Tag Archives: life

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.

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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.

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.

The Constitution…or maybe not

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

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

How many times have you heard people cite this passage, or at least the “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” bit, as part of our constitution? If you’re anything like me, you’ve heard it often. However, also if you are like me, you know this is NOT part of our constitution. It’s actually from the Declaration of Independence. But for this discussion let’s disregard that distinction, because, although they are not one in the same, they are both doctrines outlining our framers’ intentions.

Even if you are not an American historian I think we can logically assume that the founding fathers were not at the local pub watching the Washington Redskins while sauced on mead when they suddenly decided to write some rebellious nonsense on a napkin in twenty minutes which now hangs in the National Archives. I think it’s fair to assume they spent time pouring over every single word carefully.

Many proponents of greater government intervention tend to ignore this.  In doing so, they miss a very important distinction—the word “pursuit”. Notice how it only comes before the word happiness and it’s actually there in the first place? This was not an accident.

Had they meant for you to only be able to pursue life and liberty, it likely would have been written, “The pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness”. Conversely if they felt like you had a right to be happy, they would have omitted the word altogether.

Proponents of a government-managed economy argue that the role of government is to ensure that all its citizens should be happy in some governmentally-induced Utopia. Yet in the history of mankind, such a Utopia has never really existed. When tried, they’ve usually failed miserably, collapsing under the weight of a tax and spend mentality. Socialism-supporters seem to believe that we have the capability, and the “filthy” rich have the money to do just this. Even if they were right, it was clearly not what our forefathers intended based on that little word “pursuit”.

America was founded on the understanding that without risk, there can be no real reward. Many of us try and fail, some do so to a perilous end.  This is unfortunate, but even so, safety nets are not in the American DNA. Let other nations go broke pursing that pipe dream; we should stick to the formula that has served us so well thus far.

The First Amendment

How many times have you heard the term “Separation of church and state” as a Constitutional argument? My guess is thousands. Again, these words are not in our constitution. What people do all too often is further their agenda by modifying the 1st Amendment which reads: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”

I’ve confessed before that I am a science and skepticism advocate and have no active belief in any religion, so one would suspect that I want to further the atheist cause, but I don’t. America is largely Christian, and attempting to diminish that because one is an Atheist is no more proper than Christians trying to force me to become part of their faith.

A recent example was the 9/11 cross; a remnant from the original towers destroyed on that tragic day. It was two I-Beams left standing that formed a cross after all the wreckage began to clear. Many Christians considered it a sign, and the cross was taken to a local church during the clean-up process at ground zero. Now that the new structure is being built, the church has returned the cross to the government-owned memorial site. Atheists are citing separation of church and state issues and crying foul.

So my question to them is this—looking at the amendment it says, “Make no law respecting an establishment of religion”. Where is the law being passed in regards to them displaying a remnant from 9/11 that looks like a cross? I find this behavior embarrassing to responsible non-believers such as myself who know the Constitution’s intent and limitations.

On the flip side, as a Libertarian, many laws which by their very nature are promoting religious beliefs such as most everything your local vice squad would enforce are based on Christian philosophy and therefore are indeed unconstitutional. One needs only be denied the ability to buy liquor on Sunday to understand why we get upset. There is no reason for such a law except with Christian influence, yet they affect all of us. The church has its laws, the Ten Commandments, which all Christians are to adhere to. For the rest of us, they mean nothing, and our forefathers didn’t intend for us to be encumbered by them

A Libertarian, like many Republicans, will be for the smallest governmental-intervention possible, and we believe our forefathers intended as much with every fiber of their being. It’s why Ron Paul and Gary Johnson run as Republicans. But unlike many in the Republican Party, we take the Constitution and the Declaration a little more seriously. While we don’t necessarily condone and/or endorse the use of the myriad of vices, we feel that by passing such laws, Congress is preventing free expression and denying a pursuit of happiness to those of us who are non-believers.

I’m not necessarily asking for Christian Conservatives to side with me on this, they shouldn’t based on their beliefs. But a little understanding and respect for the opinions of us non-believers and Libertarians would sure be appreciated, and you have my solemn promise that I won’t try to take nativity scenes off display at Christmas, remove “In God We Trust” from the dollar bill, or any other nonsense that doesn’t violate the verbiage of the Constitution. If the majority want these things that do not infringe on my rights, they’re welcome to them with my blessing.