Tag Archives: liberty

Drug Legalization is the Yin, don’t forget the Yang

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

Recently on Stossel, Ann Coulter made an argument that was factually accurate, yet fundamentally wrong if she wishes to fight for liberty, where she is in essence proposing to treat the symptom, not the cause.

She argued that drugs should be illegal because of our welfare state. Meaning that because a drug user destroys themself, they usually end up in a hospital with conditions arising from drug use. Rarely can they afford to pay for treatment since many are unemployed and/or broke from their habit; so as a result, their expenses are often at the expense of others. Therefore; by her logic, these drug users are violating our right to property (money) by burdening us with the costs born from their habit.

Ann Coulter
Ann Coulter

The reason this argument upsets me is that she’s going after the users who are only hurting themselves instead of going after the government for compelling hospitals to help them.

In 1986, Congress passed the Emergency Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) as part of COBRA. It prohibits a hospital from turning away a patient in need of emergency care, regardless of their ability to pay.

But hospitals, like any other business, should have the right to choose whether to help someone based on their own criteria. Make it easier for a hospital to garnish accounts, property, and wages if the patient agrees to it, or allow them to let nature take its course if the patients refuse.

If a hospital wants to have a free clinic supported by charitable donations, they should be lauded for doing so. Many already do this. But if you opt to kill yourself, or engage in behavior that may get you killed, that’s your right. It’s none of the government’s business, and certainly not the responsibility of hospitals and taxpayers to take that right from you.

When I make this argument, people accuse me of sociopath wanting others to die. But like any other strawman argument and ad hominem attack, that’s not what I said—it’s a diversionary argument. I don’t want people to die, and would vehemently fight to save a family member from their attempts at hari-kari, but I’m not OK with being pilfered of my earnings to keep the entirety of the American populace alive, especially those in danger due to their own lack of personal responsibility or desire to die.

As I said in my previous article,  illogical arguments that destroy your rights, in a free country, the starting point must be that everything is legal. From there, one must make a case as to why something should be made illegal by showing that it infringes on the rights of another. So making laws that protect someone from their own self-destructive behavior is fundamentally wrong.

As long as the government compels hospitals to provide care to people, regardless of whether or not they can pay, then arguing that such activity should remain illegal under that paradigm is fair. The problem with this tactic is that I can make the same argument for taking away alcohol, cigarettes, Cheetos, red meat, or Bloomy’s big soda ban.

So while Ann’s argument makes sense, it only makes sense if we just roll over and take the assault on liberty that is EMTALA. I’ve never gotten the impression Ann Coulter is afraid to say what she thinks, so ignoring this lends me to believe that she’s either given up fighting for liberty in favor of taking the path of least resistance, she’s ignorant, or there’s something else at play; which I’ll get to in a moment.

Another common argument is that it is illegal because it cannot be easily taxed. If I apply some basic skepticism, I have to look at this is a false argument too. First, while I think politicians are not always honest, I don’t believe they’re evil. I can’t rationally imagine they sit in a room and say, “We can’t let people do something they love unless we figure out a way to tax it.” I think one has to be mighty jaded and cynical to believe that’s happening. I can’t prove it doesn’t, but I’m not buying it until someone shows me evidence it does. Politicians are people, just like you and I; let’s not make them out to be satan’s minions.

Just a dude growin' some bud
Just a dude growin’ some bud

Although marijuana is significantly easier to grow than tobacco in the U.S., the fact remains it can be done, and prior to corporations with assembly lines, it was done. Yet, companies assemble cigarettes and people buy them because it’s easier than doing it themselves. The government overtaxes them like it’s part of their religion, which I believe it actually may be, but people don’t seem to care enough to resort to making their own. I have a friend who buys raw tobacco and makes them because he’s poor and it’s cheap, so it is done on occasion, but most simply can’t be bothered.

So where do I believe the problem truly resides? Ignorance and religious conditioning. The ignorance part is seen every time someone makes the improper statistical argument that marijuana is a gateway drug (Also explained in illogical arguments that destroy your rights). People believe marijuana is capable of doing a myriad of things that science has proven it can’t or generally won’t do.

As for the religious component; we’ve been conditioned to believe using mind-altering substances is a morally wrong thing to do, regardless of the fact it isn’t harming anyone else. Even alcohol, which is legal now by virtue of the disaster of prohibition, is still restricted on Sundays and after certain hours of the evening in most states; this is solely because of religious values. Don’t believe me? Remind me again, what is special about Sunday?

While I don’t necessarily believe politicians are consciously outlawing such things based on religious views, I believe that religious conditioning is causing them to subconsciously make decisions they feel are morally just, based on what they’ve been taught, not what science might have proven to the contrary. Much like a bad detective may look for evidence that a husband is his wife’s murderer based on statistics and pre-conceived notions instead of following the evidence without bias.

The 1st Amendment
The 1st Amendment

While we have a clear first amendment that prohibits laws establishing or prohibiting religion, we seem to be far too tolerant with laws that are based on religious principles instead of the protection of one’s rights.

Since this is a fine line, lawmakers make diversionary arguments to deflect away from the fact their legislation violates the spirit of the 1st amendment such as one like Ann Coulter’s argument. It’s easier to attack the drug user’s rights than to fight Washington. Since they’ve been conditioned by their religion to believe that these people are behaving immorally, taking that right away from them is inherently good in their eyes.

Because Americans are a caring and moral people, we’re quick to pass laws to prevent them from killing themselves or being declined a life-saving service they cannot pay for—liberty for the doctor or taxpayer be damned. But when us libertarians argue to let people use, we also have to be OK with letting those people die. If you cannot reconcile that, then you must side with Ann Coulter on this issue.

Note about the author: I have never used, nor have much interest in using marijuana. I care about liberty, not getting high.

Let’s Protect The Victims, Not The Felons

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

This may not seem very libertarian of me to some, but often we have our own unique views of liberty. Some libertarians are anarchists who believe in no rule of law whatsoever. But much like socialism; anarchy relies on the notion that people will always do the right thing, which is obviously unrealistic. Under anarchy, those who don’t respect the rights of others would be brought to justice solely by vigilantism; a scary proposition. As such, like socialism, anarchy would never work if we are to maintain a civilized society.

So as a logical libertarian, I feel there is a need for police to protect one person’s constitutional rights from another who might infringe upon them. If this occurs, then government applies commonly accepted justice to the offenders. However, the power to protect ourselves must remain with the people first.

Home IntruderHere’s the part where I think my opinion may be somewhat unique and controversial. While I consider myself a humanitarian, I draw a very clear and concise line on the lives I respect.

It stops at people who would willingly infringe upon my rights; such as rapists, murderers, molesters, and other violent felons. If someone breaks into my home in an attempt to take my life or property, I feel they’ve voluntarily forfeited their rights, and I will kill them with little remorse—a scenario most castle doctrines allow. I am always content to read about such attackers getting killed by either the police or their victims; it’s the epitome of swift justice.

Having liberty means that you have the right to take risks. You should be able to sky-dive, smoke a cigarette, drive without a seat belt, or drink a 20-oz soda (despite his excellency King Bloomberg’s wishes) if you so desire. So then in my opinion, if someone decides to engage in a felonious act against another person, whatever happens to them during that act was the risk they took in doing so.

If a man decides to rape a woman, and she shoots him in the back as he climbs off of her and runs away, you expect me to believe that she’s done something wrong? Yet by law, she is a murderer.

Jonathan Lowe's Mother
Jonathan Lowe’s Mother

I was disgusted last year to read about disabled veteran Jonathan Lowe being prosecuted, despite being the victim, because he stabbed a man to death who violently attacked him. How can any reasonable person consider this justice? The reason given was that the attacker had gotten up and was fleeing when Jonathan grabbed him and stabbed him, but I don’t care. Jonathan’s reaction was purely understandable.

The issue with many lawmakers and pacifists is that they’ve never been a victim of a violent crime, nor seem to appreciate the reaction it induces in even the most altruistic people. It requires unfathomable hubris to assume that they know how people will react in such a situation if they’ve not experience such an attack themselves. Controlling one’s instincts, emotions, and resultant actions after such an event is nearly impossible.

Humans have an innate sense or instinct of self-preservation. No matter how hard we might try to suppress it, we will react in an uncontrollable manner to stay alive. Don’t believe me? It is virtually impossible to commit suicide by holding your own breath. You’ll either breathe despite your best efforts not to, or you’ll pass out and then take a breath once you’re unconscious.

We’re unfairly penalizing people for succumbing to this instinct in a situation that they did not cause nor create. Once your life is threatened, unless you’re a soldier or police officer trained to stay calm in life-threatening events, temporary insanity will often ensue as you fight to stay alive and destroy that which threatens you. Anyone who has ever been violently attacked knows this.

With all that in mind, I am proposing victim protection legislation that would involve the following:

  • Duty to retreat laws should be abolished and prohibited at all levels.
  • Stand-your-ground-legislation should be a constitutionally enumerated right.
  • A carry-conceal permit from one state should be recognized by all states, just as a driver’s license currently is.
  • Committing an unprovoked felony would constitute a total forfeiture of rights under the law during the commission and escape of the felony by the felon.
  • The state, nor the perpetrator and their family should ever be allowed to criminally or civilly prosecute a victim, Samaritan, or officer who retaliated against the felon, no matter what injuries the felon may have sustained as long as the actions were committed during the commission of, or the fleeing from, the crime scene. If the felon escapes visual contact, only then should the victim or defender be required to cease any attempt to retaliate and allow the police to take over. as to stop vigilantism.
  • If someone retaliates recklessly, such as shooting a fleeing felon on a city street, the original victim could be charged for discharging a weapon within city limits or other applicable crimes, but the victim could not be charged in any way for a crime against the felon.

I specified “unprovoked” so that random bar fights and other escalations that started off civilly and grew to a felony would be treated differently. My act should only pertain to violent felonies involving premeditated intent, not flared tempers.

Police OfficerOne of the reasons crime is so prevalent is that criminals have too many protections under the law that embolden them. If more Americans armed themselves, and more would-be felons were killed by people who stood up to defend each other, then would-be-criminals who are on the fence about committing a felony might think twice.

I have a great amount of respect for our people in uniform overseas and on America’s streets. But I’m sick of the police telling me that I should allow myself to be victimized because the felon has rights too.

If the police had a 100% prosecution rate, if a victim’s property was always returned in tact, and the victim never suffered permanent bodily injury or emotional damage, maybe I could go along with giving the felons rights. But conviction rates are around 80%, and that’s only when they are able to find and arrest a defendant. Plus, property loss along with physical and emotional injury are the norm.

So with respect Mr. Police Officer or politician that thinks I should be bound by law to behave rationally when faced with an irrational attack—f*** you. I’ve been the victim of a violent crime twice in my life, and both times wasn’t armed. To this day, I regret not being able to retaliate against those thugs, and that was decades ago. Hopefully there isn’t a third, but if there is, armed with my pistol, I intend to be severely more prepared. Best of luck to my attacker (not really), but be assured I’ll be calling the police to send the coroner, not asking for them to come save me when they can get around to it.

The Won and Done Act

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

If you’ve read any of my posts, you know I love blue sky thinking. Coming up with new and innovative ideas that while may at first seem radical, are founded in logic and reason.

So with that in mind, I propose the Won and Done Act; and no, it’s not a typo.

The Won and Done Act I am proposing is legislation that would force government agencies to decrease in size and scope through time.

One of the problems is that like any group of employees, because they like a steady paycheck, they work hard at justifying remaining on the payroll—sometimes long after they’ve accomplished their mission. As a result, instead of agencies closing down after they’ve succeeded, or at least shrinking into a maintenance role, they continue to expand endlessly; competing for taxpayer dollars instead of showing concern for how that money is spent and what liberties are being taken away from the people paying for it.

EPA-LogoA most egregious example is the EPA. Before you think I am saying we should abolish the EPA altogether, I promise I am not that radical. Our government has a duty to protect us from anyone who threatens our rights. The EPA provides a very valuable service in this vein, because for example, we can’t just allow corporations to dump toxic waste into the river after all.

However, even though the EPA has largely thwarted America’s worst polluters and achieved their goals, they continue to grow like the Blob, and are equally terrifying. For instance, they raise Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards for the automotive industry in an attempt to decrease fossil fuel usage when the free market should be the only thing influencing this—then require components to reduce emissions that negatively impact fuel mileage. On top of that, NHTSA continually adds regulations which require components that also add weight. Physics dictates more weight results in more energy needed to propel it.

So in case you missed that nuance, the EPA mandates greater fuel mileage on new cars, then NHTSA and the EPA mandate weight adding and efficiency reducing components which ultimately reduce the overall fuel mileage. It’s like requiring someone to eat a dozen donuts then requiring they lose more weight. General-Motors_11There is little wonder GM had to be bailed out and file for bankruptcy with Uncle Sam leaning on them like that.

So here’s the concept of my Won and Done Act:

If I begrudgingly accept non life-saving government agencies, all  such government agencies should have a stated and specific goal as well as a time limit to achieve that goal. All such government positions should be temporary whenever possible.

Once an agency’s goal has been achieved or the allotted time has expired, the agency may not reinvent itself, redesign itself, or search for new ways to keep relevant unless otherwise voted and approved by the legislature or the people. If their mission is WON, then they are DONE. If they cannot complete their mission, then the mission is aborted. We must incentivize elected officials to eliminate jobs wherever possible.

No government agency should be allowed to add staff or regulations at their own discretion either. Instead, let’s create incentives for them to literally work themselves out of a job. Here are a couple of ways to accomplish this:

  • Implement a completion bonus for achieving their goal, so that when their job is eliminated, they get a reasonable bonus to allow them time to find new employment, and if they find one quickly, the bonus is just money in the bank.
  • Implement a bonus for self-elimination. If an employee can make a case that his/her job has become unnecessary, they could apply with management to eliminate their own position. We would assume they would already have another job waiting in the wings and just take the bonus.
  • Provide bonuses for management to reduce staff where possible, although this one should also include a bonus for the eliminated.

One shining example of this ideal is the US Military. United States MilitaryYou find that this sentiment is quite prevalent there. In times of conflict, people step up to do their civic duty, then once the mission is accomplished, a few will reenlist to keep the peace, but the rest return to civilian life.

So then why doesn’t the rest of government have that same mindset? There are a number of factors. The military isn’t unionized first and foremost, and the military isn’t notoriously a cushy job either. The military is run quite strictly, it’s full of men and women with courage and conviction, they are very goal oriented, and they generally signed up for the honor of serving, not because it’s a gravy job. When’s the last time you felt that sense of diligence from the people giving you your driver’s license exam?

Government service is supposed to be an honor, not a career you do until you retire. As long as they are unionized, with greater than private sector wages and benefits, they will continue to grow as more and more people fight to take advantage of those massive benefits. These incentives for government to expand must be stopped if we care about liberty and freedom.

So while my Won and Done Act may not be 100% practical, it could at least start a discussion that changes the mentality of government leaders making the decisions about how agencies operate.

Getting rid of labor unions seems like a pipe dream as well, but with successful reforms in Wisconsin, and right-to-work legislation passing in Michigan and elsewhere, we’re at least headed in the right direction. But sadly, there is currently no incentive for government agencies to work themselves out of a job, so they just keep growing. Don’t believe me? The president is touting out job growth, but he’s not so forthcoming about the fact that 73% of that growth is in government.

Michelle Obama A Libertarian?

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

Do not bring people in your life who weigh you down. And trust your instincts … good relationships feel good. They feel right. They don’t hurt. They’re not painful. That’s not just with somebody you want to marry, but it’s with the friends that you choose. It’s with the people you surround yourselves with. – Michelle Obama

Michelle Obama
Michelle Obama

This quote strikes me as odd. Michelle Obama is absolutely right. I echoed this sentiment in my column Bad Friends too. So I don’t want to belabor or revisit that point.

However, this is a sign that Michelle Obama’s ideals seem to be in conflict with one another. Because her and her husband continue to promote two virtues that are in direct contradiction to this thought.

The big-government mentality these days continues to paint the narrative that everyone is poor because they are not given a fair shot. I don’t know about you, but every time I hear this, I keep thinking to myself, “Mr President, may I buy you a mirror?”

Random Mirror
Random Mirror

We have the son of financially modest parents, who is of mixed race, as president of the United States. If this isn’t one of the greatest lands of opportunity for all people on this planet, how the H-E-double hockey sticks is this man even president? We may have a sketchy past with how we treated other races and women, but so do other countries. However, if you look at us now, we are clearly the country to be in if you want to make it big.

If you disagree with me, feel free to name one country more foreigners attempt to migrate to than the United States. When you’ve found one, let me know. They don’t come here because they like a challenge and it was just too easy in their own homeland. They come here because we have a wealth of pretty humble people who turned nothing into something big—really big. That opportunity is solely because of the freedom America provides that the left, and some Republicans of late, seem to be so dead set on taking away.

America and its Constitution guarantees you many rights, one specifically enumerated being liberty. Liberty encompasses so much that it’s hard to even fathom, but opportunity is a huge part of it. So while it’s fashionable to say that people who are poor and unsuccessful are victims, I know too many alcoholics, drug users, people too lazy to work, people too unmotivated, too unambitious, and people to mean-spirited to make friends and get ahead, that I cannot begin to entertain the idea that every person below the median income is a victim.

The United States Constitution
The United States Constitution

What I don’t know is someone who has impeccable business sense, pure genius, supremely motivated, and is a good decision maker, yet somehow success always eludes them. I know they’re out there, but if you want to convince me that there are more of them, than there are people of the “I like to shoot myself in the foot” variety, I’m going to say that you are “honesty-challenged.”

So with that being said, why do the Obama’s try to appeal to the people who have done the least at the expense of those who have done the most? I’m not a psychiatrist, and I say this with serious trepidation as I cannot know what’s in their heart, but I feel like they are consummate politicians who are more concerned with winning than with what is right and just. I try to see the best in people, including the Obama’s, but this last election cycle has shown me that honesty and character are qualities they too often lack.

My other point is that they love to play the class warfare game as if it’s part of their religion. They scoff endlessly at people with money who have worked hard and achieved success. How did these people become so successful? I have news for you Michelle, they got it by following your advice in the above quote. They purged bad influences from their life, cut their losses with people who weighed them down, sent leeches packing, and rid themselves of people who polluted their attitude with bad mojo. Yet instead of pointing to these people as an inspiration, you point to them as if they’re the sworn enemy of the working man.

Never mind that they create all the jobs, provide all the products we enjoy, pay almost all of the taxes, and serve as inspiration to every immigrant and entrepreneur that comes to this great land; they’re somehow the problem?

Ellis Island
Ellis Island

I pride myself in trying to be a person who uses logic and reasoning to make well thought out points, and not just throw out hyperbole, ad hominem attacks, and other logical fallacies. But as much as I try to divorce myself from passion, this disgusting tactic of attacking the people who are successful and insinuating they’re the ones keeping the masses down infuriates me.

So Michelle, if you believe what you say, then get big government out of our way. Let successfully minded people be successful, and let failures fail. Good people fail all of the time, and they often rebound from it better, stronger, and faster. Anyone who has ever gotten fired from one job, had their ego pummeled, then parlayed that termination into an even better career and never looked back, knows I’m right.

Conversely, let the ne’er-do-wells do whatever it is they’re going to do and live or die with the results. If they’re good people, I assure their family and friends will help them if they’re at least trying to help themselves. I know this from personal experience after my own failures.

I’m not going to make the argument that there are no victims out there who are doing bad through no fault of their own, nor am I making the argument that everyone with money is a wonderful human being. The fact is every social class, race, sex, religion, or any other discriminate group has its share of good and bad people. But I do know this: by and large people reap the rewards of their efforts, or feel the pain of their lack of effort more often than not. In a land of opportunity, it takes a lot of effort to succeed. If you don’t have that motivation, then that’s not Bill Gates’ fault. That’s on you.

More guns equals more crime? If You Don’t Have The Science, Bite Your Tongue

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

 

Blog1
Bob Costas

A recent study in Virginia suggests that an increase in gun sales may result in lower crime rates, not more. How could this be? Bob Costas and others insist it’s the other way around. So who should I trust? Science or a sportscaster?

Of course I’m being facetious, and no doubt Costas means well—but Bob is severely lacking in his scientific acumen on the subject. Instead of speaking from a skeptical point of view, he decided to bloviate from the heart and off the cuff.

I don’t want to begrudge anyone’s opinion of not wanting guns around; it’s a personal choice. But what I have a problem with is people making false or ignorant claims on national TV as if they’re an authority (which he is not), proposing to take away a freedom I enjoy because they don’t enjoy it, exploiting a tragedy to push a political agenda, and quite frankly, advancing that agenda during a venue where it’s inappropriate.

Being a gun owner who loves the stress-relief target shooting can often bring, I was quite annoyed. Had I been NBC’s CEO, Bob would have been shown the door. It was irresponsible and unprofessional to say the least. I’m not calling for him to be fired, that’s for NBC to decide; but I would like to think Bob should have known better and NBC would expect and demand better from its talent.

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Pittsburgh Steelers
Javon Belcher

So let’s start to think logically about what Bob said. He insinuated that but not for the purchase of a hand gun, that Javon Belcher and his wife would be alive today. In theory, Bob is saying that this couple was otherwise happy and harbored no ill will towards each other. But then Belcher bought a gun, and for reasons solely motivated by Belcher owning that gun, he committed murder, then suicide.

Does that seem as ridiculous to you as it does to me? I hope so, because it is. What evidence does Costas have to demonstrate that if Belcher didn’t have a gun, he would not have used a knife? What would have prevented him from bludgeoning her to death with any other random household item?

They had marital issues coupled with what appears to be mental issues with Belcher. He had spent the evening with another woman the night before, after all, yet seemed to have a problem with his wife going out to a concert without him. Then of course he settled the argument by murdering her, then himself. Perfectly stable minds don’t do that. So let’s lay the blame where it belongs, a decline in someone’s state of mind.

The fact is Bob Costas had an opportunity to offer condolences to a grieving family, which to some extent he did. But then he ruined that moment by advancing an agenda and exploiting a tragedy.

Let me give you an example that might explain why this is so irksome. Imagine a wife losing a husband to heart failure. Let’s assume that he wasn’t exactly a health and fitness nut, but instead he just enjoyed life the best he knew how, ate what he wanted, did what he wanted, and lived with the consequences. Then imagine someone coming up to his wife and said, “I’m very sorry for your loss. But you know, if your husband had eaten better and exercised more, he’d still be alive.”

I’d be furious, and I’m sure any one of  you would be equally upset as well. That’s in essence what Bob did. When a tragedy occurs, you just offer condolences, not advice, and you definitely don’t proselytize.

But back to guns. blog3I own guns for two reasons. While I do not hunt, I do love target shooting. But more importantly, if someone enters my house with ill intent, I’m not calling 911 to help me, I’m calling 911 to come pick up the body. Maybe they were there just to steal my TV, but I’m not interested in risking my life by blowing my cover and asking their intent—they’re simply going down.  That’s why we have things like the Castle Doctrine and Stand-Your-Ground legislation. If we are to be a free nation, we can never be expected to cede our life, liberty, and property to anyone who wishes to take it unlawfully.

If we are serious about reducing crime, we need to discuss the reduction of laws that incite violent crime. Here’s a hint: every law that the vice squad enforces is part and parcel for most violent crime. Get rid of those laws, and much like the repeal of prohibition, violent crime goes down. It should come as no surprise that people get violent when you take away their freedom.

blog4
Dr. Michael Shermer

Believe it or not however, as Dr. Michael Shermer suggests, studies show that as mankind evolves, violence continues to decrease all around the world anyway. So while the news leads you to believe things are getting worse, studies show they just aren’t. I believe that this decrease in violence is proportionate to the continued downfalls around the world of tyrannies, theocracies, and any other form of government that doesn’t have freedom at its core.

Let me ask you a theoretical question. You are feeling kind of frisky and you decide you want to pick a fight with someone, so you pick any random guy standing around. Now imagine that guy had a holster with a gun in it, are you feeling just as frisky now? Assuming you’re not suicidal, I imagine not. Therefore, we know that guns often thwart violence, because people rarely mess with someone carrying one—even if they carry one themselves. It’s just the theory of mutually assured destruction on a smaller scale.

The fact is, we will never have all the facts because there are no studies to show all of the crimes that didn’t happen because a would-be-attacker got spooked by the would-be-victim being armed.

Our forefathers were immensely thoughtful when writing the Constitution and there is nothing there by accident. The right to bear arms was very important to them because while “We the people” hire police to protect us, that doesn’t mean that we assign them the authority to be the only ones who can protect us. Our own protection starts with us.US Constitution

So forgive me Mr. Costas, but if you’re not going to think your statements through, do the scientific study, or at least research other science; you might want to learn to bite your tongue before you voice support for infringing upon our Constitutional rights. A majority of us don’t appreciate it.

Government is you. Act like it!

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

One of the things that I find most troubling with the public’s attitude towards government is the misunderstanding of what the government is, what it is for, and how it was designed to be used.

We elect representatives to protect our rights, as enumerated in the Constitution, but that are deemed innate among each of us, simply be virtue of being alive. If we strictly adhered to the Constitution, that’s pretty much all government would do.

Then, for reasons I can find little logic to justify, we let them do other things like carry the mail, administer health care, manage our retirement, and even study the effect of pot on a man’s most prized appendage.

With that in mind, I’d like to remind people what our forefathers intended for government: it is essentially an extension of you. We pay our government officials to do things that we can’t be bothered to do ourselves because we don’t have the individual resources, money, time, or expertise. Everything the government does, is literally done at your behest.

Below are a few glaring examples of where government has overstepped its Constitutionally-defined bounds. But using these examples, I’m sure you can think of many more; which is why I have a “comments” section below this post. Please, spout off at your leisure.

For those of you, like me, that do not use recreational drugs such as marijuana, I have a bit of information that may surprise you: I solemnly swear to you that you have several acquaintances that smoke marijuana. If you’re a realist, you already know this. But if you’re a prude, you’re saying, “I would never be friends with someone like that.” I promise if you are the latter, you are indeed friends with someone like that—they just know you’re a prude and bite their tongue to avoid your reaction.http://localtvkdvr.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/marijuana-joint.jpg?w=400

So imagine that this person happens to be your favorite neighbor, which it probably is, because trust me when I tell you that marijuana users can be quite entertaining. Now imagine if you knew they were smoking it next door. Would you go over, barge in, put a gun to their head, and demand they stop immediately or you’ll use deadly force?

I’m guessing your answer is no.

Conversely, if you knew your favorite neighbor were over there molesting a child or murdering their spouse, unless you’re the most depraved of individuals among us, you would not hesitate to intervene and potentially stop them with deadly force.

So the difference is obvious. One is a personal choice without a victim. One is a blatant infringement on someone’s right to life and liberty.

So if you insist on making something illegal, at least hold yourself to a standard that says you would intervene yourself if there were no such thing as government to do it for you. Because in both the above scenarios, if you call 911, people with guns will shop and potentially use lethal force on your behalf.Utah-DPS-SWAT[1]

The other issue is a little more subtle, yet equally troubling; tolerating things you wouldn’t dream of tolerating if it were done to you personally.

Imagine you had a nice house with an unused extra bedroom. A friend of yours is down on their luck, lost their job, and can’t afford the apartment they’re currently in. So you offer to let them stay at your place rent free because you’re a good person, and you believe that it will be a short-term cohabitation.

The days turn into weeks, then months. You even tell your friend about some job leads you’ve heard of that you know he could do, but your friend’s answer is always the same.

While I’m living here off of you and not paying anything, I’m going to ride it out for my ideal job.  I could take a lesser job for now in order to earn something while looking for a better job during my off time, but I’d rather not.

Is there anyone among you that wouldn’t grab that freeloader by the scruff of their neck, bury your foot in their salad shooter, and tell them never to come back? I’d be furious! Yet we all allow this to happen every single day with unemployment insurance. That’s your money they’re living off of! Many could work and take a less optimal job, but they choose not to while there’s “free money” just lying around.freeloader-beer-2[1]

If you read my previous post about privatizing everything, and you think I’m onto something, then maybe it’s time to do some serious blue sky thinking and look at getting rid of government subsidized unemployment insurance in favor of a private version.

You may point out that no one offers private unemployment insurance. Ss far as I know, you’re likely be right. But that’s only because the government has a monopoly on it; and therefore private insurers aren’t bothering to even try. You’re being pilfered for the government’s unemployment insurance, so why would anyone pay additionally for a private option on top of that since opting out of Uncle Sam’s isn’t allowed? https://logicallibertariandotcom.files.wordpress.com/2012/12/20110316_unclesamgrope.jpg

I propose that we demand the government give people their money back and let them use that money to buy private insurance if they want, or live with the consequences of that risk if they choose not to. Liberty doesn’t just mean you have the right to have fun and enjoy life, it also means you have the right to gamble and fail. I will never acknowledge someone was successful if there was no risk of failure to begin with.

One thing I know about the private sector is this. If there’s a market for something, there’s an entrepreneur willing to provide it for a fee. If you get rid of the government monopoly on such things, private insurers would surely offer unemployment insurance for a nominal fee. Likely for less than the government does, and with far less waste and abuse.

So remember, if you wouldn’t do it yourself if you could, don’t ask government to do it for you.

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!