All posts by Gary Nolan

Your humble contributor is an avid political enthusiast, science junkie, former small business owner, limited government, constitutionalist, and all around lover of liberty. I make every effort to use logic and reasoning, not hate, ad hominem attacks, nor logical fallacy arguments.

Why Pre-Existing Conditions Matter

Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)
Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)

In the Affordable Care Act, AKA Obamacare, there is a provision that requires health insurance companies cover pre-existing conditions. While the majority has condemned the insurance mandate of the ACA, most are in favor of pre-existing condition coverage being forced onto health insurers.ACA%20image[1]

However, I feel that this is unwitting hypocrisy. How can someone oppose the government forcing them to pay for something but be OK with the government forcing someone else to? We oppose the mandate because we empathize with those who feel they don’t need to buy health insurance right now. But with pre-existing conditions, we then imagine situations where we lose our job and insurance and then are unable to get coverage because of pre-existing conditions, and lose our wonderful powers of empathy we had a moment ago and decide “f*** the insurance companies.”

This is what happens when people don’t care where money is coming from or who the loss hurts, as long as it benefits them personally.

It seems cruel to people that insurance companies would deny pre-existing conditions, but quite frankly, it’s wrong for us to expect them to cover them. I’d like to think it is because people don’t fully understand the issues with this, so having an insurance background, I’ll try to explain.

Imagine you decide to trade in your car which happens to have a irreparably damaged engine—now only serving the function of an industrial-sized paperweight. The car should be worth $5,000, but it needs $3,000 worth of repairs. The dealer takes the car in on trade for $2,000, and then resells it without fixing the engine. Instead, they sell the new buyer a $1,000 warranty. The new owner takes the car to a repair shop to address the blown engine, submits the claim, and now the $1,000 policy is supposed to pay for a $3,000 engine repair everyone knew it needed before all of this started?

Engine Which Has Suffered a Connecting Rod Failure
Engine Which Has Suffered a Connecting Rod Failure

The insurance company would immediately take a $2,000 loss that it would have no way to recover since the policy was paid in full up front for $1,000. While the consumer and dealer might think this is awesome, the insurance company and all its employees who are about to go out of business because they’re repeatedly taking unrecoverable loss, won’t be as pleased.

The ultimate truth is that covering a pre-existing condition is not insurance, it’s a grant.

Insurance is designed so that the insured pays a premium up front, and in return, the insurer takes a financial risk that the insured can’t afford to take themselves. What’s the risk you ask?

Imagine you open a collision policy, and then pay your first premium of $200. On the way home from the agent’s office, you plow into someone and send them to the hospital with a quarter-million dollar medical bill. Guess what? The insurance company just lost $249,800 on you, and there is nothing to stop you from canceling your policy immediately after, leaving them with a massive loss. That’s a legitimate risk they take every single day.gap-insurance-1[1]

The way they make a profit is by employing actuaries who calculate the insurance company’s anticipated claims using mathematical models, then the insurer charges a percentage above that in hopes the actuaries are have nailed their projected losses. You the consumer benefit because you passed that risk of a $250,000 settlement you might have incurred and can’t afford onto the insurance company, in favor of a monthly payment you can afford.

Here’s the reason I say that covering pre-existing conditions is a grant. What is to stop you from dropping your insurance company after you’ve had a massive claim like that? The answer is nothing. In the accident situation I explained, it is the risk the insurance companies take. While they lost, risk is the business they are in after all.

But in the pre-existing condition situation, there is absolutely no risk. You already have the condition, and they are going to be expected to pay for it. The word risk implies they may or may not incur damages, but with pre-existing conditions, risk is replaced with certainty because now they are liable for something you knew existed—because it was PRE-EXISTING.

Imagine you owned an insurance company and someone drove up with their car on a tow truck smashed to bits, requesting to start a full coverage policy with you. Are you really going to agree to that deal knowing that the claimant is going to give you $200 only to file a $10,000 claim tomorrow? If you’re answer is yes, you may want to avoid starting your own company. So, using the “Golden Rule” as a standard, why are we doing unto them, what we wouldn’t want done unto us?gap-insurance-1[1]

I am not a heartless person who thinks people should be left to die. But, aside from the obvious personal responsibility issues of people who can buy insurance but opt not to, I believe we should not be treating insurance companies as if they’re Satan in business form, and that taking advantage of them should be considered an acceptable or even honorable practice. They employ a lot of people and help keep our economy strong by assuming those risks most of us can’t afford for a nominal fee we can. If you don’t like it, feel free to take that risk yourself if you can afford to.

Contrary to left-wing beliefs, insurance companies do not have a bottomless wallet. They can, and often do, go out of business if their losses become excessive, just like any other business. Which hurts all the people who work for them.

So while this law doesn’t pass the costs onto the taxpayer per se, insurance companies will pass it to the consumer in the form of raised rates, lest they go out of business. Many of you have no doubt noticed the rate increases already. And while we’re at it, taxpayer and consumer are generally the same people; it’s just the former implies the government pilfered a few bucks first.

There is a better way to improve the health care system through deregulation and tort reform which would lower costs. Taking advantage of legitimate businesses that are then forced to pass those damages onto us is not the answer.

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The “Government-Is-Not-For-Profit” Act

Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)
Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)

Years ago, there existed a town near me called New Rome, Ohio. It was a small town of about 60 people, but they had a police force of 14 officers. That’s right, one policeman for approximately every four citizens!

You may think that sounds really good at first, if you’re no a libertarian like me, but if you do some simple math, a police officer making $40k a year would have cost each New Rome citizen $10,000 a year. Imagine that debit to your checking account for a minute. tumblr_myo00j3wKh1ririjeo1_500[1]

So how did they pay for this? New Rome police had a lucrative business via a stretch of US Route 40 that went from 45 mph to 35 mph, even though the conditions of the road changed in no way to warrant the decrease. Many unwitting travelers got caught up in their highly effective trap, and New Rome raked in the cash.

Eventually, this corruption was discovered, and New Rome was disbanded and absorbed by a nearby township.

I highly doubt New Rome is the only example of this kind of corrupt greed in government. There are likely hundreds of towns scattered throughout the country who thrive by their ticket-writing dexterity, and it’s shameful.

Government is not a business. The purpose of a government by the people and for the people is simple. “We the people” appoint representatives to protect our rights from others who threaten them, and we pay them a modest salary to do so. Aside from protecting our rights, they should make every attempt to stay out of our life because THEY work for US. Just as you wouldn’t impede your bosses at work unless you felt one was stealing from the company, so you reported them to another, police should leave you alone in the same way.Police Officer

The government was never designed to be profitable nor generate income. Government is to collect the taxes needed to do the people’s business, and not a penny more.

I know my left wing friends are not supportive of the idea of limited government, but I think even they’d agree that unless the people are asking for something to be done, government officials should not take it upon themselves to do it.

As such, the government should never have a financial incentive to govern, but instead only a constitutional or lawful incentive to protect our aforementioned rights.

I believe most Americans would be upset that a government agency was in business like New Rome, and some people might propose a standard on how many policemen per citizen are allowed, but I think that’s the wrong approach for fear it would become a standard, not a limit.

So being the audacious guy I am; I have a unique proposal that I’d love to see get a little traction in order to insure the government doesn’t wrongly feed itself. If it does gain traction, you can say you saw it here first! We’ll call it the “Government-Is-Not-For-Profit” act.

 • The government shall only collect revenue from taxes based on either the taxpayer’s income or product consumption. Other means of revenue such as, but not limited to penalties and fines, are strictly prohibited from being directed to government agencies.got-a-speeding-ticket-how-does-it-effect-my-auto-insurance-250x250[1]

• If fines are used as a method of penalization and dissuasion, those fines should only be payable to a legitimate charity, and the receipt from that charitable donation which is to be greater than or equal to the fine and paid between the period of the judgment and the due date shall be furnished to the government as the only allowable means of restitution.

• The government shall not use any action by a machine or device as the impetus for prosecution. Such devices shall only be used as investigative tools after a crime or misdemeanor has occurred and/or been witnessed and reported, or for scientific study without possibility of prosecution.

To explain the purpose of this better, the first provision would ensure that the government only collects revenue from all citizens in an equal and fair measure and prohibit any concept of incentivizing revenue.

The second provision would give the government a method for financially penalizing offenders, but instead of collecting the money themselves, the money would be directed toward a charity of the offender’s choice. For instance, if I get cited $100 for speeding, I would then donate that $100+ to the Red Cross, for instance, and send my receipt to the government to show I paid the fine to a legal charity. That way I still get penalized, but the government had no financial incentive to penalize me, only an incentive born out of safety, as it should be. As an added bonus, charitable donations are significantly increased.

The last one is about the growing “Big Brother” traffic cameras that dole out tickets purely for revenue, which have little to do with public safety. This provision would ensure that at no point are we being governed by machines. I understand the argument that a police officer must first review it, but I don’t care. It’s the dawning of Big Brother, and it needs to stop.big_brother_obama_parody_poster-p228489253510086489tdcp_400[1]

The point of all of this is simple. We the people decide how we are to be governed, and while we want the government to protect our rights, we also want them to understand that they work at our behest, and that feeding themselves at our expense so that they may grow their own agenda, which may be contradictory to our own, is strictly prohibited. They should be likened to referees in a sports event. You need them there to make sure we all play by the rules, but they should never be seen as the stars of the show.

The spirit of legislation is to protect the public. For instance, if a driver, alone in his car, is lightly speeding, and he’s the only one on the road, then it shouldn’t matter as he’s only a danger to himself. As soon as he goes zipping past another motorist, then it’s a problem.

Police understand this, which is why many just give warnings and generally honor the 5-10 mph grace speed in favor of nabbing the person who was truly driving dangerously. We just need to make sure all government officials think that way and taking away their incentive to fine and penalize is a perfect means to that end.

 

 

The Myth Of Greedy Capitalists

I have this horrible recurring dream that millions of college students die from alcohol poisoning after playing a drinking game during an Obama speech. When he uses the word “fair-share,” they are required to drink a shot. (Please kids, don’t try this at home)

It is a well-known psychological trick that overuse of a word is often done with the purpose of being permanently associated with it through subliminal suggestion. I don’t profess to know what is in Obama’s heart, and you should be wary of anyone in the media who says they do. But I don’t believe it is an accident that he uses this word over and over again so that he may mildly brainwash everyone to believe he is the only candidate who cares about you getting a fair shot. Political strategists certainly know and would advise him to use such a tactic. Disingenuous or not, it is effective.Obama-golfing[1]

However, let’s take a look at this from a skeptical point of view and analyze what it presumes. If he is saying this as a means of promoting himself above another candidate, then that means he is also saying other candidates do not want you to have a fair shot. If they all believe in fairness, then there’s no more point in bringing it up, right? For instance, no candidate campaigns on the platform of prosecuting murderers because we all want that, and saying so, would not set that candidate apart from their competitors.

So this then means that, in selling himself as the candidate of fairness, Obama is asserting that Mitt Romney, a devout Mormon who donated his father’s inheritance to the church so that it could be used to help those less fortunate and so that he could earn his own way instead, somehow only wants rich people to succeed and poor people to stay poor. Is this narrative starting to sound pretty ridiculous yet?

Mitt Romney
Mitt Romney

Let’s dig a little deeper. How do rich people get rich? They sell products or services. The richest of the rich sell products to the masses. The late Enzo Ferrari likely made a pretty centesimo, but he was nowhere near the financial status of a Bill Gates for instance. If poor people stay poor, can they buy a Windows computer?

So if some conspiracy theorist is ignorant enough to believe that all rich people get together in some sort of bourgeois yacht club meeting and collude to keep the proletariat down, then explain to me how they benefit by impoverishing their intended customers.

The idea that rich people benefit from everyone else being poor only works in a socialist model where the rich can forcefully take from the poor, and force them into servitude, not a capitalist one where the rich depend on the masses to buy their goods.

I am to wealth what a McDonald’s Hamburger is to a steak. But I am increasingly disgusted with the idea that the boogeyman is synonymous with a capitalist. Because, while I may not be rich, I have goals and dreams that include becoming wealthy one day, and I’m not about to be told I’m a bad person for wanting it or that I’ll be a bad person if I attain it.

I believe everyone is a greedy capitalist. Some aren’t willing to work as hard as others, some aren’t willing to work as honestly as others, and some refuse to believe that people richer than them deserve more for their efforts. Apathy, jealousy, complacency, and sometimes just dumb luck prevent most of us from achieving our dreams. But we all want more than what we have, we all want success. Then, once we’ve achieved it, we all want control how it is shared with others.

So while I credit Obama with a smart tactic, and let’s not lie to ourselves, it is working with those who don’t bother to put a critical eye to it as I have done, it is still just a psychological trick, not an indication of someone who understands how to make America better through hard work, critical thinking, and an honest assessment of the historical evidence of socialism versus capitalism.

We know socialism has no successful models to point to, yet he promotes socialistic policies. We know that over-regulation causes business owners to pull their money into their proverbial turtle shell until the “predator” passes by instead of investing, hiring, and growing the economy, yet he pushes the EPA and OSHA farther and farther into territory they were never intended to occupy at the peril of every entrepreneur trying to become a productive part of America. We know that forcing people to be self-sufficient by kicking them out of the nest works, yet by advocating more entitlements instead of less, he continues to enable those who would rather be on a permanent government funded vacation.EPA-Logo

Ronald Reagan humorously quipped, “The best minds aren’t in government. If any were, business would hire them away.”

President Obama telling Romney how to help businesses grow, and vicariously our economy, seems to me like Obama telling Tiger Woods how to fix his golf swing. So you can vote for the guy that says he’ll solve all your problems for you, but I’ll vote for the guy who honestly says, “I don’t understand your problems as well as you do, so let me get the hell out of your way.”

To Everyone Who Has Worn a U.S. Military Uniform: Thank You

Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)
Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)

On January 3, 2008 Golf Magazine published an article by David Feherty who was returning from a USO tour in the Middle East. About to return home, he stood as they loaded the caskets next to where he was to be seated on the flight. He commented that, at first, he had presumed they would be in a separate hold, but then realized that they deserved to be seated with everyone else, “…as it should be. This wasn’t cargo. This was another passenger” he wrote. He went on to say:

I wish I knew who was in that casket — one of the 3,887 Americans killed in Iraq as of December — so I could write to the family to tell them what an honor it was to be on the same airplane as their son or daughter, and to thank them.

Click Here for one of the best articles you’ll ever read

David Feherty
David Feherty

America is full of great Americans, but people like David take being one to a whole new level. You see, many of you know David as golf’s wisecracking commentator (who is actually of Irish descent). He only recently became an American citizen and now calls America his home.

He could be just like many Europeans who come here and make a fortune while insulting the country that gives him the opportunity to do so, but he opted instead to become an American citizen and show his gratitude for this great land by going overseas to tell our troops how much their efforts mean to him. In my eyes, that makes him a better American than most natural-born citizens.

Of course, people emigrate all of the time, but take a moment to stop and think; if you were born here, what would it take for you to leave America for a better life? I can’t even imagine a scenario where I feel like my opportunities would be better elsewhere. So when I think of what it must take for someone to leave their country, especially a reasonably civilized country like Ireland, it makes me remember how great this nation really is.

What makes it great? America has an amazing Constitution regardless of what Justice Ginsberg believes, but more importantly, it has an amazing group of volunteers who continue to put their lives on the line to defend it.US%20Marine[1]

The self-preservation instinct is in all animals, and we humans are no exception. However, our military put themselves in harm’s way every single day for what is often a low-paying job, not because of the pay, but because they have no qualms about putting the safety of others in front of their own for no other reason than, “it’s the right thing to do.”

David has been a huge supporter of our troops through the Wounded Warrior Project. We as Americans, for better or worse, are the proverbial spoiled children who often take for granted the freedoms we were born with and enjoy 24/7. While the Constitution outlined them, it’s only a piece of paper and cannot protect us from harm. Only men and women with honor, courage, bravery, and guns can.Wounded Warrior Project

It’s shameful when you see people like the Westboro Baptist followers, whom all were most likely born here yet have no compunction about disrespecting the people who keep them safe, while immigrants like David who weren’t go out of their way to honor those who serve.

I also felt severe shame after the first Republican primary debate when a gay soldier came on the video screen and was booed. It was appalling to me that no one on stage felt compelled to stand up and say, “What is wrong with you people? That man is putting his life on the line for you. Show some respect.” (Which is what I was screaming at my TV)

Whether you agree with their sexual habits or not, does it really excuse booing someone that is risking their life for you?

Close your eyes and imagine bullets whizzing by your head and not knowing where they’re coming from. Imagine being thousands of miles from those you love for not just months, but years. Imagine having 50+ lbs of gear on you suffering in the desert heat because, if you didn’t, a projectile would likely kill you. Imagine driving down the highway and seeing every piece of debris on the side of the road as a possible exploding device about to take your life. Imagine exiting a boat on a beach only to see people on top of a hill shooting at you and your brethren when you have literally nowhere to hide. Imagine flying a plane and seeing antiaircraft ordinance blazing by your wings or your radar lighting up because another plane is behind you with missile lock. Imagine being a lone sniper with your eyes on a scope for days waiting for one good shot.ied-cutout01[1]

Did you close your eyes and imagine these things? Guess what, our men and women in the military don’t have to. They live it, and if they’re lucky, live through it. Any time you find yourself complaining, just stop. You don’t know sacrifice like they do, and thanks to them, you’ll never have to.

So on this Memorial Day, I hope that we all can learn from David Feherty, a truly great American, how to treat other great Americans, our men and women in uniform.

From me, to every soldier past, present, and future, THANK YOU and happy Memorial Day!

 

 

The Right: Party Of Personal Responsibility

Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)
Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)

There are many ways to define what differentiates the left from the right. Some issues seem to go along party lines, but they don’t necessarily define us. While one key element is big government versus small, I believe there is another, less commonly noticed, but that often separates us—personal responsibility.

If one looks at many of the policies favored by the right, they generally have the air of personal responsibility behind them. We want people to work hard and achieve the American dream all on their own, without government holding them back or giving them an unfair advantage.

The left, on the other hand, tend to champion the idea that all who are unsuccessful are not in their situation due to their own faults, but instead because of greedy corporations and fat cats. It makes for great Hollywood drama, but it’s most definitely fiction.

While statistics have shown that conservatives, contrary to popular myth, are generally more charitable than their left-wing counterparts, the fact is, we generally give assistance to those who are truly incapable of helping themselves or those who are in their position for admirable reasons such as The Wounded Warrior Project, that helps wounded soldiers returning from battle.Wound Warrior Project

We want to help people, but more importantly, we want to help people help themselves. Charities are great, but self-sustaining jobs are better. Socialists can give someone a fish if they want, we prefer to give them a fishing pole and kick them out of the nest.

By wanting to severely revamp and limit programs like welfare, unemployment, Social Security, and other entitlements, we are often deemed as heartless and cruel, but that is unfair and offensive. We want people to succeed; we just don’t feel we’re liable for their success or failure at the expense of ourselves and our loved ones.

Those programs are wrought with abuse. For instance, I know people who remained on unemployment until it ran out so they could find a preferred job when they could have easily found a lesser paying job to get off the government dime sooner. I also know people who are collecting disability assistance, but still able to play golf several times a month.

Disability Fraud Scheme
Disability Fraud Scheme

One can hardly blame them. It’s not illegal if they have the proper documentation from a doctor, and are indeed disabled in some small way. Most people simply aren’t going to turn down free money if they can get it. I dare say you’d be lying if you said you didn’t know someone like that.

One other personal responsibility issue is the Four Loko debate, and eventual ban. People have insisted it should be removed from shelves because young adults have overindulged and gotten injured due to the energy supplements keeping them from passing out when they get too drunk. Banning products because people are too ignorant to know when to say no is not the American way.

Americans have the right to be an idiot, put themselves in danger, and do themselves harm as they see fit. We largely reject nanny state policies, and rightfully so. People believe protection laws save lives, but the evidence often proves contrary. There is a little-known phenomenon called the Peltzman Effect that shows making things safer often leads to more dangerous behavior.

Here is a great article about the Peltzman Effect if you want to read more about it.

For instance, some local dangerous 4-way intersections were recently replaced with roundabouts. People here had never even seen a roundabout in person, and there were concerns the confusion would lead to more accidents. However, it had the opposite effect because people were now paying close attention to how they navigated through it instead of breezing through on mental cruise control.

Every time our government puts up a safety net, people engage in riskier behavior because of it. Would you be a better employee if you knew that there were no unemployment insurance to help if you if you lost that job? For many, it would change their behavior immensely.

Four Loko
Four Loko

The Four Loko incident is very similar. People refer to alcoholism as a disease, which infuriates me. It’s insulting to everyone who legitimately contracted a disease they had no control over, as opposed to doing it to themselves for a good time. Unless you are born unto someone who didn’t refrain from drinking while pregnant, alcoholism is a self-inflicted condition; not a disease in my opinion. And I will vehemently reject the American Medical Associations claim otherwise.

The reason this infuriates me is because by calling it a disease, people are attempting to absolve themselves of responsibility for it. Then when you get fired because you’re an uncontrollable drunk, the left want to pass legislation that says you should be sent to rehab, not fired, and your employer is a heartless bastard for sacking you. Think I’m joking? Think again.

I however believe the drunkard is a selfish jerk that puts themselves, their family, other motorists (if they are driving), and their employer at risk by putting their desire to have a good time above all else. They alone are to blame.

The Tea Party compared to the Occupy movement were great examples too. Tea Partiers feel compelled to leave the location in as good or better shape than they found it, Occupiers defecate in public and blame Wall Street for their apparent lack of ability to properly identify a toilet from a police car.

Occupy Wall Street Protester Defecating on a Police Car
Occupy Wall Street Protester Defecating on a Police Car

The concept of blaming others for your own shortcomings is an attractive one. How could YOU possibly be the cause for your own failures when you’re so awesome?! (In your own mind anyway)

The left can embrace that philosophy if they want. But while they’re whining, complaining, blaming, and finger pointing; we shut up, get to work, and get things done. We are proud to be the party of personal responsibility.

Middle East vs America: Why They Fight Where We Coexist

Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)
Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)

As I continue to read about fighting factions, suicide bombers, and other coordinated violence in the Middle East, I couldn’t help but notice that here in the melting pot, we have different religions, races, sexual orientations, political parties, and any other separating qualifier one might think of, yet we don’t habitually have these problems.

The KKK and Black Panthers have not blown each other up. The Westboro Baptists haven’t open fired on a gay club. To my knowledge, a physical altercation hasn’t even broke out in Congress. There’s little doubt that many of these people are vehemently opposed to one another, yet they somehow find a way to coexist and get on with their lives instead of declaring jihad and strapping a bottle rocket to their petoot in a crowded square.

Black Panthers
Black Panthers

I am fascinated with human behavior and love analyzing people’s actions, and I think there are obvious reasons for the difference.

Our Constitution is a unique governing document in that it derives its power from the people. Most others grant power to the people. This philosophy has been taught in every American history class since America has had history.

There are instinctual behaviors, such as eating, procreating, avoiding pain; these do not need to be taught. I believe freedom is instinctual too. While many countries try to quash that instinct, in America, the instinct that we are free, with “inalienable rights” has been reinforced in all of us, and, for that reason, we expect a non-tyrannical lifestyle. If someone tries to deny you your instincts, you fight back. We know if you try to take your own life while holding your breath, the instinct of self-preservation won’t even let you harm yourself. Your instincts literally fight off your conscious decisions. So it’s little wonder why the oppressed are always fighting with each other.

If we don’t like our leaders, we just “vote the bums out.” Revolutions are not necessary. We tried it once and learned our lesson. As much as many of us don’t care for Obama, I doubt any sane detractor has considered throwing Molotov cocktails at the White House or taking up arms against our military. Tyranny is something our leaders dip their toes into on occasion but know well and good not to take a few laps around the pool. Such behavior has never been tolerated here.

Molotov Cocktail Thrower
Molotov Cocktail Thrower

People in the Middle East however, generally have no concept of what it is like to be free. As a result of this constant beating into submission, they eventually have to strike back with force or nothing changes.

When people are free, it is common sense to understand that such freedoms extend to all of us, including overtly ignorant and hateful people such as the Westboro Baptists, KKK, Black Panthers, Neo-Nazis, etc. While I think these organizations are deplorable, if I meet one, I generally just give them that “You really are an idiot” look and move on. Unconcealing my carry conceal has never entered my mind. We both just walk away realizing the other “will never understand.”

Science and skepticism play a huge role in our understanding culture as well. While America is largely religious, even those who are devout in their faith still often embrace science. For instance, many believers place their trust in doctors using proven science when they or their children are ill. The idea that maybe God has simply bestowed scientific understanding upon them allows science and religion to peacefully coexist for most of the faithful masses.

Skepticism is important too. If someone came up to you and told you that God wants you to kill your neighbor, most people would likely call 911 and ask them to send the white-coated tailors who always make the sleeves too long.

Straightjacket
Straightjacket

Religion may be important, but in America, we put a premium on human life, and since the Salem witch trials, we rarely kill in the name of any God. But in the Middle East, many are taught that killing for their God is honorable and justified; and they buy into it wholeheartedly.

The fact is that constitutionally-provided freedoms have gone well beyond just their written words. These paradigms allow us to have freedom of the mind, scientific research, and as mentioned earlier, the choice to be a moron. No one among us wants to be a hypocrite, and most of us know that if I allow you to be a Christian, you must allow me to be an atheist.

Freedom of the mind allows one to think whatever they want, no matter how stupid it is. A good example is the 9/11 truthers. Several college science programs, a myriad of science publications, and the majority of the science community, even many who REALLY detested President Bush, have come out and said that this conspiracy is the work of small minds with big imaginations; they’ve done the research to prove it. While those of us with intelligence know better, the fact is, sometimes you have to let an idiot alone with their beliefs, and Americans are largely OK with that. In the Middle East, you’d be executed for making such accusations about your government, but in America, you get an interview with Rosie O’Donnell.

Click Here for a great article about 9/11 conspiracy skepticism

Freedom of scientific research, while not in the Constitution, is still a product of our overall paradigm, and it’s the main reason human life expectancy has nearly doubled in just a few centuries. Radical faiths often prohibit scientific research because it brings the concept of their god into question. But now it’s a conversation intelligent minds on both sides of the fence discuss daily without incident. While some believers complain about specific research, it is more often settled at the voting booth than at the end of the sword.

So why do we get along when they don’t? Short answer—Freedom…that’s why.

 

Legislation Reform Act: Keep It Simple

Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)
Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)

Recently, the media reported that House Resolution 3309 was debated in the House that would prevent employers from asking prospective or current employees for their social network passwords as a condition of employment. Or did it?

When I heard the bill was voted down (later amended and passed) along party lines, I was furious with House Republicans. One of the few roles of government is protecting Americans from entities that would infringe upon our rights, and this certainly qualifies.

No one would be OK if an employer said, “I need keys to your house so we can have a forensics team go through it before we hire you.” So why are they allowed to see online private information?

While I enjoy networking, I have my account hidden from the public eye. I love sharing views and making new friends, but I choose whom to share that with. Prospective employers are not included.

If I wanted a technical job at the left-leaning NBC network, for instance, I certainly wouldn’t want them knowing I’m a libertarian who is big on gun rights, limited government, and entitlement reform. Since I wouldn’t be in front of the camera, my opinion shouldn’t matter. But I know their views are quite the opposite and would sooner kill a bunny rabbit than hire a conservative.maxresdefault[2]

I have written previously about the importance of skepticism. Don’t presume to know everything just because your favorite news agency told you “all about it.” Do your research from as many outlets available to you and inform yourself.

Practicing what I preach, I found the amendment and read it. Please read here.

(2015 Update: The next session of Congress passed HR 537, which did prevent this practice here.)

Now after reading that, do you see anything in there that prevents someone from asking for your private information? I don’t either. It was an amendment which merely allowed for a law to be passed preventing the practice as opposed to actually preventing it directly. The fact that there was no reason such a law would be prohibited in the first place, made the amendment redundant and moot. Such redundancy leads me to believe that the only purpose by Democrats was solely to slow up a Republican bill the Democrats didn’t care for. Worse yet, it was for a bill to reform the FCC, which has little to do with most private business practices anyway.

Why did Republicans vote it down? Because it didn’t accomplish what the legislators that wrote it proposed it would. So my apologies to those Republicans I cussed out under my breath when I first read the story. Carry on good sirs.

House of Representatives
House of Representatives

So why did it exist and what was its purpose then? I can’t know with complete certainty what Democrats were thinking. But this appears to be an attempt to make Republicans look bad by writing legislation that presents their opponents with a catch-22.

They propose a law and declare it serves a certain purpose, but when opponents actually read it and see that it doesn’t, they vote no accordingly. This then allows Democrats to say, “Those evil Republicans don’t care about you, and this is proof!”

Both parties propose catch-22 legislation which they know won’t pass for political purposes. It’s a deplorable waste of our money and certainly not the work of people who “serve” their constituents. Sadly, there are countless examples, all of which should be offensive to every American since we’re paying for this nonsense.

Let me propose a hyperbolic theoretical question to illustrate my point. Imagine Congress proposed a bill that would legalize cures for 90% of all deadly diseases, but it required the execution of homeless people. Would you approve it?

If you say no, these opponents would say you voted down a bill that cures 90% of all deadly diseases. If you OK it, they would say you’re killing homeless people. Either way, you are made to look bad, which was the only goal of your opponents in the first place.social_media_strategy111[1]

This is the problem with bills that have unrelated multiple components. If Democrats had really wanted the privacy violating practice to stop, it would have been a stand-alone bill that simply read:

No employer shall ask or require a prospective or current employee to allow that employer access to private online content, including but not limited to social networking sites as a condition of future employment.”

Such a bill would likely have easily passed. I know that single-sentence plain English legislation is rare, but it worked pretty well in our Constitution where each provision was largely straightforward and simple. My apologies to compliance lawyers who would need to repurpose their lives as a result, but maybe we should get back to that model.

Since Congress can’t seem to play nice, I propose the Legislation Reform Act:

No proposed legislation may contain multiple provisions that do not directly pertain to each other in a way that dictates one could not exist without the other. Any non-related provision must be proposed, written, and voted on as a separate and individual piece of legislation.

This simple proposal would end any attempts at attaching bad legislation to good legislation just for political gain. Earmarks and other such nonsense would fall victim to it as well.

It would ensure that all proposals are simple and effective in their design and that each piece be voted on based on its individual merits as opposed to the collective merit of countless unrelated parts as is currently done.