Tag Archives: limited government

All that is necessary for evil to succeed is for good men to do nothing

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

 

All that is necessary for evil to succeed is for good men to do nothing. ~ Edmund Burke (Disputed)

There has been much heated debate about the subject of Stand Your Ground Legislation. Proponents argue that when faced with a dangerous situation, a person’s fight-or-flight response should default to flight by law.
keep-calm-and-stand-your-ground-5[1]

Imagine a scenario where a middle-aged person of average health like myself gets confronted by a would be attacker who is much younger, fitter, stronger, and faster. I’m expected to make an attempt to flee in states where Duty-To-Retreat is the legislation du-jour instead of Stand-Your-Ground.

What happens in this scenario? Ultimately I run—hopefully to some place safe. But this creates a very unsafe situation for me instead of my attacker, because now I’m on defense and I have to hope I can run fast enough to get away. I also have to hope my attacker doesn’t have a gun, because I wouldn’t know once I started running; I have my back to them—a position that makes me as vulnerable as a person can be. Plus, like most people, I can’t outrun a bullet, if they’re armed.

In this situation, the victim is ultimately expected to put themselves in a more dangerous position because of the actions of a would-be attacker, but also they’re often expected to abandon their property as well. But why does the attacker get the benefit of having the upper hand or having their rights protected while mine are diminished?

Victim Drawing On An Attacker
Victim Drawing On An Attacker

With Stand-Your-Ground, I simply draw my gun, keep my eyes on my would-be attacker, and ultimately either they flee, or they get shot due to a scenario they created. I could flee if I thought it was the best way to protect myself, but I shouldn’t have the threat of 20-to-life hanging over me if I opt not to.

The problem has often been that politicians hear news stories about young attackers getting shot and killed and court voters as the compassionate one who feels it’s a tragedy a child is dead. While I agree it is sad on the face of it, I feel this is disgusting to act as if a young felon’s life is somehow more important than the life of the innocent victims they decided to attack.

Let’s dispel some scientific nonsense first. Nothing magical happens at 18 years of age. There’s no radical change that takes place in the human body. Making 18 the age of adulthood was something Americans decided via legislators, and it has little do with science. It is generally just that we know humans stop growing around that age, not their mental capacity to understand the weight of their actions; that varies from person to person.

To act as if a 16-year-old for instance, who is putting someone’s life or property at risk with malicious intent is somehow  innocent or unaware of what they are doing, or doesn’t understand the heinousness of the act, requires a monumental amount of ignorance.

To act as if the victim should understand the person is under 18 is equally nonsensical. Attackers usually don’t show you an I.D. first.

I don’t want anyone to die needlessly, but whatever bad outcome happens to a violent felon caught in the act, up to and including death, is justice in my eyes. Whether they are 14, 18, or 40 is irrelevant. They voluntarily chose to create this situation, and they’ll potentially pay the price for it. If so, they will serve as a warning to others not to choose a psychopath’s lifestyle.

However, an often not discussed issue I want to delve into is the psyche of the victim. While I don’t profess to live in the middle of gangland, I have had the unfortunate honor of being attacked, robbed, and had a gun put in my face at different times in my life.

While it’s easy for politicians to pass laws that a rational person would adhere to, until you’ve been victimized, it’s impossible to understand the natural and sometimes uncontrollable rage that will fill every victim who is put into that situation.

In each instance, if I had been carrying a firearm, I would have emptied it into my attacker and then probably pulled the trigger at least a dozen more times to make sure there weren’t any bullets left that my gun just somehow missed.

Now maybe you’re thinking I’m a violent guy, but I’ve genuinely never instigated a physical altercation, so the evidence indicates otherwise. These three instances are the only ones I’ve been involved in since 5th grade, and all of them were unprovoked on my part.

It is a fool’s mission to expect a reasonable person to behave reasonably when they are thrust into a situation that puts them in mortal danger. It’s hard to predict what a situation like that will do to someone, but assuming they’re not an emotionless sociopath or a trained soldier mentally equipped for such an act, it will affect them in a way they’ve never been affected before, and a controlled outcome should not be expected.

Putting innocent victims in jail because they overreacted to a violent attack is one of America’s biggest atrocities it commits on its own denizen.US Constitution

Not only do I believe that the Constitution should be amended to include Stand-Your-Ground, I also believe that the law should clearly state two things:

  1. Attackers have no rights during the commission of, or while fleeing from a felony. Nor shall they or their family have any legal right to civil damages incurred by their counter-attacker later.
  2. If the victim, or an innocent bystander harms the attacker in any way during the commission or fleeing of a felony, the person acting against the attacker should be immunized from all criminal prosecution.

(In both instances, I emphasize during the act—I do not condone hunting them down later in an act of vigilantism)

I understand that people may think my idea is radical and heartless, but you shall not convince me I’m on the moral low ground.

While I do value life, I only value the lives of people who respect the rights of others. If you opt to attack, rape, murder, or rob another person, I feel your early and untimely death will be to the benefit of humanity.

It not only protects society from your future bad acts, but if sociopathy is genetic, which some in the psychiatric profession suspect it is, the genes of a sociopath are removed from the gene pool as well. From a purely logical standpoint, my argument makes the most sense to advance society as a whole.

So what about the Edmund Burke quote? My plan would hopefully encourage the good men from the anecdote to do something instead of nothing. If a victim is killed because a good person who could have helped opted to do nothing out of a fear of prosecution for intervening, then evil will have triumphed, and the right to life isn’t nearly as Constitutionally protected as it should be.

 

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Worship an ideal, not a politician. The Key To Political Happiness and Avoiding Hypocrisy.

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

I call myself a libertarian with a small L. This distinction is pretty simple. It means I believe in the idea of libertarianism, whereas a large L would signify I’m a member of the Libertarian party. Since I believe in the idea of a constitution; technically, I’m a republican with a small R as well.

So why do I draw these distinctions?

Libertarianism and constitutionalism are principles I hold quite dear. Politicians from the Democratic Party occasionally champion libertarianism; usually on social issues such as marriage rights for the LGBT community. Republicans champion libertarianism on fiscal issues such as lower taxes and deregulation. Libertarians of course, champion libertarianism on both counts.

As such, since libertarianism can be found in all three parties at times, I don’t feel it is justified to stand silent when a member of a party other than the Libertarian Party does something good just because I don’t want to “promote the enemy.” When a politician is on the right side of liberty, no matter what party they’re affiliated with, they deserve to be recognized for it. Such respect when common ground is found helps to unite us all and gets things done. Partisans who can’t bring themselves to stand with their opponents when they agree are putting party-loyalty before the greater good.

Libertarian Party Logo
Libertarian Party Logo

When someone claims to be part of a party, they often feel it necessary to toe that party’s line as well. As such, on an issue where they might be prone to take a counter-opinion, they somehow lose their moral compass in favor of loyalty to their party.

For instance, when I was a member of the Republican party prior to understanding what libertarianism really was, I was against big government, yet was OK with  The Patriot Act.

Am I ashamed of that? Ultimately, I have to say yes, I made a mistake.

I feel that George W. Bush believed he was doing what was best for the safety of our nation. I also saw that he expressed reservations about such power and was hesitant to use them unless he felt it absolutely necessary to save ‘Murican lives. So I trusted him with this power because I trusted him as a person, and therefore expected he would not abuse it.

George W. Bush
George W. Bush

But seeing the NSA abuses (among others) that have ensued since he left office tells me that the current ruling party are not encumbered by such reservations.

As such, I realize that even if I think a sitting president will serve the greater good with powers that are proposed to be bestowed upon them, such powers are bestowed upon successive presidents as well, and I must take that into account.

So now I’m committed to the notion that I will not support a legislative power given to someone I trust that I wouldn’t support with someone I didn’t trust—lesson learned.

But let’s look at my polar opposite; political pundits on TV who were furious about the Patriot Act during the Bush administration who seem to have few qualms with Obama’s abuse of those powers now. It’s clear they’re exhibiting a cult mentality where their leader can do no wrong—or they’re just plain hypocrites.

I was a person who simply failed to see the slippery slope, which admittedly was my ignorance, but they saw it as problematic from the word go, yet somehow decided it was good now that their guy is using it.

Libertarians aren’t immune to this nonsense either. Like any other political-party zealots, they can be very cultish and don’t deserve any less ridicule for doing so. They’re no better than a Debbie Wasserman Shultz for instance; a woman who takes lying and double-speak to an exquisite art form to defend her beloved Democratic Party.

Or Republicans like Rep. Pete King who trash Obama one minute, but then fail to stand beside Senators Ted Cruz or Rand Paul when they fought with every breath they had (literally) to stop the Affordable Care Act or potential drone strikes on Americans without due process Obama has put into practice.

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

If I tweet one role of government I agree with, I often get anarchist-libertarians attacking me with vitriol, name calling, and the “you so-called libertarian” nonsense.

A fundamental part of libertarianism is the idea that people should be free to think independently, yet espouse a different belief from some libertarian zealots, and you’ll find they often seem to forget that principle. Zealots from all parties are often incapable of separating opinion from fact, and understanding that only factual information has a right and wrong answer. Agreeing to disagree is the adult-like way to handle differences of opinion.

So instead of pledging allegiance to a party made up of people who will inevitably disagree with me at some point, I champion ideals and the people who share those ideals with me when we agree. When they don’t, I attempt to respectfully critique them by explaining my grievance with logic and reason. Whether their part of the Democratic, Republican, or Libertarian party is irrelevant to me.

For instance, I make no bones about believing Rand Paul is the best hope to shift our country towards libertarianism despite him being a Republican, yet I don’t agree with him on his stance against gay marriage and abortion. Once I discovered he differed from me on these issues, I didn’t start insulting him as if somehow he had unforgivably betrayed the cause, or become the Antichrist. I accept that we simply don’t agree on these particular issues, but that we still agree on most of the others.

If you endeavor to find a candidate who is entirely in line with your beliefs, you’re on the most foolish of missions. Getting enraged because the candidate you like suddenly espouses a belief you’re vehemently against only serves to needlessly increase your blood pressure, and frankly, if you’re the type to do this, you deserve it. It’s time to put on your adult-shoes and accept that no one is your ideological identical twin—get over it.

It is inevitable that at some point, those you place complete trust in will disappoint you. From your sweet & innocent little baby that destroys your prize lava lamp to see what’s inside, your spouse who accidentally forgot your birthday, or your favorite politician who is pro-life when you’re pro-choice. If you’re not going to put your kid up for adoption, or divorce the forgetful spouse, why crucify your favorite politician?

So while people and parties will occasionally disappoint, ideals never will, and frankly, no one outside your party respects a party zealot anyway. If you want to get things done, put aside parties, and stand with those who champion your ideals. The rise of independent voters is well noted. So I’d like to think I’m not the only one thinking this way.

Libertarian Party Nominee Gary Johnson
Libertarian Party Nominee Gary Johnson

If I were to run for office, I’d proudly run as a Libertarian or a Republican just as Ron Paul and Gary Johnson did, there’s nothing wrong with identifying with both if you care more about ideals than parties.

 

Business People In Office: A Good Thing?

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

I’m going to try an interesting op-ed approach; debating with myself. While this may seem silly, this is how logical thinking and skepticism usually works. I list the pros and cons in order to come to a logical conclusion and attempt to refute my own theories to see if they hold up. The latter part, a version of falsification, being the most important.

Normally I do this before I write something, then write my opinion once I’ve come to a conclusion. But on this one, I just cannot commit to a particular opinion. So instead, I’ll lay out my arguments, and at the end, just leave it open for further discussion. I would love to hear your own opinions and why.


GCaseAs a young man, I had been initially enamored with the idea of Ross Perot as president (as evidenced by my trusty old guitar case). I don’t even remember any of his actual positions, I was just beginning my politically literate phase in life. But what I did know is that this man, having borrowed $1,000 in 1962 to start a company called EDS (I believe his wife had to sign because he had bad credit, no less), later sold that company to General Motors for an astounding $2.5 billion in 1984. By all accounts, a pretty good investment and an amazing American success story.

I say initially interested, because as you may know, his campaign soured in the end with claims of death threats and such that seemed to indicate Ross might be either succumbing to senility, or was honestly just a kook.

The part that interested me about Ross though, was the generic idea of a businessman in office. Whether it be as a president or legislator, I felt that the people running our government should have business acumen so that they actually knew how to manage employees and solve problems—something successful business owners do in the marketplace every day.

But is this really logical?

H. Ross Perot
H. Ross Perot

Let’s first ask if we’ve had any successful businessmen as president. Herbert Hoover stands out as the only truly successful businessman who went on to become president, and in the scientific community, when trying to establish a pattern, only one data point isn’t exactly helpful. We’ve likely had numerous successful businessmen as legislators, but it’s nearly impossible to judge a single legislator’s success when everything they do is by committee. So for now, we’ll stick to theoretical arguments as we can’t really use history.

I believe that one of the problems of government is that it is inefficient. In the business world, this is the path to insolvency, but in government, it is quite common and somewhat by design.

Inefficiencies in the government work place are indeed problematic though, and having a leader that not only inspires people to be better, but holds them accountable when they’re not, should improve productivity and reduce waste. This is my initial case for a businessman as president.

But when it comes to a president who works with legislators, they’re not supposed to be efficient at making change. The point of our Constitution and resultant system of government is one that is intended to be insusceptible to changing on a whim. A constitutional republic protects the minority from the majority, whereas a pure democracy could change in a heartbeat due to panicked legislators making knee-jerk reactions or merely those wishing to serve at the whim of a charismatic president.

Huyton Internment Camp
Huyton Internment Camp

An easy hypothetical to explain my meaning on this would be to go back to September 11, 2001 and imagine we were a pure democracy. Once we were aware that it was radical religious zealots at the behest of Osama Bin Laden who attacked us, the majority of America could have easily demanded that we deport all Muslim immigrants, instate Muslim internment camps, and/or attempt to close any Muslim mosques. There was a significant amount of anti-Muslim sentiment in those following months; if they were the majority, it would have been a real possibility without our Constitution and the 1st amendment to prevent such actions.

So would a businessman who is used to being able to put their foot down be able to deal with a Constitution, legislative branch, and judicial branch telling them what they may or may not do? I’m not convinced someone used to having “the power” could make the change without becoming jaded and end up giving up. Arnold Schwarzenegger seems to be a perfect example of this.

One of the other problems I perceive is of a fundamental nature. A successful businessman achieves success by growing his business. But in a free country, a successful politician should be one that shrinks government to what is considered to be the bare essentials. Two diametrically opposed philosophies, and ones that may not translate well.

Businesspeople solve problems, politicians fancy themselves as people who solve problems; but, unlike a business person a good politician should recognize when it’s not their problem to solve. That more often than not, they should simply abstain and let free people work it out.

What about combined experience? Clint Eastwood famously ran for mayor of a little town called Carmel, California after being offended by the bureaucracy of zoning laws and other restrictions that he felt were unfair. He understood how government affected him and would go on to make decisions accordingly.

I have conversely read news stories (can’t remember the name) of a legislator leaving office for the private sector only to get frustrated by laws that he had been instrumental in getting passed in the first place; showing regret for all he surely must have done to harm businesses he had intended to help.

Ted Kennedy
Ted Kennedy

In both situations, an opinion on politics was formed due to the effect of government on the private sector. This is something that life long politicians like the late Ted Kennedy likely never understood.

So I do believe that any politician should have some understanding of how laws they might pass will affect those being governed—it’s the difference between theory and reality. I hope there is not a capitalist among us that doesn’t want to vomit every time they hear the words “Compliance-lawyer.” The thought of having to pay someone to make sure you’re legal, in a free country, seems ridiculous. Shouldn’t one know when they’re doing something wrong?

So here is where I throw it to you the reader. Surely there are other pros and cons to be considered, what say you?

Great leaders make results, not excuses. Reagan v Obama

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

For many, an interest in politics, who our leaders are, and which political side we’ll choose to stand on is sparked by single events. For me, as a pre-teen adolescent, it was the Iran hostage situation. I could not fathom how one of the world’s two superpowers was allowing a little 3rd world country to hold our people hostage. It was troubling, and I detested Jimmy Carter for not sorting it out. To be fair to Carter; being so young, I was blissfully ignorant of the behind the scenes actions that were being attempted—all I saw was the big picture.

Carter Era Gas Shortage Sign
Carter Era Gas Shortage Sign

The long lines at gas pumps, thanks to Carter’s poor handling of OPEC, were hurting adults trying to make a living as well, but as a kid, I simply didn’t understand economic issues yet, so it didn’t really affect me like the Iran hostage situation. As we all know, Ronald Reagan took office, and our hostages came home. From then on, I was a Reaganite.

One of the things that upset me this past election was the notion that the economy was still so horrible because of what Obama inherited. While we all mostly agree he did inherit a poor economy, four years later, is it really an acceptable excuse?

 As Reagan took office, he inherited a misery index of 20.76. It was the highest recorded misery index in history going back to that statistic’s inception in 1948—it hasn’t been to a higher level since either. Carter may have been a nice man and a brilliant scientist, but as a president, he failed miserably at maintaining America’s economic strength, much less growing it.

By comparison, Barack Obama inherited a misery index of 9.65. Less than half of Carter’s benchmark. While I agree G.W. Bush’s handling of the economy at the end was poor, it was a far cry from the disaster Carter presided over.

So approaching the “Inherited a poor economy” argument, let’s see how Reagan and Obama handled what they inherited:

After four years under Reagan, the misery index improved from the aforementioned 20.76 to 11.81—a significant improvement. After four years of Obama, it went from 9.65 to a slightly worse 10.15. Reagan wins this battle; one point for the Gipper.

But let’s delve further. If we look at GDP numbers, at the end of the Carter administration, dividing our total GDP by our population, we have approximately $11,433 per person in 1979. After 1983, that number improved to $15,171; an improvement of 25%.

Now let’s look at Obama. In 2008, the average GDP per capita was $47,363. At the end of 2012, that number grew to $49,494; an improvement of 4.3%. Reagan wins again; two points for the Gipper.

1984 Election Results
1984 Election Results

All that being said, one of the fairest tests of a president in a democratically-elected contest is how he is judged by the people he governs during a reelection. After four years of Reagan, he resoundingly beat Walter Mondale 49 to 1 states—Minnesota the lone stand out. He won 525 electoral votes compared to 13 for Mondale, and a popular vote of 58.8% vs 40.6% (54,455,472 to 37,577,352 votes). This means that a Republican actually won the left-wing bastions of California and New York! It was the greatest election defeat in history.

Barack Obama against Mitt Romney on the other hand was 26 to 24 states; 332 to 206 electoral votes; 51.1% to 47.2% with 65,910,437 votes to 60,932,795. We’ll call that an easy Reagan victory as well—three to nil; the Gipper.

Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan

It was a long time ago, but when questioned about the state of the economy, I don’t remember Reagan blaming Carter his complete first term; he was too busy making his case for the future. He lowered the top-tier tax rate from 70% to 28%, gave people their money back, and just as planned, the economy took off like a rocket. So well in fact, that we reduced the world’s superpower population by half as Russia crumbled while attempting to compete. It was capitalism versus communism; capitalism won.

So why am I promoting Ronald Reagan if I’m a libertarian? Because not only do I believe that the GOP should be the libertarian party, I believe Ronald Reagan was my generation’s closest thing to a libertarian president, and this excerpt from a 1975 interview with Reason Magazine should illustrate why:

If you analyze it I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism. I think conservatism is really a misnomer just as liberalism is a misnomer for the liberals–if we were back in the days of the Revolution, so-called conservatives today would be the Liberals and the liberals would be the Tories. The basis of conservatism is a desire for less government interference or less centralized authority or more individual freedom and this is a pretty general description also of what libertarianism is.

Now, I can’t say that I will agree with all the things that the present group who call themselves Libertarians in the sense of a party say, because I think that like in any political movement there are shades, and there are libertarians who are almost over at the point of wanting no government at all or anarchy. I believe there are legitimate government functions. There is a legitimate need in an orderly society for some government to maintain freedom or we will have tyranny by individuals. The strongest man on the block will run the neighborhood. We have government to ensure that we don’t each one of us have to carry a club to defend ourselves. But again, I stand on my statement that I think that libertarianism and conservatism are traveling the same path.

One of the constant knocks against Reagan by libertarians and liberals was his massive spending on defense—a criticism he fairly leveled at himself. But people seem to lose sight of the fact that for all of Reagan’s spending on defense, every succeeding president has put more troops in harm’s way than Reagan did. Contrary to belief, he avoided conflicts as well as any president could.

What he did do however, was ensure that America was deemed to be so powerful, that any nation endeavoring to threaten us would understand it would be assured destruction. And with the exception of Russia, it wouldn’t be mutual. He referred to it as peace through strength.

When America was founded, there were many superpowers—we weren’t yet even one of them. But by the end of 1988, in no small part thanks to Reagan, we were the only one left standing, and remain as the only one still today.

If you lead by example, others will follow. America was a leader 200+ years ago in adopting a principle of liberty, and as a result of our success, there are free nations all over the world who followed our lead; including the monarchies we rebelled against so many years ago. Sadly, they may never give us credit for inspiring them, but true greatness doesn’t need acknowledgement, it’s content in the knowledge it is great.

 

America Could Learn A Lot From Tiger Woods (The Golfer)

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

Tiger Woods, arguably the greatest golfer ever to play the game, is a courageous man. He was the highest paid athlete in the world until marital issues cost him a few sponsors. But putting aside those issues, he’s also a pretty good model for America. (Seriously, put them aside for this discussion. This is a theoretical concept with Tiger Woods ‘the golfer’ not ‘the husband’ as my example.)

Shortly after having won The Masters by an astounding 12 strokes in 1997, he concluded his golf swing was flawed and opted to wipe the slate clean, start all over, and invent a better method to pound golf balls into the stratosphere. His intention: to be consistently better as opposed to occasionally dominant. We all know how this turned out, he subsequently won—a lot. It worked so well in fact, that he went on to renovate his swing two more times; each time requiring many months of hard work and countless hours at the range.

Tiger Woods - 1997 Masters
Tiger Woods – 1997 Masters

He could have settled for making minor tweaks to his swing like everyone else on tour, but he holds himself to a higher standard. You’ll note I said like everyone else on tour; had he decided not to reinvent his swing, that’s likely what he would have been—like everyone else on tour.

For someone who is on top of the world to recognize his own flaws, be honest with himself about them, and even though he was ranked #1, reinvent his sole source of income anyway, seemed like a huge risk that would end in career suicide. But now that he’s nipping at the records of Jack Nicklaus and Sam Snead, the joke is on all of his naysayers. He’s atop the rankings again having won a third of the tournaments he’s played in this year; a record any other golfer only dreams of.

Tiger Woods is to golf what The United States is to all other countries—a dominant force. In a world where the PC Police,  in order to be sensitive to the feelings of those on the losing side, have sports teams running out the clock with a commanding lead, Tiger Woods slaughtered his opponents by 12 strokes with no concern about how it would affect their egos. There should be no doubt he will do it again if he can.

John Daly enjoying a cigarette mid-swing
John Daly enjoying a cigarette mid-swing

Did the rest of the PGA tour quit, were their feelings hurt, did they all cry their eyeballs out and walk off the course, were their fragile psyches destroyed forever? Of course not. The rest of the tour simply started spending more time at the range and the gym, like Tiger, and now you see a playing field that has been unilaterally improved.

The rest of the tour came up to Tiger’s level instead of him dropping to theirs. Like it or not, Tiger changed the game by forcing players to work harder or find another way to make a living. Competition; the heart of sport and capitalism, improved golf immeasurably. What was once a sport for smokers, drinkers, and people more likely to be found eating a push-up than doing one, now is peppered with guys like Tiger who can bench over 300 lbs and twist themselves into a windsor knot doing it.

As a libertarian, I’ll also point out that while golf has rules officials to answer questions for the competitors, players self-impose their own penalties—they literally police themselves. When’s the last time you saw LeBron James call a foul on himself that the ref missed? As honorable sports go, golf is unequalled in my opinion, and it’s a classic example of the idea that free people usually do the right thing when they are governed less.

America could learn a lot from the example of Tiger. We are the world’s number one economy and military power. While others wish to quash American exceptionalism by giving our wealth away in foreign aid, I say we need to do the opposite and focus on being the best nation we can be and let other nations manage their own affairs. I’m not an isolationist; we should trade with any nation who wishes to do so honestly, and to some extent, protect allies who are attacked as we did with Europe during WW2 or Kuwait in 1991. But, “America: World Police” needs to hang up its badge and tell the U.N. we’re retired.

Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods

If America reverses course towards liberty and free markets and reduces the military to a size that keeps us safe without being the U.N.’s attack dog, we could easily grow our advantage over other nations while drastically reducing government spending and scope to pay down our debt. Not because we want to destroy other nations economically, but because we aspire to be as exceptional as we can be—period.

If other nations don’t like us being at the top of the food chain, then they can strive to be better or learn to deal with their inferiority. I’m personally OK with knowing I have no chance of beating Tiger at golf, other nations have no qualms knowing they’ll never compete with us too; so long as they strive to be as good as they can be, who cares? This whole notion that our exceptionalism makes us inherently bad is nonsense.

Countries comprised of intelligent beings will learn from our successes and elevate themselves just like the PGA Tour did after hurricane Tiger blew through. If they are countries mired in religious or socialist dogma fueling government oppression, like many eastern hemisphere nations, then their people will continue to live in poverty until they revolt; none of which is our business.

England was once a world superpower, yet a few centuries ago, we broke off and decided to do something novel. We established a government based on liberty and self-governance. Instead of choosing rulers, we elected people to do our bidding, and established a way to peaceably remove those people from power if desired. At the time, such a system of governance was unheard of; just as a golfer who benched 300 lbs, spent 40+ hours a week at the range and the gym, and educated himself on the physics of the golf swing was a few decades ago.

But now, centuries later, there are democracies and republics all over the world, including England, because the U.S.A. paved the way. We proved that through liberty, we could build a better nation, and much of the world has followed our example. Almost every free nation on Earth owes that freedom to the U.S.A. Some because we helped liberate them, but many because we simply inspired them by demonstrating liberty works.

Like Tiger, Social Security Schemewe shouldn’t be afraid to overhaul something that is inherently flawed. Our education system could be privatized. Our tax system could be converted to a consumption based tax. Instead of settling for a SSI system that’s going broke, giving people their money back and letting them invest privately could be implemented.

Such changes might be scary to some, but change is good when it’s change backed by good science or historical evidence. We cannot keep careening on the path to insolvency and expect to remain strong. Tiger Woods proved that overhauling a flawed system is better than putting lipstick on a pig. I understand that to some, a complete revamp of age-old programs is scary, but our fears should be directed at those who are unwilling to be honest about our flaws and lack the courage to fix them, not those who have their sleeves rolled up and are ready to go to work—like Tiger Woods.

Get rich quick! It can’t lose

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

I have a genius idea and I’m sharing it with you, my loyal readers—and indiscriminate web-surfers who accidentally ended up here while searching for LOLcat memes.

LOL catImagine I have a massive mound of debt, and I’m sick of it. However, I have good credit and am ready to put it to good use. I am going to use that line of credit, borrow every penny I can, and buy up as much stock as I can in companies I believe are the way of the future. I’ll sell that stock for a profit once it gains like I expect it will, and payoff both my old and new debts; maybe even pocket a few bucks along the way.

To be fair, I’m not a professional stock broker or anything, and I really don’t know that much about these industries other than I believe them to be really cool, futuristic, and impressive. Since they’re futuristic companies, I assume they have people much smarter than me solving problems, and therefore, there is little doubt any of them will fail.

I know what you’re thinking; this man is a genius! How can it fail—right?

If you’re still reading, and you’ve never read me before, you’re probably thinking I’m a whack job who bathes in peanut oil while playing GI Joe and pretending he’s fighting off the perfect storm. I’m sorry to say however, that I do not. This genius idea of mine is pure nonsense that no intelligent person should ever endorse it.

But let’s look at what is happening here on our little section of planet Earth commonly referred to as America. We have our hard-earned money forcibly taken from us taxpayers and put into government coffers. When our country was founded, we drafted a constitution that laid out the limitations and responsibilities of our federal government. Those tax dollars were meant to pay for such expenses. In the proper limited government mentality our forefathers intended, that’s all they would pay for, but these days, what was once a mole hill, has become a fairly impressive mountain.

Trillion DollarsIt’s no secret we have a lot of debt. At the time of writing this, we were at 16.5ish trillion dollars. Let’s do some math for fun. A dollar bill is 0.0043 inches thick. Stack 16.5 trillion of them on top of each other and you have a pile 1,119,792 miles high. That’s enough to go to the moon and back twice, then around Earth a couple of times for good measure. I’ve heard Obama and his merry band of Democrats say we don’t have a debt problem, but I suspect he hasn’t done the same math I just did yet. Out of sight, out of mind. So not-so-respectfully, I disagree Mr. President—we have a @#$%& debt problem.

In the president’s infinite wisdom, he’s decided that instead of working on reducing our spending and applying more of our tax dollars to reduce our debt, something any family facing a debt problem would do, he’s decided that he’s going to invest instead. Not only is he going to invest, he’s going to do so having no prior experience or formal training in investments, and he’s investing in things like green energy. For those of you unaware, his schooling is in law. He does not have a degree relating to solar energy, physics, chemistry, biology, or any of the related fields for which these investments are based on.

It’s OK though, because he knows that global warming is settled science. Never mind that the scientific community doesn’t know this. They do know that animal life, including mankind create a lot of CO2, and we have a general idea that as our animal population grows (humans are animals; FYI) it should effect the planet’s ability to radiate the sun’s heat. This effect may be harmful to our ecosystem leading to life-altering consequences.

But we don’t know how our planet will react to it. Plant life thrives in a carbon-rich environment. It’s quite possible that the increase in CO2 from the animal kingdom will merely result in an increase in life from the plant kingdom to counteract it. That’s what an ecosystem does after all; it constantly strives to balance itself out.

There have been several scientific experiments with predicted models that led to surprises instead of confirmed hypotheses. There’s a prime example here. I’m not making the assertion my previous example is true, but suffice it to say that scientists without an agenda all agree we don’t really know exactly how the planet will ultimately react to a growing population.

SolyndraSo if Al Gore turns out to be full of more hot air than facts, these green energy investments will be horrible ones. Putting our eggs in a risky basket is a bad, BAD investment. With failures to a myriad of government boosted companies like Solyndra, clearly the president doesn’t understand the science, smart investing, or that our tax dollars are not his personal E*Trade account in the first place. If he really wants to invest money, I suggest he talk to his friend Warren Buffett and let Berkshire Hathaway lead Uncle Sam down the path of proper investing.

So while my “genius idea” is clearly ridiculous, it is virtually identical to what has been done with our tax dollars for the last 4 years, and our gambling-addict-in-chief is showing no signs of reversing course any time soon.

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.