Tag Archives: logical libertarian

We need science, not knee-jerk reactions

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

Previously, I showed that stats don’t add up when making the case that gun owners are dangerous. Conservative estimates show that for every one person who murders with a gun in a given year, there are approximately 100,000 that own guns without incident—1:100,000 does not a  pattern make, by any standard.Armalite AR-15

I do not subscribe to the, do-something-even-if-it’s-wrong mantra. If the desired outcome is a positive result, doing the wrong thing is fundamentally illogical, and will in all likelihood make matters worse—the infamous Washington DC Gun Ban is a prime example.

When children die, it’s always tragic. Being the intelligent beings we humans are, it’s in our nature to solve problems—that’s a basic part of our evolution. A tragedy such as Sandy Hook would push anyone to action, even if that action was contrary to their own long-held beliefs.

For instance, the famous skeptic Dr Michael Shermer, someone whom I greatly admire and partially credit for shaping my way of thinking, wrote this article  in January of 2012, only to reverse course a bit in the wake of this recent tragedy; he now compassionately asks for a restriction on guns.

I respect the passion with which people have decided to come out in favor of banning so-called “Assault” rifles (a made up term), their concern is understandable. The fact that someone famous for always putting logic over passion like Dr. Shermer can change his opinion shows this issue can move anyone.blog4

But, I believe removing guns from law-abiding and sane citizens will only save one potential victim while making a potential victim out of another. It seems more of a knee-jerk reaction than a logically deduced solution.

We know how many lives were ended by guns, however we can never know the lives saved because a killer was stopped by a good Samaritan with a gun.

For instance, if the Sandy Hook shooter had been shot by a teacher immediately after killing his first victim, there would have been no way to know he would have went on to kill 25 more. As such, you should be wary of anyone who says they have data proving that guns kill more lives than they save. Such numbers are purely theoretical and often swayed by the writer’s opinion.

One common attack levied at gun control dissenters is, “Yes, let’s do nothing.” Sadly, this is a straw man argument that does nothing to further intelligent discussion. Most rational people are not proposing we do nothing, certainly not me. So making that statement towards gun control skeptics as if we advocate doing nothing, then attacking us for being do-nothing people is insulting and wrong.

So in the wake of this awful tragedy, I am proposing we use good science to improve this issue.

In order to keep this story reasonably short, I’m going to focus on spree killers such as the Sandy Hook shooter (for the record, I am purposefully not mentioning the name). If we are to get serious about reducing all violent crime, repealing “vice” laws against certain drugs, gambling, prostitution, etc., is needed. We know this because repealing prohibition worked, yet for reasons of religious ideology, we continue to ban many other victimless crimes because zealots consider them to be immoral.

One of the traits that seems very common amongst spree killers of any type, whether they use a gun, bomb, arson, or any other deadly means of attack, is that they often had a documented history of mental illness and/or psychopathic behavior.

Based on this information, I believe there is usable data that is not being fully taken advantage of. What I am proposing is that the American Psychological Association (APA) have a convention where an open invitation is sent to any psychiatrist who has treated a patient who went on to commit these heinous acts. americanpsychoass[1]

Those doctors would confer and collect data about common traits that were exhibited amongst most or all of the attackers they worked with. This data would be published in medical journals for other mental health professionals to review and provide relevant feedback. The APA would then assemble a list of traits they feel are consistent among spree killers while ruling out those traits that were consistent among killers and non-killers alike. Once we have done this, we should have a reasonable collection of warning signs that can be shared with the public so that we can be aware of what to look for amongst society.

This approach is similar to what was asked of us after 9/11 where the public was given warning signs to look out for to prevent terrorism. If a family member, friend, or acquaintance is behaving in a manner consistent with the behavioral patterns of these killers, we can be more prepared to act.

Gun owners like me for instance, might lock up our guns in a secure safe or remove them from the house altogether. We could call a local medical health facility about what we’ve seen to determine if the person in question may need evaluated. If the person has already been diagnosed and prescribed medication for their issues, we must be diligent about reporting if they go off their meds, which may result in violence.

One look at the Giffords shooter’s (Also not mentioning his name) YouTube videos was rather convincing that the man needed help. I feel that if mental health professionals worked harder at getting info to the public about what to look for and when to report it, the caring among us would do exactly that, and unlike gun bans, lives could be saved with few deadly unintended consequences.

Murder rate statistics of the United States show we are well below average among the rest of the world, so being an alarmist is hyperbole at best—we are not experiencing an epidemic, and immediate action isn’t needed. Other studies have shown that violent crime is simply in steady decline around the world. As we evolve as a species, we become more intelligent, and less violent.

But politicians use hyperbole to advance a political agenda like Gordon Ramsay uses swear words to make a point. There is no epidemic, spike in violence, or reason for panic. What is needed are clear thinking medical scientists applying the scientific method towards mental health issues, then educating the public on how best to deal with them.

As a libertarian, I cringe at the notion of government locking someone up on the premise they might be a threat before they’ve actually done anything wrong. So I believe incarceration should only be done at the behest of licensed medical professionals, and there should be appeals in place to help these people get a second opinion if they feel they are being unfairly detained.

While I’m advocating for advancements in mental health science, and using those advancements to identify threats and potentially get them out of society until they are no longer deemed a threat, it is imperative that like our prison system, we take every step to not detain someone who is of little threat to society.519x361[1]

Logical Americans must demand we use science, not knee-jerk reactions and politically motivated legislation to solve our problems. There’s a reason we have cures for thousands of diseases, rovers on Mars, and mobile phones the size of a playing card—it’s called the scientific method. Unlike politicians and hyperbole, it leads to truths and it actually works—let’s stick with it.

 

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Involuntary Collusion: A Regulation Even This Libertarian Can Embrace

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

Libertarians and capitalists rightfully despise regulations in a free market since it erodes, thwarts, and deincentivizes innovation. But one thing that has always caused me to wrestle with my non-regulation-is-king beliefs is the concept of regulating involuntary collusion. I’m coining the phrase mind you, so don’t bother Googling it.

Companies are supposed to compete with one another by either lowering prices, increasing quality, or both—each one taking a unique approach to the same end. If they are free to innovate, the consumers win as companies go to war on the gridiron of commerce.  Anyone who has ever ran faster than the person next to them, solely because that person was running faster than them, knows that competition yields greater performance.Foot Race

Now let’s talk about collusion. It is illegal for business heads to get together and agree to cooperate in some way as to benefit themselves at the expense of the consumer or worker.

For instance, NFL team owners could not collectively decide that they are paying the players too much and all agree to cut payroll across the board. Nor could they decide they don’t consider game jersey profits high enough and agree to bump the price 10% across the board. I’m not going to go into the  history of collusion, but suffice it to say that it violates the concept of free market capitalism because it’s the opposite of competition; it’s cooperation.

The astute of you will notice I used the word collectively that last paragraph. So you might ask why it’s OK for employees to collectively bargain? It is certainly legalized collusion after all. Short answer—I have no %$#&ing idea why it’s allowed. I covered this in my article Why is this even legal? so I won’t go into it here.Rally Held To Stand In Solidarity With Union Workers Across The Country

Now that we understand what a free market is supposed to be and what collusion is, what do I mean by involuntary collusion?

Free market capitalism allows for consumers who don’t like what one company is doing, to find another that doesn’t engage in that practice. However, in industry there exists the term Industry Standards which threaten this principle. Sometimes it just refers to a best practice where years of competing have brought all companies to a similar ultimate conclusion. For instance: tool companies like Mac or Snap-On who give a lifetime warranty on their tools because their competition is doing it and they need to keep up. Since you can’t “one-up” a lifetime warranty, it just becomes an industry standard best practice. But other times it involves companies doing something that the public despises, yet because all companies do it, consumers can no longer avoid the practice.

A perfect example of government regulating this is the National Do-Not-Call List. Companies found that automated telemarketing was cheap, easy, and effective. Even though consumers hated these robo-calls, many corporations adopted this practice leaving consumers without the ability to avoid it. So we the people had to look to government to make them stop.

In these situations, companies all do the same thing, just as they would be if they were colluding against the consumer, but they never agreed to it—it just happened involuntarily through corporate evolution.

Let me give a non-government example of how such legislation can be effective and important. In auto racing, weight is the enemy; therefore nothing is needlessly added to a car that would add weight, unless that thing generates more speed that overcomes the loss of speed from the added weight.

However, safety equipment doesn’t make a car go faster, the weight is a hindrance; it exists solely to protect the driver in an accident. So race series directors often must enact regulations that require such safety equipment be on the cars of all participants. Race teams are paid to win, so if you don’t force them all to comply, the ones who do, always lose to the teams who throw caution to the wind. The only way to get one team to comply and make life safe for their drivers is to require they all comply—leaving no one with a competitive advantage. Think of it as the governing body of racing protecting the rights to life of the driver.070812_dd_ww_IMG_6162[1]

So in the same vein, I do believe that because our country is based on free market capitalist principles, it’s important our government ensure the market is indeed free. It isn’t enough to know there are multiple companies in the marketplace—we must insure they are indeed competing with each other.

With this in mind, I feel it important to say that even as a libertarian and free market guy, I am 100% behind the new laws in six states prohibiting employers from requiring employees to disclose personal online passwords and data. Companies are hiring you for your ability to work. Whether you like to bathe in peanut oil and play with Barbies while watching Big Bang Theory reruns on your own time has no consequence on your ability to enter data into a computer. What you do in the privacy of your own home or amongst friends is none of their business.

My right to privacy is directly linked to my right to pursue happiness, something our Declaration of Independence says I was born with, and my government has a duty to protect.

Businesses are supposed to succeed by appealing to consumers, not by collectively taking advantage of them. We’ve seen what happens when we allow companies to collude by watching business tycoons past. It was anything but good for the people, the workers, or the economy—it becomes, in effect, a conglomerate monopoly.

Andrew Carnegie, Cornelius Vanderbilt, John D Rockefeller
Andrew Carnegie, Cornelius Vanderbilt, John D Rockefeller

So while I want us to deregulate on a massive scale that would cause Republicans and Democrats alike to shiver from the cold harshness of liberty, I do think lawmakers would be well served to find instances where companies have adopted an industry standard where by which businesses are no longer competing; unwittingly or not, against the consumer, and then quash it accordingly. The strength of our economy and our liberty depend on it.

It’s spelled F-O-X News. Enough With The Hate, It’s Pathetic

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

One thing that irritates me like pepper spray on my nether regions is when people use the term “Faux News” to describe Fox News. I’m not a dog being led around by the News Corp leash; I get my news from a number of sources. I use Google Reader with feeds from approximately 40 different outlets focused on different themes that are generally news or science based. As someone who prides himself on exercising proper skepticism, I feel it is important to be quite diverse in gathering information. So I look for numerous sources, and then do my best to weed out the ones who prove to be less than honest. I would never recommend someone getting all their news from one source.Fox News

There are a couple of issues on the “Faux News” front that annoy me in particular. The first being that people often don’t seem to differentiate opinion from hard news.

On Fox for instance, Bill O’Reilly, The Five, Red Eye, and others are opinion, while Brett Baier, Shep Smith, and others are hard news. The hard news people just bring you the stories and facts. Opinion however, is people interpreting those facts and providing analysis of what they presume those facts mean.

Opinion journalists therefore are often prone to spin and distort things in a light that is favorable to their ideals. You’re a fool if you think CNN, MSNBC, Bill Maher, Jon Stewart, and the networks don’t spin too. That’s just what opinion journalists do. But you can’t rightfully attack a network based on the opinions of one panelist. That’s like attacking the NFL because of what Mike Vick did. If Piers Morgan or Sean Hannity misspeak in some way, attack them, not their networks as a whole, because I guarantee there are others in their organization that are nothing like them.

Fox, MSNBC, CNN and the networks provide plenty of hard news that is good and factual. The charges that Fox lies are generally from people who just don’t agree with the opinions of the op-ed talent, and can rarely cite examples where the hard news people blatantly lied. Opinions, by definition, do not have a right or wrong answer. If you don’t like the opinions of the analyst, then don’t watch, but insulting them because they don’t agree with you is childish and pathetic.

The problem with hard news, is that it is often boring to people. News agencies have been delivering hard news for years, but once opinion programs started picking up entertaining talent, people preferred that over just a boring rendition of the facts. Human nature seems to be that most of us like hearing from people we think are similar to us because we trust those people more.

Jon StewartSo while some think opinion is bad because it distorts facts, the truth is that it gets more people interested in the news who otherwise wouldn’t be. People like Jon Stewart, Bill Maher, and Greg Gutfeld bring news with humor in such a way that younger crowds who would never watch hard news all of a sudden find themselves caring about the issues of the day. The more people learn, the better off we all are. We didn’t get to the top of the food chain by being ignorant.

So being the free-market capitalist I am, I love that the news has evolved to meet the consumer’s wants, instead of making us suffer through boring anchors of old who are just as likely to put me to sleep as they are to pique my interest. More importantly, I’m happy we have freedom of the press so left-leaning folks can watch MSNBC and I can watch Fox.

The other problem I have with the Faux News folks, is they’re not only insulting Fox, but they’re insulting everyone who watches it. Being a Libertarian, I love that Fox allows people like John Stossel, Greg Gutfeld, and Judge Napolitano to have a voice. Most other news media often ignore libertarians, yet Fox kills in ratings because it provides information to non-left-wing people like me that we would otherwise not get.Greg Gutfeld

To me, it’s said with the same hate and ignorance used by racists, sexists, and other hate groups. I would almost never watch MSNBC because of their statist bias, but I don’t insult them for it. If the Michael Moores and Janene Garafolos of America want a news program to watch, MSNBC is there for those people; more power to them.

The bottom line is that America is too often a nation of haters. Hip-hop music lovers call people who like country music inbred. Rock lovers call people who like rap music thugs. Conservatives call leftists commies; the left call conservatives greedy bastards. Just about everyone calls libertarians anarchists or potheads, of which I am neither. The intent behind these insults is to demean those different from you, which is no different from all the racial, homophobic, or sexist epithets people used in the past.

Piers MorganIf you feel the need to insult someone who is different from you or has a different opinion than you, you are the problem in my opinion, and it’s time to grow up. America’s freedom and free markets guarantee that no matter what you like in this world, as long as it doesn’t threaten someone’s rights, you have a right to consume it or sell it. The left would be furious if people like me tried to get MSNBC off the air, yet they’ll sing it from the mountain tops that Fox lies, and should be shut down.

I’ve always said, if you can’t win, don’t bemoan your competition, motivate yourself to be better. If you find yourself on the losing end, the problem isn’t your competition; it’s you. So until the other networks start beating Fox, maybe they need to look in the mirror and see what’s wrong with them that people don’t care for their message as much. But to sling insults and demand the competition be shut down, while it would make Hugo Chavez proud, has never been, nor should ever be the American way.

So you watch yours, I’ll watch mine, and let’s stop insulting people because they differ from you. The beauty of America lies in our differences, not the people who like to attack us for being different. We all know racism and sexism are bad, but it’s time hate in general be seen for the unhealthy emotion that it is.

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.

Political Bipolar Lenses: How Not To Have A Political Discussion

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

 

Bipolar: a word not often understood. Magnets are a good example; having a positive and negative pole, there is no in-between.

Bipolar disorder is a mental condition that is similar in that people who have it suffer from violent mood swings where they are perfectly happy one minute, then intensely angry the next. They generally have a hard time occupying what would be a “mildly-irritated” middle ground.

Unfortunately, we see a similar condition with many political analysts, whether it be professionals, or just the politically-charged social-media warriors. They constantly look to prove a candidate is either perfect or evil. Logic should dictate that this is a foolish way to think, but sadly so many of us do it anyway because it makes us feel good destroying our enemy’s credibility.

The fact is no one is neither perfect nor 100% evil, and there is value to be had towards one’s credibility in acknowledging that.

Pope BenedictTo give extreme examples, the Pope, who is arguably the pinnacle of altruism, is still a sinner according to the bible. If you focus only on those sins, he could seem like a bad person, but if you look at the overall breadth of his actions, you’ll find a largely selfless man.

Adolf Hitler is arguably history’s least altruistic individual, but no matter how twisted his ideas were, they were born out of national pride with the intent of benefiting Germany.  He didn’t think he was an evil man, and if one only looked at his motives, they’d think he was just a passionate patriot. His actions however, proved he was a murderous psychopath who ordered and committed so many attrocities, it’s difficult to give him credit for any good he might have intended.

Conservatives want to find the skeleton in the closet that would prove once and for all that president Obama is an evil man hell-bent on ruining America. The left looked for that one thing that proves Mitt Romney dined on the dreams of the poor while snidely laughing all the way to the bank.

Mitt Romney
Mitt Romney

Sensationalism sells, and the news media has instinctively learned that it’s a lucrative tactic, but it is dishonest journalism at best, and both sides of the aisle should be better, yet they often refuse to be. Intelligent debaters apply logic and reason to their arguments, and as a result, are seen as less of a blowhard and given the utmost respect.

Let me exemplify the benefit of using this approach in your daily lives. When I was young, I worked for a car dealer. The owner decided to invest in a “Buy Here Pay Here” division. He hired a man from the banking industry to run it, and moved me to a sales position in the department.

It was soon evident to me, that this man knew lending like the back of his hand, but was completely ignorant regarding most things automotive and sales. The department was failing miserably, and I feared losing my job. So I decided to write a letter to the owner, but opted to try a novel approach.

Instead of attacking him on every front, I first pointed out that my new manager was brilliant when it came to lending, and would be very well suited to doing something that specifically revolved around that. However, I had concerns about his work ethic, (He put in a strict 40 hours in an industry where 50+ hours is the norm), his ability to purchase vehicles properly (we were far too heavily invested in most of our inventory), and his management techniques (he had the personality of a ratchet, not a salesman).

Once completed, I put the letter on the owner’s desk and hoped for the best. Less than a month later, the department was terminated, my boss was moved to financing as I suggested, and I was given a position in another department as opposed to being terminated.

Not only was I NOT fired, I didn’t even get reprimanded. The owner quietly investigated my concerns, confirmed the complaints I lobbied with others, and my advice was heeded. While the owner surprisingly never talked to me about the letter, other salesmen were let go, while I was retained, leading me to believe he appreciated what I had done.

I believe the reason for this was that I made my argument intelligently, I pointed out my manager’s strengths, and then his overwhelming weaknesses honestly and fairly. I demonstrated objectivity, and as a result was given credibility, and my idea was put into place exactly as I suggested.

The purpose of this post is simple. I’m asking for anyone with a conservative voice to be a voice of reason, not rhetoric, hate, and division. America is headed down a path of financial turmoil, and liberty is being stripped away at an overwhelming pace.

Winning this election is very important, and those making the most attractive arguments will win the votes of the undecided. Don’t believe me? Ronald ReaganReagan won 49 states after his first term, including the liberal bastions of California and New York! It wasn’t just his content, it was his delivery. Try to remember Reagan saying anything hateful and mean-spirited. I can’t do it, can you? It’s because he didn’t talk that way, and our leaders, our media, as well as ourselves shouldn’t either.

I believe Obama’s intentions are generally altruistic, but that doesn’t mean they’re right. As I advanced into management, I often had to dismiss wonderful people, not because they were evil or dishonest, but because they repeatedly made mistakes that put the company at risk. I believe this is our president in a nutshell, and when pointing out his flaws, it would do us all well to frame it in that light.

Don’t fool yourself into believing people aren’t on the fence. We need every one of those votes. Independents aren’t impressed by idealistic bloviators. Zero objectivity begets zero credibility. If we limited government types try to paint the president as an evil communist, the independents will run away from that rhetoric in droves. So if you’re slinging that mud, you’re not helping the cause.

By all means, have persuasive discussions with those whom you think will listen; we need to win this fight. But demonstrate that you are fair and reasonable in your dissent, try to find the good in your enemy before you list all the bad, and you will attract the fence-sitters we need to usher in a more liberty-friendly revolution going forward.