February 24, 2010

The clock is ticking

Karl Denninger on the Current Crisis

As usual, I have nothing to add to Karl's excellent analysis.

mene mene tekel upharsin

Time is running out. I hope everyone has stocked up on canned goods and ammunition. Find out now who your real friends are. Figure out who in your neighborhood is trustworthy and reliable. If you don't have someone trustworthy to watch your back when everything goes south, you will find a knife in it, and then it will too late.


C.I.A. Current Account Ranking of Nations

The United States is dead last. This is about as bad as it gets, folks. Zimbabwe is in better shape than we are!

February 23, 2010

A video worth a thousand words

National unemployment from January 2007 to December 2009.

Oh, yeah, government intervention is working out so very well. NOT!

February 18, 2010

Yes, I agree. No, I do not condone.

CNN: Plane Crash in Texas
Andrew Joseph Stack III's manifesto

Mike over at Sipsey Street Irregulars has this to say:
But having said that, I will tell you this -- as long as the Leviathan federal government continues to act in an oppressive and unconstitutional fashion, airplanes will be flown into federal buildings, government agents will be shot in the street and tyranny-addled, desperate people will do desperate things. Were I a federal employee, I would take such incidents to be an increasing sign of the times and pay heed to the warning. I would get out before somebody flew a plane into my office.

If you work for the Federal government in any capacity whatsoever I have one word of advice: quit now.

This event is not the same as the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building bombing by Timothy McVeigh in 1995. This is something far more dangerous. This is a relatively normal businessman driven to violence by an arrogant, elitist government which has destroyed the qualities that once made the United States of America a bright haven of freedom for oppressed people everywhere. The great bastion of freedom, liberty, and opportunity that we once were has died. Narcissism, elitism, a century of corruption by Marxist sympathizers, and five generations of guilt-ridden spoiled brats has transformed us into a perverse blend of Maoist utopian thinking and Nietzchean self-aggrandizement. The only people who can succeed in today's America are the perverse sycophants of an educational system so riddled by Hegelianism that it would function just as easily Stalin's Russia as it does in modern day America.

If you work for the Federal government get out and get out now. There will be many more attacks like this one in the days, weeks, months, and years ahead. No, I neither condone nor support this violence. I am struggling with every breath I can muster to work within the system and restore the Republic to greatness. However, I am also a student of history. No civilization in history has ever recovered once homosexuality became socially acceptable and "evil" became situationally defined in ways that never apply to the elite. Not a single one.

You there, smoking on that medical marijuana soaked in the blood of Mexican factory workers, Mexican housewives, and Mexican police officers, you are contributing to this decline. And you, over there, with your rainbow posters and your insistence that homosexuality is as natural as heterosexuality and transgender surgery is a "cure", you are also contributing. Oh yes, you in the "green" crowd with your strident defense of fish and owls, so strident it blocks water from working farmers and forests from sustainable logging operations, you are contributing as well.

None of these issues have ever been serious enough to warrant shredding the inalienable rights of a free people. Not a single issue here is important beyond the daily trials and egocentric concerns of a small percentage of people, people who could just as easily have recognized that they were already free to live any way they like.

Congratulations you vocal, selfish minority. Once again you have abused the freedoms and privileges granted by a civilized society and brought about its downfall.

Sadly, I see in this tragedy the beginning of the end. The Revolution began when a military governor tried to confiscate lawfully held weapons. The Civil War began when Abraham Lincoln allowed his Secretary of State to convince him not to transfer Fort Sumter back to the State of South Carolina after it withdrew from the Republic. And now the final death convulsions of the greatest nation the world has ever known have begun with the passage of a law designed to give the I.R.S. unconstitutional control over freelance contract workers.

The arrogance of America's political elite knows no bounds. Because of their elitist assumptions of entitlement and prerogative, prerogatives specifically denied them in our nation's founding documents, our political elites have alienated the common citizens of this great nation. Now the citizen's anger is blazing forth and God alone knows how far it will spread.

Far too many people demanded the Federal government step in and resolve their petty life issues. Even so, this loud, voracious minority could have been ignored, and by law, should have been ignored. Instead, ambitious narcissists saw in these irrational cries the foundation for a stronger government and through that stronger government, a level of personal self-aggrandizement unheard of in the past. Five generations of American political elites have copied the insane assumptions of King George III. Before this generation has passed all of us will reap the reward of their arrogance.

No. I do not condone the actions of Mr. Stack. Unfortunately, there will be many who disagree with me.

February 15, 2010

Human Nature

In Das Kapital Karl Marx accomplished many things. He set out a picture of history that reinforced Darwin's theories of evolution by applying those theories to human societies. He put humanity in a strict, atheistic framework that he assumed was more rational than religion and in doing so, sought to discredit any and all forms of religion. Of course, by doing so he also made the cynical and highly narcissistic claim that his view of reality was the only religion humanity should ever have and the only science worth studying. Karl Marx is true father of all modern social sciences because Das Kapital is the first work with the arrogance to claim itself as a scientific study of society.

Karl Marx died in disgrace. Genuine scholars ignored him completely. It was only through the evangelical work of his disciple Friedrich Engels that Das Kapital gained any relevance whatsoever. And now we live in a world where Marx's egocentric worldview has permeated almost every aspect of our lives. For example, there is an assumption that in an emergency the government should enact strict laws to enforce "the common good" at the expense of any and all civil rights until such time as the emergency is declared over. One of the main reasons Katrina had such a devastating effect on New Orleans was because those who remained in the city did so on the assumption that the government was responsible for taking care of them. This is a core philosophy straight out of Das Kapital.

The world a few weeks ago was fixated on Haiti. The terrible results of the earthquake compelled the world to send hundreds of billions of dollars in aid. Mark my words, despite this huge influx of capital once the dust settles and the elites pocket their "fair share", the majority of the people will still be living in abject poverty. This collective outpouring of wealth would never have happened in the 19th Century. It is only because of Marx's didactic that the world feels responsible to alleviate the suffering of a nation that has spent the past century and a half crushing the ability of the people to care for themselves. The Marxist idea that the government is responsible for the people, instead of the people being responsible for themselves, led to land confiscations, food confiscations, and a concentration of wealth in the hands of Haiti's ruling elite. Apparently their "responsibility" to the people did not include enforcing a modern building code.

The problem that arises under a Marxist view of humanity is that it ignores human nature. Karl Marx was convinced that humanity would soon be transformed into a utopian paradise where the working class would control the resources and as a result, there would be no poverty and no economic elite. Under his social evolution, the next step following capitalist industrialization would be a revolt of the working class resulting in the destruction of the economic elite and the command of the means of production being captured by the working class. This utopian ideal ignores one simple reality of human nature: people are lazy.

Human nature began when a group of primates living on the African Savannah decided to supplement their diet of fruit, seeds, leaves, and nuts with the meat scavenged from corpses abandoned by predators. Why did they do this? Because it was easier to bash apart bones with rocks and eat the marrow than it was to spend all day wandering around looking for fruit and nuts. Laziness, not ambition and not creativity, created the change in diet that made possible bigger brains, more complex social structure, and eventually, cities. The history of humanity is not an evolutionary trek toward some kind of utopia. The history of humanity is a constant search for some way to exploit the resources of the land without actually working for them.

Scavenging supplemented gathering. Hunting supplemented scavenging but led to dietary problems that required meat be supplemented by plant fiber, leading to a new situation where gathering became the supplemental activity. When the climate shifted and game became scarce, people took the first steps to do something truly new: they captured animals and planted seeds. Why did they do this? So they wouldn't have to wander all over the place following herds and searching for grains. They got lazy and decided it would be better to have the meat and plants close at hand.

Agriculture led to surpluses. Laziness again took charge as people devised ways to store the surpluses so they could take a year off from farming now and again. As stockpiles increased, some people realized that if they could convince the village to feed them from the surplus, they wouldn't have to ever farm again. When the village objected, they went to the next village and stole their surplus. Groups of people realized that stealing was a whole lot easier than farming, forcing the villages to defend themselves and creating the need for a group of people who did not farm. Instead, they studied ways to defend the village and practiced fighting.

Pretty soon the fighters replaced the shamans and priests as the most important people in the community. They used their new found importance to force the farmers to spend the winter months building fortifications, palaces, and all the furnishing they needed to reinforce the superiority of their position. Some people realized that in the right circumstances, building stuff was easier than planting crops, weeding vegetables, pruning trees, and raising livestock. These people formed partnerships with the fighters, leading to the first class-based societies in India, Mesopotamia, and Egypt. A short time later China followed suit by re-organizing its wandering cities into permanent locations.

In all four places, these cities began fighting for dominance. War, large-scale war involving tens of thousands of professional soldiers, proved to have many advantages. First of all, it allowed you to capture your neighbor's stores, enabling you to eat better without working for it, or in some cases, because your own farmers had experienced a poor harvest. It also reduced the number of mouths that needed feeding. Rulers who embraced this idea and built their communities around it were quickly labeled as "evil" by neighboring cities that felt the pain of constant raids and invasions.

Then they started capturing their enemies instead of killing them all. This produced even more advantages. Now the farmers not only got to work less, they produced more food. Slaves required food, of course, but it is truly shocking how little food and material support a slave needs to survive if the only requirement is their ability to work.

Social classes became more entrenched. An assumption of entitlement grew in everyone. If you commanded armies and held slaves, then you were a more advanced human and entitled to more of the food the community produced. By trading with some cities and raiding others, you could also expand your material wealth, proving just how superior you were. Successful kings became emperors and being an emperor became the goal of every king.

There is no evolutionary compulsion. There is no striving for a better society. There is only individuals and groups of individuals who believe they are a more advanced form of human than the rest of us. When thrust into positions of power, these narcissists use that power to compel the rest of us to acknowledge this egocentric perception of grandeur. Their power brings wealth, and wealth enables them to bribe the foolish, the greedy, and the gullible into believing in their superiority strongly enough to provide layers of protection between they and the "ignorant masses", namely, you and I.

Revolution, in those rare occasions when it occurs, accomplishes one of two ends: it replaces the leading narcissists with another group of narcissists or it eliminates them entirely so the rest of society can return to farming and raising livestock without having to sacrifice the fruit of their labors to a parasitic entitled class. In most cases, it simply replaces one group of narcissists with another. In those rare cases where people are allowed to return to their lives, a neighboring narcissistic aristocratic class soon invades and creates a new parasitic relationship.

History, until the American and French revolutions of the 18th century, was a constant battle between a parasitic nobility and the societies they fed off of. However, it is also important to point out that society itself also gained something from the relationship and these benefits are what made the relationship attractive enough that it was replicated time and time again. The noble class gained access to the production of their people, and the people gained a limited freedom from worry about invasion. The producers offloaded the responsibility of personal defense onto the noble class and in return, the noble class took a portion of their production. Over time, the portion the noble class felt entitled to would naturally increase until it reached a point where the balance between the producer's cost for defense surpassed desire to indulge their inherent laziness. At that point someone would lead a rebellion or a migration and replace the existing noble class with themselves.

For a very short time following their revolution, the United States enjoyed an open society where every free member could succeed or fail on their own merits. The French experiment did not last long. Within a decade they had brought back the parasitic aristocratic class and restored them to power. The United States managed to hold off the encroachment for several generations. Then, in the middle of the 19th century, we fought a huge internal war between the parasites and the individualists. As fate would have it, the parasites won and the individualists fled into uncharted lands occupied primarily by native societies who had adopted a social structure built on the basis of tribes of wandering warrior-hunters who chased the buffalo and fought one another for control over the best hunting grounds.

Then gold and cattle became the foundation for a new class of economic elite who built cities and hired groups of loyal individualists to silence dissent. Darwin and Marx then stepped onstage to prove to the economic elite that they were indeed an entitled class superior to the run of the mill. Warfare between empires again surged, this time encompassing the entire globe.

And now once again we find ourselves rapidly solidifying into class-based societies with a ruling elite that believes their material success (often inherited from the people who acquired it) marks them as superior to the rest of us. Even worse, now the elites have global armies, global banks, global corporations, global crime syndicates, global trade franchises, and global social structures standing between themselves and the society they feed off of. So much wealth has been accumulated by these elites that they have been able to create elaborate structures of law, assumption, etiquette, education, and career path to reinforce their entitled position. They have even bribed and drugged the most impoverished classes into assuming that it is the elite's duty to take care of them.

On the other hand, to a great extent these broad claims are neither fair nor realistic. The modern world is the product of countless decisions by individuals, decisions taken for the same reason such decisions have always been made: laziness. Every individual searches endlessly for the easiest way to acquire the food and materials they need to feel comfortable. For some people that entails working extraordinarily hard for the first half of their life in order to enjoy the second half. For others, it means relying on the government for money to buy food, clothing, pay rent, and splurge on "entertainment".

Parasites now exist at all levels of human society. We feed off each other in a wild frenzy of self-destruction that can only end badly, and we know it. Those who bury themselves in self-indulgence are doing so because they know the end of our society is at hand. Those who lose themselves in our dizzying array of entertainment options do so because reality has become a minefield of social expectations running counter to humanity's inherent laziness. We are too lazy to fix our own individual lives and because we are, we know the world as a whole is headed toward disaster at breakneck speed.

The problems we are facing are all the result of two factors: humans are inherently lazy and we have been sold the idea that left to its own devices civilization will arrive at a Marxist utopia. The Marxist utopian dream is appealing because it hits where it counts most, our own penchant for laziness. Because Marx preached that this utopia was inevitable, those who have bought into the dream are working to bring it about through any means possible. Their motivation is the desire to be the leaders in the new worker's utopia so that they themselves will no longer need to work.

Marxism promises the fruits of labor and risk without the work. This ideal is so unrealistic that every attempt to implement it has resulted in even more dire oppression than the society it replaced. This ideal cannot work because human nature is lazy. Laziness is a preferred survival strategy because our world is based on the corruption of natural energy through decay. Food produces energy by decaying into its constituent chemical compounds. The body converts those compounds into more useful ones, and using those introduces additional decay, which must be eliminated as waste. The waste feeds new energy sources (plants and animals), which we consume, starting the cycle over again. This cycle only works in conditions that allow the right balance between work, which consumes energy, and laziness, which converts energy.

Marxism, like every social structure before it, offloads the work onto "lesser" humans so that the elite can focus on the conversion portion. As a result, the elites have energy to dream while the producers barely survive. The "higher intellect" the elites are so proud of is only possible because they offload so much of the work of energy production onto everyone else. As long as they can join the elite, those who prefer to avoid intellectual and creative pursuits are able to do so, which naturally has great appeal to their human nature. They don't have to do anything at all except consume.

The idea that humanity has a collective responsibility to both enable and maintain a social structure that feeds one class at the expense of another is parasitic. Marxism, no matter how politely it is phrased, is nothing more than yet another attempt to reinforce a class-based society with "social engineers" at the top who are responsible for telling the rest of us how to eat, when to reproduce, and where to sleep.

The danger of any and all social entitlement programs is that they enable more of us to feed off a decreasing production class. The advantage of a cold, cruel, free society is that the producers directly consume their production and if they don't produce, they die. This kind of forced productivity is not possible if it is imposed from the outside. The individual will not produce if their own survival is not dependent on the products of their own hands. We are inherently lazy, because laziness is the most effective way to exploit the energy of the natural system we evolved in. We are the products of our world and socialism (or social justice, or social responsibility, or communism, or any other collectivist ideal) is unnatural because it always creates a parasitic relationship between producers and consumers.

Humans are naturally lazy, because they are naturally lazy you cannot force them to work. The only way to create a society where everyone is gainfully employed is to create a society that rewards work. Marxism, or "socialism" if you prefer, does not reward work, instead, it reinforces parasitism. Parasitic relationships are always self-destructive. The only natural relationships that produce consistent results are symbiotic. When one individual profits through cooperation with another individual who also profits, then the natural order can produce successive generations. Those parasitic relationships that do occur in nature are always relationships which favor the host and not the parasite. Humans are too lazy to create such relationships. Our best hope is a society that replicates symbiosis. The only society capable of doing so is a free, capitalist society that is willing to let non-producers starve to the point where they are compelled to find productive work.

A husband and wife, for example, is a naturally symbiotic relationship. It does not matter which one is the producer and which one is the homemaker. Gender is irrelevant. The symbiosis occurs when one half of the pair "brings home the bacon" while the other half nurtures the children.

On the other hand, a single parent on welfare is a parasitic relationship. The parent contributes nothing to the society that feeds them, they only consume. Their children grow up under the assumption that the government is responsible for feeding them, clothing them, and providing them with entertainment. They have no motivation to learn the skills necessary to become producers.

This is why the paradox of a mother who leaves home to earn money working in daycare is good for society while having that mother stay home and live off an entitlement program creates a dependent class that cannot take care of itself. It looks wrong, it feels wrong, but in the end, encouraging that mother to earn money by caring for the children of producers is beneficial to her, to her children, and to the society that shelters them. It replaces a parasitic relationship with a symbiotic one.

The key is to provide a suitable reward that encourages the single parent to go out and find work. If the reward is not sufficient, the parent's natural laziness kicks in and they will demand someone help them raise their children. In today's world, that "someone" is the government, and the government can only do so by drawing on the resources produced by society.

Every government, regardless of its design, is parasitic. It feeds off the producers of the society it oversees. There are no exceptions. The advantage to a government that holds to the limits of the Constitution would be that it would minimize the parasitic draw on the resources of society. The governments in modern industrialized nations have become huge, gluttonous parasites dribbling tiny amounts of resources to the non-producers. This is the fatal flaw to the Marxist worker's utopia. Without incentives, the workers will not work. It is a violation of their inherent human nature.

February 10, 2010

Anti-gun racism revival at the VPC?

Violence Policy Center: Black Homicide Victimization in the United States

This is the January 2010 report by the Violence Policy Center on handgun violence among young black men in America. This report is basically a compilation of statistics readily avaiable at the FBI and CDC websites. For this particular report they relied exclusively on the FBI data.

Although this report paints a very grim picture, and indeed, the situation is grim, it does not address two fundamental issues: why is this trend isolated to black communities and why do so many personal confrontations between young black men result in shootings?

As a rebuttal to this report, I would like to point out Oakland, California (which for some reason is not included except in passing). Oakland, California has several different neighborhoods, one of which is predominately black. Oakland is a beneficiary of the draconian California state gun regulations, and has a large number of city ordinances on top of those. Despite this "gun-free" utopian approach to limiting deaths, shootings among young black men in Oakland occur almost daily. If all of those gun laws truly worked, then none of these young men would be dying.

Pennsylvania, Missouri, Indiana, Nevada, and Wisconsin are all singled out for special attention in the appendix. Yet, there is no mention of the crushing unemployment all of these states are currently experiencing as well as the draconian State-level gun regulations already in place in Nevada and Indiana. Nor does the report mention that the vast majority of these deaths are taking place in cities such as Indianapolis, Pittsburg, and St. Louis where major industrial companies have closed factories and moved their production facilities to Mexico or Canada to take advantage of lower taxes, lenient or non-existent labor regulations, and (in the case of Mexico) lax pollution requirements.

A worker cannot "move to the job" when the job moves out of the country in order to avoid burdensome tax regulations and entrenched government bureaucracies dedicated to enacting and enforcing draconian regulations for pollution controls and workplace safety. The difference in raw labor cost is also important to highlight.

Tax revenues have fallen in all of these states as a result of this massive shift in industrial production from the United States to Mexico, Canada, and China. Without these tax revenues the local communities cannot afford law enforcement and better schools, as well as more mundane items such as road maintenance.

And yet, the VPC report insists that the only solution to this death toll is even more stringent gun controls than those already in place. Instead of encouraging better fiscal management by the local governments, reductions in taxes and relaxing of workplace regulations for trivial items (such as the Indiana law regulating how many rolls of toilet paper must be maintained in each toilet stall in a workplace), they cry the same racist demands the Fourteenth Amendment was specifically designed to overturn: "Blacks are more violent than whites! We have to take away their guns!"

I must be honest here, the report does not specifically mention taking away guns from blacks. However, after focusing exclusively on black deaths the report concludes, "Successful efforts to reduce America’s black homicide toll must put a focus on reducing access to firearms."

I dunno. Maybe I'm biased against the VPC. I cannot help but notice that the NRA has millions of black members who own guns and don't use them to settle disputes.

February 06, 2010

Four generations of increasing slavery

This video is particularly timely because it focuses on two issues: incorporation and freedom of speech. Recently the Supreme Court ruled on a case known as "Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission". In their ruling they overturned portions of a law originally sponsored by Senators John McCain and Russell Feingold that severely curtailed the First Amendment freedoms of corporations, including the NRA. In overturning this law, many members of Congress were infuriated and claimed that "major corporations will now own American elections". The logic of McCain-Feingold was that because of their access to funds for public relations campaigns, major corporations are best positioned to conduct massive advertising campaigns through multiple outlets in an effort to determine the outcome of public elections. In short, McCain-Feingold was designed to prevent politicians from finding themselves in a position of campaigning against the PR department of a major corporation rather than their political opponent.

In reality, the law was specifically designed to block non-governmental organizations like the NRA, WWF, and of course, Citizens United itself. Major corporations like Coca-cola do not rely on advertising to influence political campaigns. Instead, they rely on lobbyists, specially prepared "research reports" and generous "gifts" to exert direct control over a candidate after they win the office they are campaigning to achieve. In other words, the law was specifically designed to shut down the ability of grassroots organizations to rally the public against candidates who used their office to take advantage of the generosity of corporate lobbyists! The law was purposely and directly intended to preserve the culture of corruption that exists at the highest levels of Washington politics.

So much for John McCain being a "maverick".

The other issue is a case being argued before the Supreme Court right this minute, "McDonald vs. City of Chicago". In this case, a man named Otis McDonald is working with the NRA to bring suit against the City of Chicago and overturn their ban on handgun ownership by private citizens. They are arguing the case on the basis of "incorporation", which means that under the Fourteenth Amendment, any Federal law replaces and supersedes any State, County, City or other local law.

There is a great danger in the incorporation argument. As more and more power is consolidated at the Federal level, more and more people will try to use Federal laws and regulations to force a particular cultural morality on the nation as a whole. This is why it is so vitally important that we eliminate organizations and bureaucratic arms of the Federal government such as the ATF, the DEA, the EPA, and the IRS. We need to repeal the Sixteenth Amendment (which authorizes the income tax and creates the IRS) and all other Amendments that contribute to the ability of the Federal government to directly interfere in local finances, local culture, and local social systems. The Fourteenth Amendment was specifically designed to prevent the states from passing laws limiting the social and economic rights of blacks. This is exactly the kind of issue that deserves Federal oversight because it restored unalienable freedoms local regulations attempt to withhold.

The foundation of the Constitution is the concept of "god-given, unalienable rights" held by every free-born citizen. Since we no longer have slaves, that includes every man, woman, and child entitled to an American passport irrespective of their personal religion, economic status, or ethnic background. The problem with bureaucracies like the IRS, the ATF, the DEA, and the EPA, is that they directly and unapologetically trample all over these very same unalienable rights the Constitution is supposed to protect. It is very important to remember that the government does NOT grant these rights. You already have them. Every government ever created in the history of our world sets out to limit, restrict, or remove the rights you possess simply by being human. The great genius of the Constitution of the United States of America is that for the very first time in history it created a national government with the specific role of protecting rights already possessed by its citizens. For the first time in history, all sovereign power rested in the people and the people were charged with maintaining the government rather than the other way around.

Under British Parliamentary law, the government retains all sovereign rights and distributes those rights equally among the people. Under the Japanese Constitution the people grant their sovereign rights to the government and trust it to distribute back those rights which make for a harmonious society. Under the French Constitution the government retains all sovereign rights and administers those rights which contribute to the happiness and welfare of the people. I could go on and on. The United States Constitution is the only national document that acknowledges the sovereign rights of the people and then leaves those rights fully in command of the people themselves.

You are supposed to run the government. It is not supposed to run you.

That is why in the United States criminal cases are always argued on the basis of, "The People vs. So-and-so" or sometimes, "The People and the State-of-something vs. So-and-so", while in all other countries of the world criminal cases are argued on the basis of "The City/State/Nation of Such-and-such vs. So-and-so".

Over the past hundred years our grandparents and great-grandparents have failed in their primary role as citizens of the United States. They have repeatedly passed more and more of their sovereign power over to the Federal government and every time they have done so, they have enslaved you and I a little bit more. We spend the first four to eight months of every year (depending on where you live) working for the government. Your first four to eight months salary goes directly to the government (again, depending on where you live), it does not contribute to your personal welfare and happiness in any way whatsoever. Our grandparents and great grandparents, though their intentions were good, have enslaved us to an overreaching government at every level. We were sold into slavery long before we were ever born in order to pay the wages of people who lacked the willpower and imagination to make their own way in the world and instead chose to have the government take care of them.

This is why I joined the NRA. I love guns, and I am ecstatic to be back in a land where I can own guns, but owning guns is not the real issue. The Second Amendment is unique among all nations. Every time the Second Amendment is limited in any way whatsoever, you are enslaved a little bit. Even "common sense" regulations such as the current background check system that is designed to prevent career criminals from getting access to guns (and fails miserably, I might add) limits your freedom to walk into a gun store, pick a gun off the shelf, pay for it, and walk home with it. This simple, "common sense" gun law that almost everyone supports (including the NRA) requires the Federal government to maintain a database of convicted felons and then maintain open communications with every gun shop in America. Tens of billions of dollars are spent every year on communications fees, access fees, maintenance fees, administration fees, oversight fees, investigation fees, background check fees, and so on. And yet, the career criminals have no problem whatsoever acquiring guns and using those guns to intimidate and oppress innocent city dwellers in major cities all across our nation.

We are enslaved. A part of every penny you make, and another portion of every penny you spend, is used to support a bureaucracy and a system that does nothing to limit the access of criminals to firearms.

This is why the two court cases in the video above are so important. For a full century now, we Americans have failed in our primary responsibility as citizens: controlling our government. It is only in the past decade, and mostly through the efforts of the NRA, that the course has finally begun to turn and hopefully will soon begin to reverse itself. Grassroots movements like the Tea Parties are beautiful to behold. Not only am I an active supporter of the Tea Party movement, I encourage everyone to be active in some kind of local grassroots organization. I don't care whether you are a diehard collectivist who craves government control and enslavement or a diehard anarchist who craves freedom to rape, pillage and plunder at will. Most of us do not exist at either extreme! Most of us are somewhere in between, desiring enough government to protect our person, our family, and our property and nothing more. All of us, from one extreme to the other and everywhere in between, need to be intimately and actively involved in the creation and maintenance of our nation.

The only way to avoid both anarchy and enslavement is for each and every individual to remain active in negotiating the continual creation, re-creation, and advancement of our society. Overturning the Washington D.C. gun ban was the first step. Overturning McCain-Feingold was the second. Overturning the City of Chicago gun ban will be the next step. Expanding CCW-licensing programs into the last two hold-out states will be another important step. Preventing the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty from being signed until provisions can be added that protect the rights of individuals throughout the world to keep and bear firearms in defense of person, family, and property, is another important step. Destroying Chinese government firewalls and eliminating the more limited censorship efforts of other nations is also an equally important step that needs to be taken.

I have no quarrel with a global government if, and only if, that government enshrines the principles set in place by the founders of the United States of America during the Constitutional Convention of 1789. Freedom and equality must be protected for everyone by placing all sovereign power in the hands of the people themselves where it rightfully belongs!

We don't need greater centralization. We don't need more powerful governments. We don't need to prevent people from destroying our world. There is only one thing we need: we need to enslave governments everywhere to the people themselves by disbanding them completely when necessary, and chaining back their powers wherever possible.

The people of the world are not the enemy. Overreaching governments based on the assumption that you and I cannot be trusted to manage our daily affairs are the real enemy.

Government is never the solution. Government is always the problem.

February 02, 2010

Groundhog day

When I was growing up I always wondered what a groundhog actually was. My hometown had ground squirrels, chipmunks, skunks, rabbits, gophers, moles, and even burrowing snakes, but no groundhogs. As a result, I always thought of them as being similar to badgers: small, mean, and fond of dead trees. Well, here in Ohio I have at least three groundhogs living on my land and I can now say with confidence that they bear no resemblance whatsoever to badgers. Today was groundhog day, but not a single one of the groundhogs on my land poked his hibernating head above ground. Not a one. I guess it was just too darn cold to bother getting out of bed.

On the other hand, something auspicious did happen today, and I was there to witness it. Jim Renacci made the formal announcement of his intent to run for Congress as the Representative of the 16th District, Ohio. Since this is the district where I live, I've been following the build up since last spring, almost a full year. I've met Jim Renacci, Matt Miller, and Paul Schiffer, the three candidates posed to duke it out in the Republican primary this May 4th. I decided last summer that I would be voting for Jim Renacci and nothing has come along to change my mind.

So, today, beneath a grey winter sky, I made my way to the Wayne Center for the Arts in downtown Wooster. The Wayne Center for the Arts is in a converted school building that is around a century old. It is very unusual for a town the size of Wooster to have its own Art Center dedicated to teaching visual arts to both children and adults. This one has been generously supported by both private and public contributions, mostly private. In the basement auditorium, a room one of the participants whimsically referred to as, "my old school gym", a group of around thirty people gathered to hear Jim give his formal public announcement of the intent to run for office.

The tone of the meeting was remarkably somber. The room was cold, and there were no chairs, but not a single complaint was heard. For just a moment, I could have sworn we were meeting in 1810 rather than 2010. The voices were low, respectful, quiet greetings shared between old friends and soft introductions between new friends. It was nothing like a similar meeting I'd attended my senior year of high school. That meeting had held around a hundred people, and I was the only one still in high school. Clusters of people here and there were passing around hand rolled marijuana cigarettes, rock and roll music blared from loudspeakers, and nobody bothered listening as the candidate stood up to make her announcement. I had gone to that meeting expecting to find something like I attended today because even then I assumed politics was a serious business calling for mature, rational adults who were often forced to make hard decisions.

I have to say, today's meeting was refreshing. It is good to see people taking a serious interest in the operation of our government. And yes, it was well worth standing in a cold auditorium.

The local Republican Party Chair got on stage and made a few opening remarks. Behind him were arrayed eight or ten people carrying hand drawn signs in support of Jim Renacci. Then Jim talked about his family (coal miners and day laborers), his arrival in the area as a young man with nothing more to his name than a worn-out Plymouth Champ, $200.00, and a fresh college degree. He talked about how he, the first generation in his family to ever attend college, came into the area looking for opportunity and found it. He spoke of his first few business ventures in retirement homes, his involvement in politics at the city level, and how he reduced an out of control $80 million city budget into a more manageable size without reducing key programs and without raising taxes.

This is the first time I have ever seen Jim speak from a podium and I was struck by how soft-spoken he is. Both Matt Miller and Paul Schiffer are loud, boisterous, highly opinionated men. After awhile, listening to them speak becomes a real torture test of the senses and I start wondering if they are preaching a sermon or running for office. The one thing that most impressed me about Jim Renacci, back when I first met him at the Wayne County Fair and again today, is the quiet confidence of his poise and his voice. There is nothing arrogant about him, nothing defensive, nothing insecure at all. He knows whereof he speaks and he has no need to broadcast it to the yearning masses. Simple, straight-forward honest opinions based on two decades running businesses followed by eight years running a mid-sized American city.

Matt Miller and Paul Schiffer are intense, passionate, loud, and neither one bothers listening, they are too busy thinking of what they can say that might win you over. They are salesman through and through. Both have spent their professional lives selling. Matt Miller selling hardware and Paul Schiffer selling himself. Both have spent their professional lives dependent on other people, Matt Miller on the owners of the store where he works, and Paul Schiffer on the manager of the radio station that hosts his show. Neither has ever made a payroll or doubled down on inventory to keep a business in the black. Neither one has ever taken risks where failure would have an impact on hundreds of employees. Their strident, preachy performances come from not really understanding how the country works while at the same time having a deep need to be a part of it. Both Matt and Paul need the opportunities a Congressional seat will bring them as well as the greater salary they will collect if elected.

Jim Renacci has spent his life making his own opportunities and as a result, has no need for a government paycheck (although I assume he will still collect one if he's elected).

In short, Jim Renacci will go to Washington and defend the interests of his constituents because first and foremost, he is a constituent himself. Matt Miller and Paul Schiffer, on the other hand, desperately need the job and if they win it, their main priority will be keeping it. Keeping it will mean the same thing it has always meant, cultivating contacts in Washington, ignoring the constituents when necessary to please the party bosses, and spending the majority of your time campaigning instead of working on new legislation.

Matt Miller and Paul Schiffer are good men and passionate about their causes, but Jim Renacci is not looking for a new job. Jim Renacci is looking to get Congress focused on balancing the national budget, reducing the deficit, and finding some way to pay for our unfunded liabilities which has surpassed $107 trillion as of this writing and continues growing every minute of every day.

A most auspicious groundhog day, in my never humble opinion. It's too bad the groundhogs slept through it.