “laws” don’t prevent addiction or tragedies, how much are you willing to expand prohibition? How far are you willing to have armed government employees go– on your behalf– to impose your opinions?

Would you approve of permanent checkpoints on all roads? Do you favor banning the manufacture of any and all chemicals which could possibly be combined to make substances you are willing to kill people over? the rest

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Libertarianism means respect

March 4, 2018

(My Eastern New Mexico News column for January 31, 2018)

I am not libertarian because I expect to get anything from it.  Well, that’s not completely true.  I should say I am not libertarian because I expect to get anything from you because of it. I don’t even necessarily expect civilized behavior from others.

Respect for life, liberty, and property– without excuses– is the hallmark of both libertarianism and civilization. I expect civilized behavior only from other libertarians, and not even all of them manage to deliver. After all, they are still only human.

I am libertarian because I don’t have any desire to own you, nor do I wish to be owned. I am libertarian because I recognize your life and the products of your life– your property– are yours, alone, to use as you wish, as long as you don’t violate anyone else. I am libertarian because I expect to be treated as I treat you, while exercising the right to defend myself and others against any who refuse to cooperate.

I don’t want something for nothing. I’m not libertarian because I hate roads, parks, libraries, and food safety. I am libertarian because I know my appreciation for something doesn’t justify forcing you to pay for it against your will. I am perfectly willing to pay for what I use– however, I want to be able to choose the provider I buy the service from, and I want to be able to opt out of things I have no use for, such as police. Monopolies never serve customers’ needs adequately, and never survive long without government favoritism. I prefer free enterprise, liberated markets, competition, and options over mandatory “one-size-fits-all” monopolies.

One precious thing I get from being libertarian is freedom from the stress of trying to control your life. You do your thing, and as long as you don’t try to stop me from doing mine, and you violate no one, we’ll have no problem.

Unfortunately, the non-libertarian crowd seems to find this civilized compromise unacceptable. They can’t abide something so mature and respectful; based on mutual consent.

It doesn’t change how I’ll live, though. I won’t call for anyone’s life, liberty, and property to be violated simply because they can’t respect mine. I support self-defense for anyone being violated for any reason, and I hope the bullies learn about actions and consequences before it’s too late.  Someone has to take the first step toward maturity when dealing with others. Let’s take the step together.

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Common sense gun deregulation needed

February 28, 2018

(My Eastern New Mexico News column for February 28, 2018)

It’s time to take a hard look at America’s gun laws. In fact, it’s over a century past due. How many more innocent lives will be snuffed out before people demand change? Before they demand politicians stand up and do what’s right?

I’m talking about common-sense gun deregulation…read the rest

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Valuing collective above all unsustainable

February 25, 2018

(My Eastern New Mexico News column for January 24, 2018)

Like most people, I enjoy fiction; books, movies, and television programs. Fiction can be entertaining, educational, and inspiring as long as you don’t confuse it with reality.

As a child I loved re-runs of “Gilligan’s Island” and dreamed of being marooned on a deserted tropical island.

The older I became, the less realistic their situation seemed.

The lack of variety in their diet, the constant parade of accidental transient visitors who never sent back help, the clothing which never wore out, and the near magical technology built from coconut shells by people unable to build a simple boat. The better I understood reality, the more I needed to suspend disbelief to enjoy the show. Eventually it became too much.

Now I prefer things which are a bit more realistic, unless I want to let my brain snooze.

This is why I can’t buy into politics. Especially the socialism promoted by both of America’s “mainstream political parties”.

Socialism– which comes down to the belief that people with political power can dictate how, or if, individuals will be allowed to use their property and the products of their labor — isn’t realistic or sustainable. It is based on poor understanding of how things are connected, and a denial of human nature. It can’t work without violently forcing everyone to comply and forbidding anyone to opt out; an idea so good it must be imposed by threats of death.

One popular idea currently pushed by one faction of socialists is what they call “Universal Basic Income”– money paid to everyone for simply being alive. This ignores basic universal economic reality in favor of wishful thinking.

Where does this money come from? Coconuts? Is it stolen through acts of taxation, or is it counterfeited by the Federal Reserve? Either way, it will make the economy worse and hurt the people who believe they will benefit. It will cause greater inflation, because eventually– and probably fairly quickly– this basic income level will become the new “totally broke” as prices rise in reaction. People will then demand more and the cycle will repeat. That’s without even taking into account the economic damage of new taxes or the accelerated influx of debased money.

Any ideology which places a collective– be it a nation, society, or political party– above the individual is the same. It is unsustainable; based on a happy fiction which can’t work in the real world, no matter how desperately people wish it could. Welcome to Gilligan’s Planet.

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Stand up for liberty, not slavery

February 21, 2018

(My Eastern New Mexico News column for February 21, 2018)

A defining trait of libertarians is our opposition to all slavery; we are abolitionists.

Libertarians were among the loudest of the Nineteenth Century’s voices against the enslavement of people of African descent. Libertarians are the lone voices against slavery today, because most people believe slavery was abolished rather than realizing it was expanded to include everyone…read the rest

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Governments are a net negative

February 18, 2018

(My Eastern New Mexico News column for January 17, 2018)

A great many people are upset because President Trump is claimed to have observed that many places around the world are, shall we say, “less than ideal”. Of course, being Donald Trump, he is claimed to have used a colorful metaphor to describe those places. It is honest, but not polite.

His detractors see racism in this observation, which isn’t surprising since they are the same people who see racism around every rock and hear it in every word. I don’t see racism, but I do see denial.

The harsh truth is there are many places around the globe fitting this description. They can have a negative effect on the ethics and intelligence of those who live there.

Trump is, however, unlikely to admit what usually creates those conditions. It isn’t the people who live there. In almost every instance, the horrible conditions are primarily the fault of the governments the people in those places are burdened with; the states they live under.

Obviously, in some cases the residents chose the government, but normally they didn’t. Did you personally choose any of the governments– not just people who hold some government positions– which impose themselves on your life? I didn’t think so. How much blame do you want to accept for the actions of any of the governments around you? How much should you accept? Unless you support one or more of those governments or their policies, I don’t hold you personally responsible for the atrocities they commit, or the conditions which result.

This brings up another guilty party, largely responsible for the conditions mentioned..

In many cases a place is “less than ideal” because of acts committed by the U. S. government (usually through its military) against the people, society, infrastructure, and resources of the foreign land. It’s extremely dishonest to wreck up a place, then insult the victims over the mess you made of their home. And to then complain when the people leave and look for a new home is downright evil.

Of course, governments thrive on chaos, and refugees create chaos, so creating refugees is a win for government. No matter which side of the issue they pretend to be on.

This illustrates why governments shouldn’t have “immigration policies” to begin with, and shouldn’t be able to get away with going around the world killing people and breaking stuff. Governments are a net negative on the world. Don’t add to the misery and chaos by supporting any of them.

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Even best president* no role model

February 11, 2018

(My Eastern New Mexico News column for January 10, 2018.
*Their words, not mine! I don’t write the headlines.)

When Ronald Reagan began his first successful run for president, I wasn’t quite old enough to vote. I liked what he said and I put a Reagan campaign sticker on my car.

During his first term, I felt Reagan did a good job as president, and I voted for him in the next election. Then he did something unforgivable: he colluded with Congress to further regulate guns.

This was one of the main reasons I had never supported the other side. Gun laws were a non-negotiable betrayal in my book. Being young and naive, I hadn’t educated myself about Reagan’s anti-gun history in California. I just took people’s word that he was on the side of less government power and meddling. He said the right things, but failed to live up to them.

It was a rude shock; one I have never forgotten.

I reluctantly supported Republicans for several more years, but kept noticing they acted just like the guys I was counting on them to stop as soon as they got into office. Continually infringing on gun ownership and other matters of individual rights.

I began to notice other troubling things. I value liberty– the ability to exercise the rights all humans possess. Even the politicians who claimed to be on my side were scared of liberty. They wanted it in a box, carefully monitored. They understood it was the natural enemy of government. They kept stabbing me in the back as soon as it was convenient. The politicians I didn’t support never even pretended to be on my side.

What was a man to do?

I grew up. I stopped looking to politicians as role models or moral examples. I came to realize they were concerned with getting elected, and frequently with imposing an agenda they and their supporters wanted, whether it was good for people or not. Anti-liberty laws are never good for people, even when people foolishly believe they are.

Beyond that I came to realize the politician doesn’t matter because the system is rigged to destroy individual liberty. Government is part of the problem, not the solution. You can’t fix it by electing a different person to a position which shouldn’t exist, to do things no one has a right to do. The problem is too deep. The solution is individual responsibility, not politics.

The realization was very liberating. It was also just the beginning of freeing myself. I should be grateful to Ronald Reagan for the betrayal which first opened my eyes.

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