Silence is golden. Part I

I’m bouncing back from a pretty discouraging week of work.   Something that activism has taught me is that most people genuinely aren’t educated when it comes to politics and laws. I don’t say that harshly or condescendingly, they’re just ignorant of how policies affect them. I’ll caveat that with stating that the most popular news sources that are relied upon for this information are not helpful to that effect. One must be purposeful in learning how economic policies work and how they interact with the public.

That said, I’ll share one of my biggest frustrations:

One of the most irksome things I hear is “that doesn’t affect me, I’m on Medicare and Social Security and Medicaid, so everything is taken care of…”

Such a statement is bothersome for many reasons, one being that the majority of the elderly folks I encounter don’t know that the Affordable Care Act does indeed affect them.  The second and most shocking to me is justifying complacency because something “doesn’t effect” them.  If you saw a person getting robbed at gunpoint you’d do everything you could to help them. Well, someone else getting robbed doesn’t affect you but you’d at least call the police, right? People don’t like injustice, even on behalf of another individual.

Now what if the person doing the robbing said to you “I’m going to rob this person and give you some of the loot for keeping quiet.”  This would make you an accessory to crime in a court of law, would it not?

Do you see where I’m going with this?  The government steals money from some, and gives it to others. Many feel justified in this Robin Hood scheme because of an entitlement complex that tells them the wealthy “don’t pay their fair share” or worse yet hold the belief that it’s not wrong because it is legal.  Now the conversation of legal vs. ethical vs. moral vs. just vs. unjust is an entirely separate and huge conversation that no one would ever want to read on a blog, but I will say this; legality does not beget justice.  With that idea then, even if I have paid my dues and have everything in my life taken care of and nothing the government does affects me, if what the government does hurts someone else I should do something, right?  Would my silence not make me a passive participant in crime against another?

We cannot continue to sit idly as the futures of so many are robbed.  Here in the south we commonly say “leave something better than how you found it.” Whether it’s a grocery store aisle, a camp site, or your friend’s kitchen, we work to make things better for people because how we spend our time is a reflection of our character. This mess happened on our watch, it’s high time we do all we can to fix it for those that will inherit it.

If you’d like to know specific things you can do to help or would like some educational resources send me a message, I’d be overjoyed to talk with you.

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The cost of freedom

I recently began doing some part time work with an organization that educates the public on economic policies in the interest of lowering taxes, reducing burdensome government oversight, and increasing economic freedom. The idea is that the most economically free states are the happiest and most productive states. Here in Arkansas we have one of the highest income tax rates in the south… That’s pretty staggering considering much of our state is on Medicaid and our unemployment rate is still above the national average of 6%

So as I am working I realize that surveyors can be a nuisance and I try not to focus on those that refuse, but it’s hard.  It’s hard because when I work to promote economic freedom I’m working so that my Father, a business owner, can see the rewards for the long hours he puts in.  When I work to promote economic freedom I work so that my “medically feeble” mother can once again have life-sustaining healthcare since her healthcare plan was cancelled and the state has offered no alternatives. I work so that my friends that are single mothers can provide for their children, because they’re doing it on their own, without the “help” of government aid. This is personal. This fight for freedom is a war between us and the state. As American citizens we should have the right to refuse government interference and to keep the fruits of our labor.  That’s part of the American dream!  Unfortunately huge government expansion programs, crippling tax climates, and overly burdensome regulations make it too difficult for most to succeed.  Instead, a small few with money and connections pay for a non-competitive market.

So what would you do to help expand freedom?  Would you give up a couple of hours a month to make some phone calls or knock on some doors?  Would you donate a few dollars to the foundations doing the research and developing the methods to make freedom fighters successful?  Would you attend an event once or twice a year to learn more about the economic policies most closely effecting you?  

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COFFEE!

Phone Pictures 041In my de-caffeinated daze everything is a blur.  A painful, annoying, aggressive blur.  After performing the zombie walk through the grocery store to retrieve some life-juice and speeding home to show Mr. Coffee just how much I love and appreciate him a thought occurred to me: addictions aren’t always a bad thing.

I know that I’m addicted to coffee, I have been for a long time.  My aunt got me started on the nectar of the gods at the young age of 12 and for this I thank her, had I not started drinking then I probably would have grown to be a Sasquatch.  However, in recent years the addiction has become quite strong.  If I must I can usually go a day without coffee, just don’t try to have any sort of deep or meaningful conversation with me, or ask me too many questions, or give me bad news.  Two days without coffee and just don’t expect to see me, I will be crippled in bed, moody, disoriented, and simply not pleasant in any way.  The addiction has gotten to the point where even my own mother avoids me on the coffee-less days, she tells me drinking coffee is my public service.

Back to the point; while hastily guzzling the first cup of coffee in two days I thought to myself “I just went to the grocery store to buy coffee so that I could come home and drink it, so that I can go to Starbucks and drink coffee and enjoy myself…”  The thing of it is, my addiction makes me a more pleasant person, and it was then that I realized addictions aren’t always bad.  I’m fairly certain 95% of the population is addicted to something: sports, food, nicotine, coffee, exercise, politics, reading, drugs, etc.  The classifier of an addiction is that you have a craving for it, and if you go without for too long you do not feel like yourself.  While addictions to things such as drugs can be destructive to one’s life, other addictions make you more productive and healthy! I know people that get grumpy if they don’t run every day, running produces serotonin and other “happy” endorphins that more or less act like a drug. Likewise, people get addicted to watching or playing sports, they act just like addicts withdrawing when their sport of choice is off season.  Political addicts are constantly looking toward the next race, preparing, strategizing, searching for candidates, searching for volunteers, and without that in their lives feel a sense of loss.  I would not classify these addictions as “bad” things, if they make you a more productive person and do not cause harm to yourself or others then I would go so far as to say they are “good”.  I could certainly wean myself off of coffee, but at what cost? I love coffee, why would I want to create a coffee power struggle? I try to be honest with myself; if I were to un-addict myself from coffee I would just fall right back into it, then I will have wasted all of that time being moody and in pain and not have gained anything.

The moral of the story is, if you want to overcome an addiction for whatever reason then do it! However, if your addiction is not harmful to yourself or others, don’t feel like you must fight it simply because it’s an addiction.  There are so many other issues and worries in life that must be dealt with and fought, if coffee is my vice I feel like I’m doing pretty well. I’m perfectly content with that addiction if it fuels my fire to fight other causes.

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Keep Calm and Throw Away Your Stick

Silly government, they read The Prince and thought it was their training manual!  These last few months *years* of governmental atrocities have been nightmarish.  What’s recently caught my attention is the birth control “issue”. While most conservatives are taking this as an assault to freedom of religion (which it is), it is an assault to so much more.

IF the question “could this be a violation of a basic rights?” were asked before legislation was written, presented, or passed, America would be a better place.  Unfortunately the last several administrations (and most especially this one) have made it fantastically apparent that basic human rights and freedoms aren’t important.  Over the last 3 years, among various and sundry other attacks on personal liberty, we have watched the Patriot Act be re-signed, even worse this time around.  We have watched as congress passed mandated healthcare that even the vermin that passed it don’t want.  We have seen the U.S. attempt to censor the internet through SOPA-PIPA, and now we are watching as several issues come to a head in the form of birth control. 

While it is true that conservatives are split on birth control, it’s been a relative non-issue, until now.  The problem  comes in when the government mandates not only that employers provide medical insurance for their employees (a whole other blog post), but that that insurance cover birth control.  The first question that comes to mind is “what about religious organizations?”  For thousands of years the Catholic church has publicly taken a stand against birth control of any kind.  Yet, now they are required to provide birth control to their employees?  The State has sprinted over its line yet again and demanded religious institutions go against their own standards of morality.  If a person employed by the Catholic church (or any other organization against the use of birth-control) disagrees with that particular stance, it is their freedom to 1. Find a different job, or, 2. Provide their own birth control.

If you thought the infringement ended at religious liberty think again, religion is the tip of the crap ice-berg.  If ever I’ve seen an anti-business establishment this is it! Any business owner, economist, business scout, or intelligent legislator will tell you insurance mandates are BAD for business.  When insurance mandates happen within a state the state becomes less desirable to businesses…Why? Because it costs them more money per employee to operate!  Living in Arkansas, we know all about this. On a state level, high operating costs mean companies don’t choose your state as a location from which to operate, however, on a national level it means jobs leave the country all-together. It also means higher insurance premiums for EVERYONE. If you’re a single celibate male you’re paying for some woman’s birth control. Say what?!? Yes. Mandates mean that EVERY plan must cover something, and premiums don’t only go to cover your expenses. 

You may be thinking most insurance provided by corporate jobs covers birth control anyway, so it shouldn’t affect them, right?  Wrong.  Mandates raise costs across the board.  Part of that is insurance companies taking advantage of the opportunity, after-all, they’re not non-profits, and part of it is insurance companies trying to ensure they have enough to cover birth control costs for EVERYONE. 

So, why then would an educated administration pass something so heinous?  My guess (which is probably right) is control.  Control of the narrative throughout the media, shifting the focus of media and the republican primary to social issues because liberals know they’ve lost the budget/economy war. Control in the religious sphere by breaking down the wall between church and state, moving the governmental ball (yes, they have one) forward, each barrier broken means power and control within large groups of people, divide and conquer.  Control of ideas, when uneducated people merely watch the news they are led to believe that the republicans are religious nuts that think no one should use birth control.  Quite the contrary is true, but media chooses what they report, and when there’s nothing bad they make something up.  Finally, control of business and the economy.  Producing ridiculous mandates in a time of 10% plus unemployment is one of the most idiotic plans perhaps ever.  In a time when government should be easing regulations and mandates to allow a more hospitable environment for business and industry they are instead adding to the problem of unemployment.  When Americans can’t help themselves because there are no jobs a growing number of people rely on government for their basic needs.  Instead of the government being limited by the people, people turn over more and more rights in exchange for basic necessities or perhaps a few niceties.  This is when the government has succeeded in socializing a nation.

So, go out, get involved, and vote!

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The Importance of Being Earnest

Over the summer I got myself involved in my county’s republican committee.  Through that I found all sorts of devilish fear mongering trouble to keep myself occupied, not the least of which was starting a college republicans group at my own college :). As I am nearing the end of my under-graduate degree (I’m on the 6 year, super-duper senior track…don’t judge) I have been reflecting on education; what I’ve perceived to work, what doesn’t work, what are some areas lacking, what areas are doing well, etc.  The one area that I can say without a doubt is lacking across the board at every public school and nearly every university is history.

Somehow, somewhere, we got it stuck in our minds that history is boring and not important. Au contraire mis amigos.  While most courses taught in school are very much important, history is one of the most important things we could learn, and not just because I say so (though that should be reason enough.) We can relate to history because history enriches our culture. It reveals to us where our ancestors have been, what they have done, where they came from, and why.  History teaches us cause and effect, what works and what does not, what is needed when, and when what was needed is no longer necessary.  History provides us a picture of our future by showing us winning and losing combinations. Unfortunately, all too often, history gets to repeat itself.  Why? Because we don’t know it.  So why is it that history is often taught by a coach that really could not care less about history unless it happens to be the scores to last night’s basketball/football/baseball game?  How did we grow so apathetic toward our own culture?

Enter public education. Is it a conspiracy propelled by political motive?  Perhaps.  Of course, public schools can only do so much.  However, doesn’t it make sense for a federally funded education to, I don’t know, educate children on what and who is funding their education? Doesn’t it seem logical for the government to ensure that the next generation leading our nation knows what has happened so that our nation can progress and continue to be a leading world power? Did you catch my mistake in this paragraph?  I used the words “logical” and “government” in the same sentence, now the internet will implode….

But seriously, the degeneration of history education began long before the No Child Left Behind Act, and even before standardized testing.  It seems that much of the breakdown occurred when liberals tried to politically correct everything and remove religion from schools.  What so many Americans don’t understand is that history is not just events that have occurred.  History is comprised of culture, philosophy, religion, politics and government, this list goes on.  Religion is so very much a part of history that to sterilize history of religion is to remove its meaning and purpose altogether.  It simply cannot be done while still retaining the meaning and gravity of history.

You may ask what the government gains from ignorant citizens, the answer is simple; power.  When the people forget, the ruling body is free to do as they please.  It’s the most stealthy form of brain-washing because it doesn’t tell you anything, and that’s the precisely the point. The most dangerous weapon against a corrupt government is a keenly educated population….or a nuke. When Americans forget how bad socialism is for the individual as well as the nation the power hungry bureaucrats are free to pursue their self-serving, anti-American motives.  The United States is what it is because millions of people fought to make it so, and preserve it as such.

Without a clear understanding history (both American and world) we WILL lose our nation.  There’s no doubt about it.  To understand where we are going, we have to know where we were, and where we are.

 

Opinions, questions, criticism, I welcome them all.

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Liberty Logically

If you’ve read any part of my blog you’ve noticed I’m fairly unapologetic about the positions I take and what I say.  However, I do try to understand those that I disagree with, because the more you know, the easier it is to criticize.  As I was talking to a friend the other day he said something that sent my mind reeling, he said “liberals may be part of the problem, but they are also part of the country – close enough to half to elect liberals a good percentage of the time…” My first thought was to build a liberal island and let it be.  My second thought was, liberals are part of this country, and like it or not we must contend, and like it or not there are officials that represent them, and like it or not there are some officials that have to try to make everyone happy.  What I’ve found to be the case is, the more people one is responsible for making happy, the more people one ends up ticking off.

Back to the topic, what makes this country so wonderful is that we are free.  America  is founded on the principles of freedom, that all men are created equal, and that all men have the freedom to life, liberty, and the PURSUIT of happiness.  As a libertarian/conservative I believe the government should be as small as possible while still fulfilling the necessary roles for the efficient and smooth operation of the United States.  Liberals tend to hand more (read truck-loads) power to the government in exchange for social services.  When government power increases social liberties necessarily decrease, therein the problem lies.  John Locke and Jean Rousseau agreed that when one employs government you give up certain rights.  The more we employ the government to take care of, the more rights we forfeit.  Similarly, the more liberals try to explain their rationale, the more confused they get. ;-)

Now then, what should happen when a nation becomes polarized, nearly torn in half by liberals demanding more social services, and conservatives frantically fighting against government invasion? There are times when things like welfare, unemployment, Medicaid, etc. are necessary (for a short time).  You would be hard pressed to find a conservative that wouldn’t admit to that, no matter how constipated he looks while pulling his wallet out.  But these issues are not the issues splitting the nation.  To catch you up, in case you’ve been living under a rock or in D.C. for the last two years, the biggest issues freaking Americans out is ‘BamaCare and the national debt.  As always, coming from a purely pragmatic and non-partisan position, the republicans are 100% correct.  Seriously though, when you look at the principles upon which the nation was founded, in an event that power and freedoms are being forfeited or inhibited, and when America is split as deep as it is, logically it makes sense to err on the side of liberty.

We all have to live together and abide by the same national laws.  When it comes to doling out more power to the government and handing over liberty, unless it is agreed upon by a landslide majority, the issue shouldn’t even be considered! Why?  That’s a very good question Grasshopper.  The quick, wrong answer is because our founding fathers granted us liberty.  The correct answer is because God granted us liberty.  That which grants may also take away, that which receives may also forfeit, that which does neither is the government.  The government does not grant us liberty, God does.  We receive liberty, and forfeit some of it in exchange for protection, it is re-appropriated to the government.  Now then, when you get a mass of people that do not believe in a god, government can become God.  Under government-god there is no re-appropriation of liberty, merely grantor and receiver.  In that scenario, one is thankful to the government for a bread line.

On the flip side, Americans as a whole depend too much on the government to take care of people. Believe it or not, there was a time in America before welfare, Medicare, Medicaid, disability, unemployment, social security, food stamps, FEMA, the EPA, et cetera.  And, believe it or not, natural disasters and poverty occurred.  Crazy I know, but hold on to your hat one more time. Neighbors and churches helped each other through these things!… I know it sounds like folklore, but it’s true.  People really do help each other in times of need, but now it’s just expected for people to turn to government aid at the first sign of trouble.  This has, in turn, increased taxes making charitable donations and good ol’ neighborly help much more difficult.  However, the more we help each other and our community, the less the government is involved, and the less say it has.  The less responsibility we give the government, the more freedom we retain.

I could write a book on this topic but I’ll stop here.  Post your comments, questions, snarky remarks, anything, I love your feedback.

 

Coming soon – When efficiency and freedom compete

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Proponents of Welfare Lead Nation in Debt Crisis: Shocker!

For weeks all we have been reading about is debt ceilings and budgets and republicans not compromising and republicans not providing a satisfactory plan and how we’re just going to have to tighten our belts and give the government more money (says the man for whom I would have to remove both my shoes to count his family’s vacations). This past weekend I had the opportunity to attend the Arkansas Republican Committee meeting. A lovely group of folks were in attendance but one thing remained consistent… Everyone is livid about this debt crisis.

In this tough economic time small businesses are closing their doors and scaling back, but for the first time in my life large corporations are also scaling back. Check out Santitas tortilla chips; they decreased the portion of a bag from 13 oz. to 12 oz. Aussie hairspray did the exact same thing. Decreasing portions by small increments = more savings and revenue for the company without too much consumer resistance. Not many people notice a 1 oz decrease but on a large corporation scale for every 13 bags of chips they’re in essence making one of those bags for free. Some companies are even still giving raises and bonuses because it’s cheaper to retain employees and keep them happy than it is to hire new employees and train them to the level of productivity of an existing employee. It’s the smaller things to save that add up.

So, why is it that businesses and corporations understand capitalism and how to survive, but our federal government can’t get a hold on its finances? Well, my inquisitive friends, you have asked a very good question. In 2008 the United States was sick of its republican war-mongering president who was driving this nation into debt and under whom gas prices were rising. Aren’t things so much better now? I could go on about that but I won’t, I’ll stick to the topic…This time.

With three years of liberal fiscal behavior D.C. tools have trapped America in a debt we can barely pay the interest on. It’s funny how survival of the fittest, a Darwinian concept that logically (key word) liberals should hold to, is abandoned at the first sign of trouble (i.e. bailouts). Finally after this last congressional election conservatives gained the upper hand in the House. Conservatives, representing their constituency, have put forth a detailed plan that is able to be carried out; to pass a balanced budget amendment, cap the debt ceiling, and cut spending. The cap and cut portion of the bill even have actual numeric value! Amazing how budgets have numbers and line items isn’t it? However, much to the logical and reasonable public’s dismay, all of this has been met with nothing but negative feedback from Obama and his league of lunatics. Liberals have put forth a plan to, oh wait…nevermind, I forgot saying “raise the debt ceiling and increase revenue (aka tax hikes on the working middle class and upper class and businesses)” isn’t actually a plan. My bad.

Though I’ve yet to hear anyone accuse the Bamster of being presidential or wise, taking the my-way-or-I’ll-veto-and-mock-your-whole-party-on-my-way-to-the-golf-course approach isn’t exactly the best decision right now. Americans are stressed and fed-up with the political games. The republicans have compromised and I’ll be darned if our representatives give up more just to get something passed. The liberals in D.C. apparently play the wait, demand, and do nothing game very well, they are proponents of welfare afterall. But I have faith that our D.C. conservatives will out-perform and end up with the upper-hand. It’s hard to fault a party that continues to work to solve the crises while liberals stand by and shout criticisms. It’s high time for our government to think of Americans first. What is in our best interest is to get our spending under control, we lead by example, paving the way to success so that others may follow. It’s the American way.

I’d love to hear what you have to say so leave me some feedback. If you do not agree tell me why, if you think I’m an idiot, say so, if you have questions I’ll answer them and if you think I’m brilliant take a number :-).

Stay tuned… Coming later this week a post on how a lack of religion feeds the government monster!

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