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.

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.

The Justice System Needs An Overhaul

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

Imagine our justice system is an old sports car. It was sleek, fast, full of bells and whistles, and a blast to drive—a triumph in modern design for its time. However, like an old sports car, it has been abused, laden with aftermarket junk, the maintenance neglected, rusting away in the yard, and most of the electronics are reminiscent of the infamous Lucas Electronics (jokingly referred to as the Prince of Darkness because the lights rarely worked) whose switches are said to have three positions—off, dim, and flicker.lucas[1]

This description reminds me of our justice system. Over the years, it has gone from a system seeking justice to a system of winners and losers with little regard for justice.

We have people like Gloria Allred, who just want money and recognition instead of justice. We have prosecutors who get so enthusiastic about a high-profile case that they ignore exculpatory evidence just to improve their conviction rate. There are justices who don’t seem to understand that the legislative branch is separate from their own, and we have litigants who look to get rich at the expense of the innocent.

A free market allows lawyers to compete, but the system has done little to penalize those who abuse it. I want to see our LEGAL system be a JUSTICE system again.  So, I’m proposing a “Common Sense Legal Reform Act” which includes, but is not limited to the following:

Scales of Justice
Scales of Justice

Some states have “Loser Pays” legislation; this should be nationwide. Loser pays prevents civil cases where people are unjustly enriching themselves.

For instance, when I was in the insurance industry, we often paid claims that were properly denied because the cost of defending our position in court was more than the cost of the claim, and it did not make fiscal sense to fight it. If these leeches are lawyers, or have one in the family, it often doesn’t cost them anything other than the filing fee, and they end up getting something they do not deserve.

“Loser Pays” legislation would help immensely in reducing such frivolous lawsuits as it would both deter individual from suing unjustly since they would pay if they lost the case as well as encourage victims to fight them regardless of the cost. Many businesses have failed, jobs lost, and bankruptcies incepted because of such unjust litigation. If you are curious, read more about it here.

Manhattan Institute on Loser Pays

Proper management technique entails recognizing the difference between an innocent mistake and a purposeful wrongdoing when disciplining employees. If I had an employee make an innocent mistake, a little coaching was often all that was needed. On the other hand, if someone knew it was wrong and did it anyway, it was potentially a firable offense.

The legal system is composed of legislators, lawyers, judges, police, and a myriad of other trained professionals. Most people don’t take an oath to uphold the law when they start a new career; but these folks sure do, and they should not only know better than to violate those laws, but should be penalized more severely if they break them.

Chief Justice Roberts Being Sworn In
Chief Justice Roberts Being Sworn In

“We the people” trust them to be supremely honorable in their duties, and if that trust is broken, the belief of a government serving its people is lost in a cesspool of distrust. Children used to want to become cops; now they hate them. Why?

While most are invaluable servants of the community, there are a few rogue officers who commit serious felonies. The less than severe penalties they often receive for such corruption infuriate those of us who trusted them. While I may know most are good and honorable, it often only takes one bad apple to ruin the tree for those who are not so fair and optimistic.

Lawyers and judges should be disbarred, police should be removed from serving, and legislators should be impeached for what, in a normal workplace, would be “fireable” offenses. They must hold themselves to the highest of standards and police themselves even more vigorously than they police us. If a doctor purposefully does wrong, they lose their license to practice.  But when Charles Rangel does wrong, he gets nothing more than a glorified tongue lashing and it’s deplorable.

Liability is a term that is often abused and should be redefined to protect the innocent. If someone slips on the ice on my sidewalk because I didn’t shovel it, I’m liable? Give me a break! Let natural selection run its course. If someone is not intelligent enough to exercise caution while treading ice, then they deserve a bump on the head. I should be charging them for the education. Ice-slip-drink[1]

While good Samaritan laws currently exist in some states to protect doctors, it wasn’t long ago that if a doctor stopped to help someone dying on the side of the road, he could be sued if the person died because the doctor couldn’t scrub up, sterilize equipment, etc.

Liability should be restricted to an action where the defendant knew what they were doing was wrong and put people at risk with no mitigating circumstance to excuse it. The idea that I can be held liable because I didn’t anticipate someone getting hurt as a result of my inaction is ridiculous. People should be responsible for damage from their own ignorance, not me for not foreseeing the results of such idiocy.

I’m sick of warning labels on kids bikes that say, “Warning: experienced riders” or labels on paper respirators that say, “Warning: Does not provide oxygen”. FYI, both were featured on an episode of Stossel and are a result of our overly generous definition of liability.WWL2011_blue_bicycle-400[1]

America must get back to basics with the justice system, prevent “get rich quick” schemes, and worry more about the spirit of the law than the letter of it. Until we force Congress to ignore the campaign-generous trial lawyers and address the issue, innocent people will be financially raped by those who have done nothing to deserve such wealth. Where is the justice in that?

 

 

 

PEP Amendment (Privatize Everything Possible)

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

The government shall engage in no service that private enterprise is able and willing to provide not specifically designed to protect the rights of others. – My proposed Constitutional Amendment.

Recently a Michigan woman named Amanda Clayton was discovered to have been using food stamps after winning a million dollars. Once the story broke, her assistance was quickly cut off, but apparently her actions may not have been illegal. (update: She pleaded No Contest for fraud, and eventually was found dead of a drug overdose.)

Amanda Clayton
Amanda Clayton

 

I liken government to a loving three year-old who draws their parent a picture. Sure they mean well, and the picture was drawn with love, but let’s be honest; the kid is not Picasso, and it’s a picture only a mother could love.

Government tries honorably to help the helpless, but if you put food outside for the local feral cat, it’s probably going to get eaten by a raccoon, opossum, or a myriad of other local scavengers because self-enrichment is in every animal’s nature. Whether it was intended for them is irrelevant.

Imagine if I were to put a million dollars in a town square, leave it unguarded with only a sign that reads:

Money for the needy. Take ONLY what you need.

Most understand that money would be gone in seconds, and much of it would be going towards “wants” not “needs,” and not necessarily taken by the needy either. It may seem like they are bad people, but they are not—they are simply doing what comes natural, either by squirreling away every nut they can in case winter comes early and ends late, or just improving their own standard of living.

The government should try to prevent this type of behavior that leads people to take advantage of government programs they don’t genuinely need, but why would they? They do not fear going out of business nor have a bottom line to meet. They have no motive to improve because they don’t have a competitor coming up with more innovative methods they could emulate such as private companies in a free market.

I want America to go crazy with privatization! For example, statistics show charters and private schools predominantly outperform public schools. Some fail, just like any other business, but they will be replaced with newer and better ones, just like any other business.v2002-44a[1]

I’m 40 years old, childless, and sick of paying to educate the children of others. If you’re going to produce children, it’s your fiduciary responsibility to educate them, not mine. I’m even sicker when young people don’t understand why I give them $8.14 for my $7.89 Taco Bell order because they apparently don’t teach mathematics in public schools anymore either. All I want is a freaking quarter, kid!

With my new PEP amendment, the government would be banned from education altogether. Give every citizen their money back from school taxes, and let the parents deal with their children’s education how they best see fit.

The post office loses money like a gambling addict in Vegas. Let Fed-Ex or UPS buy up that business. Their balance sheets show they’re clearly better at it, and if the USPS went away, one of them would certainly pick up the slack more cheaply and efficiently. Some might argue that if this were true, Fed-Ex and UPS would already do it, but since 1845, federal law prohibits any organization from delivering 1st class mail outside USPS.uspslogo1[1]

Private jails have proven to be far better economically than government-run ones. Privatize them all!

Ever watch a public road crew work? There are five supervisors watching one guy do all the labor. You can just feel your tax dollars burning, and you can’t even make s’mores with the fire. When the government allows private companies to bid for these jobs, they are almost always done ahead of schedule and under budget because companies get rewarded for doing so. The quality of the work is often better as well.

Back to the lottery person and entitlements in general; I used to work for an insurance administrator overseeing the claims process. We were literally in charge of a third party’s checkbook. We processed claims using our expertise on contractual law, parts resource knowledge, ability to detect fraud and waste, and so on. There are many similar administrators–some good, some bad. The bad ones failed, but we grew strong because we paid every legitimate claim possible while guarding the checkbook like our life depended on it. Oh wait, it did.

If the government had paid us to do so, I have no doubt we could have protected your tax dollars from Welfare, Social Security, Food Stamp etc. fraud and waste far better than they do themselves.

A friend argued that if we got an incentive for saving money, we would just avoid paying claims altogether and deny everything. However, we would still answer to our claimants as well as our employer. If we didn’t pay legitimate claims, we’d open ourselves to lawsuits which are more expensive than just paying the claim, public outrage, our auditor’s ire, and the people with the checkbooks taking their business elsewhere.

The one shining example of our government doing something right is our military. Ever notice that the military doesn’t build much? They get planes from Northrup Grumman, weapons from Colt, vehicles from AM General, etc. It’s a great example of the government utilizing the private sector whenever possible, and it works damn well as evidenced by our dominant military might.

I’m sure many of you could think of more instances where government could turn services over to private companies. I’m also confident most of our legislators could as well. It’s time we Americans demanded it of them.

 

It’s A Free Country… Or Is It? The Powerful but Forgotten 9th Amendment

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

The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people. – US Constitution 9th Amendment

Imagine a family of ten children. Nine of them are very good-looking but not all that bright; however, the average looking one is the brainiac of the family with a 150 IQ. All the others will get attention for their beauty and elegance even though the ugly duckling, that is often ignored, should be the star of the show because they bring the most value to the table. This is how I feel about our Ninth Amendment.36508_490192697685638_337128855_n[1]

I always clarify that I have never used, nor have any desire to use, recreational drugs. But as a libertarian, I feel that many of them should be legal. I was debating this with someone and he asked me to make a case as to why they should be legal. There should never be a conservative among you that makes a constitutionally based argument against legalization because it is fundamentally wrong, based on the Ninth Amendment.

The generally accepted meaning behind the Ninth Amendment is extremely important. The framers wanted to ensure that the Constitution wasn’t a document that granted rights to the people, but instead a document that limited the powers of government over the people. We the people have the inalienable rights, and we the people decide how we wish to be governed. The Ninth Amendment is  saying, in essence, that one should assume they have the right to do something unless there are laws specifically forbidding it.

So, when asked by my friend to defend legalization, my response was that it was not my burden to make such a case in a free country. It was his burden to explain how and why a specific drug’s use by one person infringes upon the rights of another and thus should be illegal.

Marijuana Harvest
Marijuana Harvest

I’m not trying to make a case here for drug legalization specifically—he might have made a good case, so we’ll save that argument for another day. Instead, what I implore of every legislator is to employ the paradigm the framers of our Constitution did when they envisioned this great nation—the idea that all actions should be legal by default and should only be outlawed once a proper case has been made to do so.

Our Declaration of Independence indicated we all should have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The Constitution replaced pursuit of happiness with property. So a proper argument for making something illegal should be restricted to actions which deny those rights accordingly.

For example, If I drink and get inebriated at home, it is not a crime since no one else is being harmed. If I drink and drive my car, however, I’m putting the lives of others at a scientifically demonstrable greater risk due to my impaired ability, which potentially infringes upon their right to life. Thus, it is rightfully illegal.drunk-driving2[1]

I think it’s easy to put any proposed law up to that light and realize that, if it is limiting someone’s right to life, liberty, happiness, and/or property, and it is not protecting one person from another person, then it has no place being a law and should be voted down no matter how well-meaning its intentions may be.

Morality is a relative term. For instance, I think facial cosmetic surgery is immoral for doctors to perform (accident victims excluded) and utterly stupid. One look at Mickey Rourke, Jerry Jones, Joan Rivers, and everyone else who has had it done that now looks like a side-show attraction should be a lesson to everyone to accept what nature gives you. If I had a loved one wanting to do it, I’d want to shake the stupid right out of them. Why would a doctor who has sworn first to do no harm, take a reasonably good-looking person and make them look like they’re skydiving horizontally 24/7?

Mickey Rourke
Mickey Rourke

However, proponents often feel there is improvement gained from these procedures and the victims, oops, I mean patients, are occasionally pleased with the results. So what I think is immoral, some think is perfectly fine and good. While I will vigorously encourage anyone I care about not to do it, do I think the government should make cosmetic surgery illegal? Of course not! I hope you wouldn’t either. Morality is best regulated through social and peer pressure, not government regulation.

So how are vices, which are almost always victimless crimes, any different? I’d sooner argue that one look at Mickey Rourke indicates he’s a victim before I’d argue that you or anyone else is a victim as a result of a pot smoker’s indulgence. I defy anyone to argue differently.

My argument was intended to be humorous, but the fact is that morality varies from person to person. Any time you try to legislate personal behavior for the sake of morality, you’re infringing on someone’s right to the pursuit of happiness. You’re saying that they have to be more like you BY LAW whether that makes them happy or not. It has little to do with public safety no matter how loud the left and some social conservatives say so.  Does that really sound like freedom and liberty to anyone?

One of America’s greatest attributes is its diversity. Victimless crimes curb that diversity by trying to get everyone to conform to the majority. We have a republic, not a democracy, because our Constitution protects the minority from the majority. A victimless crime, by definition, should be unconstitutional. So please stop trying to make people exactly like you and, instead, just enjoy the freak show. It’s not hurting anyone, and you might have a little fun!