Category Archives: Capitalism

The “Currently Isn’t Working” Fallacy, The 1% Myth, and Misleading Statistics

On a recent episode of Stossel, Neil Sroka; the communications director for Democracy for America came on the show. He is an ardent supporter of Bernie Sanders, and his ideals of democratic socialism.

Here’s a transcript of a portion I’d like to discuss. I’m not going to type out the entire interview, but since this was the first real question, there was indeed nothing preceding it that would leave you missing any context.

John Stossel - Fox Business Network
John Stossel – Fox Business Network

Stossel: Now socialism generally means that the government owns the means of production. Do you want that?

Sroka: Well, I think there is [sic] some antiquated views about what socialism is. I don’t think anyone’s calling for, you know, state ownership of the gas station down the street. But what we are saying is, is [sic] that the current system that we have right now isn’t working. Uh, you know, when over 40 million Americans are still living in poverty at the same time that, you know, a millionaire and billionaire class is trying to essentially own all political discourse in this country, that [sic] that’s problematic. And that’s what we have to work together to dismantle.

John did a pretty good job of debating the issues with Neil, I don’t need to belabor those further here.

But one thing that is often repeated that wasn’t addressed in the interview, is a claim by many on the left (and the right for that matter); the notion that whatever “it” is in America, “it” somehow isn’t working or is broken.

The United States of America is the single most powerful nation in the world—by a wide margin. Not just in military force, but in economic force.

Misleading Statistics
Misleading Statistics

Neil argued that there are over 40 million people (It’s 45 million, in fact) under poverty in America, but that number is a bit misleading.

Neil isn’t ignorant when he uses that number, it’s such a large number, it sounds horrible—giving it quite the shocking impact.

It convinces people, with actual facts (albeit misleading ones), that there is a massive problem. But the reality is, it’s only about 15% of the American populous, or approximately one out of seven people, as shown in this census bureau report. Which means 85%, or nearly 255 million, are in fact, NOT at the poverty level. Also quite factual, but significantly less shocking when thought of in that light.

While I feel for such people (I am almost one of them, so I really do feel for them), they are at the bottom 15%, and aren’t even close to the majority. Poverty is always a problem for people, and I don’t deny that. But America doesn’t have a poverty problem, I’d argue that the large majority of people under poverty have a personal problem—they’re not doing what is needed to get themselves out of poverty.

Still not convinced? Think about this. Imagine a random seven people you might meet on any given day. Then consider whether you think at least one of them, on average, is not really putting forth the kind of effort needed to be successful enough in life to be above the poverty level. I genuinely don’t feel like that’s a stretch by any measure.

People also love to point at “money buying elections” as part of the problem, but Obama spent less than Mitt Romney in 2012, yet he still won quite resoundingly.

In 2007, Obama didn’t start with a lot of money when he initially ran for president either. Hillary was the one with all the money behind her at the onset of that election cycle.

Presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.
Presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.

Socialists like Sanders like to create a cause-and-effect argument between money spent, and elections won, as if the money came first and drove the election results.

But it’s also entirely possible that instead; the money follows the person with the best ideas, and is therefore the effect versus the cause, which seems to be the case with Obama versus Clinton in 2007; assuming we can agree Obama is more charismatic and interesting than Hillary Clinton, and I think we can.

Stating that the system is broken and doesn’t work, appeals to people who are driven to have more, by exploiting the human tendency for confirmation bias. Americans know subconsciously that America is a strong and powerful economic nation. But many of these socialist supporters are unhappy with their own lives because of whatever their shortcomings might be, and it hurts to think of yourself as worse than average in any way.

So when someone points out that the system is broken, it gives such people a way to argue that their own inadequacies aren’t their problem after all; society, corporations, or rich people are actually to blame—just ask that guy.

Everything in the world is capable of improvement, and America is no exception. But if you’re an American, you should be incredibly thankful for what you have. As much as socialists like to talk about the poor 99% in America suffering the top 1%, if you’re an American making over $32, 400, when looking at the rest of the world, you are indeed part of the 1% yourself.

So unless those of you in that $30k bracket or higher, who are behind socialists like Bernie, are ready to give up 80-90% of your salary to the rest of the world as many socialists suggest the richest 1% in American be forced to give to the rest of us Americans, you are indeed, quite the hypocrite—congratulations and #FeelTheBern.

 

 

Advertisements

Religious Liberty? Sexual-Orientation Liberty? How about just “Liberty”

In January of 2013, an Oregonian bakery, Sweet Cakes by Melissa, refused to bake a cake for a lesbian couple who were soon to wed. Aaron and Melissa Klein, the bakery’s owners, are Christian, and felt that baking such a cake would violate their religious beliefs. As such, they refused the lesbian couple’s business.sweet_cakes_by_Melissa

As reported here by Fox, the couple faced a $150,000 fine, based on a January 29th, 2015 ruling, for discrimination as a result of such action.

Being an atheist and a libertarian, I find Aaron and Missy’s actions egregious and disgusting. I suspect many people who champion gay rights are happy to see them in trouble. But, as much as libertarians are indeed for gay rights, we are supposed to champion rights for all people, qualifiers be damned.

While the courts are doing a good job protecting the rights of the lesbian couple, they are taking away rights from the Kleins in doing so, and this is no better.

If the Constitution’s 1st amendment guarantees free speech under the law so people can say hateful things, shouldn’t the 1st amendment’s freedom of religion clause protect those who practice religion-based hate just the same?

U.S. Constitution: 1st Amendment
U.S. Constitution: 1st Amendment

If I were the gay couple looking to get the aforementioned cake, I’d be rather insulted by the Klein’s actions, but if I believe in liberty, I’d fight vehemently for them to engage in such hate, so long as their hate isn’t harming me in some way. Let the free market deal with the Kleins in the court of public opinion.

I could do so by taking my story to local media, which happened as a result of this case, but I could also go on social media like Facebook and Twitter and spread the fact that the Kleins are not gay-friendly, hoping reasonable people opt not to frequent their store, harming their business accordingly.

The free market appears to have done exactly that since the aforementioned article by Fox indicates they have since moved to doing business out of their home, because the loss of business cost them the ability to continue leasing their store. They opted to start a GoFundMe campaign to help them with their cause, but that later was shut down, again due to the free market flexing its muscle as gay rights groups got GoFundMe to pull the Klein’s campaign.

Religious groups on the right are calling for religious liberty, but in my opinion, they are equally bad in all of this, since I doubt many of them support the lesbian couple’s right to marry. If they do, good on them for not being hypocrites.gay-marriage1[1]

If America is indeed a free-market capitalist system, government has no right to impose its will on private enterprise in this way. Yet we Americans tolerate it because we ignore the fundamental basis of the Constitution—that we all have equal rights under the law, including business owners like the Kleins.

Equal rights under the law has to mean that any business should have the right to engage in, or refuse, business with anyone else for any reason imaginable, no matter how hateful and disgusting those reasons may be.

Why? Because it’s their business. Despite Obama’s claims to the contrary, they built it, and they own it. They should have the right to build it up or burn it down however they see fit.

But we so often call for such laws, because there seems to be this knee-jerk reaction that every time someone is wronged, instead of trusting in the free market to sort it out, we feel we must ask government to pass a law to prevent this from happening in the future instead. But that is not, nor ever should be, the purpose of government.

Government’s duty is only to protect your rights, not your feelings. In a free country, you are going to be exposed to people who offend you, but that also means you are free to walk away and not listen to them or deal with them.

The lesbian couple certainly could have found another bakery, or simply baked their own cake. Why would they want to do business with people they know don’t like them in the first place?lesbian_wedding_cake[1]

It’s certainly their right to ask the Kleins to bake them a cake, but how could anyone say they have a right to demand the Kleins bake them one? Don’t the Kleins have rights?

So as much as gay rights groups were up in arms until the January 29th decision was handed down, and now religious groups are up in arms instead, I’d call for both of them to stop being hypocrites. If you say you’re for freedom and rights, then you have to champion the rights for those who hate you too.

 

 

She Who Shouldn’t Be Named – Why I’ve Always Despised Hillary, and a Strategy For Defeating Her

I recently stated among friends, that I’ve vehemently despised Hillary Clinton since she was first lady; she has not done anything to change my opinion of her since.

My friend, attempting to challenge me on this, poignantly asked me what she could have possibly done as first lady to raise my ire. He was assuming I was just being a political ideologue with a hatred for anyone who is a Democrat, or at least Democratic in nature.

Hillary_Clinton_official_Secretary_of_State_portrait_crop[1]
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Little did he know, I actually do have a reason, and it’s called The Health Security Act of 1993, affectionately known as Hillary Care. Despite neither being an elected official of Congress or the Senate, Hillary Clinton, at the pleasure of her husband Bill, drafted a legislative proposal for a government mandated single-payer health care system—a socialized medicine scheme. It was similar to what Obama really wanted when he ultimately settled for the Affordable Care Act, a quasi-free market system.

This wasn’t “Just say no” or Michelle Obama’s campaign to get people to eat healthy, this was an attempt at a massive overhaul of the American way of life (free-market capitalism) that would have cost taxpayers more than any other subsidy before it—by far. Yet she didn’t have a single taxpayer vote for her, thus giving her any legitimate reason to do such a thing. Not to mention, it was equally disturbing her husband appointed her to do so.

If Hillary had an ounce of medical training, or a history of leadership in the insurance industry, she would have some qualifications to point to in proposing such a scheme, but she’s a lawyer, nothing more, and thus unilaterally unqualified to run a taxpayer-funded, trillion-dollar (likely) system.

In my opinion, this showed a monumental amount of arrogance, and an unprecedented lack of respect for the Constitution and the American people.  As the years have passed, she has never shown herself to be anything other than arrogant, disrespectful to our nation’s framework. Since then, she has also demonstrated a massive amount of untrustworthiness, with her various lies and legal indiscretions.

The United States Constitution
The United States Constitution

While I would never vote for a Democrat due to their current largely non-libertarian ideology, there are many Democrats I at least find respectful and trustworthy, just possessing a different ideology than my own, and I can respect that, to some extent.

Nonetheless, it would appear that the rest of the Democratic machine wants to have a baby with her, and unless she executes a bunny on national TV, she’s likely to be their nominee.

So with that in mind, I want to address Senator Rand Paul’s reaction to her, along with others from the GOP, and potentially the LP.

FORGET ABOUT HER, AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE, UNTIL THE DEBATES.

Rand, Rubio, Cruz, and others are on full attack mode against Hillary, and it’s a horrible strategy. People already hate attack ads, but for better or worse, a trait instilled within all of us is that a man attacking a woman, even if only verbally, is unbecoming and in poor taste. Just close your eyes for a minute, and imagine a bunch of guys angrily ganging up on a woman, and tell me who comes off looking like the villain—I assure you, it isn’t Hillary.

Senator Rand Paul (R)
Senator Rand Paul (R)

There is no metric where any GOP or LP candidate will win votes from people who weren’t going to already vote for them by attacking Hillary.

Instead, they should focus on why they will be a great president as they see it, then if asked about Hillary in general, simply respond that they assume she’s a patriot, but simply has a different idea for America than they do, and more importantly, than our forefathers did when they drafted the Constitution.

The news media, led by Fox News, but also some main stream outlets, print media, and internet agencies have challenged Hillary’s shortcomings, let them be the ones pointing out the flaws in her character, they aren’t running for anything.

Her ideas are atrocious, socialism always is. So attacking her character as a campaign opponent is unnecessary when you can simply point out the flaws in the ideas she’s promoting with logic and reason, letting her and her ideology die on their merits, without ever even mentioning her name.

But every time a candidate mentions her, she is effectively getting press. If you mention her in an attack, she’s now getting press as the woman being attacked by those mean men (since no other woman has indicated she is looking to enter the fray). This will only bolster her likability as she milks playing the victim.

Former Governor Gary Johnson - Libertarian nominee for President
Former Governer Gary Johnson – Libertarian nominee for President

I’ve made it clear on numerous occasions that while I like Gary Johnson first and foremost, Senator Paul is the one GOP candidate who would likely wrestle my vote from Governor Johnson. But I would still consider Rubio or Cruz a severe improvement over Obama a monumentally better choice than Hillary, even if they don’t get my vote.

So Senators Paul, Rubio, and Cruz, and anyone else yet to enter the presidential arena who happens to be a champion of liberty, please heed my advice, and consider Hillary “she who should not be named.”

Focus on the issues, and attack Democratic issues, but do whatever you came to not let the name Hillary Clinton leave your mouth unless you have to.

 

Anti-GMO Pot Smokers: The Unwitting Hypocrites

As someone who loves science, with more than just a passing interest, I tend to trust scientists in general far more than politicians, Hollywood stars, CEO’s or the general public.

Sometimes scientists get things wrong, but I think you’d be hard-pressed to argue that any group of people are more right about how the world works; my trust is placed in the most capable hands.

One of the more controversial subjects these days is genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Many people consume them without knowing it, some actively avoid them, and some are like me—trustful of the people who know more than me that the product that they are bringing to market has been well-researched, and has provided no evidence of any harmful effects to the consumer.fda_sign_web_14_0_0[1]

Recently, the FDA weighed in on genetically modified apples and potatoes, approving them for resale in the US. This won’t stop anti-GMO activists from attacking them, however. And companies like McDonald’s, have stated they have no intention of using the potatoes.

McDonald’s have not elaborated on their reasons to my knowledge, but assuming they’re aware of the science behind them, and the rigorous testing these potatoes must have passed by their manufacturer, J.R. Simplot, and then the FDA, I feel it’s safer to assume McDonald’s is simply making a smart marketing decision.Simplot logo[1]

People who are OK with GMOs will still buy from McDonald’s if they already were a customer, and people who are afraid of GMOs will too. The only people McDonald’s might lose are people making a principled stand to avoid them because they’re being anti-science, and I suspect such people are pretty small in numbers.

One group of people are unwitting hypocrites however, and that’s the high number of marijuana users who say they only consume organic, non-GMO foods.

Go to any pot dispensary, and you will find a myriad of choices available to the consumer so vast, that no other consumable crop likely exceeds it in variance. There are certainly more marijuana choices available than there are varieties of apples and potatoes.

The reason for this is that marijuana is one of the most heavily genetically modified organisms on the planet. People have been combining varieties of seeds for centuries to come up with crops that are either heartier to produce a greater yield of usable plant, or more often than not to yield a higher THC content for better highs.

The bottom line is that it’s nearly impossible to procure marijuana in its natural state these days.

Marijuana Harvest
Marijuana Harvest

So these users are either supremely ignorant as to how that pot came to be, or somehow have decided that the “scientist” who lives next door working out of their basement, and may or may not have taken a few biology classes, knows more than the multitude of PhD holders at Monsanto, Simplot, and/or the FDA as to what is safe for human consumption. If there’s logic in that, I don’t see it.

The argument is that marijuana is genetically modified by cross-pollination, or cross-breeding, a process where the pollen of one plant is introduced into the stigma of another. Essentially, it’s the plant version of crossing a horse with a donkey to create a mule.

By doing this, you’re coupling two plants with DNA which is nearly identical, but specifically that share a common trait you hope to enhance by combining them. This will usually work to some extent, because that’s how procreation works in general.

This is oversimplifying it a bit, but basically, when any two organisms procreate, the commonalities they share have a high chance of being part of the offspring, the traits they don’t share have a 50:50 shot at becoming part of the offspring, and of course, if neither have a particular trait, they are all but guaranteed not to produce offspring with that trait.

Think of shooting a shotgun at a target 100 feet away. Most of the shot may centralize around the bulls-eye, assuming your aim was true, but there will be scattered buckshot all around your aiming point that’s rather indiscriminate.Shotgun_Target This is cross breeding. You’ll get pretty close, and you’ll often have something close to the desired result (a bulls-eye), but you’ll likely have a lot of other stuff you didn’t necessarily want as well (shot outside the bulls-eye).

What people like Monsato and Simplot are doing however, is specifically activating or deactivating a particular and singular gene they know will give the offspring they create the desired result, without changing anything else. If cross-breeding is a shotgun at 100 feet, GMOs are a marine sniper on his best day from just 5 feet.

While I know this can be a soft spot for creationists, evolution is a very natural process. Traits that are most common in surviving species carry on, traits that aren’t usually die off before procreation, and go extinct. It’s an incredibly slow process that can take up to hundreds, if not thousands of generations. Cross-breeding and GMOs simply speed it up to one generation, and often obtains something pretty close to the desired result of the breeder, GMOs are simply the significantly more precise of the two.

It may not seem natural, and by definition it isn’t, but it’s effectively just an infinitely faster version of evolution, something that is indeed entirely natural.

Science, somewhat justifiably so, isn’t always considered trustworthy. There is a long history of scientific discovery that has been at the expense of human lives. Whether it be malicious Nazi scientists doing experiments on their Jewish captors, or well-intentioned experiments that have simply gone wrong, scientific endeavors have occasionally killed humans.

However, when you think of all the diseases that have been eradicated, all the organ transplants and medical procedures that have given people new leases on life, or all of the wonderful technology that simply makes our lives easier, clearly science has had an overwhelmingly positive influence on the human race.

GMO producers are simply either trying to being a better product to market, or often save lives by creating crops that can grow in places around the world who are starving because the produced GMO’s natural cousin won’t grow there, saving many lives. So if you’re against that, you’re unwittingly asking people to starve to death because you think it’s wrong for mankind to “play god” with food.

Either way, I love science, and I love the idea of using science to provide the world a better organism. Now pass me the GMO french fries.

 

Liberty With A Price Tag Isn’t Liberty. Colorado’s Legal Marijuana Isn’t As Good As You Think

Recently it was announced that Colorado’s overwhelmingly successful venture into legalizing recreational marijuana has generated so much tax revenue, that the people are owed a refund.

Before I condemn them on this tax, I must at least give them all due credit for having a clause in their state constitution that limits the amount of tax revenue that Colorado is allowed to collect before it must refund a portion to the people. It’s referred to as the Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TaBOR), and it’s a very pro-liberty thing to do.

Sadly, Colorado Republicans and Democrats alike are now upset they may have to give some of this money back however. I understand the Democrats being upset, they’ve never met a taxpayer dollar they didn’t genuinely believe they could spend better than the person who earned it. But it’s sad that the Colorado Republicans, the party that’s supposed to be about limited government, are somehow upset with this too.

Forget all of that though, because there is a much deeper issue here. This Colorado legal-pot situation is not as libertarian-friendly as one might think.

Marijuana Harvest
Marijuana Harvest

Colorado was smart enough to embrace the science that shows that marijuana is a fairly benign drug that is often less risky in its consumption than alcohol. They were also non-hypocritical enough to know that allowing alcohol while not allowing marijuana made little sense—kudos to them on both counts. But that’s where the liberty segment of their new pot-friendly legislation ends.

Sadly, politicians love new revenue streams more than I love my mom. Because the legislators in Colorado decided that instead of just giving people more freedom to choose what they put in their body, they would give them a way to do it prosecution-free, if and only if, they paid an additional tax over and above the normal sales tax, which exceeds 25% when all of them are added together.

Knowing this would generate a significant amount of tax revenue was certainly part of the equation, if not the impetus for legalization, when the one and only reason should have been that in a free country (or state in this case), it should have never been illegal in the first place.

What Colorado is essentially doing is no different from the sugary drink tax in Berkeley, California, cigarette taxes across the country, or any other tax on a product over and above the standard sales tax. They are using the tax system to encourage behavior like a backwards carrot on a stick. No rights are being protected, nor is any governmental service being offered.

Berkeley Soda Tax
Berkeley Soda Tax

As someone who supports a consumption tax system like the FairTax.org proposal, one might think that I and other libertarians would support a marijuana tax, but it’s very anti-libertarian on multiple fronts.

When sin taxes such as these are passed, it assumes that government has an interest in what you do to yourself and should penalize you for what they have determined is bad behavior. But government’s duty is to protect you from others who would harm you, not from yourself. They have no right to tell you how to live your life or be the arbiter of what is good behavior. Are you comfortable letting them tell you what shows you should watch or what kind of mate you should choose?

The reason to support a consumption tax is that it’s effectively a fee for services rendered. If government builds infrastructure, and enforces contracts between enterprises which allow all of these products to freely come to market, it’s a fair way to charge people for that government service. But what service is Colorado providing for the marijuana tax?

For instance, I can fairly argue it’s okay to add a diesel/gasoline tax, because that money then pays for roads. You’re being charged a fee for services rendered. However, there is no additional service Colorado is providing with their multitude of tacked on taxes to marijuana, it’s simply a revenue stream that goes into the state’s general fund, and the oh-so-common “It will go towards helping schools” argument is also part of the equation.ColoradoMarijuanaTax.thumbnail[1]

I’ll set aside my argument that there shouldn’t be public schools in the first place, but why exactly is a pot smoker disproportionately responsible for educating Colorado children or paying for other non pot-related issues?

If we love liberty, we should never support a tax that cannot be directly attributed to the item being taxed as a fee for a service government is providing. With government, we are often forced to accept compromise to appease the statist-minded voters and politicians, and I’m sure Colorado’s marijuana tax is no different, but we are most certainly not to a point where we can call Colorado’s legal marijuana system a victory for libertarianism.

It’s no more of a victory than if a football team were losing 70-0 and in the closing seconds scored a field goal to avoid getting blown out. Sure it feels good to put points on the board, but you still lost in the end.

Drug Testing For Government Checks? How About Work For Government Checks?

For nearly as long as we’ve had government entitlements, we’ve had people wanting government to drug test the people receiving them. The purpose being that if I have to take a drug test to get a job to pay into this system, they should have to take a drug test to get the money out of it.

Aside from that, many would like to know that their hard-earned tax dollars are not going towards buying drugs instead of food, water, and shelter—the things these programs are supposed to be for. It’s a fair point that I used to agree with it. However, as I see the issue, this is frankly a red herring.failed-drug-test[1]

If our concern is about misspent monies, then why give them money at all? With food stamps for instance, they would just get actual food, not cash to buy food. While that still doesn’t prevent trading food for drugs, it would at least make it significantly more difficult since most drug dealers are usually not apt to take two steaks for a dime bag.

What about the people who use the money for new Air Jordans, wheels for their car, fur coats, or other frivolous items. These are no more what that money was intended for than drugs, but no drug test will sniff out other frivolous waste like this. Not to mention, alcohol is equally wasteful, equally mind-numbing, and very commonly where money from government entitlements ends up.

Getting away from those who rightfully qualify for these programs, what about the fraudsters? Many people do side work under the table, easily make enough to support themselves, but because there’s no W-2 to rat them out, they get a government check because it appears they qualify for assistance.

These people could be people doing illegal work like selling drugs or prostitution (which should be legal in my opinion), or these could be people who are doing legal work, but just getting paid under the table for it tax-free.prostitution-car[1]

The system, no matter how you work it, is always highly corruptible, and thus the reason most limited government advocates like myself feel government should not be in the business of salvaging the lives of those who have chosen a path that doesn’t afford them their basic food, drink, and shelter needs.

If we move off of the corrupt things people might do with government entitlement monies, does someone failing a drug test mean that they used taxpayer money to buy drugs? Not necessarily.

For instance, pot smokers in general are usually rather friendly in my experience. While I’ve never used marijuana myself (no joke), I’ve been offered it more times than I can count. Maybe this person who might fail a dug test was just at a friend’s house Friday night and benefitted from some “puff-puff-pass.”

Insuring that government money is used for the purpose intended is nearly impossible, and as such, a fool’s mission. This is why libertarian-minded people like me would simply argue that you can’t corrupt what doesn’t exist in the first place, and end all such programs. As heartless as it may seem, we honestly believe charities would do a better job, and people would be more charitable if given those tax dollars back.

But there is another way. While most libertarians want to quash entitlements altogether, there may be a more capitalistic way we all benefit from them doing it, and the answer is in community service.

Instead of offering money for doing nothing, why not offer government on-the-spot labor? Instead of having to apply for government handouts, you simply go to a government office, and say, “what can I do?”help-wanted-marijuana-legalized-jobs[1]

In any town around the country, there can be litter and trash lying around, infrastructure that could use improvement, graffiti that needs cleaned off walls, schools that could use adults standing guard, or any other myriad of things we’d like to do, but we don’t often have the money to do it.

Local citizens might contact their government office with needs that these people could fill such as help mowing a lawn or shoveling a driveway even. Or companies could broker deals to get on-the-spot labor through local government assistance office. Local businesses often need an extra person due to employee illnesses, random promotional events that may require extra help, etc. The citizens or companies would pay the people directly, the welfare office would simply connect the two parties.

No one has a right to get paid for doing nothing, and government is a guarantor of rights, not a charity.community-service-trash

The jobs they’d be assigned would be menial, difficult, unrewarding tasks that no one else wants to do, thus  ensuring that people will seek gainful employment elsewhere, doing community service for no longer than is necessary to bridge the gap between jobs.

It has never been, nor ever will be government’s business to know what you put in your body, and suggesting we should drug test people to get government assistance is a violation of their rights after my rights were violated by stealing from me to assist them, despite my objections to it.

Under my proposal, I frankly don’t care what they do with that money. If they provided a valuable service, they earned it, and like me, should be able to spend it however they see fit. They win, the taxpayers win, and nobody got something for nothing.

 

 

Money Is Not The Root Of All Evil

“Money is the root of all evil.” How many times have you heard this phrase from someone?

There’s a number of reasons why people might feel this way, but none of the arguments amount to anything more than a logical fallacy. But let’s examine the different truths and psychological aspects of this sentiment.Burning Money

One reason for such a belief is from the idea of overt greed that is assumed to go with people who have money—one person, trying to collect it all, often at the expense of others. It’s a popular Hollywood storyline, but is it true?

It’s certainly consistent with dictators who take it all by force, but that’s usually one sociopath ruling over many victims. And I say they’re sociopaths, because they are often committing genocide, or at least routinely kill their ideological components.

But applying that sentiment to CEO’s and other rich people in a free country is usually just the product of jealousy and ignorance. Firstly, America’s richest make their money by providing a product the rest of us voluntarily buy—not compelled to buy, such as the services offered by a tyrant. But also, the rich have historically been quite charitable. And this makes perfect sense.

Bill Gates
Bill Gates

Humans have two qualities that are fairly consistent among all of us—competitiveness and empathy.  Sociopaths lack empathy, but as near as I can tell, there is no word for people who lack a competitive spirit, but I suppose they could be called competipaths for the sake of our discussion. It is believed sociopaths make up a mere 4% of the population, but who knows about competipaths? No such research exists.

But nonetheless, I highly doubt they’re in greater numbers. Competition fuels adrenaline and provides a rush, leading us to strive to earn more. If you have ever competed in a sports activity and were upset about losing, or mad that a coworker earned more than you, you have a competitive spirit. But even if you’re very competitive, at some point empathy causes us to want to help those when we can.

Many of us want to win, but we don’t necessarily want others to lose. Ever watch two fighters in the UFC’s octagon beat each other to a pulp, then hug each other when the match is over? Then you’ve witnessed what I’m referring to.

While we have an innate self-preservation instinct that keeps most of us from being too giving, some people don’t even seem to have that; exhausting themselves and their resources trying to solve other people’s problems.

Rich people are not a different species, they just have more drive, luck, intellect, or any combination of the three. Some are sociopaths and will never be charitable, but the rich are no more likely to be sociopaths than the poor—they’re just more successful.

But moving from the psychology aspect to the facts, the truth is that money is nothing more than an instrument of trade. If we go back to a time without money, when the barter system would have been the norm, imagine you built wooden widgets from an oak tree you’ve chopped down out of the oak forest in your back yard. Your neighbor, however, builds stone gadgets carved out of rocks from a mountainside on his property.

Now imagine you find that you have a need for a gadget, and because you have an oak forest, you have an abundance of widgets you’ve made. So you go to your neighbor and offer him one of your widgets for one of his gadgets. If he has a need for a widget, transaction complete—all is well.

Bartering
Bartering

But what if you break your gadget? So you ask your neighbor if he’ll swap again, but you’re neighbor’s widget is still fully functional, and he has no need for another. Now you’re screwed if you have nothing else to offer him, and this is essentially how money was born.

Because your neighbor has no need for another widget, your widget has no value for him, but money is a universally accepted instrument of trade that has universal value to everyone.

In truth, money only has value because we all agree to it, which is an interesting thought in its own right. Some want us to return to the gold standard, but the fact is that gold only has value because we agree to it too. If I were to somehow stumble upon a lode of 50,000 tons of gold, or gold somehow otherwise became undesirable, gold’s value would plummet tremendously.

The reality is that the only things that will always have value are air, food, and water, because we need them for life.

But back to the subject of money. Now that we understand it’s an instrument of trade, let’s get back to the greed aspect.

I know that many in the religious community take issue with evolution, but I think most people understand the concept well enough, and accept the basic principle that animals have evolved. It’s not like we don’t have an abundance of proof. There are new species of animal discovered often, and a significantly great number of extinct species as well. Not to mention, DNA indicates we’re all descendents of what scientists call LUCA (Last Universal Common Ancestor).

The basic concept behind evolution is the advancement of our species, which means every life form that has ever existed, has instilled within its DNA a need to advance itself. So people think that greed is a uniquely human trait, but nothing could be further from the truth. It’s a completely natural trait in all living things, some more complex than others.

Certain trees grow taller than those around them so they can “steal” the sunlight from shorter plant life. My cats hiss at each other when one tries to eat the other’s food. Studies found that Capuchin monkeys would get mad when they felt they weren’t given their fair share. (See video above) But as long as they were given enough food to survive, why be greedy?

Many people want to believe that this monkey experiment showed a desire for fair share, effectively arguing the monkeys are socialist. But this is actually quite wrong. Yes they wanted a fair share, but the monkeys don’t want other monkeys who didn’t do anything to get free treats, and they certainly aren’t interested in giving the treats away to welfare monkeys. They want paid for the work they did and enjoy the fruits of their labor.  Those monkeys are capitalists.

So money isn’t the root of all evil, it’s an instrument of trade for people who are willing to produce and be a productive part of society. It’s the statists who exhibit traits we would sometimes call evil, they want money for what they didn’t do. If anything is unfair, it’s that.