Tag Archives: personal responsibility

I never tell a lie, and I’m never wrong. Let’s have some legal reform!

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

As we all know, politicians are often known for two things: lying and the inability to admit when they are wrong. If you want to see a prime example of both in one instance, look no further than this example from the chairperson of the DNCDebbie Wasserman-Shultz (DWS).

Lying and the inability to admit fault are traits that are generally considered immoral, and are upsetting to the populace these people are elected to serve, but what’s the real reason behind it?

Let’s first discuss the lying which can be either malicious or altruistic.

I’ll give you examples:

  • Malicious: I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Monica Lewinsky ~ Bill Clinton
  • Altruistic: No honey, that dress does not make you look fat ~ Every husband in history

An easy way to tell the difference is to understand who is being protected by the lie. If it’s the liar, then there’s a good chance it’s malicious.

So are all lies that roll off a politicians tongue malicious? Of course not. But, we all understand how malicious lies come about and agree they are wrong, so let’s focus on the altruistic ones instead.

What’s the one type of altruistic lie that’s good? Every time someone called the government because they saw a UFO and were told, “We’ll look into it” when in reality they knew it was the latest super-secret plane the government was testing and weren’t at liberty to discuss—I’m OK with that. The B-2 Stealth Bomber alone is estimated to be responsible for hundreds of reported UFO sightings before the curtain was lifted on it.

B-2 Stealth Bomber
B-2 Stealth Bomber

There is no way for the government to tell Americans their secrets without telling our enemies too. So some things simply must be kept out of the public knowledge base.

With politicians however, most of their altruistic lies are born out of arrogance. Many think voters can’t understand their superior knowledge or intellect well enough to support their ideas. So they lie to get elected, then proceed with their original agenda because “they know better.”

For instance, many on the left lie about the origins of their proposed social engineering policies, calling them anything but socialism, because they know people in America aren’t very fond of the socialist doctrine, even though these politicians honestly believe socialism can be good.

Many on the right lie about their intent to cut government assistance because they know telling people they intend on putting the kibosh to their government aid will be seen as cruel and heartless, when they truly believe it will help promote self-reliance and actually help those it’s expected to hurt.

I would argue that if these policies are good, they will stand on their merits. An intelligent person should be able to explain their position in such a way that reasonably smart people will understand. If socialism or capitalism are good, just make the best case as to why, and let us decide.

It’s hard to paint politicians as completely immoral here, they legitimately think they are doing what is best. But I find the hubris for them to assume they are more intelligent than me, the person they are nominated to serve, distinctly offensive.

Moving on from the lies, let’s discuss the inability to admit wrongdoing.

Although DWS has a degree in political science, not law, she does serve in Congress with a few hundred other law makers, many of whom do have a legal background; our president too.

I’m not attempting to disparage lawyers, it’s a noble profession. But it is common practice for them to vehemently avoid any admission of wrongdoing or offer any apology for a wrongful act. This practice has sadly become part of our fabric, and it affects all of us morally and financially.

Scales of Justice
Scales of Justice

In our current legal system, an apology is admissible evidence against you, so we have been conditioned to never admit wrong-doing. Lack of personal responsibility is everywhere these days, and I think it’s in no small part to our legal system’s exploitation of apologies.

As you saw DSW pirouette around the issue like she was on Dancing With The Stars (They do share the same initials after all), it became clear she knew she had lied, but was adamant about not admitting it.

What can we do about these two issues? While we will never be able to stop people from lying, we can do something about the admission of guilt issue by changing our current legal system.

If we look at health care, many doctors who know they erred when giving treatment will often refuse to give an apology at the insistence of their legal team, due to its evidential liability. Interestingly enough though, a 2001 University of Michigan program showed that while the liability may increase, the number of actual lawsuits decrease as patients are far more apt to accept an apology as restitution than most lawyers give them credit for.

This study shows that we humans care more about personal responsibility than money, and we are capable of forgiveness if it’s simply asked for. So, I have a simple proposal to make a meaningful reform to our legal system.

Introduce legislation that provides certain indemnities to a person when they accept fault. If a person admits their error, apologizes, and/or makes a sincere attempt at restitution prior to legal action being taken against them, (ruling out criminal activity), they should be immune from additional punitive damages in civil court over and above their actual fiscal liability for the damages inflicted.

This one simple change to our legal system could not only introduce a better moral code in our society by encouraging people to accept responsibility, but imagine the dramatic lowering in prices of goods and services, as insurance premiums and general business operating costs drop due to a lower or complete lack of settlement costs.

There you have it, I have improved our sense of morality and helped our economy with a few strokes of my keyboard, and that’s no lie!

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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.

Entitlements are the seeds of socialism; sociopaths are the fertilizer

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

Disclaimer: This article is not about everyone who collects entitlements; many of whom are good and honest people who truly need help. So before I get accused of attacking all of those who collect entitlements, I am only assailing the programs themselves, and those who abuse them.


During one of President Obama’s speeches, he made a statement that was patently false. He stated:

“Nobody wants a handout. Nobody wants something for nothing.”

obamabill1[1]In an ideally moral world, this would be correct, but America is not Utopia. Some people are burdened with a conscience, others simply are not; a basic form of sociopathy.

I saw the videos of a woman; overwhelmingly giddy, saying she couldn’t wait for her Obama money. I personally know people collecting various entitlements even though they are capable of being self-sufficient. These people aren’t urban legends, they’re just the Lazyburg population behaving as if they hit the lottery, and they are out there in droves. So Obama is either ignorant, delusional, disingenuous—or a combination of all three.

Sociopaths and psychopaths are often believed to be the same; these terms are somewhat loosely defined. But in general and for our purposes, we’ll define psychopaths as violent sociopaths, whereas sociopaths are simply people with little or no capacity for empathy, but non-violent. They know what society considers to be morally right and wrong, but only comply to avoid imprisonment or retaliatory assault; their compliance is not out of any sense of morality. They live a life that is exclusively self-serving.

Humans have evolved as social beings. Our ancient ancestors fought off and hunted larger and more dangerous predators and prey by virtue of our intellect and our social interaction with each other—strength in numbers. Being kind to one another is evolutionarily beneficial; a point Dr. Michael Shermer eloquently makes here. But while sociopathy is an anomaly in humans, it isn’t inherently bad, nor even all that uncommon. Scientific American published a great article outlining the silver linings of sociopathy; it’s interesting reading.

The purpose of going into all of this psychobabble is to point out that most entitlement programs are built under the false assumption that people generally do the right thing, but for a much larger portion of the population than these bureaucrats care to admit, this isn’t true. Most logical folks know there are a great number of people who will often fail to do the right thing.

Here are some examples:

  • Disability: Imagine someone hurts their back and can no longer lift anything heavy. Instead of learning a less physically demanding new career, they often opt for disability. The fact that they are living off their neighbor’s tax dollars doesn’t bother them. Why should they work if we’re willing to pay them not to?
  • Welfare: Imagine a woman having multiple children; collecting more from welfare for each one. By paying her more per child, we are assuring she’ll never have to work again. To her; being a baby mill is more desirable and profitable than working or at least finding a supportive spouse and creating a typical family unit. Why should she work when we’ll pay her not to?
  • Unemployment insurance: Imagine someone collecting UI until that perfect opportunity comes along instead of taking a lesser job to get off the government dole sooner. Why should they take a job “beneath” their skills when you’ll pay them to wait until they find something better?

In each case, many of us would see these examples as morally wrong. To the sociopath, it’s merely the path of least resistance. As such, it is quite natural. The questions I asked at the end of each one, are the questions they rhetorically ask to justify this existence.

Beggar_Saint_Elisabeth_Group[1]I do believe that many serial entitlement-collectors wouldn’t have the courage to go to a town gathering, look people in the eye, and ask for money personally. The guilt of knowing they are asking for something they don’t need nor deserve would be too much for most. But with government entitlements, they don’t have to. They can do it behind the anonymity of a government worker, or worse yet, by simply filing an application online or via snail mail. While some may have some semblance of a conscience and are not complete sociopaths, the anonymity shields what little moral fiber they have from any social pressure whatsoever.

So am I saying people shouldn’t get help? Of course not. Most Americans are generous, and willing to help one another. For instance, the Mormon Church is legendary for being the first on scene when a crisis occurs. As tragedies happen around the world, American charities easily out-donate the next most generous country. Charities designed to help unfortunate Americans abound as well. So the idea that Americans wouldn’t help each other if government doesn’t, isn’t backed by any data. Good people who truly need help would often get it, whereas the scammers would be rightfully quashed.

Government caseworkers are charged with preventing fraud, but it’s nearly impossible when they rarely, if ever, meet the claimant. But small social circles know each other. My ex-roommate for instance was someone prone to find a host, pay rent a few months, then fabricate a reason why he can’t find a job, and as such, can’t pay rent. I put a stop to his all-expenses-paid vacation by simply evicting him. But if I were the government, booting him would have been significantly more difficult, lest they be accused of unlawful bias and then sued accordingly.

As the left push for more assistance, I wish to point out that one cannot fraud a program that doesn’t exist in the first place. If we continue to offer free money based on a simple set of criteria, and that money is enough to support a lifestyle, ingenious sociopaths will find a way to meet that criteria, regardless of whether they actually need assistance. It’s the path of least resistance, a phenomenon all of nature generally and understandably adheres to. These people aren’t evil, they’re just not encumbered by social pressure like the rest of us.

when-the-people-find-they-can-vote-themselves-money-that-will-herald-the-end-of-the-republic[1]America is the land of the free, and as heartless as it seems, freedom means being allowed to fail as well. Charities, churches, social groups, and loved ones will find a way to help the truly needy. That was never something this government was intended to do. I say that entitlements are the seeds of socialism, but Benjamin Franklin said it best:

When the people find they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.

We cannot let quasi-socialists redefine our love for freedom as heartlessness. Good people will almost always help other good people. They just need the government to stop stealing the money they would otherwise have to do so.

 

Trust but verify. Good advice then, better now.

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

I’ve written about Libertarians being the party of personal responsibility. While some on the anarchist fringe make us look bad; every group has their “one of those” that everyone ridicules, even within the ranks. I’d like to think most of us are pretty admirable, but a few seem to be lacking something important—honesty.

Just the other day, I got an email from someone which stated that from a “VERY” credible source, they learned Obama dismissed a female soldier who supposedly told him that the flag on his lapel was upside down, and that because she corrected/helped him, he had her dismissed. Furthermore, it indicated he wears it purposefully upside down as a sign of solidarity to Muslim radicals, because he doesn’t love America.

Barack Obama
Barack Obama

For the love of all that is holy, if you’re one of the people spreading this nonsense—STOP!

The people at Snopes do a masterful job dispelling this junk every day, but it just keeps coming in droves. So if you’re not sure about the latest Obama conspiracy email you received, try a simple internet search before you become part of the ignorant conspiracy theory crowd and forward it on. If you can’t verify it with a credible news organization, rest assured it’s likely bullshit, and move on.

Do you have any idea what kind of nonsensical idiots you make us conservatives look like when you spread such nonsense? Much like we associate radicals like Michael Moore with the left, people associate these conspiracy nuts with us, and it makes all of us look bad. If you care about the image of the conservative movement, then don’t forward these ridiculous emails, post them on Facebook, or even bring them up at your next soirée. If you’re really responsible, you reply back with the disprovenance, so they get the hint that you’re not into spreading such nonsense. I do this quite often.

Think about what’s happening for a second. Every conspiracy you spread was started by someone who knew it was a complete fabrication; they are the ones who made it up after all, right? Then they counted on you, and many others like you, being ignorant enough to believe it, and spreading their lies for them. In doing so, you’re allowing yourself to be a tool for someone who doesn’t respect you enough to assume you’ll make intelligent decisions on your own. Prove to them that you’re not by exercising healthy skepticism when you’re faced with any fantastic tale. Just because you hope it’s true, doesn’t mean it is.snopeslogo[1]

Please remember that independents decide elections. Every time you do something that makes conservatives appear ignorant, you drive an independent into the arms of our opposition who do everything in their power to convince people that they alone are the ones capable of intelligent critical thinking.

The other dishonest tactic is a little more subtle, but a lot more rampant. That is feigned outrage. People who are apoplectic about Obama playing golf or taking a vacation for instance are a good example. Every person deserves to take time to de-stress by engaging in a hobby or sport, and the president is no different. He has a job to do, but also has a right to spend time with his family and friends, and to clear his mind. Do you really think the presidency isn’t so stressful that he shouldn’t need to unwind every once in a while?Obama-golfing[1]

So do me a favor. Ask yourself these questions next time you lash out at the president in a fit of rage:

If my candidate were in office and did the same thing, would I be equally upset? Is what this person really doing actually going to affect us negatively in any way? Is what they are doing immoral, unconstitutional, or unjust?

If your answer to these questions is no, yet you’re thinking of teeing off on them anyway, then again, for the love of all that is good in this world—STOP!

Sadly, I see members of congress, media pundits, and other prominent figures engaging in this behavior far more often than should ever be tolerated. How many times have we seen our opponents do this in regards to candidates we support, and each time think to yourselves, “You’re playing for the camera because no one would be that upset about this, now shut up and sit down!” Yet somehow, we’ll do it ourselves with no compunction whatsoever.

39_jimmy_carter[1]
39th President Jimmy Carter
I think most of us on the right believe our current president joins Carter as of one of the most unsuccessful presidencies in our lifetimes, by economic standards anyway. He has a myriad of honest criticisms that can be leveled at him using facts, history, logic, and reasoning. It is imperative to stick to those and only those if we are going to be the winners in the upcoming election.

Spreading lies and disinformation only serves to ruin our credibility once those lies are vetted. And feigned outrage is just like the proverbial crying wolf. Since we know much of the media is biased against us, and more to the point, love trying to catch us in a lie, it behooves us to be extra diligent about the information we spread, and the genuineness of the emotion behind our message, so we don’t seem hypocritical. If you are going to sling mud, make sure you can’t or won’t be proven wrong later. Otherwise, bite your tongue.

The Right: Party Of Personal Responsibility

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

There are many ways to define what differentiates the left from the right. Some issues seem to go along party lines, but they don’t necessarily define us. While one key element is big government versus small, I believe there is another, less commonly noticed, but that often separates us—personal responsibility.

If one looks at many of the policies favored by the right, they generally have the air of personal responsibility behind them. We want people to work hard and achieve the American dream all on their own, without government holding them back or giving them an unfair advantage.

The left, on the other hand, tend to champion the idea that all who are unsuccessful are not in their situation due to their own faults, but instead because of greedy corporations and fat cats. It makes for great Hollywood drama, but it’s most definitely fiction.

While statistics have shown that conservatives, contrary to popular myth, are generally more charitable than their left-wing counterparts, the fact is, we generally give assistance to those who are truly incapable of helping themselves or those who are in their position for admirable reasons such as The Wounded Warrior Project, that helps wounded soldiers returning from battle.Wound Warrior Project

We want to help people, but more importantly, we want to help people help themselves. Charities are great, but self-sustaining jobs are better. Socialists can give someone a fish if they want, we prefer to give them a fishing pole and kick them out of the nest.

By wanting to severely revamp and limit programs like welfare, unemployment, Social Security, and other entitlements, we are often deemed as heartless and cruel, but that is unfair and offensive. We want people to succeed; we just don’t feel we’re liable for their success or failure at the expense of ourselves and our loved ones.

Those programs are wrought with abuse. For instance, I know people who remained on unemployment until it ran out so they could find a preferred job when they could have easily found a lesser paying job to get off the government dime sooner. I also know people who are collecting disability assistance, but still able to play golf several times a month.

Disability Fraud Scheme
Disability Fraud Scheme

One can hardly blame them. It’s not illegal if they have the proper documentation from a doctor, and are indeed disabled in some small way. Most people simply aren’t going to turn down free money if they can get it. I dare say you’d be lying if you said you didn’t know someone like that.

One other personal responsibility issue is the Four Loko debate, and eventual ban. People have insisted it should be removed from shelves because young adults have overindulged and gotten injured due to the energy supplements keeping them from passing out when they get too drunk. Banning products because people are too ignorant to know when to say no is not the American way.

Americans have the right to be an idiot, put themselves in danger, and do themselves harm as they see fit. We largely reject nanny state policies, and rightfully so. People believe protection laws save lives, but the evidence often proves contrary. There is a little-known phenomenon called the Peltzman Effect that shows making things safer often leads to more dangerous behavior.

Here is a great article about the Peltzman Effect if you want to read more about it.

For instance, some local dangerous 4-way intersections were recently replaced with roundabouts. People here had never even seen a roundabout in person, and there were concerns the confusion would lead to more accidents. However, it had the opposite effect because people were now paying close attention to how they navigated through it instead of breezing through on mental cruise control.

Every time our government puts up a safety net, people engage in riskier behavior because of it. Would you be a better employee if you knew that there were no unemployment insurance to help if you if you lost that job? For many, it would change their behavior immensely.

Four Loko
Four Loko

The Four Loko incident is very similar. People refer to alcoholism as a disease, which infuriates me. It’s insulting to everyone who legitimately contracted a disease they had no control over, as opposed to doing it to themselves for a good time. Unless you are born unto someone who didn’t refrain from drinking while pregnant, alcoholism is a self-inflicted condition; not a disease in my opinion. And I will vehemently reject the American Medical Associations claim otherwise.

The reason this infuriates me is because by calling it a disease, people are attempting to absolve themselves of responsibility for it. Then when you get fired because you’re an uncontrollable drunk, the left want to pass legislation that says you should be sent to rehab, not fired, and your employer is a heartless bastard for sacking you. Think I’m joking? Think again.

I however believe the drunkard is a selfish jerk that puts themselves, their family, other motorists (if they are driving), and their employer at risk by putting their desire to have a good time above all else. They alone are to blame.

The Tea Party compared to the Occupy movement were great examples too. Tea Partiers feel compelled to leave the location in as good or better shape than they found it, Occupiers defecate in public and blame Wall Street for their apparent lack of ability to properly identify a toilet from a police car.

Occupy Wall Street Protester Defecating on a Police Car
Occupy Wall Street Protester Defecating on a Police Car

The concept of blaming others for your own shortcomings is an attractive one. How could YOU possibly be the cause for your own failures when you’re so awesome?! (In your own mind anyway)

The left can embrace that philosophy if they want. But while they’re whining, complaining, blaming, and finger pointing; we shut up, get to work, and get things done. We are proud to be the party of personal responsibility.

Big Government Liberal vs Limited Government Conservative

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

A quick explanation of the title: In order to put a stop to semantical nonsense, I specify Big Government Liberal (BGL) and Limited Government Conservative (LGC) so there is no doubt to whom I refer. Some Liberals have indeed championed limited government, and some conservatives have adopted causes that grow Uncle Sam’s estate.

Here are a few viewpoints about these two paradigms that I’d like to share that are rarely discussed:

BGL’s are lazy.

To represent my point, let’s start with Warren Buffett’s new mantra that he should be taxed more. We have a man who is clearly a genius that lives modestly compared to his net worth. A recent interview showed he drove an older used car and lives in a fairly small home relative to his income. He asks to be taxed more because he presumably hopes the government will use those extra tax dollars for good causes.  Meanwhile, he is oblivious to the historical data that demonstrates the contrary.

I think it’s commendable when people give to charity; Bill Gates is a great example. But my apologies Mr. Buffett, government is NOT a charity. There are endless stories of government waste, fraud, and abuse.  Unless he’s never watched a news program or read a newspaper, he certainly knows this! Why would someone knowingly give money to an organization with a reputation for waste and expect that money to be used properly for good? It’s like going on holiday and giving your alcoholic roommate the keys to your liquor cabinet for safe keeping.

The reason I say this is lazy is because Warren is a brilliant man. Can he not think of a job creating or problem solving idea on his own that he could invest his money in that will be far more effective than giving it to the government? Instead, he’s essentially offering to donate to a fiscal toilet bowl that has proven highly proficient at flushing money down the drain.

So I would politely ask Mr. Buffett to stop being lazy and either invest his money in a worthwhile endeavor of his own creation or give it to a reputable charity, but PLEASE stop trying to give it to Uncle Sam. Coming up with a business idea that he could start for $100 million would create a lot of jobs and, if run properly, would be self-sustaining. He wouldn’t have to pump money into it continuously like a charity. He could just start it, run it, and watch it grow, create jobs, and better our economy…AND if it makes a profit, he could donate those profits to charity if he doesn’t want them. But such an idea would require effort on his part. Instead, he just wants to write a check to the Fed and hope it works.

He should look to Bill and Linda Gates who employ a mountain of people and have a charitable foundation that they oversee to make sure it does what it is supposed to do. As a result, they do significantly more for the world than Warren Buffett ever will even though both have a respectable charitable mindset because, while Warren wants to take the lazy way out and give his wealth to the government, Bill Gates rolled up his sleeves, got to work, and solved many more problems all on his own.

BGL’s fight nature, LGC’s adhere to it.

We all should know that self preservation is not a learned behavior; it is instilled in every living creature in the animal kingdom and is evolutionarily beneficial to us all. Accidentally put your hand on a hot stove, and without conscious thought, you’ll remove it immediately. It’s because your brain will always force your body to do whatever it thinks it needs to do to prevent injury or death; it is nearly impossible to resist that instinct.

If you have ever flown on a commercial airline, you’ll remember the speech given every flight about the oxygen masks and how one should secure their own mask prior to attempting to help others such as your spouse or children. Even if you are altruistic and want to help others before you help yourself, the fact is that except for organ donors, you can’t help someone else if you’re dead. The best way to put yourself in position to help others is to make sure you are healthy FIRST.

LGC’s inherently understand these concepts. For instance, they know when they send their child off to school, not to give them a debit card from their bank account. They give him one that is linked to a separate account that they put a fixed sum into every month. Why? Because little Johnny is likely to spend $100 a night at the local club on wine, women, and song based on collegiate history. While the parents may trust their little angel, it’s still not a bad idea to avoid giving them the opportunity to drain the family bank account lest they all go down in financial ruin.

BGL’s however feel better about themselves if they get the government to bilk the wealthy out of their fortune because they are oblivious to the harm it does to these folks. They seem to think the wealthy are immune to going broke, and that no matter what they take from them, somehow they’ll never be poor. Of course we know many rich people in history have gone broke—usually  as a result of misspent fortune. Many former professional athletes and musicians can surely attest. Contrary to BGL beliefs, wealthy people are not infinitely rich. There’s only so much money to be taken from these people. More often than not, this incessant desire to rob them of their fortune is born out of envy, not altruism.

So while BGL’s assume the LGC’s are just being greedy, it’s really just natural self preservation at work. There’s nothing wrong with that! The thing that infuriates me the most is that BGL’s are routinely just generous with other people’s money, Warren Buffett excluded. Look no further than Michael Moore, a self-professed socialist that believes rich people who live extravagantly should be stripped almost completely of their fortune, yet he resides in an approximately $2 million estate AND has a posh apartment in NYC. I’ll bet he rarely invites a homeless person to stay at either one.

LGC’s are the people of personal responsibility, BGL’s…not so much.

Many BGL social platforms seem to revolve around the notion that people who are downtrodden have been abused by the top 1%. This is simply not true. People with money are rich for four potential reasons.

A)     They came up with a great idea, worked hard, brought it to fruition, and are reaping the benefits.

B)      They won the lottery

C)      Were born into A or B

D)     They are engaged in criminal activity

While the legal system works hard to expose the nations pilferers, the fact is most wealthy individuals came about their fortunes quite legally. I’m all for liquidating every single asset from the criminal classes, but BGL’s act as though the A’s, B’s, C’s, and D’s are one in the same. The entrepreneurs of this great nation worked hard, invested a lot of time, money, and effort into what they did, and they’re responsible for their success. For BGL’s to think that somehow they have a right to force these folks to give up their wealth for things like Solyndra, Fannie/Freddie, GM and Chrysler, saving the whales, foreign aid for countries that don’t even like us, or any other avenue that the government gives tax dollars to defies all that is just. It’s their money. They should have the absolute right to spend it or give it away as they see fit.

While I am certainly aware that there are people who are unsuccessful, often through little or no fault of their own, the fact is that people who are poor are often a product of their own lack of personal responsibility, motivation, or personality. The wealthy had nothing to do with the poor’s condition. People talk so often about big corporations like Walmart destroying small businesses, but Walmart, like almost every other corporation, started out as a small business itself. Small businesses fail—not  because of the rich–but  because of poor business models, products, or leadership. We’ve all worked with someone who constantly shows up late for work if they show up at all. When they do show up, they have a bad attitude, they put in a mediocre effort, they complain about every aspect of the company, and when they don’t get the promotion they wanted, they act as if somehow it’s not their fault.

America is flush with success stories where someone with nothing achieved greatness. So I’m not buying the notion for one second that success is only available to the upper class because there’s an overwhelming amount of evidence to refute that argument. Herman Cain was right to tell people that if they are not successful, look in the mirror. More often than not, the biggest hurdle is staring back at them.

So the class warfare blame game is the ultimate display of a lack of personal responsibility, and it’s time honest hard working Americans said, “Enough!”  I’m responsible for my success, YOU are responsible for yours. May the best person win!