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Whenever you are talking to someone about politics, pay attention to what they mean – not what they say.

Modern day liberals claim to want people to have equal opportunities as everyone else, but typically they want to use the power of government to make this come about. Government by it’s nature is force. Why do you need to use force to give everyone opportunity?

One reason is because one person (Person A) is in a position to deny another person (Person B) to take advantage of opportunity. That is all well and good, but unless A actually denies B his liberty, then A has done nothing wrong. To bring sanction against A preemptively is an over-reach of force (government). If A actively denies B of his liberties, then A should be stopped and punitively damaged so as to set precedent to discourage similar future acts by A and anyone else who decides that what A did was a good idea. Otherwise, let people have freedom of association and deal with each other on the merits of their own situation. Punish the bad guys who do bad things, but leave the good guys alone. Also, assume everybody is a good guy until they prove themselves otherwise. Innocent until proven guilty, and all, ya know.
The modern day liberal is against this idea. The modern day liberal wants to convict you because of where you ARE, ignoring what you did to get there. Because of what you HAVE, ignoring how you got it. Because of what you take, ignoring what you give.

If you have more than they think you should have, they want to use force to take it and transfer it to those who have less. Forget all the physical or mental work you did to get it, there are people out there who need it and you have more than what they determine you need. Bring in the guys with the guns.

If you have plenty, should you, by some moral compass, decide you should give to those who don’t? Sure, but YOU are the one who knows what you need and what you want to give and who you want to give it to. The modern liberal doesn’t trust YOU to do with what you have earned what they want you to do with it. They only trust the people who can lie well enough to the requisite number of people in order to get the sanction of the populace to use force to hopefully do what they want. See, a modern liberal DEPENDS on forcing others to do what they want done. They’ll condemn you for not “giving to the less-fortunate” then take your money so you can’t. They depend on force; not freedom, not choice not compassion. They want you to do what THEY want, not what you or somebody else wants. So they co-opt the only legal use of force available – government.

Many modern day conservatives do the same thing. Where the liberal wants the state to enforce his fluid definition of right and wrong, the theological conservative thinks he has God on his side and wants the state to enforce his idea of what God says is right and wrong. Both sides have lost sight of the fact that it is not a legitimate function of government to determine morality. The only legitimate function of force is to prevent or punish illegitimate force. In other words, government is supposed to protect the citizens’ rights to life, liberty, and property.

Determining who a citizen freely gives property to is not a protection of liberties. Determining if one citizen owes another property by contract IS a protection of liberties. By the way, Property = Time, Labor, Money, Goods, and/or Services.

Determining what one citizen charges another for goods or services provided is not a protection of liberties. But making sure one person delivers what they promised for what they charged IS a protection of liberties.

Telling one citizen that he cannot freely choose who he associates with in commerce or trade is NOT a protection of the freedom of association. Making sure one or more people do not interfere with the ability of someone else to freely associate with whom they choose, IS a protection of the freedom of association.

Preventing a person from expressing religious beliefs or mandating that religious beliefs be expressed is not a protection of religious freedom. Preventing someone from mandating or suppressing the free expression of religious beliefs IS a protection of religious freedom.

Mandating who one person can or cannot marry just flies in the face of freedom on every level. I have no idea what the anti-gay marriage folks think they’re doing to further freedom by trying to prevent two people who want to get married from getting married. That being said, it shouldn’t matter to the government whether you are married or not. In a legitimate government, what business of theirs is it if you claim to be married or not?

Mandating what a person chooses to ingest, drink, smoke, or whatever is not a protection of freedom. Preventing an intoxicated person from presenting an unreasonable risk to others IS an protection of freedom.  Also, determining which days or times a person may purchase or indulge in those behaviors falls right in there with the rest of it.

It is natural to want to prevent people from doing what you think is wrong. But before you get on some bandwagon and start calling for a use of force against that person for their choices, ask yourself, “Does his choice present an unreasonable danger to the rights of anyone else? Is he engaging in a fraud that will cost someone else their time, labor, or property without some agreed upon recompense?” If the answer is “No”, then feel free to speak out against what that person is doing. Criticize him and ostracize him if you will, but don’t fall back on the use of force to stop him.

Because pretty soon, he and a bunch of like minded people could possibly gain political power and bring sanction against you for doing things you do that doesn’t hurt anyone but that they don’t like. And they will use the precedent YOU set against you.

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I have spoken against arbitrary government powers at length. I feel like expounding upon that a little. I think I can better get the point across using some hypothetical scenarios. Here lately, I have noticed the Left attacking hypothetical scenarios as “Straw Man Arguments”. That’s fine and even warranted sometimes, but I want to couch these arguments in different terms. I want Dear Reader to use his judgment and experience to make the argument for me.

I will ask you if certain circumstances arise, what you think may happen. What may or may not be possible. It is up to you to decide from there.

As I have explained before on many occasions, I do not identify with Republican or Democrat, conservative or liberal, independent or partisan. I am a non-statist. Many times, this puts me on the side of the Republicans but I am anything but a Republican. Sometimes the Republicans are 180 degrees against what I believe and stand for. But more often, the Democrats are. The very few things the Democrats stand for that I agree with are nowhere near enough for me to support them because the vast majority of their platform is antithetical to my beliefs and convictions. Neither the Republicans nor Democrats are sufficiently non-statist for me so I am neither. I do believe, however, that the Republicans stand a better chance of becoming more of what I want in power than the Democrats, but that is an argument of possibilities, right now. Not probabilities.

I believe, and you must agree, that no matter who is in power at any given time, the opposite party will re-group and regain power in the future. I also believe, and you must agree, that whoever is in control of the exclusive right to use force to accomplish their political goals (running the government), will use any power given to them to accomplish their political goals. Therefore, I believe that any power given to the government can, and eventually will be, used against those who ceded the power in the first place.

I am neither an anarchist nor anti-government. I believe the government must have certain powers to insure and protect the rights of the individual. But I make a clear distinction between what is a right of the people and what is a power of the government. Any right of the people given up to the government, becomes an ability to use force against the individual by the government to deny that right. In short, what you would otherwise be able to do for yourself as a right, if you give power to the government to do on your behalf, the government can then refuse to do and forbid you from doing. You are effectively transforming an option of yours into an option of the government. You lose the ability to do for yourself and if the government decides not to do it for you, it just doesn’t get done.

I know many people would say that if it is law that the government should provide an entitlement, then they must. But the problem is the government is run by political people and political people can not only change the specifics of what they choose to provide, but they can change the definition of “provide” itself! Not only that, when you give up a right, the politicians use that abrogation as precedence to go even further than even the proponents of the original idea had in the first place.

Another thing to consider is that regardless of what side you come down on in political ideology, you are naïve to believe that if your guys are in power, they always will be. It is a fact of life that the parties in charge change. So whatever power you want to give to your political allies, you are also giving to your future political and philosophical foes.

If you are on the left and you want the government to “provide” healthcare, you must be content that the right wing will get their hands on that power one day and do with it what they want. If you are one of the ones that believe the right is full of racists, homophobes, unscrupulous profiteers and religious zealots, do you really want them to hold the power of what medical procedures you have access to? And if you are on the right and you are convinced the left is full of terrorist loving, illegal alien coddling, UN worshipping, tree hugging Communists, do you really want those guys in control of deciding what books you read are “immoral” and what laws are “morally justified”?

Now I, personally, don’t think the right nor left is full of the people mentioned above but I do believe that all successful stereotypes are formed around a kernel of truth. There are some of those people in power or soon to be so. And I don’t want either side deciding what I can do with my body nor what books or movies or anything else I can expose myself to.

This is why the Constitution of the United States was written the way it was. It was written to form a government that would protect the rights of the individual to do for himself – not to form a government that would directly provide for the individual. The framers knew that what the government gives, the government can take away. The framers trusted people to want to provide what is best for themselves and their families. They did NOT trust any men in power to care as much for you as you do for yourself. The framers were very smart in that way.

I think it is disingenuous for anyone that supports what the government is trying to do right now with healthcare, banking, insurance, the automakers, et al to really believe that they will be happy when someone like Dick Cheney is deciding which companies get bailouts and which ones don’t.  But if they think it is right for the government to pick winners and losers now, they will have to be happy with the government picking them when the other political ideology is in charge. You and I both know they won’t be. Even now, whenever any company that has taken a dime of federal money pays its executives anything over minimum wage, the same people that raised immortal hell to give that company that money, act like they are astounded that that company would unwisely spend some of that money. One the one hand, they want to prop up companies that were fiscally irresponsible in some way, but they are surprised that the company is fiscally irresponsible.

Anyway, I can assure you that if it were a Republican statist giving out billions of dollars willy nilly all over the place, the left would be apoplectic in their assertions that the money was only given to prop up the fat cat donors to the Republican party. Kinda like the right claims the unions are the ultimate beneficiaries of the “stimulus” money being broadcast across the fruited plains, now. I will predict this: Whenever the Republicans are in charge and another financial hardship hits, if the Repubs decide the market should run its course and decide the winners and losers, the left will have a fit that the government isn’t out there writing checks left and right. And when the Republicans cave (as they ALWAYS do) and start writing checks, the left will watch every penny for evidence it is being passed out for political payoffs.  Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. The problem is, it will never occur to most people to even question whether it is right for the government to be in the business of bailing out businesses in the first place.

In today’s world, the exception to the rule is more important than the rule. Political expediency takes precedence over right and wrong. And while this is nothing new, it is much more ambiguous than it ever has been.  Sadly, the ideals are philosophies that made this country the greatest force for good and liberty in the history of mankind, will likely be “excepted” to a state of impotence until this wonderful experiment is relegated to the dust bin of history.

A dear friend of mine commented on a previous post where I bitched about people raising all manner of hell about stores not using the word “Christmas” anymore. She tied it to schools doing away with “Christmas” about the same time the stores did. She was against it, for the most part. I am for it, for the most part. Her comment spurred an idea for this post. Here it tis…

Quick question: Do you REALLY want the schools to teach your child the “Government Approved” version of your religion?

Readin’, writin’, and ‘rithmatic.  It started out being about that. You send your kid to school, and you want them to learn to live in the real world. They have to know how to read, write and do math. We added on some other academic areas to that some time in the past – Science, Geography, Government, Music, Art, et al. For those areas, we found teachers who specialized in them, somewhat, at least.

And then the government came into the picture. They had to make sure the people who were teaching these things were teaching them correctly. They had to “standardize”, don’t cha know. And the easiest way to standardize is not to raise the bottom to the top, but to cut the top to the middle.

This next part may get pretty close to my pine tree post, but it’s my blawg – don’t judge me.

Think about caring for your lawn. You want it to look all nice and even, don’t you? You have a little bit of tall, green, healthy grass. A lot of mediocre grass, and a little bit of scrub grass – hugging the ground and looking all like shit. What’s the easiest thing to do? Do you fertilize the whole yard trying to get it up to the level of the good stuff? No, way too much time, trouble, and money. Do you kill it all back to the scrub level? Not right now, but wouldn’t it be nice if you could? Just basically pave over the yard and paint the concrete green. But not right away, that’d be too obvious.

The obvious solution to the problem is to take everything to the middle – the median, if you will. If most of your grass is 2 inches high and a little is 3 inches high, it would be easier to cut the 3 inch stuff to 2 inches and fertilize the 1 inch stuff. So you set the blade to 2 inches, bag the clippings, and dump them on the short grass to try to get them up to speed. No shame in that, you’re doing what’s good for the lawn. Not so much for the high grass, that is, but your goal is to bring up the whole yard and if you have to take down some of the better stuff to help the lesser stuff, that’s what has to be done. Now the grass blades themselves, see it differently. The tall ones are not happy, but they are a minority so who cares? Some of the medium blades got clipped – but not too much. They figure they were only a ¼ to ½ inch too high and they lost very little in relation to their height so who cares? The grass that’s a little bit below medium is happy cause now there’s not as much difference between them and the highest blades. And the scrub grass is happy because it gets all the good stuff taken from the highest blades.

This is the aim, if not the result, of the government. It is to standardize. Regardless of what the definition of that word is, the practice of standardization is to raise the low spots to the middle and take the high spots down. That’s great if you are the one standardizing but not so much if you are the one getting standardized. Especially if you are one of the high, healthy blades. See, the aspiration of the individual blades takes a backseat to the aspirations of the manager of the lawn. This is what the founders of the U.S. were trying to avoid when they wrote the Constitution.

Alas, when Government gets involved in any social experiments, this is what you get. So government schools are basically microcosms of society in that they generally shoot for the middle.  So, they have to teach math, literature (or reading), science, “social studies”(I hate that name – another post), and the sort.

Tell me, people, why would you want them to teach or have ANY type of influence on how your kid worships? It’s funny to me that the very people that do not think that schools are qualified to teach sex education are the ones most likely to be upset that they’re not teaching some religious courses. Isn’t religion more complex than just sexual stuff? You don’t want them to even mention sex or the biology related to it but you want them to uphold your particular denomination of your religion? How the hell can they be smart enough to know the intricacies of any particular religion, when they’re not qualified to speak one word of sex, which practically everybody engages in.

OK, I’m beating a dead horse here, but let me put it this way: If you are religious, what you teach your kid about sex will be heavily influenced by your LIFETIME experiences in your particular religion. You want to make sure the kid isn’t confused by being told one thing at school and something else at home. Besides, who knows if these teachers are pervs or not and God knows what they’ll teach them. Flip the page over, and you are lamenting the fact that “they are taking God out of schools”. So, you want them to include religion in school EXCEPT the whole sex and morality part?

I’m an all or nothing kind of guy. I want the schools to teach my kids biology and botany. If they’re going to tell my kid about the pollen and pistils, or pistols and stamens in plants, I want the sperm and eggs, and penis and vagina in animals covered, too. Man is an animal. Pretty straight forward stuff. It’s science. See, I don’t have a problem with that. Even teach how sexually transmitted diseases are transmitted. But stay out of the morality of sex and the whole sexual preference thingy. You teach my kid to read. Does that mean I want you to tell him what newspapers and blogs and books to read? No. Sure, “…everybody read Billy Budd – there will be a test next Tuesday” is OK. But don’t try to tell my kid what he should or shouldn’t LIKE to read. Or whom to screw. REAL simple. I’ll handle that part.

Kinda like buying a Weed Eater from Home Depot and being pissed because they won’t come cut your grass for you. Let them do what they do, you do what you do. Like I said, do you REALLY want the schools to teach a “Government Approved” version of your religion?

Look, folks, the way the government screws things up, don’t you think it’s a lot better that they not screw up God? This is not about separation of church and state. It’s about you taking the most precious thing you will ever have – your child – and having full control over the most important thing you can teach them – your religion. I don’t want a teacher, who I may or may not know, influencing my child’s morality or sexual proclivities, or respect for others, or religion. I’ll handle that. I’m a good enough parent to give my kid all the instruction in that that they need. Are you? Do you REALLY want some bastardized government version of Christmas promoted in the schools? Do you want some teacher to promote a particular sexual proclivity that they have? Do you really want the freaking government to do everything for you?  Can you not handle some things for yourself?

Let’s just call it “Winter Break”, OK? Not Ramadan, or Chanukah, or Christmas, or The Feast Of The Flying Spaghetti Monster or anything. In the grand scheme of things, who gives a damn WHAT the government calls it. When your kid gets off the bus, tell him Merr-appy ChristmaHanuKwanzica for all I care. Really folks, find something that matters to focus your energy on.

I want moral men and women in government but I’ll be damned if I want government based on some other person’s morality. Schools, too.

Since it will probably be referenced in future posts, I’ll go ahead and spell out my Soap Opera Theory here. I’ll probably link to this post when it’s mentioned in the future as an explanation of it.

People today, especially in the developed world, have 1/100th of the things to worry about than people living in grass huts in the Kalahari do. For that matter, an American middle class person has a lot less to worry about in 1979 or 2009 than a comparable person had to worry about in 1879 or 1909. Seeing how this is a relatively recent phenomenon (not worrying about lions eating you, Polio, the Common Cold killing you, a broken arm could get infected and kill you, pumping water from a well, NO hot water, washing clothes on a rock in a stream, outhouses, etc.), it is the human condition to have something to worry about. If a man is deprived of something to worry about, he’ll find something – even if it has to be fabricated, he’ll find it.

Before wide-spread utilities delivery, there were no electric or gas stoves, washing machines, dryers, water heaters, TV, light bulbs, refrigerated pre-cut meats and canned veggies from a store – many things like this. A man went to work in the fields or at a factory or something and a woman stayed home and worked her tail slap off. Chopping wood for the stove, hauling water to heat for washing and bathing, washing clothes by hand, sweeping, collecting eggs, butchering chickens or sides of stored beef or pork, emptying and washing “slop jars”, just an ungodly assortment of things to do. Men worked their tails off to afford just the necessities of life. Food used to consume 30% to 50% of the average household income. Supplies to repair the house and whatever else were in constant need (remember, before Duramax paint and things like it you can get down at Lowe’s or the hardware store, people whitewashed raw wood and felt lucky if it last 4 or 5 years – the WOOD, I mean, not the whitewash.) It was a struggle just to survive, being “comfortable” was not usually an option.

So fast forward 100 years and you have indoor plumbing, running hot and cold water, electricity, natural gas, all the appliances made possible because of these wonderful things, cars to get to the once non-existent stores to buy stuff you used to have to make, store bought clothes with UV resistant fabric, denim, just a million things to make life easier. Now, we find many instances of men working outside the home and women staying home and keeping the kids and house. With all these modern conveniences, the home maker had a little free time on her hands. Also, kid gets sick, take him to the doctor and an antibiotic would fix him right up. I know it’s still hard to run a household, but it’s one helluva lot easier than it used to be. So these women had time on their hands to at least watch a 30 minute or one hour TV show and soap operas were born.  Housewives everywhere latched onto them. It was like a romance novel you didn’t have to read. But I noticed with my mom and grandmothers and aunts and all, that they would get terribly upset about some of the goings on in the soap operas. Cry, even. Then they’d get on the phone and talk about what a bad guy some guy was on the show or how they felt sorry for some chick that was being cheated on and good Lord! I mean they got into it. It occurred to me the people in those shows had WAY more problems than normal people did. And that was the point – they had worries, normal folks didn’t. Soap operas were a way for people that didn’t have much to worry about to have something to worry about! Eureka! It was an outlet for people to get upset about something to alleviate the boredom induced by not having a whole lot to get upset about.

So the “Soap Opera” theory states: “When one has little or nothing to be worried, angry, or upset about, one will find something to fill that need. Man, in his natural state, must have problems to solve or injustices to rail against. In the absence of these things, substitutes must be searched for or fabricated.”

Hollywood is a good example of this. The insanely rich, spoiled, has everything handed to them set of people have to have a “Cause”. If things are too easy, they feel a diminished sense of self-worth. And to show that they are just like “normal people”, they make a caricature of a “normal” or “poor” person in their minds, and fight for what they believe that person needs or wants. They get all bent out of shape about these things for the same reason housewives cry about “Amanda having that baby and that no-good Richard is cheating on her with that floozy nurse at the hospital…”

So, that’s my Soap Opera Theory based on my years as a student of human nature.

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Typical blog format - chronologically, bottom to top. You are welcome to comment, but read "Da Rulez" first.

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