Fear is getting too expensive

When Franklin D Roosevelt said, “The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself,” Roosevelt was referring to the depression and turning the U.S. economy around. The biggest reason to fear is fear; fear causes growth of government and fear is expensive.

Opinion news is loaded with stories of what we should fear and calls for the government to ‘do more’ to protect us. There are an endless amount of editorials about how ‘fill in the blank’ will destroy America, which elevate concerns to comic book level scenarios of doom and call upon government to protect us.

Here is a list of Super Villains the DC Hall of Justice is on the lookout for:

  • Terrorist – foreign and domestic
  • Climate Change
  • Illicit Drugs
  • Rogue States
  • Health Care costs
  • Recession or Depression
  • Excess body fat
  • Eco-Terrorism
  • Big Banks – foreign and domestic
  • Patriot Groups
  • Illegal Immigration and Arizonans

And that is the short list,–there are a host of other things we are supposed to be afraid of that, as George Carlin said, “could infect your mind, curve your spine and lose the war for the Allies.” In all the above, the underlying argument often used is leaving them unchecked will lead to the eventual destruction of America.

Its debatable if any of the above issues might actually lead to our demise, but its’ not debatable the price for all our fears is expensive because people look to government to calm their fears. As long as we’re cutting back on things in general, consider cutting back on fear and fear mongering.

It’s fine to express concern; but save the annihilation analogies only for things that actually cause total destruction, like a huge asteroid hitting earth. Lots of things could harm our country, but the list of things that could destroy the county is a lot less than we’ve been led to believe.

Share Button

What is a Fusion Center, and why should I worry?

Free Talk Live Catherine Bleish talks about how the Feds have purchased the local police using grants.

A quick summery of Fusion Centers and the dangers they pose to civil liberties.

Bleish: This (fusion centers) is a back-door way that your local and state law enforcements are being both federalized and militarized. So now you have the Department of Homeland Security coming in sticking their fingers into your city police departments, into your state highway patrol. And it is getting individuals who are meant to keep the peace, it’s changing their focus to defending the homeland and the war on terror.

We visited the Phoenix fusion center; they actually said, ‘If you are planning a rally or an event in Phoenix or in Arizona they will run your name through the fusion centers databases with no criminal predicate,’ no reason whatsoever, just to check.

This may seem as not much to worry about, but imagine there were background checks on any of the other first amendment rights. How would you feel if going to a house of worship, posting an opinion online, or contacting an elected representative resulted in a background check?

When protected rights are considered suspicious terrorist activities, it’s time to start worrying.

Share Button

Thoughtcrimes: Smoking and Abortion

State to force stores to post graphic signs vs. smoking (boston.com)

Massachusetts is poised to become the first state in the nation to force retailers to prominently display graphic warnings about the perils of smoking right where cigarettes are sold — at tobacco sales racks and next to cash registers.

Images of ominously darkened lungs, damaged brains, and diseased teeth could start appearing before the end of the year in more than 9,000 convenience stores, pharmacies, and gas stations, if a proposal by the state Department of Public Health is approved as expected. Other posters would direct smokers to where they can get help to stamp out their habit.

This story has been described on the blogs as another nanny-state proposal. The proposal does seek to control behavior through punishment, but that’s where the nanny analogy ends. In real life, eventually you outgrow a nanny, a nanny can be fired, or you can choose not to pay for an unwanted nanny.

car moneyNannies don’t try to prevent children from doing things they are allowed to do, and they don’t punish children following rules. Nannies can’t force you to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars in fines for not complying with their wishes. Nannies can’t force businesses to post images in an effort to drive away customers.

“If somebody is trying to quit smoking and they go back to the store and they’re tempted — oh, just one pack — we hope this will help them make a different choice,’’ said Lois Keithly, director of the Massachusetts Tobacco Cessation and Prevention Program.

Thought police or thoughtcrime are more descriptive terms for what is taking place here. If you even think about smoking, you can be punished with unpleasant images or your crime. The “crime” being consideration of a legal action that is not governmentally approved.

George Orwell - 1984Massachusetts is not alone in forcing adults to think state-approved thoughts before performing a legal activity. Oklahoma passed a law that requires women seeking an abortion to see a vaginal ultrasound of the fetus and to hear a description of the fetus.

To those who endorse using the government to force others to think the thoughts you’ve chosen for them: How would you feel about an image of big brother right next to your own on your drivers license, or how about big brother posted right on your front door?

Share Button

Thoughtcrimes: Smoking and Abortion

State to force stores to post graphic signs vs. smoking (boston.com)

Massachusetts is poised to become the first state in the nation to force retailers to prominently display graphic warnings about the perils of smoking right where cigarettes are sold — at tobacco sales racks and next to cash registers.

Images of ominously darkened lungs, damaged brains, and diseased teeth could start appearing before the end of the year in more than 9,000 convenience stores, pharmacies, and gas stations, if a proposal by the state Department of Public Health is approved as expected. Other posters would direct smokers to where they can get help to stamp out their habit.

This story has been described on the blogs as another nanny-state proposal. The proposal does seek to control behavior through punishment, but that’s where the nanny analogy ends. In real life, eventually you outgrow a nanny, a nanny can be fired, or you can choose not to pay for an unwanted nanny.

car moneyNannies don’t try to prevent children from doing things they are allowed to do, and they don’t punish children following rules. Nannies can’t force you to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars in fines for not complying with their wishes. Nannies can’t force businesses to post images in an effort to drive away customers.

“If somebody is trying to quit smoking and they go back to the store and they’re tempted — oh, just one pack — we hope this will help them make a different choice,’’ said Lois Keithly, director of the Massachusetts Tobacco Cessation and Prevention Program.

Thought police or thoughtcrime are more descriptive terms for what is taking place here. If you even think about smoking, you can be punished with unpleasant images or your crime. The “crime” being consideration of a legal action that is not governmentally approved.

George Orwell - 1984Massachusetts is not alone in forcing adults to think state-approved thoughts before performing a legal activity. Oklahoma passed a law that requires women seeking an abortion to see a vaginal ultrasound of the fetus and to hear a description of the fetus.

To those who endorse using the government to force others to think the thoughts you’ve chosen for them: How would you feel about an image of big brother right next to your own on your drivers license, or how about big brother posted right on your front door?

Share Button

Ethnicity: Another Reason for Private Competition in Public Schools

These two racially charged stories of government involvement in the public school system make a another good argument for getting government out of the public schools. It’s unfortunate that what brings these stories to the public’s awareness in the racial element, because the underlying problem of forced political education is obscured.

Arizona governor signs bill banning ethnic studies (rawstory.com)

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer has signed a bill targeting a school district’s ethnic studies program, hours after a report by United Nations human rights experts condemned the measure.

State schools chief Tom Horne, who has pushed the bill for years, said he believes the Tucson school district’s Mexican-American studies program teaches Latino students that they are oppressed by white people.

Michigan Grade School Ends Black-Only Lunch Group (npr.org)

“Lunch Bunch is no longer,” district spokeswoman Liz Margolis said in an e-mail to AnnArbor.com. “It will be discussed among staff and some parents and be reworked. It has a valuable goal of assisting children who are not performing well on the MEAP, and this effort will continue.”

Dicken Principal Mike Madison drew criticism from parents following his decision last week to take members of the African-American Lunch Bunch on a field trip to hear a black rocket scientist at the University of Michigan speak. Only black students were invited on the trip.

The Old Rock SchoolhouseIn the United States there is a commonly held value of respecting other opinions; this respect is not present when it comes to educating the youth on issues dealing with race and ethnicity.

If there were respect for opposing views, there would be open competition among public schools and the force of government would not be used to teach community standards on racial issues.

The issue isn’t about how Arizona or Michigan chooses to teach students on issues of race; the problem is ignoring that parents can not choose how their children are taught. The choice for parents is to either pay for private schools or move to another school district.

It does not matter to me if you are for or against how either of these states handles race in schools. If it were left up to me, I would not have the subject taught at all–not use the force of government to see that my view was forced upon everyone.

If there were private competition of public schools, there would still be schools that teach racial issues like the ones in Arizona or Michigan, but it would also open the doors for schools focused on reading, writing, and arithmetic instead.

A free market for schools would allow parents to make the decision for themselves, there would be an open market for schools teaching parents version of political correctness–and, more importantly, a market for schools NOT teaching political correctness.

Share Button

Another Supreme Court Nominee, Another Political Spectrum Debate

With Elena Kagan’s nomination to the Supreme Court we have to live though a plethora of opinion pieces trying to define this nominee on the political spectrum. The same questions come up each time, are they liberal or conservative, Democrat or Republican, left or right.

MoneyAs a libertarian, I’m all too very familiar with the annoyance of having others summing up my views as either left or right. Watching Supreme Court nominees go through the process always brings out empathy for the nominee because labeling is something libertarians constantly deal with.

There is no absolute mutually agreed upon scale to sum up political views. Labeling the political philosophy of others is relative to the philosophy of the one offering the opinion.

Bill Ayers sees President Obama as a moderate and Ann Coulter sees John McCain as left-wing. Europeans see most of American politicians as being conservative and the reverse is true that Americans see European politicians as liberals.

Summing up all a person’s views as either being left or right isn’t very informative. From what’s floating around the blogs, Elena Kagan is not liberal enough for endorsing the Bush administration’s category of ‘enemy combatant’ and too liberal for kicking military recruiters off a college campus.

Not that my opinion of the next person on the Supreme Court matters, but instead of applying a label to their views, please list the view in question and then explain the view relative to well known politicians views and spare me the labels.

Share Button

Rand Paul vs. Science Fiction Villain

Rand Paul vs. Trey Grayson and The Washington Machine

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y3eyVbXFE-M&playnext_from=TL&videos=NxGcrouQBrU

This campaign ad for Rand Paul portrays Washington D.C. as a science fiction monster. Kudos to the ad agency for coming up with this idea.

Comparing the government to villains of the past is bound to be labeled as outrageous, whereas comparisons to villains in the future are still accurate and less sensational.

The analogy between the Federal government and science fiction villains works on several levels. The ad stirs up the same fears of technology run amok with a government that’s run amok such as:

  • Cylons in Battlestar Galactica: A human invention which grows in power and then enslaves or destroys its creators.
  • The Terminator: It can’t be bargained with. It can’t be reasoned with. It doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear.
  • Colossus in The Forbin Project: “In time, you will come to regard me not only with respect and awe, but with love.”
  • Borg from Star Trek: “Resistance is futile” and “You will be assimilated.”
  • Delos in WestWorld: Where nothing can go wrong.
  • Master Control Program in Tron: “I’m bored with corporations. With the information I can access, I can run things 900 to 1200 times better than any human.”

Which Science Fiction computer do you think best represents Washington DC?

Share Button

Rand Paul vs. Science Fiction Villain

Rand Paul vs. Trey Grayson and The Washington Machine

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y3eyVbXFE-M&playnext_from=TL&videos=NxGcrouQBrU

This campaign ad for Rand Paul portrays Washington D.C. as a science fiction monster. Kudos to the ad agency for coming up with this idea.

Comparing the government to villains of the past is bound to be labeled as outrageous, whereas comparisons to villains in the future are still accurate and less sensational.

The analogy between the Federal government and science fiction villains works on several levels. The ad stirs up the same fears of technology run amok with a government that’s run amok such as:

  • Cylons in Battlestar Galactica: A human invention which grows in power and then enslaves or destroys its creators.
  • The Terminator: It can’t be bargained with. It can’t be reasoned with. It doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear.
  • Colossus in The Forbin Project: “In time, you will come to regard me not only with respect and awe, but with love.”
  • Borg from Star Trek: “Resistance is futile” and “You will be assimilated.”
  • Delos in WestWorld: Where nothing can go wrong.
  • Master Control Program in Tron: “I’m bored with corporations. With the information I can access, I can run things 900 to 1200 times better than any human.”

Which Science Fiction computer do you think best represents Washington DC?

Share Button

National Day of Prayer – A Deal with the Devil

Some criticism surrounding the controversy over the National Day of Prayer should go to religious organizations–for not complaining about the federal government trespassing on their territory.

ChapelWhy would  religion want endorsement from a group not especially known for moral fortitude? If gamblers or pornographers called for a day to honor religion, there would be massive objections. So where are the objections when the endorsement comes from a group so widely considered morally bankrupt as our politicians?

Religion is far more popular than Washington D.C.; religion being promoted by government is like iPad getting an endorsement from the Kindle. Does it hurt more than it helps?

By endorsing National Prayer Day, politicians hope to borrow some of religion’s popularity,  thus piggyback into projecting an unearned sense of holiness–directly profiting off of God’s popularity in the polls.  How does that promote either religion or morality?

Why do religious organizations tolerate government claiming any authority over prayer? If all the religions in the US declared their own National Day of Prayer, it would have a lot more meaning than a day declared by the government. The significance of the prayer itself should not be overshadowed by who claims they think it should be officially recognized as a good idea.

Most politicians support any position only so long as it serves their purpose. Even sincere politicians have different agendas than religious organizations; politicians can just as easily not support prayer, or endorse something entirely contradictory to a religious agenda if it get votes. By acknowledging government as a legitimate authority on religious matters, religious organizations put themselves at risk for the day when they find conflicts between their interests and government interests.

I think the Rev. Franklin Graham is starting to get the idea that politicians use religion for their purposes and it does not work the other way around.

There were millions of evangelical Christians that voted for Barack Obama in the last election. I don’t think they’ll be at the table next time. I think they’ve seen things from this administration that concern them, that worry them.

On this, federally declared National Day of Prayer: I pray for religious leaders to recognize that accepting a blessing from a politician is making a deal with the devil.

Share Button

National Day of Prayer – A Deal with the Devil

Some criticism surrounding the controversy over the National Day of Prayer should go to religious organizations–for not complaining about the federal government trespassing on their territory.

ChapelWhy would  religion want endorsement from a group not especially known for moral fortitude? If gamblers or pornographers called for a day to honor religion, there would be massive objections. So where are the objections when the endorsement comes from a group so widely considered morally bankrupt as our politicians?

Religion is far more popular than Washington D.C.; religion being promoted by government is like iPad getting an endorsement from the Kindle. Does it hurt more than it helps?

By endorsing National Prayer Day, politicians hope to borrow some of religion’s popularity,  thus piggyback into projecting an unearned sense of holiness–directly profiting off of God’s popularity in the polls.  How does that promote either religion or morality?

Why do religious organizations tolerate government claiming any authority over prayer? If all the religions in the US declared their own National Day of Prayer, it would have a lot more meaning than a day declared by the government. The significance of the prayer itself should not be overshadowed by who claims they think it should be officially recognized as a good idea.

Most politicians support any position only so long as it serves their purpose. Even sincere politicians have different agendas than religious organizations; politicians can just as easily not support prayer, or endorse something entirely contradictory to a religious agenda if it get votes. By acknowledging government as a legitimate authority on religious matters, religious organizations put themselves at risk for the day when they find conflicts between their interests and government interests.

I think the Rev. Franklin Graham is starting to get the idea that politicians use religion for their purposes and it does not work the other way around.

There were millions of evangelical Christians that voted for Barack Obama in the last election. I don’t think they’ll be at the table next time. I think they’ve seen things from this administration that concern them, that worry them.

On this, federally declared National Day of Prayer: I pray for religious leaders to recognize that accepting a blessing from a politician is making a deal with the devil.

Share Button