Archive for category: Libertarianism

Friday Quote- Piper Smith

22 Jun
June 22, 2018

“If you’re fighting homophobia but not hoplophobia you’re doing it wrong.

If you’re fighting hoplophobia but not homophobia you’re also doing it wrong.”

Social Security Going Broke Faster

07 Jun
June 7, 2018

People, particularly Boomers, hate when I inform them that Social Security is not a pension – it’s welfare that’s paid with its own special tax. I get all sorts of vitriol like “we paid into the system” or “Congress stole our money” or that it’s somehow solvent because all of the IOUs in the Social Security fund are backed by the US government. Yeah, no. A government program that takes money from taxpayers and gives it to other taxpayers is welfare. The moment it leaves your paycheck it’s no longer your money. There is no lock box. It’s just a government slush fund.

That slush fund is projected to be insolvent in 2034, or just sixteen years from now. Which considering Social Security is one of the four biggest expenditures of the fed, is kind of scary. Worse, Medicare, another of the big four, will go broke in 2026, just eight years from now. What this means is that instead of money coming out of those funds to supplement the federal budget, the programs will need additional money to maintain services. Since Congress is loathe to either cut spending or significantly raise taxes, they will go to the tried and true method of borrowing more money.

That will work – for a while. Maybe even a long while. At some point, the federal government will be forced to make some very unpalatable choices. Because there will come a point when tax revenues and the credit of the American government will be outstripped by entitlements, interest, and the defense budget.

Personally, I’d like to see a phase out of Social Security and Medicare to private accounts. While I’m not a fan of government welfare, I could at least semi-support targeted welfare for those in need instead of the blanket welfare approach of the current programs.

For my Gen X and Millienial readers, the big takeaway is do not include Social Security in your retirement planning. Of you’re like me and don’t pay into Social Security because you pay into a pension plan, don’t count on that for retirement. Only count on what you can expect to receive from investments. There’s a damn good chance that there won’t be anything for us.

Friday Quote – Erin Pallette

01 Jun
June 1, 2018

If you think the NFL was right to dump Kaepernick but ABC was wrong to dump Roseanne, you’re likely a conservative who doesn’t understand business decisions.

If you think ABC was right to dump Roseanne but the NFL was wrong to dump Kaepernick, you’re likely a progressive who doesn’t understand business decisions.

In either case, you’re a hypocrite.

One of the more pithy summations is why we need to foster a culture of free speech, not just scream “First Amendment!”

My Message To Publix

30 May
May 30, 2018

I am getting so tired of everything must be dragged into the political. If anything doesn’t toe the party line exactly, it must be destroyed. Publix recently got dragged into this when one side got mad about the company’s donations to a Republican politician, and then the other side got mad because Publix decided the backlash was enough to kill all of its political contributions.

I’m fucking tired of it. Here’s the message I sent to Publix:

I am sorry to see Publix being dragged through the mud by both sides in this latest flare up. I fully support Public’s right to contribute to causes and persons it chooses. I also support Publix’s decision to no longer contribute.

I have been a lifelong Publix customer and will continue to be so. I have joked with coworkers about refusing to move to any place that doesn’t have a Publix. For all the talk of boycotts, please know there are plenty of us who will continue to patronize your stores. Because Publix means high quality, excellent prices, and outstanding staff. As long as those continue to be core pillars for Publix, you will have my business.

Tab Clearing

17 May
May 17, 2018

I’m borrowing Tam’s title and clearing out articles that I meant to do full posts on.

Teaching Situational Awareness to Kids – Because I have two in my life, and I’d kinda like to keep them out of danger.

The Economist saying how wonderful universal health care is for all nations. This was one I wanted to fisk, but I’d recommend reading it to understand how the proponents think.

Syrian Metal Is War – Yeah, like I could scroll past that article.

[Finland ends its universal basic income experiment.( I like the concept of a basic income that replaces all other welfare programs. It just doesn’t seem viable in the real world.

Start-ups make an alternative for braces, and the dental groups rent seek. – I hate when businesses use the violence of government to keep others out of the market.

The Volokh Conspiracy has an excellent column on not supporting laws you wouldn’t kill someone to enforce. Honestly, that would be an interesting bit of mandatory language in any law that assesses a criminal or civil penalty. Make the legislators affirm that this is important enough to possibly kill someone over.

A surprising column from The Atlantic on cultural appropriation. I swear to FSM that I would laugh in the face of any person foolish enough to accuse me of that. Or denigrate.

That’s all for now. I’ll probably need to do this again.

Children Doing Dangerous Work

17 May
May 17, 2018

This Bloomberg article on a proposed relaxing of certain regulations is so full of pearl clutching, the damn string should break.

The DOL will propose relaxing current rules—known as Hazardous Occupations Orders (HOs)—that prohibit 16- and 17-year-old apprentices and student learners from receiving extended, supervised training in certain dangerous jobs, said the two sources. That includes roofing work, as well as operating chainsaws, and various other power-driven machines that federal law recognizes as too dangerous for youth younger than 18.>quote

You mean, the jobs that are in demand? And they’ll be supervised? I’m not seeing a fucking problem here.

For fuck’s sake, every state allows sixteen and seventeen year olds to independently operate cars. You know, those two-thousand pound machines that can hurtle themselves down the road in excess of a hundred miles an hour? The ones that routinely kill 30,000 a year? If we can trust them to operate those machines, why couldn’t they operate others?

Rights and Goods

15 May
May 15, 2018

Right to life. Right to property. Right to keep and bear arms. Right to free speech. Right to free expression. Right to healthcare. Right to education. Right to religion. Right to associate. Right to clean water. Right to clean air. Right to privacy. Right to feel safe.

Some of these “rights” are not like the others. Can you spot the difference?

Rights, by their nature, are inherent to sentient beings. We have them because we have ownership of ourselves. So, the very first right – the bedrock of everything else is the right of property. I own myself, and by extension, I own what I create. I own the fruits of my labor or the fruits of my trade. The right of free expression protects my ability to create and trade. The right to self defense protects my ability to prevent others from forcibly taking my property – including my own life.

Because rights come from that fundamental property right, they cannot require the abrogation of others’ lives, labor, or capital. There can be no rights to food, education, and healthcare that are based upon the requirement that others are forced to surrender their time, knowledge, and resources – only the rights to produce and trade for education, healthcare, and food. Et cetera.

Usually at this point, I get lambasted by those who do believe in the rights to other people’s property that I want the less fortunate to be uneducated and die from a preventable disease caused by malnutrition. Or something similar. Because “muh rightz.” If they wanted to commit a straw man fallacy.

This is where social goods come in. By goods, I’m not denoting morality, but rather a product/service that is purchased to further social goals. Such as making sure every member of the society has a minimal level of education, healthcare, and food to function and be productive. Or to care for those who can’t care for themselves. Social goods are not rights. They are the cost of being in a society. As people have differing opinions of the value of market goods, they can have differing opinions on the value of social goods. They can also have differing values of how those goods are paid for and distributed.

My personal preference for social goods should be as much done through private means. Businesses and charities are more responsive to the needs and desires of their customers. Are they perfect? No. Businesses and charities are not some force of nature, but collections of people, and people can screw anything up. At the end of the day though, businesses and charities primary means of engagement is through voluntary exchange with their customers.

I’m very cautious about what social goods I think should be provided by government. Unlike businesses and charities, the government doesn’t require voluntary exchange. The government has the ability to enforce it’s (or more to the point, the people in power’s) desires through violence. That difference means that the government is not as responsive to its customers or efficient in the use of its resources.

Income Inequality- Bogus Statistic, Real Issue

14 May
May 14, 2018

I was listening to the Reason podcast with Jonathan Rauch was being interviewed about his new book. Of course, I’m going to recommend that you listen to the whole thing. I found it very enlightening about the nature of happiness, particularly for those hitting middle age.

One item that came up during the interview dealt with how most people view income inequality. In my opinion, I’ve always considered income inequality a bullshit metric. Something used to gin up the masses and sell papers and clicks. IMHO, the far more important metric is how are the people doing year over year or over time. It’s not like the economy is a closed system. As long as people’s lives are consistently getting better, then why should it matter if some segments are increasing more than others?

This is not normal human psychology. People tend to base their happiness on how they are doing compared to others. It really is important to keep up with the Jonses. When people don’t think they are improving as fast as the rest of the world, unhappiness abounds. This becomes intensified with all the media streams blaring out conspicuous consumption of the various media whores – I mean, celebrities.

This unhappiness is what unrest is made of. Or at least, one thing that can contribute to a restless population. It also appears to contribute to the rise of populists – on both sides of the traditional political spectrum. Note the rise of Trunp and Sanders. Both of them tapped into the unhappiness of the population by promising the people to make their lives better. To either bring the people’s livelihoods up – or bring down those the people think are doing too much better.

I’m not going to pretend that there’s an easy solution. It’s a psychological issue, and nothing about psychology is easy. People are just too fucked up. IMHO, there are some things that should be done. We need to look at economic policies that help increase people’s standards of living. My personal hobby horses are free trade, low taxes, and limited regulations. I don’t see how trying to redistribute wealth by taxing the top earners would help grow the economy and increase standards of living.

Although I still think it’s a bullshit metric, I’m going to take a more careful look into income inequality – but more as a gauge of the populace. This may be one of the leading indicators of a real civil problem. One that might require me to make sure I’ve got enough ammo and storm shutters on my windows.

Fix Roads? Let’s Blame an App Instead

10 May
May 10, 2018

From Reason, comes this article on how local governments are trying everything they can think of to punish drivers for using navigation apps like Waze to escape congestion. Everything except maybe adding more roads and lanes.

The cause of worsening congestion, says Moore, is pretty simple: more people wanting to drive on the same amount of road.

This description fits Los Angeles pretty well. In 2001, Los Angeles County boasted 21,085 lane miles of maintained highways. In 2016, that number had not budged much, growing to only 21,826 lane miles. In the same period of time, the number of vehicle-miles traveled by Los Angeles commuters rose by some 10 million per day.

Even though the number of vehicles is surging, road availability barely increased. Which forces drivers onto roads not designed for heavy volume in order to try and shave some minutes off of an onerous commute.

Of course, I’m sure that the answer the local government wants will be more mass transit. Except mass transit is inefficient in using taxpayer dollars, in addition to not being available on demand like a personal vehicle. Autonomous cars will help, but they’re at least five years away, and probably closer to a decade before full implementation.

So, here’s an idea – private highways. Let firms build highways that they can collect tolls on. My biggest concern would be rent-seeking, but I don’t see how that would be any worse than what we have now.

Diversity Is A Good Thing, As Long As You Know What To Diversify

19 Apr
April 19, 2018

Reason put out this article earlier this week on the dangers of Silicon Valley’s burgeoning ideological conformity. Let’s look at the first couple of paragraphs:

quote When it comes to software, Silicon Valley understands the threat of monocultures. If 100 percent of computers run the same code and malware authors discover an exploit, 100 percent of computers will be vulnerable to the same attack. Fortunately, the way to reduce such risks is straightforward: Increase diversity.

quote Alas, this insight seems limited to software. Technology executives have yet to fully recognize the risks posed by the potent political monocultures forming inside their own companies.

The problem is that so many who push “diversity” fail to understand what they need to diversify. For these tech companies – and other places pushing diversity for diversity (cough, universities, cough, literary circles) – they are mistaking the biological for the mental. In essence, they are saying because they have both golden labradors and chocolate labradors, they are diverse – and they don’t see the problem when large numbers of their dogs die off. For tech companies, the biggest threat from this failure to recognize they are not really diverse is going out of business because they’ve alienated enough customers.

However, the same issue is impacting the RKBA. I keep hearing how we do we get more women, POCs, young people, etc. involved in the gun rights battle. Too many times, I see the RKBA making the same mistake of substituting outward diversity with inward diversity. You can’t invite people with one breath, and with the next demand they immediately conform to every thing you believe outside of RKBA – such as God, abortion, economics, and/or the current issues of the day.

We’re not breeding stronger livestock, so we shouldn’t be looking for biological diversity. We’re trying to breed stronger ideas, so we need ideological diversity.