How Many Really Want Freedom… Follow Up

When I wrote the first part of this article the other night, I thought it an important discussion to have because of the implications in today’s complicated world. I extend the conversation tonight because I still believe this to be true. There were some good discussions yesterday, and I thank everyone for adding their thoughts. With tonight’s continuation I am not really adding much in the way of new ideas. I am instead offering some clarifications and additional thoughts on the comments from yesterday. There were some good thoughts brought up and some interesting questions asked. So I will answer one of the big, important ones in the article and then I will answer some more in the comments that follow. I will begin with a more clear definition of what I am talking about when I say true freedom, as Ray correctly called me on the fact that I didn’t do so, which breaks a rule of mine. If you want to discuss an issue, you have to make your definitions clear so that your point isn’t lost.

In yesterday’s comments, Ray asked the following:

You define true freedom as:

The freedom to do whatever you want to do so long as it does not impose on anyone else.

What caveats or qualifiers are necessary to attach to that definition?

For example – “impose” is a dangerous/tricky word here. Can I define for you what you may feel is in am imposition on you and thereby whether I am free to do so or not? Or must I rely upon you to define what you feel is imposing upon you and therefore what I am or am not free to do? Or, must we collectively determine for an action involving us only as actors is an imposition from one to the other or alternatively what may or may not be an imposition for different actors than the two of us given roughly the same circumstances?

Freedom is both very easy and very hard to define, Ray, but I will give it my best effort. Freedom, as I see it, has to do with natural rights. We have natural rights, and they are outlined in the Founding father’s writings. Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. Those are in the big documents. Another big one outlined in many of their writings was the right to the fruit of one’s labor. No one has a right to take any of those things away from a person. Life, liberty, pursuit of happiness, property. I guess it would begin with realizing those as natural rights, and realizing that anything beyond these are “granted rights”, or those rights that the government has attempted to grant as rights (health care, working wage, etc.). Granted rights do not count in the realm of natural rights, and therefore don’t factor into my version of freedom. As Kent said, those are privileges and thus the opposite of rights.

Now take that and add to it the idea of imposition. I define imposition, in this realm, as a violation of another’s natural rights. If your action restricts me from my ability to exercise my natural rights, then you are imposing on me. Your have the freedom to take any action you like so long as your action does not restrict the abilities of others to exercise their natural rights. You have no right to impose on me. You have no right to take my property, to prevent me from living, the strip me of my liberty, or to interfere with my right to pursue happiness. So long as you don’t do those things, you are free to do whatever you like!

I agree imposition is a difficult thing to define. But I think my answer lies at the heart of it. What we must never do, in my opinion, is to fail to strive for something better than what we have because it cannot be perfect. My version of freedom and what imposition means is a general one, and thus can never be perfect. You will find areas that are difficult to nail down or gray areas that can be argued. But as an overall thought, my version is much closer to allowing us to exercise our natural rights than the versions that are accepted today by most Americans.You mentioned at the end of your comment that I needed to show the relativist the error of his ways. I don’t think that is accurate. I think in this situation your relativism is somewhat warranted. Especially in the second part of your question.

When does my freedom start? When I am conceived? When I am born? When I am 18? Or perhaps at varying degrees of freedom based on my age (and other factors) and when someone else determines that absent any negative precursor I am capable of being free? Can freedom be absolute in an organized society? In a family unit?

You are born free, in that your rights to the things that are natural rights are there from the beginning. But exercising that freedom is relative. Before we had laws saying so, age wasn’t a set factor in determining true freedom. That only came with society attempting to control everything. In the old west, there wasn’t a drinking age set, for example. When you were mature enough to walk into a bar and order, you could. And it was the determination of the man serving the drinks that answered that question. The owner of the business was free to serve to whomever he felt it appropriate to serve to. Yet I imagine (but cannot prove) that the drinking rate for kids age 10-15 was far lower than it is today with societies rules. We haven’t seen a positive result from society imposing on the liberty of both a mature 15 year old and a discerning saloon owner.

I do believe that the answer to when you are ready for true freedom is not a set age. That will be up to the child, their rate of development, their parental guidance and judgement. Yes it is a hairy prospect to think about, because it opens a lot of doors, primarily in the area of personal responsibility and accountability. But the day you are prepared to be free, you will be. If you decide to strike out and exercise your freedom too early, it will probably end badly for you. You will be acting of your own free will and will alone suffer the consequences of your bad decision. That sure would put more of a burden in child raising, but that is one of the reasons that I said real freedom is hard, and something most people are not prepared to accept.

Can freedom be absolute in an organized society? I believe that it can. But it cannot when that society is organized into such a large monster as the US federal government has become. When you have people in California dictating what constitutes law in North Carolina, you don’t have an organized society, you have rule from afar. Allow me to ask a question to everyone as a hypothetical….

If North Carolina voted tomorrow that they are going to be free of the federal government for most things, would you support the concept? Let’s just say that NC decided that the ONLY thing they want from the US federal government was national defense protection. As such, they are no longer going to pay any taxes except their 1/50th of the national defense tab. Outside of that they want absolutely nothing from the federal powers. No money for anything. They are no longer going to be compelled to follow US federal laws unless they want to. If they want to trade with other states they will set up relations with those states. If they want to build a fence around the state and regulate entry and exit, they can. For all intensive purposes, the entire population has decided that they no longer want to be a part of the United States, but they are willing to pay a portion of the defense budget as a contract for protection. Would you support such action? Why or why not?

I look forward to people’s thoughts on that question and to the continued discussions on the topic of freedom and liberty in its pure form.

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Comments

  1. Mathius said:

    You are doing harm. All the time. You can’t help it, you can’t stop it. You can’t even quantify it and often times it is minute. You probably aren’t even aware of it 90% of the time.

    Did you throw away anything that isn’t 100% inert and biodegradable? That’s going to sit in a landfill for decades. Eventually, it will become a toxic ooze that will leak into the water supply.

    Did you sneeze in an elevator? Those germs might give someone the Pirate’s Plague.

    Did you accidentally cut someone off in traffic? They had to slam on the brakes causing the car behind them to hit them.

    Are you using electricity to power your computer? That power comes from power plants that pollute. Possibly a coal plant which stores mass-quantities of fly-ash in unsafe locations that, after a big rain, buried an entire town killing dozens.

    Or do you accept no responsibility for these things because you are unaware of them (car accident) or didn’t mean to do them (sneezing)? Is it ok, because you are just a tiny contributor to the problem (fly ash)? How does one ensure that they “do no harm”?

    Or should we change your mantra to “do as little harm as you can reasonably do when you are aware of doing it and when it is within your conscious control and when it doesn’t affect your lifestyle too severely?”

    Not quite as catchy..

    • USWeapon says:

      And thus you again fall into the trap of a butterfly in China causes a tidal wave in New York. Freedom is about doing no harm, and I understand that you don’t like that definition. I am not fond of it either, because it appears that doing no harm is the goal. But I don’t think it is. I think doing no harm is the measure of free action, not the goal. You cannot control if you sneeze in an elevator, so that is not a good example. That isn’t an intentional action. It is a reaction, no different than pulling your hand out of a fire.

      Your examples are all stretches, and thus why I do not fall into the idea of “do no harm” as freedom. I fall into the idea of do not infringe on my natural rights. An accidental cutting you off in traffic isn’t my taking action that imposes on you. It is an accident. If I use power and that plant pollutes, I am not imposing on you, the plant is. I am using my computer, which is no imposition on you or your freedom. If you provide me a cheaper way to power my computer I will do so. You are free to move away from that plant. And that plant will either have no workers because everyone moves away or it will have workers who don’t feel that the pollution it puts out imposes on them.

      The point is that you cannot eliminate harm coming to people. But you can eliminate the intentional infliction of harm. I think that you equate freedom with a society that has no rules. If a society deems that toxic sludge is bad, they will work to eliminate it. If they deem a energy factory pollution is bad, they will work to eliminate it. If the factory refuses to adjust, the people of the area will not support it, and it will die. There can be plenty of rules in a free society. There just cannot be an imposition on freedom.

      • If I use power and that plant pollutes, I am not imposing on you, the plant is. So third party actions are ok, even if you support them financially so long as you are not the primary actor? What if I give money to Hammas? I didn’t use the money to buy a bomb to blow up civilians, so I’m off the hook?

        If the factory refuses to adjust, the people of the area will not support it, and it will die. A factory can sell it’s goods/services in other areas. Especially electricity which goes into the power grid and is indistinguishable from energy from other sources. As such, while the locals in the polluted area will opt not to support the factory, people in unaffected areas will quite likely continue to do so if the price is better. So where does that leave the people in the factory town? Their support is not necessary for the factory’s continuation.

        • Mathius

          You know full well what your donation to Hamas will be used for, so you are guilty of aiding terrorism. And your friends will shun you.

          You do not know what your contribution will be used for and in fact assume it will go for food. Your friends will congratulate you.

          If the plant pollutes those affected have a right to self defense. They can take action to stop the pollution. They are not limited to boycotting the electricity or other products. But that requires that the pollution actually causes some harm to those claiming the right to take action. Measurable harm.

          If you buy the computer from the polluting plant and know that it is polluting others you are not guilty of harm, but your friends will shun you for your irresponsible indirect support of a company that is imposing upon others.

          • Your friends will not shun you because they are indirectly supporting the plant with their own purchases.

            And you do know that the plant will pollute. Or do you honestly believe that the electricity you purchase comes 100% from zero-pollution sources? Just because you don’t know where the damage is being done, doesn’t mean you don’t know* that it is being done.

            *Yes, I know you can never be 100% sure, but willful ignorance is a poor excuse.

            Tell me that you believe that nothing you buy causes harm to innocents in their production. Tell me that and I’ll be happy.

            As for Hammas, let’s take a better example. People like to donate money for trees and ambulances in Israel. Israel likes to take this money and buy weapons. It is an open secret. So if I donate money to Israel for trees, hoping that’s what they’ll spend it on, am I off the hook if they spend it on guns? Or should I hold myself accountable for what I reasonably expected might happen?

            • Mathius

              Your third party argument is moot. If harm is being done then those harmed have a right to take action to stop that harm.

              So what is your point?

              If you know that your support is causing harm then you are complicit in the harm. Those who are harmed may now take action against you as well as the plant. They will choose the most efficient means of gaining restitution.

            • Mathius

              To my knowledge nothing I purchase or use is causing ACTUAL harm because nobody has approached me to stop because they have been harmed.

              Harm is different from affect.

              And one key point here. We are discussing a world, or country, based on true freedom. You are using examples of behavior under government to argue against freedom.

              If my consumption is causing harm it is because the govt has established a “legal” threshold for harm. Thus I am “legally” held “harmless” no matter what the result is to my neighbor.

              In a free nation, I would not be allowed to harm my neighbors without them taking action to stop that harm. I would be shunned from my community.

              Oh, one more key concept that goes with harm. Which is perhaps why it seems you are chasing rabbits. That concept is CONSENT.

        • Mathius

          If I use power and that plant pollutes, I am not imposing on you, the plant is.

          But someone is imposing and that’s the point.

          Further prove harm

          So third party actions are ok, even if you support them financially so long as you are not the primary actor?

          NO!

          No action that harms is “ok”, no matter who.

          But prove harm</b.

          • Have you ever stepped on someone’s foot by accident? Does this constitute harm?

            • Mathius,

              Re: Foot stepping

              Yes.

              It is provable. It hurts.

              • Do you think it likely that you will do so again eventually?

                Let’s say there’s a 0.1% you will do so.

                Over a long enough timeline, the probability that you will step on someone’s foot approaches 100%, correct?

                If you are doing something that has a near certainty of causing verifiable, provable, physical harm to another human being, is this something you can justify? Even if you are within your rights to walk around (until such time that you step on someone’s foot), is it ethical to do so if you are nearly certain that it will eventually cause harm? (for comparison, imagine leaving poisoned candies near a school. Most likely they will not be discovered and nothing will happen, but sooner or later, a child will discover them and eat one and get sick, so is it ethically permissible to leave them there even when no one eats them?)

                In short, while you may have the right to act in a way which creates a risk of harm to others, is it ethical to do so?

              • Mathius

                Do you think it likely that you will do so again eventually?

                No way to tell, since it was an accident.

                By definition, it is not planned.

                Let’s say there’s a 0.1% you will do so.

                The odds matter not.

                Whether it is accidental or not matters.

                Over a long enough timeline, the probability that you will step on someone’s foot approaches 100%, correct?

                No, since I have not stepped on anyone’s foot for -oh- a decade and a half.

                If you are doing something that has a near certainty of causing verifiable, provable, physical harm to another human being, is this something you can justify?

                Yes, because the 99.9999999% of the other time I am doing no harm.

                When I do harm, then consequences are engaged – but not before.

                The doctrine:
                Clear – the danger is obvious, not obscure

                Present – now, not in the future; here, not “over there”; to us, not “to them”.

                Danger – harm, not opinion; physical, not virtual;real, not abstract.

                If you can measure under that doctrine – you can act preemptively

                Even if you are within your rights to walk around (until such time that you step on someone’s foot), is it ethical to do so if you are nearly certain that it will eventually cause harm?

                Certainty does not exist in this matter.

                For example, you could die tomorrow. Thus, you would not step on my foot next year.

                Me, imposing my will, and cutting off your legs today so to prevent you stepping on my foot in a year would be a problem …..

                (for comparison, imagine leaving poisoned candies near a school.

                Poisoning candies is a willful act

                It has no place in your argument here of accidents

    • “Are you using electricity to power your computer? That power comes from power plants that pollute. Possibly a coal plant which stores mass-quantities of fly-ash in unsafe locations that, after a big rain, buried an entire town killing dozens.”

      What about the “Greater Good”? How many hospitals are powered by that plant? Ambulances that carry the sick or injured pollute. We live longer and better lives because of modern improvements. Being a housewife used to be a very labor intensive job, hand washing, line drying, beating dirt out of rugs, etc. So women live longer, by not being worked to death. If you want to cause a worldwide food shortage, do away with tractors. A animal powered plow cannot keep up with today’s demands, along with the toll it takes on a farmer, who used to live to be 50-60.

      Resources are ours to be used, unless you consider mankind a pollutant that is poisoning the earth? Would living like the Amish satisfy your
      “do no harm” requirement? No more Red Bull, DP, MRI’s or modern medicine.

    • You are also doing good, according to your thought process. So where is the reward for that? Does the good outweight the bad? If you isolate yourself to the point that you do no hard, is the lack of good you are doing more of a loss? 🙂

      • That’s the ticket. Because I can’t be sure if I’m net good or net bad for society, I can morally stay. But Flag’s “No Harm Under Any Circumstances” view does not permit this. As such, he is obligated to remove himself. But I ran out of time to convince him of that.

        • Mathius,

          No, that is not the conclusion.

          First you have to prove harm

          Second, if harm is done, the consequence is returning the harmed person back to the condition prior to harm Restitutio in integrum

  2. Mathius and Black Flag says:

    Mathius said:

    Only in certain people’s opinion is taxation “theft.”

    Black Flag replied:

    Actually it is the other way around.

    By definition of theft taxation IS theft.

    People create an opinion of redefining the word “theft” when the word “government” is mentioned in the same sentence.

    • USWeapon says:

      I have to go with BF on this one Matt.

      The definition of theft is clear. And taxes, as they are set up, meet that definition. Just because enough members of society determine that it is OK to steal does not change the definition of theft. There is nowhere to go to avoid this situation. As such I remain here and voice my opposition while still not breaking the law as it exists. Because government does it does not make it right. It violates my natural rights. it is therefore wrong.

      • Of course you side with Flag here. You wouldn’t be you if you didn’t.

        I understand where you both are coming from on this. But the reason I can justify tax as anything other than theft is because the money doesn’t really belong to us. It belongs to society in that we have an obligation to society – and we support that obligation with money. It is as if you are objecting to a bookie ‘stealing’ the money that you owe him.

        Where we actually differ is that you do not recognize this obligation/debt – but that is a different matter entirely.

        • Hey, don’t just say USW is agreeing with BF just because it is against you. Even if the literal translation makes taxes equal to theft, it is not his fault he is a grammar nazi. Just look at his clever use of “for all intensive purposes” instead of “for all intents and purposes” clearly a grammar nazi wouldn’t get that wrong.

          • ha… no, I don’t think USW was disagreeing with me just to disagree with me. I think he was disagreeing with me because he believes the opposite of me in this case. I have been around to know that he would never side me on this.

        • But the reason I can justify tax as anything other than theft is because the money doesn’t really belong to us. It belongs to society in that we have an obligation to society – and we support that obligation with money. It is as if you are objecting to a bookie ’stealing’ the money that you owe him.

          Again your example fails your own argument.

          I play the ‘bookie’ because I chose to play.

          The bookie doesn’t steal my money, and then say to me well, I have to steal money so that YOU MIGHT play the ponies

          Where we actually differ is that you do not recognize this obligation/debt – but that is a different matter entirely.

          Stealing my money and then forcing something down my throat what I don’t want is not paying an obligation

          • So you object to the order of events? That is, you object that society takes your money to provide a service and then provides that service, but you’d be ok with it if they provided the service first then billed you because you owed them for it? Methinks not.

            Society gives you all kinds of things from well before you pay a dime into the system. Then you start paying back. I’d say this is a pre-existing debt obligation.

            You can’t drive on government roads, read government mandated nutritional information, use FDA regulated drugs, breathe EPA protected air, learn in publicly funded schools, etc and then claim that you don’t owe for it because you didn’t want to. You ate the cake, now you buy it. You continue to eat the cake, so you continue to pay for it.

            • Mathius,

              So you object to the order of events?

              YES!

              You stealing my money in believing I MAY use a service is THEFT!

              Are you serious????

              Do you think McDonald’s has a right to take money out of your pocket just in case you buy a hamburger?????

              That is, you object that society takes your money to provide a service and then provides that service,

              YES!

              Because it is not a service I want

              Taking my money, and using to buy milk and then pouring it down my throat is not a service! It is theft followed by an assault!

              but you’d be ok with it if they provided the service first then billed you because you owed them for it? Methinks not.

              My Gawd!

              That is how the rest of the economic market operates – but for some bizarre reason this completely baffles you!

              Society gives you all kinds of things from well before you pay a dime into the system.

              So does McDonalds’s.

              Then you start paying back. I’d say this is a pre-existing debt obligation.

              You “say” a lot of things – bizarre things.

              It is not a ‘service’ if I do not want the service.

              I buy my goods and services that I want.

              You forcing them on me is not a ‘service’ – it is an assault.

              Even simple street vendors understand this, but you do not….?

              You can’t drive on government roads, read government mandated nutritional information, use FDA regulated drugs, breathe EPA protected air, learn in publicly funded schools, etc and then claim that you don’t owe for it because you didn’t want to.

              Don’t want any of it.

              You ate the cake, now you buy it.

              I have a $5,000 bottle of champagne.

              I pour it down your throat.

              Do you owe me $5,000?

              You continue to eat the cake, so you continue to pay for it.

              I have more $5,000 bottles of champagne.

              Can I keep pouring?

              • $5,000 seems a bit expensive for a single bottle.. have you ever tried malt liquor? It’s much more cost effective and after the first couple bottles, it all tastes the same anyway

              • Mathius,

                You avoid my point.

                You are very inconsistent in your application of reason.

              • You don’t want any of the government goodies? ok, got it. But do you use them anyway? How did you get to work today? Did you drive? Did you drive on roads? You say the government forced you to use their service, but really you just decided it was too inconvenient to not use them. You could grow your own food in a cabin in the hills somewhere. But you choose to use the government goodies.

                Your argument boils down to this: I didn’t want to, but I had no alternative, so I’m not paying.

                That’s like saying, I didn’t want that Big Mac, but I was hungry so I ate it anyway since there weren’t any other stores around, but I refuse to pay because the government is responsible for my lack of alternatives.

              • Mathius,

                You don’t want any of the government goodies? ok, got it. But do you use them anyway? How did you get to work today?

                So, now your argument is this:

                A thief has stolen all the food, and threatening to kill anyone who imports or grows food – now has a right to take your money to buy the food he has stolen…???

                You really want to use that argument??

                You could grow your own food in a cabin in the hills somewhere.

                Just to let you know, I buy my food at a grocery store or from a farmer, not a government-food regulatory department…

                Your argument boils down to this: I didn’t want to, but I had no alternative, so I’m not paying.

                Correct.

                A thief does not have a right to my goods – I am NOT forced to buying back my own stolen goods or the goods of others.

                That’s like saying, I didn’t want that Big Mac, but I was hungry so I ate it anyway since there weren’t any other stores around, but I refuse to pay because the government is responsible for my lack of alternatives.

                No, there are a lot of other choices then McDonalds’s.

                But government destroys any and all competition to its services – it steals it, and prevents others from replacing the theft.

              • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

                Mathius,

                The only reply to the line of reasoning above is, “Please present and ATCUAL and COGENT line of reasoning that we can reply to… what you provided above does not fit the bill.”

        • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

          Mathius,

          If you truly believe that the money you have EARNED does not, in fact, belong to you, feel free to send it to me instead.

          USW has my email, I can send you my personal information and you can send me a check.

          If you don’t own the money that you have earned, you cannot possibly own any of your possessions either, so please send me a list of your posessions and I will pick out the stuff that I like so you can send that to me as well!

          The ONLY obligation that you have to “society” is to live the best life that you can FOR YOURSELF, and to not impose on anyone else in the process.

          If most people did that, “society” would be just fine.

          • I don’t own all of what I earn. I own what I take home after taxes.

            • Mathius,

              So let me get this straight.

              You do not own what you earn.

              Therefore someone has a claim on your life.

              So, if you do not earn, can they force you to earn so they can claim it?

              • Therefore someone has a claim on your life. No. I am free to work or not work as I see fit.

              • Mathius,

                Since you must work to live, as soon as you need to work, some third party has a claim.

                But you don’t have to work.

                But then you will starve to death

                So, to you, freedom is merely the right to die.

              • No, I have the right to not work (die), or I have the right to work, but then I have to pay my share of the benefits of society.

              • There are no benefits of society.

                There are only those benefits provided by individuals or experienced by individuals.

                Society is a classification of a group of individuals. Its existence is determined by an individual who gets to draw the line on the map.

                It is not a living entity.

              • Mathius,

                So, just to be clear, no man has the right to keep what he himself earns to live – but, if he doesn’t want to let others steal it, he is free to die.

                ….Ouch….

              • Does he live on a private island and grow his own food, provide his own security, etc? Then he has no help from anyone and anything he earns is his.

                Otherwise, society is helping out to some extent and he has to pay his share

              • Mathius,

                Society is a ghost – a figment of your imagination, an abstraction.

                All human action is individual

                When a man trades with me, I trade with him – him to me and me to him.

                There is no “society” in that trade.

            • but YOU earned what you are paid BEFORE taxes. The government did not earn this. If you choose to pay for the services provided, then that is fine, but you own that moeny as well.

        • I think you have finally convinced me, compromising, helping the poor through the government has just to high of a price attached to it. I will willingly give a lot to help, to pay my part to make society work but I will not give away my freedom, or my kid’s freedom or your freedoms away. I am saddened that society cannot find a way to use common sense to help the needy through the government, I hate that I must support crap that I believe are crazy in order to protect my freedom but beer is good and People are crazy-they ask for too much, they just go too far.

          • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

            I do personally feel that I have an obligation to help others.

            HOWEVER:

            I do NOT feel that I have the RIGHT to demand that others do so as well.

            Also, there are MANY MANY MANY ways which I can help others which do not involve the taking of my posessions without my consent.

            If I, individually, can come up with MANY MANY MANY ways to help others of my own volition, ANYONE can do this as well.

            GNR (Government Not Required)

        • No, the money does not belong to society, because society did not earn the money. Society did not put in the labor, thus it has no right to the fruit of the labor.

  3. Mathius said:

    Hey, just wanted to mention that I am completely free.

    Yup. Free. 100%.

    Crazy talk, I know. Except for this: I accept my prison. I choose to place myself within the laws of the society in which I live. I accept and willingly pay taxes toward that society and, in doing so, I reap what benefits I do and pay what costs I do. I forfeited my right to drive 100 miles an hour in exchange for the right to drive at the speed limit and paying a fine if caught exceeding it. I forfeited my right to go naked in public, and in exchange, I live in a world where I don’t have to look at Buck walking around naked.

    If society throws me in jail, it will be within the bounds of the contract which I accepted. I accept that we elect individuals to represent us who make law that I will follow, thus I follow the laws of my own free will. That society may punish me is something I have also agreed to. In the days of yore, men would sell themselves into slavery. If they do so of their own free will, is it wrong for the master to whip them?

    But I can leave any time I like. I can break my contract and go live in the hills with Emilius.

    I am free. What about you?

    • USWeapon says:

      You are not 100% free. Do not fool yourself. A slave that chooses slavery over a harder life is not free. He is simply a slave by choice. You have every right to forfeit whatever rights you want to forfeit. They are yours to forfeit! What you are wrong to do is think you have the right to force others to forfeit those same rights. My rights are not yours to forfeit. They are not anyone’s to forfeit. Natural rights are natural rights. They cannot be taken away from their owner. But you deem it right to infringe upon them because you want to.

      If society throws me in jail, it will be within the bounds of the contract which I accepted. I accept that we elect individuals to represent us who make law that I will follow, thus I follow the laws of my own free will. That society may punish me is something I have also agreed to.

      And what of the laws that you don’t agree to. If the majority of Americans decided that it is a jail offense to be Jewish, would you still feel the same? What about if speeding carried a 25 year sentence? Would you be OK with that too? What if your greater good concept went as far as saying we are going to full communism. Government will henceforth confiscate 100% of your earnings and dispense to you the bare necessities. Is that OK? After all it is serving the greater good!

      • Wow, it’s like All-About-Mathius Day here at SUFA…

        And what of the laws that you don’t agree to[?] I don’t agree with all laws, but I recognize that there can be no laws where unanimous consent is required. Therefore, I have agreed to delegate the responsibility for making those laws to the legislative bodies I elect. I have agreed to be bound by their decisions. It is the price of admission into civilized society.

        What about if speeding carried a 25 year sentence? I would be very upset by this. I would write my Congressman several letters a day demanding he repeal such an odious law. If he supported it, I would vote against him in the next election and replace him with someone who will repeal it. I would join in all the protests, etc and donate heavily to his challenger. I would go door to door soliciting votes and, on election day, I would personally drive people to their voting places (but I would drive very slowly).

        If the majority of Americans decided that it is a jail offense to be Jewish, would you still feel the same? No. I would consider this a deal-breaker. But I cannot impose my views on the majority (though I can still work to change their minds). I would be left with no choice but to leave the country. Note that I would probably feel the same way if they made it illegal to be Muslim or atheist or Taoist.

        What if your greater good concept went as far as saying we are going to full communism. It doesn’t.. Communism doesn’t work, and this has been proven. But let’s say it did. For argument’s sake, if the societal good was maximized (remember, a lot of things go into the equation not just economics), then yes, I would support it. DISCLAIMER: of course the Greater Good™ is a difficult/impossible thing to calculate, and I require a great deal of evidence before I support giving up that much freedom.

        • Mathius,

          I don’t agree with all laws, but I recognize that there can be no laws where unanimous consent is required. …..I have agreed to be bound by their decisions.

          So if the law said you are required to turnover all left-handed blond people for the “Final Solution”, you would do it….right?

          • See my response to the question about jailing Jews. I would similarly consider this a deal-breaker and would either leave the country or actively fight against the system. Most likely the later.

        • Mathius

          I would be left with no choice but to leave the country

          So, when you see evil down in your name – you run away….hmmm….

          Further, if by international treaty this law is enforced globally, would you follow it?

          And, lastly, why is this a ” deal-breaker”?

          How did you decide this is a law you would not follow give that you, above, said “I have agreed to be bound by their decisions.”

          Why are you inconsistent? What principle did you invoke that allowed you to “follow this law”, but “ignore (or flee) this law”?

          • It’s all a question of internal calculus. What am I comfortable with. I have turned over a number of freedoms in exchange for an ordered society. Society takes money from me to fund itself and continue along it’s trajectory. I am ok with that society as long as the penalties match (or generally match) the magnitudes of the crimes. As being Jewish is not a crime and should not be considered such, to jail Jews for this is untenable. There are other “crimes” which are not really crimes either – drug use, prostitution, etc. And I strongly support repealing those laws.

            • Mathius

              It’s all a question of internal calculus.

              Interesting.

              So you do judge which laws you will follow or not solely based on your own opinion.

              Yet, you have complained about others who do the very same thing for themselves.

              In other words, you get to decide based on your opinion, but deny others the same.

              A Barbarian attitude:
              Freedom for me, but not for you

              • Society is permitted to pass laws which support society and which serve the greater good of its constituents. It does not serve the greater good for the government to ban a certain religion. Ergo, I do not support such laws.

              • Mathius,

                So, again, merely your opinion on what makes a “good”….

                Further and further you sink…merely your opinion of what law to follow or avoid….

                but, you have no problem forcing others to follow your mere opinion….

                …”Freedom for me, but not for you”…

              • It’s hard to figure out what serves the greater good. It is impossible to calculate scientifically. But that doesn’t mean we can’t get the general sense of what is right. I know that eating my veggies will make me healthier, but I do not know how much or what specifically they will do. But I eat my veggies anyway. I know that eating poison will make me less healthy, but I do not know exactly how much or what it will do. But I avoid poison anyway.

                We can agree that some things are good and somethings are bad without the capacity for scientifically calculated quantified values. We just have to do our best until the machines take over and do it for us.

                And it is not my opinion of what makes a good, but society’s collective judgment. When it runs sufficiently counter to my beliefs that I can no longer tolerate it, I have the option of terminating my contract and leaving.

  4. Kent McManigal says:

    Kent said:

    Freedom” means doing what you want to do.

    Freedom is morally neutral; it can be good or it can be bad- depending upon your desires. You have an obligation to not use your freedom to act upon your desires to harm the innocent, and also to accept the responsibility for your actions. You are accountable for everything you do.

    Other people, consequences, responsibility, “laws”, beliefs, reality, and many other things can limit your freedom. Freedom, liberty, and rights are not the same thing but are entangled.

    Some people can be perfectly “free” in prison, while others couldn’t be free in Utopia.

    Not every freedom is within your rights.

    A “right” is something you can do just because you exist. It is not dependent upon anyone’s permission. Anything that you can do without violating the equal rights of another individual is your right to do, no matter how trivial or important.

    Rights do not come from anyone, nor from government, nor from any document. A right can either be respected or it can be violated, but it can not be limited, regulated, licensed, rationed, or otherwise turned into a privilege. A privilege is the opposite of a right.

    Having a right doesn’t mean there will be no consequences for exercising that right. There are always consequences and responsibilities for every action. Just because you have a right to do something does not mean it is the best thing to do right now. Think before you act, or even better, before you need to act.

    Which leads us to liberty.

    “Liberty” is simply the freedom to exercise your rights.

    I would say a majority of people do not want freedom. They have been lied to and brainwashed about it for too long. It is made to seem harder and scarier than it really is. Liberty is the default position, and is natural. It isn’t scary (except to those who want to control and harm you), and it isn’t hard since most of your life is lived in liberty.

    If someone doesn’t want liberty, for whatever reason, I would not “force him to be free”. That doesn’t work. However, for those of us who DO want liberty, it is not an option for anyone else to try to destroy, limit, or deny us our liberty. Personally, I am pretty serious about this point.

    • USWeapon says:

      Excellent reply Kent. I have a question or two though.

      You have an obligation to not use your freedom to act upon your desires to harm the innocent

      Says who? There are repercussions for acting upon my desires to harm the innocent. But who says I am obligated to not do so? You know I am just being argumentative, but I am interested in the answer. You stated that, “Having a right doesn’t mean there will be no consequences for exercising that right. There are always consequences and responsibilities for every action.” I completely agree, but where does the term obligation come from in the original statement?

      I am also interested in your take on the definitions that I put in the article above. I value your opinion on these because I know that you have put substantial thought into this very subject. I am also interested in whether you agree with my premise that most Americans are not interested in true freedom and liberty because they are either too lazy or too scared.

      • USW

        I would say REASON obligates you.

      • “There are repercussions for acting upon my desires to harm the innocent. But who says I am obligated to not do so?”

        Because doing so would violate the equal rights of the other person, which you have no right to do. It is “The Golden Rule” and “The Zero Aggression Principle”. You have an obligation to not initiate force, but you impose that upon yourself unless you are willing to face the justifiable consequences of not doing so. The obligation is to yourself just as much as it is to the innocent person you would harm. To ignore this obligation is to invite defensive violence upon yourself. And rightly so.

        I pretty much agree with your definitions. My only disagreement is that I don’t think “freedom” is all good; rather I think it is completely neutral. You are “free” to impose upon other people (using your term), but you have no right to do so. This is why I prefer to talk about “liberty” since I define that as the freedom to exercise your rights. That is as much freedom as is really needed. Anything beyond that is violating someone else’s rights and ceases to be a positive thing.

        I think most people are not interested in true freedom or liberty because they are completely unfamiliar with the concepts. They have never even thought about it. Too many get their misguided concepts of both from government. Rudy Giuliani famously said: “Freedom is about authority. Freedom is about the willingness of every single human being to cede to lawful authority a great deal of discretion about what you do.” Too many people don’t question this “adult male Bos taurus fecal matter”.

  5. Cyndi P said:

    Does coersion count as force? I think so. As an example, if a man does not pledge his loyalty to the government, and the government witholds health care or food until loyalty is pledged, is that ‘force’ or a form of violence? Not trying to start something, just a question…..

    • USWeapon says:

      Cyndi,

      Good question, and I read the responses from both BF and Kent. My take is a little different. I agree with Kent when he says coercion is not necessarily force but force is coercion. Coercion can come in many forms. This blog is a form of coercion. I am attempting to get people to believe what I believe to be true. But that is not force. It is coercion, but in the form of persuasion. Your example is not coercion, it is blackmail! OK, literally it is coercion, but a different type than my blog. I hope you agree to that! Coercion comes in many forms and flavors. As such, it is hard to pin down an exact definition or to say that it is force as a rule.

      USW

      • Thanks, USW.

        I don’t think of your blog as a form of coercion. I have a choice as to whether or not to stop by. I’m all about persuasion 🙂

        When it comes to the basic necessities of life, that’s a different matter. I can’t live without food, water and shelter, though I could probably live for quite some time without a doctor. Still, if those things were intentionally witheld from me until I complied with whatever was demanded, I would consider that very abusive in nature and a form of violence. Its very different when the stakes aren’t life, death or something pretty close to that.

        It reminds me of a discussion I had with my daughter a few years ago. She was giving me lip about something. I finally told that she didn’t have to like her choices, just had to pick one. She could do as she was told or suffer the consequences (being grounded). I can still see the look on her face… 😆

      • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

        USW,

        Your definition is flawed. Using logic, reason, story-telling, righteous indignation, humor, and the other things found on this blog in an attempt to CONVINCE others of your point of view does NOT fit the definition of coercion.

        🙂

      • Your blog would only be coercion if you came to my house and held a gun to my head to make me read it, or if you threatened to do so if you caught me not reading. On second thought, maybe that’s why I make sure to at least read the posts, if not all the comments. 😉

        Coercion BAD- persuasion GOOD.

  6. G. A. Rowe and Matt L. says:

    G.A. Rowe said:

    Good afternoon – or evening in your time zone – USW.

    I have not made any comment on this article until now for one very simple reason . . . I had to actually think about this one since it covered so many different things under one roof.

    First; Homosexual and Lesbian marriage in a church? I do not know of ANY religion that states Homosexuality and Lesbianism is condoned by that religion’s deity. If you do, then please tell me which religious base it is.

    However, if local and state governments, after a vote of the majority approving such things, should find that local judges may perform such ceremonies – so be it. Religions should NEVER be FORCED to alter their base beliefs just for one or more sexually deviant individuals. Equally, the rest of us individuals should NEVER be FORCED to accept what we consider deviant lifestyles – religious or otherwise – just because those who practice those deviant lifestyles want us to.

    Individual responsibility. If we make each and every individual responsible for their own actions, then who is to say what is acceptable and what is not? If we have true liberty and freedom to think and do what ever we may choose to do, then a rapist is not breaking his own law, and nor is a child molester – and in that same light, those of us who would punish a rapist or child molester would be denying that individual his/her right to do what ever they believed in. What you would have then is total chaos and lawlessness because the only law would be the individuals own personal law.

    I know that I pointed out extremes here and I did so just to make my point that total liberty and freedom is just not a doable thing, at least not until Humankind makes that long sought after science fiction pipe dream of all looking out for the other without a selfish or dishonest bone in our bodies.

    On the other hand, should we revert to our Constitutional Republic that I believe our founders designed this country to be, yes that would be VERY doable. Even within our lifetime.

    Step one; Take back the school system and fire teachers who do not teach. Step two; Remove all Progressives from political office and replace them with those who believe in our Constitutional Republic and are dedicated to keeping it that way. This may not sound like much, but it would be a very good beginning.

    I know that we disagree on many things, and I know that we both want the best for our country and the people who make up this country because we have both put our lives at risk for this country and its people, and if necessary we would both very willingly do so again.

    Personally, I thank God for people like you and the folks who inhabit this site because I know that as long as you all continue to exist this country and its people will prevail.

    Matt L. replied:

    USWEPs stand, which I agree with, is that as long as what you want to do doesn’t harm another person, that is freedom. Given your examples, we all would agree that a rapists actions would constitute bringing harm upon another- so it is abusing freedom. But that homesexual or lesbian behind there doors, what harm are they causing anyone? What they do behind closed doors is between them and God, not me and them. And yes, I know they are pushing for the right to be considered married, but really, if they can find someone willing to do it, as long as they’re not asking you or me to perform it,it does no harm to anyone, just them exercising their freedom!

    Always a slippery slope- theres all kinds of rights out there- we have to have a live and let live attitude, cause if you try to take away someone elses rights, then it makes it ok for them to try to take away yours!

    • I will try and bring forward my response . . . bear with me . . .

      • G. A. Rowe said
        April 20, 2010 at 2:56 am

        Matt L,

        My stating that religions should not be forced to provide marriage ceremonies for those who practice deviant lifestyles against their deity’s teachings has no reference to what goes on behind closed doors. Forcing others to “accept” deviant lifestyles as “normal” is not exercising freedom, it is only another form of dictatorship in my opinion.

        Humankind will never “Live and let live”, it just is not part of Human Nature and never will be. We Humans will always have to have some sort of basic rules for all society to adhere to and live by. There will always be a need for cops, firefighters, paramedics and rescue squads. Here in Arizona we get an entire years rainfall at one rainy day in some parts. This condition results in some rather fierce flash floods. We have posted signs in areas prone to that phenomenon, yet each and every season the news stories are full of swift water tragedies of people who have lived here all there lives trying to cross roads during a flash flood. One of the nightly news weathermen always closes his weather segment with the words “Watch your kids around water!”, yet we hear of children drowning in backyard pools almost on a nightly basis. Home invasion robberies, convenience store holdups, muggings, scam artists . . . I could go on forever.

        After a while most of us just turn off the news (I guess it is our form of sticking our head in the sand), my wife included, because it is just so depressing. I couldn’t. I was one of those guys out there that responded to all the things that Humans are capable of doing to each other, then looking for the guy who did it. More often than not we caught them. Yet it still goes on as I write this. Prison, death penalty, castration, . . . nothing ends it, they still continue and will continue. Everyone’s idea of total freedom just isn’t possible, no matter how much I hope and pray for it.

        So please do not put me down for disliking those who practice deviant lifestyles. I know that there are a few who do not prey upon the innocent and unsuspecting children of the world, however I do know what the majority of them actually do. And yes, heterosexuals are very much among them when I say deviant I mean all deviants, not just homosexuals and lesbians.

        When you can figure out a way to rid Humankind of this scourge, then maybe, just maybe, we will have even the slightest chance at total freedom. Until then we will need governance and law enforcement.

        • G.A Not very hip with all the ins and outs of tech, so I left you a reply to this post on yesterdays board. Thanks for caring enough to share!

        • Ellen Spalding says:

          GA Rowe

          I agree and disagree with your post. I by no means put anyone down for not “accepting” the way I live my life. Nor do I think any church should be forced to perform a cermony that is against their core beliefs. But with that said, since I pay taxes, live within the laws of this country, I am going to live my life as I see fit.
          Now if you ask people there is different views what is considered deviant. Do I think grow men/women who seek out children for their pleasure is deviant? with out question. Do I think two adults who spend their lives together are deviant. No. Do I think a straight male/women who sleeps with other people while married is deviant, yes. But that does not mean I have any right to tell them how to live their life.

          Personnally I think that government should stay out of the marriage business completely. It should be between the couple and their spirital guide.

          • Ellen,

            I agree with you 100%. I wish there were more folks like you…..

            🙂

          • On this subject I have experienced a change of opinion. I used to believe that same sex marriages threatened the sanctity of marriage.

            I have come to the belief (mine only) that marriage is performed only in the church. If your church will perform a same sex marriage, then married you will be.

            If you have a civil union, for example by a Justice of the Peace, then you are not married, but joined by a civil union…both would have the exact same rights, and are basically the same except for who performs the ceremony.

            For the record, I would fall into the second category.

          • Your personal lifestyle is your business, as my personal lifestyle is my business.

            Working within the law enforcement community for as long as I have has given me the unfortunate opportunity to observe what the great majority of the deviants actually do, and it is not a nice thing to see.

            I have developed my attitude over many years of having to deal with these folks. I will just leave it at that.

            • G.A.

              my attitude over many years of having to deal with these folks

              And that’s the problem.

              Dealing with 1% of the population 100% of the time creates a mind-set that 100% of the population are ‘bad’.

              That’s why one should never take the opinion of cops regarding the rightful role of security services – their opinion is badly distorted.

    • USWeapon says:

      G.A.,

      I think that Matt L correctly stated my position, but I wanted to answer more clearly for myself as well.

      First; Homosexual and Lesbian marriage in a church? I do not know of ANY religion that states Homosexuality and Lesbianism is condoned by that religion’s deity. If you do, then please tell me which religious base it is.

      However, if local and state governments, after a vote of the majority approving such things, should find that local judges may perform such ceremonies – so be it. Religions should NEVER be FORCED to alter their base beliefs just for one or more sexually deviant individuals. Equally, the rest of us individuals should NEVER be FORCED to accept what we consider deviant lifestyles – religious or otherwise – just because those who practice those deviant lifestyles want us to.

      I was very clear in what I said in my article. I stated, ” After all, we can’t let those evil gay folks do something as hideous as declare their love for each other in a church that agrees to marry them.” That last part is key. To answer your first query, there are plenty of religious folks out there that interpret the bible in different ways than mainstream christians do. There are practicing ministers in this country and abroad that either are openly gay or who support homosexuality. We know what the bible says, but it is still open to interpretation, unless you accept it 100% verbatim, in which case there are a whole lot of things that are accepted today that would get you killed according to the bible, such as wearing two different fabrics at the same time! So there are others that interpret it differently. In your opinion, that makes them wrong. And I 100% support your right to that opinion. I also 100% support their right to their opinion. My opinion doesn’t play into it at all. True freedom means that what you think of their decision doesn’t matter unless they are in some way infringing on your ability to be free. I don’t see how they are doing so.

      AS for forcing a church to go against its core beliefs, I would never, ever advocate such a thing, unless their beliefs went against natural law (for example a church that believes murder is ok). I did not in the article, and would not, ever presume to tell people that they must adhere to my beliefs. What I meant to say what that if a church and its minister believe it is OK to marry gay folks, they should have the right to do so. I have never, in all my time in politics, heard of a law that would require churches to either recognize gay marriage or perform them. I have only ever heard of gay marriage being forced to be recognized by government for the purpose of social contract. Gay rights activists don’t want to convert you to believing what they do. They simply want to have you not infringe on their rights as humans. I don’t judge either way. I simply say freedom should trump all.

      Individual responsibility. If we make each and every individual responsible for their own actions, then who is to say what is acceptable and what is not? If we have true liberty and freedom to think and do what ever we may choose to do, then a rapist is not breaking his own law, and nor is a child molester – and in that same light, those of us who would punish a rapist or child molester would be denying that individual his/her right to do what ever they believed in. What you would have then is total chaos and lawlessness because the only law would be the individuals own personal law.

      Does the action taken infringe on the rights of another person? Does it do harm to the other person? Then you cannot do it. Rape and child molestation would not be accepted at any level. The key to this is not that you are able to “do whatever you want to do”. You are able to do whatever you want to do that does not impose on others or cause them harm. Additionally, freedom and liberty does not mean that there are no repercussions for your actions. You are falling into believing that total freedom and liberty means there are no rules. There will still be rules in society. That wouldn’t change. Men make rules. There just would not be infringement on YOUR rights or anyone else’s.

      On the other hand, should we revert to our Constitutional Republic that I believe our founders designed this country to be, yes that would be VERY doable. Even within our lifetime.

      I agree in principle. If we reverted to being what our founding fathers envisioned, then we would be on the right path. However, if we take the path they took, in other words simply hitting the reset button on government and laws, what makes you think that 240 years from now we wouldn’t be right back where we are now? We do not need to return to what our founders created, we need to return to some of the principles that they based their creation around. Theirs was the correct motive with the incorrect method. I am not willing to bear the pain of doing it wrong again simply because that wrong way is better than where we are now. If you built a house and it fell down in 20 years, you wouldn’t build it the exact same way next time expecting it to last 100 years. You would change the foundation and structural integrity to improve the design. We must find a way to do it better this time. The definition of insanity, as they say….

      Step one; Take back the school system and fire teachers who do not teach.

      Agreed, 100%.

      Step two; Remove all Progressives from political office and replace them with those who believe in our Constitutional Republic and are dedicated to keeping it that way.

      I would say step two is to outlaw the progressive mindset that the collective holds more value than the individual. That would eliminate the progressives serving a purpose in politics, and render them moot. As for the Constitutional Republic, I covered that above!

      I know that we disagree on many things, and I know that we both want the best for our country and the people who make up this country because we have both put our lives at risk for this country and its people, and if necessary we would both very willingly do so again.

      Agreed 110%. And I thank you for doing so.

      Personally, I thank God for people like you and the folks who inhabit this site because I know that as long as you all continue to exist this country and its people will prevail.

      Amen brother. No matter what we all believe and the differences we have, the desire to make it better is the key to the future. I personally could not have envisioned what this site has become or the kind of folks who inhabit it. I value every single one of you.

      • USWEP- Thanks for verbalizing so well what my feeble attempt at a comment was trying to reply to G.A!!! I love reading and learning and expanding my mind on your blog. Thanks for all you do!

    • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

      “I know that I pointed out extremes here and I did so just to make my point that total liberty and freedom is just not a doable thing, at least not until Humankind makes that long sought after science fiction pipe dream of all looking out for the other without a selfish or dishonest bone in our bodies.”

      This is completely, utterly, and totally false. Sorry, but it is what it is.

      As Kent has pointed out MANY times, in a free society, there are still going to be bad people that do bad things. SO WHAT??? In a completely “managed” society, there are still going to be bad people that do bad things. More than likely, in the managed society, a large number of people will have the “legal authority” to do bad things by government writ, so you will have no recourse against them!!!

      In a free society, you would have no “legal” coercion and violence as you do in a managed society.

      I cannot help it if you fail to see that as an improvement.

      • “I cannot help it if you fail to see that as an improvement.”

        Sorry, Pete, but I just know the Human condition way too well. Drop societal laws and you will have open season on just about everyone and everything that anyone and everyone can and will think of. AKA Total Chaos. Not good.

        Needing government to enforce societal laws is not a bad thing if you can build into that government certain restrictions, and that is what I believe our founders envisioned. Too bad we never kept those restrictions in place.

        • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

          Ok, Broken Record Time:

          The absence of government does not mean the absence of RULES in a free society, therefore your claim of “Total Chaos” is false.

          Until you are willing to drop the totally false claim, it is pointless to discuss this with you further, because you are clinging to a false premise which you will not let go of.

  7. Just A Citizen says:

    Just a Citizen said:

    I do not think most Americans FEAR freedom.

    I think they have no clue what real freedom is.

    They do not know our history or the philosophical reasons that freedom is essential to our pursuit of happiness.

    Modern Americans are the product of over 100 years of acculturation, or habituation if I may borrow from the environmental lingo. Bears who discover garbage as food become “habituated” to people. They lose their fear and bad things result. Americans have suffered the same fate but in a reverse form. We have been told that slavery is freedom and all evidence of freedom has been erased. We have become habituated to the feed trough provided by govt.

    Does this sound familiar? “We need government health care and welfare because poverty is the true destroyer of freedom. We must help others so they can be free.”

    If I have been told my entire life that a grizzly is really a cuddly panda then how am I to know otherwise? Of course once I discover the true nature of the grizzly I will certainly be afraid.

    I am guessing that will be the reaction of most once they discover what freedom is all about. That is if they ever get over their anger once they discover they have been lied to for generations.

    • USWeapon says:

      I disagree JAC, but only a little. I think that you are correct in some sense of your statement. I do believe that many do not have a true concept of what real freedom is. Because of this, they are very fearful of what they think real freedom is. An education on what true liberty is would surely qualm the fears of many, and I hope that one day we will see those types of epiphanies happening for many people. But for now, that lack of understanding equates to a true fear of freedom based on what they incorrectly believe it will be.

      I completely agree that we have become habituated to the feed trough, although that is a way of phrasing it that may turn many off. I tend to phrase it as we have become far too habituated to the idea that government is going to take care of all the things that are hard so that I won’t have to. It breeds the feeling that this is normal, when it is the antithesis of freedom. It is the result of a hundred years of indoctrination to that belief as you say, however, and it will not be easy to reverse. But if people can be taught to understand what it really is, I agree they will be very angry to have fallen for the trap that is the gigantic federal government game.

  8. Well how about this quote from last night’s article:

    What I mean is, it is in their DNA to say freedom but to actually mean freedom so long as it contributes to the “greater good” myth that they have.

    Do you really think this is a true and valid statement? In their DNA? You make so many terrible assumptions about those that disagree with you…

    • USWeapon says:

      Todd,

      First let’s get the whole quote so that it is in context:

      It is easy to attack the left on this issue. They work on the false premise of the collective being more important than the individual. What I mean is, it is in their DNA to say freedom but to actually mean freedom so long as it contributes to the “greater good” myth that they have. I have never met a Democrat that truly believed that the liberty of the individual was more important than the collective. I understand that this is a fundamental core belief difference.

      It is easy to attack the left on this issue. They work on the false premise of the collective being more important than the individual.

      I have to first ask if you felt that I was incorrect in stating that the left works from the premise that collective is more important than the individual? That is my view of the left. The advocate for society as a whole. That hurting one to save ten is OK. I don’t mean that in the “evil” way, but as a generalization. Does the left believe that the good of the group outweighs the good of the individual?

      What I mean is, it is in their DNA to say freedom but to actually mean freedom so long as it contributes to the “greater good” myth that they have.

      OK, I admit that this statement if you attempt to take it “literally” is false. I obviously didn’t mean that it is in the DNA of people that believe it. If I thought that were true, how could I explain so many switching parties later in life? You can’t switch DNA! What this statement is is a generalized statement that most would interpret to mean that I believe that the greater good myth is a fundamental core belief in the left political ideology. I am unsure of why you would take it to mean something literal? But if my assumption is a terrible one, I ask humbly that you correct me on the political ideology of the left. After all, I don’t want to make a terrible assumption. And I think the “in their DNA” statement was obviously a play on words not a literal statement.

      I have never met a Democrat that truly believed that the liberty of the individual was more important than the collective. I understand that this is a fundamental core belief difference.

      That is not a terrible assumption. That is a statement of what I have found. The general core belief of the progressive agenda is that what is good for the group is good for the individual. For the record I don’t often find the core of the GOP much different. I don’t think that it is something that I fault Democrats for either. It is their belief, unless it isn’t and you are going to correct me. And as their belief, I simply believe it to be wrong and immoral. MY belief is that individual liberty trumps the collective, so obviously I believe the opposite to be false and wrong.

      I will admit that I generalize often. I say the left when obviously there are millions on the left and no two probably believe the exact same thing. But when discussing politics aren’t generalizations based on a vast majority of those in the group you are generalizing the only effective way to discuss things? Otherwise it would take me a paragraph to explain who I am talking about and my articles would be 6,000 words instead of 2,000. I do not agree to generalizations when the minority of a group is presented as the norm (such as the faulty claim that the tea party movement is racist). But when it is a vast majority, I don’t see the problem with generalizations (such as the left believes that the collective trumps the individual). Doing otherwise would make my articles reallllllllyyyyyyy loooonnnggg and generally boring. Maybe people already think they are!

      USW

    • Todd

      I think it may actually be in the DNA.

      Some are hard wired to the far left and others to the far right, and others are confused and open to developing an opinion based on reason.

      Just as there are leaders and followers.

      Now I have no proof of this. Just a lifetime of observing people.

      Do you think it is hardwired at all?

    • Todd, and JAC

      I believe it is DNA too.

      In our brains we have the amygdala – the ‘lizard’ brain.

      It is triggered in whenever it thinks “we” are ‘threatened’, or undertake ‘risky behavior’.

      It is the reason we, naturally and instinctively, herd.

      However, it compete with cerebrum – our reasoning center.

      It is biological – the amygdala sits right on our main connection to our bodies nervous system where the cerebrum sits at the very front of our brain – furthermost away from the nervous system connections.

      Thus, we react emotionally before we react intellectually or by reason.

      It takes a lot of work to train ourselves to resist the amygdala and rely on the cerebrum.

  9. North Carolina seceding from the Union? I seem to recall that was done once before, and with deadly and disastrous results.

    I would have to disagree with you on that because my eldest resides in that state and I really would not want to have to get a passport just to visit my Grandchildren occasionally. (Tongue in cheek here)

    On a more serious note, paying out only 1/50th of the national defense budget just won’t work. NC would have to agree to military installations and other things as well, like non-regulated interstate commerce and open borders with the rest of us.

    Better idea . . . Enforce states rights. Start with state (not federal) run public education provisions. Encouraging and rewarding home schooling would be an excellent idea.

    I guess that’s all I have to say on that subject. Goodnight all.

  10. Good morning!

    I happened to meet a young man Saturday evening that is doing something unique. Matt is walking across America, from New York to Oregon. As he put it to me in the Knox American Legion facility, all he has heard from the media is how bad people are, he has many stories of how untrue that is. His pictures and stories of his journey can be found here: http://imjustwalkin.com/

    Matt’s journey is as much a journey to discover Freedom as it is what most people would call insanity. He has no special cause, he’s not raising money for anything. Freedom has many definitions, finding it and keeping it are certainly more difficult than understanding it, as it is in the mind of the beholder.

    Peace my Friends!

    G!

  11. Good Morning, USW. I have been reading and watching the discussions on freedom yesterday and today before answering.

    First, to directly answer your question I would support North Carolina. I believe in State’s rights over Federal rights on any occasion. I don’t think that needs anymore clarification.

    Freedom….do people really want to be free and do they understand the concept? There is a lot of talk about natural rights. There is a lot of talk about free will. There is a lot of mention to “do no harm” and there is a lot of describing what harm is and is not.

    In 1996, I took a combat regiment into Sarajevo. We landed at the Olympic stadium to a vision of approximately 1,500 bodies laid out on the stadium floor under tarps. They were there because there was no room in the morgues. The temperature was -5 degrees Centigrade and, therefore, controlled. My job? We were part of the so called “peace Keeping Force” under UN command. (That was a joke but that was the way it was.)

    In our road march North to Tuzla, we stopped at various places along the way…small towns…hamlets…individual homes. The one over riding fact was that with the fall of the Soviet Union, these little countries were thrown into suddenly having freedoms that they had never had before. They had no one to take care of them and tell them what to do. They did not understand the concept of freedom. They had never had it before. They were afraid of it. Neighbors did not ban together to work as a collective or one. They did not share their food..their water…their warmth. They did not trade among themselves. The mason did not help the thatcher. The blacksmith did not help the baker. There was a small barter system but nothing outstanding. They just sat there not knowing what to do or……the main thing….HOW to do it. It did not come naturally to these people. I remember asking several why they did not start farming or trading and they just did not know how. They were scared of it….but not in in fear but in application.

    I am of the opinion, that freedom is in the “eye of the beholder”. I like to define it as the right and privilege of doing what I want, when I want it, and where I want it as long as I am not infringing upon the rights and freedom of others….but therein lies the real question, does it not? The definition?

    One thing that I have learned in my world travels and liberation of towns and villages…. is that freedom is very scary and I do not think that people really want it. When they get it, they do not know what to do with it…for they do not understand it.

    Freedom has a flavor the protected will never know.

    • D13

      I like to define it as the right and privilege

      It cannot be both a Right AND a Privilege. These concepts are exclusive of one another.

      Freedom is NOT a right – nor is it a Privilege.

      Right DERIVE from freedom, not the other way around.

      is that freedom is very scary and I do not think that people really want it. When they get it, they do not know what to do with it…for they do not understand it.

      Freedom is no more or less “scary” then slavery. As I said in my comment above, run to your King to protect you, he simply demands you go out and fight his battle for him.

      You either fight for him as his slave or you fight for yourself for your freedom.

      Freedom has a flavor the protected will never know.

      True.

      • BF says: Freedom is no more or less “scary” then slavery. As I said in my comment above, run to your King to protect you, he simply demands you go out and fight his battle for him.

        You either fight for him as his slave or you fight for yourself for your freedom.

        D13 says: That was not my point. Perhaps I did not make it clear. When I say that freedom is very scary….I was using it in reference to Bosnia. At that time, they simply did not know how to handle it, what to do with it, and since it was an unknown..they were afraid of it. I also surmise that they were afraid of it in that stepping out in the past either got them killed or incarcerated. Habits are hard to break. They were starving to death and not doing anything. There was no government, neighbors did not help neighbors etc.

        • I also think that USW is correct in that people here….may talk about it…but do not want the responsibility of it and are afraid to step out and do it. It may not be scary to you or I…..but I think it is to most….they have become used to being fed.

        • D13:

          Got your point now.

          The Prisoner of the Bastille psychosis – he was freed by the mob, but refused to leave.

  12. This is the bowl of mush to which I am OBLIGATED to give my property for its sustenance?

    From Wiki:

    “Society or human society is the set of relations among people, including their social status and roles. By extension, society denotes the people of a region or country, sometimes even the world, taken as a whole.[1] Used in the sense of an association, a society is a body of individuals outlined by the bounds of functional interdependence, possibly comprising characteristics such as national or cultural identity, social solidarity, language or hierarchical organization. Human societies are characterized by patterns of relationships between individuals sharing a distinctive culture and institutions. Like other communities or groups, a society allows its members to achieve needs or wishes they could not fulfill alone.

    A society, however, may be ontologically independent of, and utterly irreducible to, the qualities of constituent individuals; it may act to oppress. The urbanization and rationalization inherent in some, particularly Western capitalist, societies, has been associated with feelings of isolation and social “anomie”.

    More broadly, a society is a economic, social or industrial infrastructure, made up of a varied collection of individuals. Members of a society may be from different ethnic groups. A society may be a particular ethnic group, such as the Saxons; a nation state, such as Bhutan; a broader cultural group, such as a Western society. The word society may also refer to an organized voluntary association of people for religious, benevolent, cultural, scientific, political, patriotic, or other purposes. A “society” may even, though more by means of metaphor, refer to a social organism such as an ant colony.”

  13. PeterB in Indianapolis says:

    Most people “fear” freedom because they DO NOT WANT that much personal responsibility.

    Many people actually actively WANT the government to “take care of things” for them.

    However, those of us that do actively want freedom must remember that just because there are many people who do NOT truly want freedom, that does NOT give them the right to impose upon those of us that do truly want freedom.

    So, for those of us who are ready to be big boys and girls, the things we need to do are as follows:

    1. Recognize that some people do not want freedom.
    2. Recognize that we cannot force freedom upon them.
    3. Recognize that we must find a way to not allow them to force “non-freedom” upon us.
    4. Figure out how to structure “society” in such a way that freedom and voluntary or semi-voluntary “unfreedom” can coexist.

    (#4 is gonna be a doozy, but if we cannot work out #4, we are going to be stuck with some version or other of unfreedom, whether it be a “constitutional republic” or a tyrranical totalitarian regime.)

    • PeterB

      The answer lies in DECENTRALIZATION.

      Pushing to the lowest governmental entity the authority to structure govt according to the broad majority. I would say this must be 2/3 at a minimum and perhaps 75%.

      My town is run and controlled by Progressives. At least 2/3 seem to love it. I hate it but must live here for now. But I will leave as soon as I can and move down the road to the next community that is built on freedom and personal responsibility.

      Federal and State constitutions and statutes must be revised to allow for this “local” flexibility.

      In my view, this is the only chance we have of freedom. If the authority is vested in the States I fear the same usurpation of sovereignty as we have seen at the federal level. The efforts to control thousands of cities and towns would be insurmountable, or at least much harder than controlling 50 state legislatures.

  14. Mathius sa

    It’s hard to figure out what serves the greater good.

    It IS impossible. To do so requires the knowledge of all the desires and wants of all people.

    You barely can figure that out for yourself.

    You are even worse at figuring that out for the woman you live with.

    Yet, you believe you can extend this great ignorance somehow into great knowledge for everyone else????

    I find it amazing and bizarre that those that profuse “Greater Good” can’t even articulate it accurately for members of their own family – yet, suggest they can for 300 million people.

    But that doesn’t mean we can’t get the general sense of what is right.

    NO! We can not!

    The best we can do is leave other people alone – and do not impose our believes (or your believes) on them

    We let other people find their own ‘good’ without imposing or allowing them to impose upon us.

    Only then is the Greater Good achieved – each person, in their own way, their own understanding of what “good” is….

    I know that eating my veggies will make me healthier,

    But I am allergic to your veggies – so why do you believe you should force me to eat them

    I know that eating poison will make me less healthy,

    Poison is in the dose. What is poison to you is medicine to me.

    Why do you deny me my medicine, just because it poisons you??

    We can agree that some things are good and somethings are bad without the capacity for scientifically calculated quantified values. We just have to do our best until the machines take over and do it for us.

    No, we cannot ALL AGREE

    You and I may, but not JAC.

    Maybe USWep, Ray and I but not you.

    Maybe You and JAC, but not me.

    And it is not my opinion of what makes a good, but society’s collective judgment.

    But when you decide that this collective is wrong, you claim a right to not follow ALL BY YOURSELF.

    When it runs sufficiently counter to my beliefs that I can no longer tolerate it, I have the option of terminating my contract and leaving.

    Yet, you deny others the same OPINION.

    You demand compliance to what you believe, but reserve the right to not comply to what you do not believe.

    “…Freedom for me, but not for you….”

    • Mathius

      I would like to expand on your one statement: “And it is not my opinion of what makes a good, but society’s collective judgment.”

      This is one of those ideas that lies at the heart of the fallacy which supports the altruistic model.

      Society CAN NOT have a COLLECTIVE JUDGMENT. Society is a collection of individuals. The only form of true collective judgment would require “unanimous consent”. That does not exist with very large groups of people.

      What you REALLY have is Majority Rule. It is nothing but propaganda designed to muddle the mind when one claims that majority rule is the same as “society’s collective judgment”. It is an attempt to portray some living, organic almost human trait to a non person in order to rationalize the sins of a majority of individuals.

    • PS:”I have the option of terminating my contract and leaving”

      The old “if they are stealing your couch, you can always abandon your house” fallacy.

      • Whoops, this was to Mathius

        PSS:

        What contract? I thought we completely cleared up this mistake yesterday

      • Mathius,

        Rousseau posits that the original, deeply flawed Social Contract (i.e., that of Hobbes), which led to the modern state, was made at the suggestion of the rich and powerful, who tricked the general population into surrendering their liberties to them

    • Mathius,

      Have you -once again- abandoned your arguments here?

  15. Freedom, in my view, is a state of existence.

    It is the state or condition wherein one is able to act according to their own will.

    Other descriptions or caveats flow from this basic definition and the application of logic to determine how it is applied in practice.

    For example, the concept of “no coercion” flows from Freedom itself.

    In order to be free I must be able to live freely. In order to live freely I must not be subject to coercion by others as that would prevent me from acting according to my will.

    In order to live free of coercion I must also not use coercion against others. For to do so would negate their freedom and in turn allow them to impose upon me as well, thus negating my freedom.

    To take the opposite position would mean that I may claim freedom for myself, or those I choose, and deny it to others. And that, I submit, is the state of existence we call “uncivilized society” or “despotism”.

  16. D13:

    ….Oh, its just “fear mongering”…

    This Day in History: April 20, 1914:

    On this date 66 men, women and children were murdered by the Colorado National Guard in a tent colony of 1,200 striking coal miners and their families at Ludlow, Colorado on April 20, 1914.

    • PS: Some accounts say 420 people were slaughtered.

    • SK Trynosky Sr says:

      I am of the opinion after talking to my military sons and some of their friends that the military would not take up arms against the people of the United States. The police, on the other hand, with some notable exceptions would.

      I cannot tell you why I feel this way. In the past, the national guard was often used as a strike breaker both in your colorado example and in the coal fields of Pennsylvania. The spectre of the IWW or international communism was often used as an excuse. In some cases it was those damned foreign workers. People are not quite that naive anymore.

      The police, on the other hand are quite different. I’ve just had too many dealings with jackbooted thugs with a gun and a badge. As pointed out there have been some exceptions to this but the minute you leave a major city and venture into the suburbs, you have a police force that is just itching to mix it up.

      • SK

        I’m concerned that the UN “Peacekeepers” and maybe NATO/Canadian forces would be called in. President Throws Like A Girl wouldn’t really need the US military for the tough jobs…..just a thought.

        • SK Trynosky Sr says:

          And the US Army would fight them.

          Always remember Cyndi, we are not them, we are the decendents of their tired, their poor, the wretched refuse of their teeming shores. Outside of the Aussies I cannot offhand think of a more disreputable people than Americans.

          PS, Girls throw better than that! He threw like he never saw a baseball before. A true internationalist, probably loves football, oops! I mean soccer.

      • I would suggest you look up the website “Oath-keepers” (Google it) before you arbitrarily state that police officers would take up arms against the American public. What you see on the boob tube is nothing more than a Hollywood work of fiction in the hopes of making money for the writers and producers.

        We in law enforcement, just like those in the Military Services, swear an oath to preserve and protect the Constitution and the people of the United States of America, with our lives if necessary.

        Yes, there are a few “rogue” cops, just last night on the news I saw a NYC cop knock over a bicyclist for no reason at all. He (the cop) is being prosecuted for assault and will most likely serve jail time and will never work in law enforcement again. Guys like him are the exception, not the rule.

        • SK Trynosky Sr. says:

          Rowe,

          I love most cops, have many wonderful NYPD stories and only a few bad ones but these suburban clowns where I live are out of control. Don’t know if there is like a universal website that keeps tabs on Police but if there is, The Fair Lawn NJ PD should be somewhere up there with the NKVD. Here, 14 miles from the George Washington Bridge and we have three egregious Civil Rights cases last year. We have a Police Lt. who is collecting a $ 285,000 award because his troops wouldn’t obey him and made fun of him causing, I kid you not, PTSD. Another officer has just been awarded $ 500,000 for doing out of title work, ie. the Lieutenant’s job but who was one of the lead instigators who drove the Lt. nuts. This is the same department that rousted my two sons for walking home from the local bar. They produced their military ID’s and he accused them of “casing” the windows of local shops so they could come back later, break in and steal the coins in the register. The other towns around me are not that much different. After a small fire in my house that my son put out, the responding officer threatened to arrest the son for “not following his orders”. Had the wife not intervened he probably would have. It does get better and better around here.

          I specifically excluded City cops who seem to know the score. The town cops are a whole different bunch. I’ve met a few who had started on a City Police force and literally ran to take the suburb job when the chance arose. Despite the fact the burbs pay better, I really can’t see a good cop doing that until he retires.

    • Do you know why?

      • Also, I suggest that everybody read the ENTIRE history of the Ludlow incident, massacre, killings…whatever you wish to call it. You will find that it was actually a private militia…dressed as guardsmen. Not that the Colorado Guard was not called in….as a lot guard were/and will be called in if violence is first perpetrated and cannot be handled by local police forces…And, it was a State issue and not a Federal issue.

        In addition, the rules have changed significantly since the old labor days as well.

        You will not see the Army nor the Guard called out…..unless there is violence that requires it.

        • D13

          I do believe you have led into the question that started the discussion

          You said: “unless there is violence that requires it.”

          The question is THEN WHAT? WILL the Army fire upon their fellow citizens because they have been told that the “violence” is intolerable. That it is seditious that it is anarchy.

          Will they fire upon their fellow citizens?

          • No sir….do not assume that the Guard or Army, in today’s time, will be called out simply to control a crowd. The whole issue started with martial law and expanded to this.

            If a crowd or mob or riot is burning, looting, killing, beating, raping or otherwise violating civil law, and the civil law enforcement cannot handle it…The GUARD of that state will be called out. Force is justified to stop force.

            Explain to me that if a mob is rioting and burning and killing and looting…..why would force, National Guard force, be immoral to stop it?

            • D13,

              Your assertion fails the test of reality.

              Waco – which was not a case of “marital law’ – had the Guard come out with their armored vehicles.

              You seem to ignore history – at all our peril – D13!

            • The Guard was called out at Kent State – which was not “marital law”.

  17. Congress and the White House recently granted the Internal Revenue Service more police power to not only collect taxes, but within that process,

    to negate the legal rights of the people to petition the courts

    and to control the behavior of American and non-American taxpayers.

    On March 18, 2010, President Obama signed yet another stimulus act ($17.5 billion) using the innocuous-sounding title of the Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment Act (cynically abbreviated to H.I.R.E.). This bill was touted as another step in helping job creation. In reality, it does the opposite.

    Hidden within the bowels (page 27) of this so-called jobs legislation is an unreported (in the once-mainstream media) provision known as Foreign Account Tax Compliance. Apparently, the congressional leadership did not want attention focused on this as a standalone bill, so it was hidden within a much more popular-sounding jobs bill. The justification for passing this provision was ostensibly to crack down on so-called tax evaders.

    In summary, this bill requires that foreign banks and financial institutions disclose the full details of American account-holders to the IRS — and to withhold 30% of all outgoing capital flows into those accounts if the IRS (not the courts) deems the account-holder “recalcitrant.” These requirements would also apply to non-American citizens living in the United States or to foreigners having investments and paying taxes within the country.

    If these stipulations are deemed illegal by a given foreign nation’s domestic laws, then the financial institution and the account-holder are required to close the account.

    The end result of this action, if allowed to stand, will be to force banks and other foreign financial institutions to stop doing business within the United States, and further, make the country much less attractive to foreign investors, who will now come under the heavy hand of the IRS.

    Per the Swiss Bankers Association, “These measures could have a boomerang effect and will make the US less attractive for foreign investors.”

    And per the Swiss-American Chamber of Commerce, “A lot of banks simply will not be able to do business in the US and that would cause considerable damage to the US economy.”

    http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/04/the_new_front_in_the_war_on_we.html

    • “And per the Swiss-American Chamber of Commerce, “A lot of banks simply will not be able to do business in the US and that would cause considerable damage to the US economy.”……and that’s the Plan.

      Special thanks to all who voted and still support the Change being delivered by the Manchurian President. As for those in my immediate vicinity, know that I won’t lift a finger to make their miserable lives less uncomfortable. Change they can feel.

  18. Off Topic, but somewhat related to loss of freedom to….have salt.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/04/19/AR2010041905049_pf.html

    “…..We can’t just rely on the individual to do something,” said Cheryl Anderson, an epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health who served on the Institute of Medicine committee…….”

    …..Until now, the government has pushed the food industry to voluntarily reduce salt and tried to educate consumers about the dangers of excessive sodium. But in a study to be released Wednesday, an expert panel convened by the Institute of Medicine concludes that those measures have failed. The panel will recommend that the government take action, according to sources familiar with the findings…..

    And just a little manipulation on the sly…

    The government intends to work with the food industry and health experts to reduce sodium gradually over a period of years to adjust the American palate to a less salty diet, according to FDA sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the initiative had not been formally announced…

    They are so thoughtful. My heavans, how could we survive without these people? (sarc/off)

    • Don’t forget, school lunches that cause obesity is a government program.

    • I’ve heard about this before. They are not banning your ability to consume salt. They are limiting the salt content that can be included in pre-packaged foods. You can always add more if you like, but it should have to be a conscious decision on your part if you want to ingest more of an unhealthy substance – it should be included at high levels in virtually everything Americans eat.

      Makes sense to me.

      • SK Trynosky Sr says:

        What business is it of theirs? Have I asked them to do this for me? Have you? Have you asked them to do it for me or I you?

        In keeping with Darwinism, if you are dumb enough to eat stuff that YOU KNOW is not particularly good for you, then perhaps it is better off if you did not contribute to the gene pool anymore.

        • Actually, it was Ray who asked them. They’re just doing what he told them to.

        • As for Darwin, I’m all for them not breeding. I’m not all for them getting sick because everything they can buy has an obscene amount of salt in it. If they want to poison themselves (DISCLAIMER: I love, love salt and use tons of it myself*), they should have to make a conscious choice to do so – it shouldn’t be the default.

          *I have very low blood pressure, family history on both sides of clear arteries, and a thyroid condition which is partially treated with high iodine intake, so salt isn’t actually bad for me. Thus, if they pass this, I’ll just salt my food as desired.

          • I’m not all for them getting sick because everything they can buy has an obscene amount of salt in it.

            But EVERYTHING does have an obscene amount.

            Again, so “subjective’ – who determines obscene – what right do they have to make such a determination?

            Use the power of your dollar – not the power of violence – to tell the market your tastes and desires.

      • Get the government out of food.

        • Because food was much healthier in the days of The Jungle, right?

          • Mathius,

            Whether it was or it wasn’t doesn’t matter.

            Today, the government – by its violence – distorts the food market place.

            • OK, but you tell me. Not being antagonistic here, but sincerely, let’s say the government closed down the FDA tomorrow. Shut the door and burned the building to the ground, and fired all the employees. Done.

              How do you see the progression to a world where I can trust that what I’m eating won’t be (a)chemically addictive (b)poisonous (c)fake (ie, it will be what it claims to be) (d)cancer causing (e)etc or (f)all of the above?

              Obviously, I have no guarantee at this point 100%, but without the EPA, you would suggest that, somehow, we should be able to have at least comparable confidence in our food, yes? How?

              • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

                Mathius,

                PLEASE PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD,

                Explain to me how people ever survived before there was an FDA, and an EPA, and any of the other alphabet soup agencies that did not even exist until some time last century.

                The human race did not suddenly “pop into being” after all of these agencies were created.

                People were able to survive before the government intervened so heavily in our lives, and we will continue to be able to survive LONG LONG after such meddling agencies have FINALLY become extinct.

              • People were able to survive before the government intervened so heavily in our lives Yes, and they managed to survive with life expectancies in the mid twenties.

              • BS Flag being deployed!!!!

                How old was Ben Franklin when he passed away? George Washington? Many, many others, even those in countries without the equivilent of the FDA?? Please………

              • Mathius,

                Life expectancy DOES NOT RISE because of government.

                We have had government for 10,000 years and 99% of that time it languished while fully surrounded by government action.

                The Chinese life expectancy rose at the about the same speed as the rest of the world – until its government decreed the “Great Leap Forward” – and it fell back to 1880 levels.

                With government less intrusive it is rising again in China.

                Life expectancy increased because of technology, science and engineering – not government!!!

              • With government less intrusive it is rising again in China.

                Government is less intrusive in China??

              • Yes, compared to Mao, the Chinese are slowly letting go political oppression.

                You obviously have never visited Shanghai.

              • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

                MAJOR BS FLAG THROWN!

                Life expectancy in 1900 was WELL OVER 20 years of age, and either you know that, or your education was far more faulty than even I would have believed possible!

                If you are going to formulate an argument, please at LEAST try to use real facts rather than just some garbage you made up out of whole cloth please.

                Further, it is not government which causes increases in life expectancy, it is technology and innovation driven by free markets that enable the extension of life expectancy.

              • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

                Oh, and P.S. Mathius,

                Sodium and High Fructose Corn Syrup were NOT a usual part of the human diet until AFTER THE FDA CAME INTO BEING.

                Before the FDA existed, we did not use awful food additives, preservatives, flavor enhancers, sweetners, etc.

                So don’t give me some absolute crap about the FDA protecting my health and making my food better and safer to eat.

                Food was WAY better and WAY safter to eat before the FDA ever existed.

              • Mathius,

                Gee, the slaughter in 1905 must have been huge without the FDA!

                Those poor people, unable to trust their food back then! The HORROR!!

                Gee, the horrors of 1969! The loss of life must have been HUGE due to ‘bad air’! Tens of thousands of lives slaughtered without the EPA!

                …what a crock!…

                Do you seriously believe that industry would poison you if it wasn’t for government?

                Do you not understand that because of government, the food industry has the authority to poison you?

                Government regulation is not needed to protect you, Mathius from “evil” food producers. The Law against violence does that already.

                Government regulation allows you to be poisoned by grant of government. It determines which chemical mix and its acceptable danger. If you are harmed by this danger – you have no recourse.

              • We should ask Matt is he trusts the guy he buys his Pot from not to sell him something that will just get him high and not will kill him? LOL!

              • Happy 4/20 day, Cyndi 😉

          • Wasn’t it ‘organic’? I thought organic was good for us? Now I’m ttotally confused. 😦

            • You can eat a perfectly organic mushroom and be perfectly organically dead.

              Likewise, you can have perfectly organize rat turds in your bread and get perfectly organically food poisoned.

              • You’re the one who brought up “jungle food”. Are you being racist by implying African people eat rat poop?

                BTW, the FDA does a lousy job of keeping out rat turds, and various pathogens. They do allow some levels of the stuff.

              • The Jungle is a book about a meat packing plant in ye olden times by Upton Sinclair. Nothing to do with Africa.

      • Yes, I can add salt to my food FOR NOW. What was it you or Buck were saying about Progressives? What does the word ‘progressive’ mean? What can we expect from people who call themselves progressive? The article stated that pursuasion didn’t work, so now force will be used. Why should I believe I will be left to choose anything other than what my ‘betters’ decide for me???

        • At first, they came for my prepackaged salty foods and I did not complain because I could still add salt.

          Then, one day, they came for my salt shaker, and it was too late..

          • “Thus, if they pass this, I’ll just salt my food as desired.”

            You won’t be allowed to Matt. They’ll make sure salt isn’t available to you…..

            • I’d get used to it, and be far healthier for it. (though, of course, they’d still allow some salt, because neurons can’t function properly without it).

              Also, I’d probably get a medical exemption due to my thyroid.

              Also, I’d stock up on Kosher Salt (best salt out there.. big chunks of rock salt, yum) before hand, so I’d never have to worry about it.

              It comes down to this, Cyndi: Does my personal consumption of salt impact society to an extent that overrides my freedom to use it? A case could be made either way*. I’d say no. Most people will agree with that.

              It works like this: People consume salt. This leads to high blood pressure and other disorders. This costs society directly (medical costs) and indirectly (lost productivity, etc). This is certainly a negative. However, balanced against that is the right to do what you want with your own body. See the see-saw in action? Weigh it out, and you can see that the net benefit to society is large, but the cost of such a draconian policy is larger. So the see-saw tips toward freedom – this time, anyway.

              *Yes it can, Flag. Just because you reject a fundamental premise doesn’t make it false, it means we’re arguing in two separate languages.

              • Mathius,

                People consume salt. This leads to high blood pressure and other disorders.

                A bald-face lie!

                As with all foods and substances, each individual reacts in his/her own way.

                There is no such thing as a ‘blanket’ cause/effect.

                In human life, the order of life needs is:

                (1) Oxygen – death in 4 minutes without it.

                Then it is salt
                Death in 24 hours without it.

                Then it is water, then food. (Then sex 😉 )

                It is up to the individual to make their own choices for themselves – not you and the government.

                This costs society directly (medical costs) and indirectly (lost productivity, etc).

                It costs society NOTHING!

              • People consume salt. This leads to high blood pressure and other disorders.

                A bald-face lie!

                Just because something is good for you in small measures does not mean it’s not bad for you when you have too much.

                Some water keeps you alive.

                Too much water drowns you.

                Some salt keeps you alive.

                Too much salt leads to high blood pressure and other disorders.

              • Mathius,

                The amount of water I wish to consume is not the government’s right to determine.

                They will get it wrong and drown me, or leave me to die of thirst.

                (See Katrina)

              • If they’d just let us be responsible for ourselves and our health, then the cost of alleged bad health effects wouldn’t matter. How come that never comes up?

              • And I already acknowledged that there’s no way they’d ban salt entirely since it is necessary for life. Nobody is talking about a total ban.

              • Mathius,

                The government has no right to even ask the question

              • Just a silly thought but if using salt causes health problems which increase the cost of health care would getting rid of salt mean people would live longer not also increase the cost of health care 🙂

  19. I’m having trouble figuring out why I argue with you guys.. I can’t possibly keep up 12 different conversations at once while simultaneously doing my job…

    I must be a glutton for punishment..

    If only y’all weren’t so damned fun to debate.

    • Retire, and do SUFA full time.

      • I’m 26 and have a mortgage. Retirement at this stage would be difficult.

        Besides, it wouldn’t be fair to the rest of SUFA to have to deal with me as a full time resident. They’d have to deal with two of us making 15,000 word posts with nested block quotes and obscure references. Who has the time?…

        Unless they all also retired and did this full time…

  20. SK Trynosky Sr says:

    As a totally off the wall aside: You know, with all those foreign travelers stranded and broke at American airports the failure of the Obama regime to act constitutes as serious a violation of human rights as Bush’s failure to act after Katrina. Where is the president? Why has the National Guard not been summoned to provide food and shelter. How would Obama like to sleep on a cold, dirty terrazo floor anyway?,

  21. Thomas Jefferson's Ghost says:

    I do not recognize this place. Then again, after 200 years since my Presidency, I did not really expect to recognize it. I see in a lot of ways that “the Great American Experiment” has sadly failed you all.

    I knew way back then that ALL governments eventually degenerate into tyrrany, but I tried… really we ALL tried… to design a system of governance where the people would have the true power, and the central federal government would have very little power at all. I see that we failed.

    However, I see that all of you failed as well. Americans used to have REAL PALPABLE outrage over things like taxation without representation. You are all taxed almost every waking minute… probably most of the minutes you are asleep as well!

    Most of you have absolutely no idea what the vast majority of the “laws” on your books even say, and most of you do not really seem to care! I am ashamed of you! Most of your “representatives” do not even know the contents of the “laws” which they themselves are voting for, SUPPOSEDLY IN YOUR NAMES!!! They should be Damned to Eternal Hell for such practice! If all of this does not constitute Taxation without Representation, then we would have been better off remaining under British rule.

    On second thought, seing the way that “Great Britain” turned out, that probably would not have been such a good idea either… sigh.

    What happened to the American Spirit? We were all rugged individuals who understood that the ONLY way to have a good society was to support and uphold the freedom, liberty, and rights of each and every individual member of that society! Most “Americans” now seem to think that the only way to have a good society is to trample upon each other’s liberties and rights to the point where you have made a bowl of oatmeal.

    Oatmeal is ok… it will sustain you, but there is no flavor, no excitement, and very little texture. Our goal was not to make a homogenized society where you could barely tell one person from another and all became “interchangeable parts”, NO!

    Ours was the goal of celebrating the differences and individual and special nature of each and every being within the society, and to allow the freedom of these individuals to enhance the society for the betterment of all. Society simply CANNOT be “better” without freedom, liberty, and the Natural Rights which the Creator has bestowed upon you all. Many of you seem to not understand this simple reality.

    In short, my children, I hate to be critical, but you have blown it. I knew that some day the Great American Experiment would likely fail, because all government is at root an evil force AGAINST the individual, and will slide inexorably into tyrrany. To be honest though, I thought that the American spirit was capable of resisting this slide for at least a thousand years or so, and by then you all would have figured out how to do without government entirely, since it is wholly evil. All of us at the founding of this country KNEW that, we just did not know a better way. We were hoping you would find it before the monster of government gobbled you all up.

    It seems I may have been far too optomistic in my prognostications for the fate of my own society. It is nice to see that some of you are still spiritually my children. It is unfortunate that so many of your fellow countrymen regard you as “loons”. I guess in their mind I would be a loon as well, if they were ever even taught what I said.

    By the way, did you ALL miss that part that you had to keep the society educated in order to ENSURE the blessings of liberty and help to prevent the tyrrany of government??? Instead you teach them how GREAT government is and how much more important “society” is than the individual??? What garbage, my sad children! Without the individual, there can be no society!

    I fear greatly for you all, and I am saddened by your loss, though most of you do not even realize that you have lost anything, which makes it all the sadder….

    • Hey Tom.. how goes?

      How cool is the internet, huh? I bet you would have loved that in your day.

      • Thomas Jefferson's Ghost says:

        Such wonderful tools you all have to communicate with each other, and indeed the whole world, all within the blinking of an eye!

        Such tools will either be the source of your ultimate enslavement, or they will be the source of your salvation. I sincerely hope it will be the latter.

    • TJ,

      Don’t be so hard on yourself. You may have been among the smartest men in history, but you could only references the history you knew and held no magic to see the future.

      The great issue of all governments across all time is a core premise of violence.

      You offered great reasoning for freedom – and then helped design an institution that contradicted it.

      If one instance where a man can justify using violence another non-violent man, any and all justifications will eventually be used.

      Evil men, seeing the ability to apply violence legally upon their innocent brothers will compete for the reigns of government power. They will displace good men until it is only evil men left in such competition. Then comes the inevitable tyranny.

      Only when men in voluntary organization for their own benefit and security – abolishing the institution of violence – can the full expression of mankind be achieved.

      • Thomas Jefferson's Ghost says:

        Indeed Sir Flag, I knew this at the time, as did many of my esteemed colleagues. We tried to build many safeguards to ensure that our government would be a free association of the people of our great country, not a mechanism to use force against them and against the rest of the world. As I said, we did not know a better way and deferred it to our progeny to “figure it out for themselves”. For this I apologize!

        I take great hope in the knowledge that from the dark ages there emerged a great and powerful rennaisance of thinking and creative individual men that led to the original ideas of Natural Rights, Freedom, and Libery. I hope for you all that you will have a similar experience that will lead you out of the dark age which you find yourselves currently in. It only takes a few good men of thought and reason to lead the world out of an age of darkness. It is good to see that some such men do indeed exist. Godspeed and farewell for now. I will be watching with great interest.

        • TJ,

          If you happen to see Ben Franklin’s ghost, tell him we’d love to hear from him as well.

          Best,
          Mathius

          • Thomas Jefferson's Ghost says:

            I have not seen Old Ben recently. The last I saw he was lamenting the fact that you all traded some of your liberty for some security, and therefore you no longer had either.

            I believe he most wisely warned you against that…

            Then again, I seem to remember warning you all that the society would fall when you used the treasury to steal from people that had earned it to feed those who had not earned it.

            You children never seem to listen, sadly. I still hold out hope for your reformation though.

            I will let Old Ben know you would like to hear from him next time I see him around. He doesn’t seem to enjoy being channeled by other beings – he said he feels it is a threat to his individuality.

            I find it quite fun to be channeled however. I find that I can assert my own individuality with no threat to my being whatsoever. I just can’t seem to convince Ben that it is a safe practice.

            • OK, well if you can, please give him a message from me.

              “The charge left on the glass by the silk should be the negative one.”

              He will understand.

    • A Puritan Descendant says:

      Thomas Jefferson’s Ghost for President!

  22. From none other than Elvis “apparently capable of being serious for short periods of time” Dingeldein over at http://www.bobcesca.com/blog-archives/2010/04/today_in_histor_2.html#more :

    “A moment of snarkless commentary, if you’ll indulge me: I draw absolutely no distinction between the Rockefellers bankrolling gun-toting thugs to break a strike and soulless [#$*&]-weasels like Don Blankenship, the Massey Energy CEO who racked up $34 million last year alone. While this f[$*#]hole took home $93,000 a day, the Upper Big Branch mine took home 1,342 safety violations since the beginning of 2005. This is what unfettered Capitalism does. It storms tent cities and burns small children. It campaigns hard against regulations and regulators and then ignores their restrictions when it cannot simply buy the System off. It has no soul, no heart, no empathy, no morality and often no mortality. It has a voice, now, and cancer-free lungs filled to bursting with the endless oxygen of cash.

    That it might be fettered, that it might be disarmed and defanged and declawed, is why I’m a Democrat.”

    And now, cue the opposition..

    • Mathius,

      1,342 GOVERNMENT laws broken – ZERO impact.

      Thus government does not work.

      • Free people sometimes send explosive packages through the mail.

        Thus freedom doesn’t work.

        • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

          Mathius,

          Your premise is false,

          ANY person can send explosives through the mail, or strap explosives to themselves and blow themselves up in the local marketplace.

          Freedom is not a prerequisite for the action which you described.

          Since ANY person could potentially send explosives through the mail, or strap explosives to themselves and blow themselves up in the local marketplace, the only LOGICAL conclusion you can draw is that HUMANITY DOES NOT WORK.

          Therefore, the only logical conclusion is that we should all be exterminated, based upon the fact that any and all of us have the potential to do exactly what you describe.

          That is your ultimate solution to the problems of humanity. You simply do not realize in your own mind that it is the only logical solution using your own line of reasoning.

          • Flag argues that the fact that the government was not effective in this case is proof that no government works. I draw the conclusion that they needed better enforcement. Po-tay-to, po-tah-to.

            So I use the same argument that a free man committed violence and this is proof that freedom does not work. Where the better conclusion is what you drew: humanity is fatally flawed.

            • Mathius,

              No, that was not my argument – it was out of your original post – your complaint of “Capitalism”

              I draw the conclusion that they needed better enforcement

              It is always interesting that a Statist – when he finds freedom disagreeable he demands government.

              When he finds government disagreeable he demands more government.

              • I don’t find government disagreeable. I find insufficient and toothless government disagreeable.

                And the only cure is more cowbell.

              • Mathius,

                A government that has 1.5 million men under arms with another 1.5 million in reserve; nearly a million police officers; 42,000 NEW Federal and State law every year is NOT a definition of toothless.

                Your government is incompetent. But because it is a monopoly, nothing else can work.

            • Mathius

              Absolutely faulty comparison.

              Freedom is a condition of existence. The ability to act in accordance with your will.

              Government regulations are a mechanism of control. A means of imposing upon the will of others.

              To claim the failure of one human to act morally is proof of freedom’s failure is pure fallacy. Freedom can not fail for it’s purpose is to allow unrestricted moral behavior. It is not supposed to stop immoral behavior. But free people can act to prevent such while government has proven a failure at this role.

              A fish out of water will die. This is proof that the fish does not work.

    • Cesca is an idiot.

      This is what unfettered Capitalism does. It storms tent cities and burns small children.

      Capitalism did this?

      NO! It was the Colorado National Guard – the GOVERNMENT.

      • Cesca is not Elvis.

        Saying someone is an idiot does not disprove their argument. Ad hominem fail.

        The individuals of the National Guard did this while being paid by capitalists. Both parties are to blame. The Guard for acting immorally and against their mandate. The Rockefellers for bribing them to commit immoral and illegal acts.

        • He is an idiot because he tried to pan off “Capitalism” in the place of GOVERNMENT force.

          Second, the National Guard are NOT paid by “Capitalists” unless you screw into ‘taxation’.

          Your complaint now rests on who is in control of the centralization of violence – not the centralization of the violence.

          And why do you declare it “illegal”? Who went to jail over it?

        • Cesca is an idiot, and idiots are incapable of logic, therefore his argument is moot.

          G!

    • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

      “Unfettered capitalism” was not the source of the problem. Since Mr. Dingeldein does not recognize the true cause of the problem, he believes that fettering, disarming, defanging, and declawing will solve the problem. It will not.

      If you do not recognize the true cause of the problem, you cannot formulate a potentially workable solution. This man is doomed to try over and over again to solve the world’s ills in ways which will not, and CANNOT work, and he will continue to blame “capitalism” for his inability to successfully solve problems.

      I pity him.

  23. I gotta weigh in on a lot of this, but I have not had time to read the comments and so forth, nor even this follow up article. I will as soon as I can!

  24. Judy Sabatini says:

    Doesn’t matter if these computers were issued to students, doesn’t give them the right to spy. Is this the freedom you want, to be spied upon in your own home with web cams, whether it be from school, your boss, or how about, our ever loving government? Just because he hasn’t paid his $55 for the use if the computer, doesn’t give anybody the right to spy on you in your own home, or bedroom, or anywhere for that matter.

    After reading Kent’s post on face book about micro chipping, and how it works well with animals, but now talking about micro chipping people, granted some may want it, but if they make that a mandatory thing, then we’re really in trouble. Nothing like having government see your every move, if they don’t already. How’s that for your freedom? Doesn’t matter what kind of freedom you’re talking about.

    I haven’t read a lot of the posts here the last couple days, but I do agree with what Flag said earlier. May not be his exact words, but if I read it right, something like this. Let me choose the way I live my life as long as it doesn’t infringe on anybody else’s life, and I won’t infringe on yours. This part is me talking now. Leave me alone to do what I feel is right as long as I’m not hurting anybody. Who are you to decide how I live, or where I live, and how I raise my children as long as no harm comes to them or my family. Government needs to stay out of our lives, and let us live it as we see fit without interference from them. As Henry David Thoreau once said, Government which governs least, governs best. In other words, butt the heck out of my life, and quit spying on my every move.

    PHILADELPHIA — A suburban school district secretly captured at least 56,000 webcam photographs and screen shots from laptops issued to high school students, its lawyer acknowledged Monday.

    “It’s clear there were students who were likely captured in their homes,” said lawyer Henry Hockeimer, who represents the Lower Merion School District.

    None of the images, captured by a tracking program to find missing computers, appeared to be salacious or inappropriate, he said. The district said it remotely activated the tracking software to find 80 missing laptops in the past two years.

    The Philadelphia Inquirer first reported Monday on the large number of images recovered from school servers by forensic computer experts, who were hired after student Blake Robbins filed suit over the tracking practice.

    Robbins still doesn’t know why the district deployed the software tracking program on his computer, as he had not reported it lost or stolen, his lawyer said.

    The FBI has opened a criminal investigation into possible wiretap violations by the district, and U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter, of Pennsylvania, has introduced a bill to include webcam surveillance under the federal wiretap statute.

    The district photographed Robbins 400 times during a 15-day period last fall, sometimes as he slept in bed or was half-dressed, according to his lawyer, Mark Haltzman. Other times, the district captured screen shots of instant messages or video chats the Harriton High School sophomore had with friends, he said.

    “Not only was Blake Robbins being spied upon, but every one of the people he was IM chatting with were spied upon,” said Haltzman, whose lawsuit alleges wiretap and privacy violations. “They captured pictures of people that have nothing to do with Harriton. It could be his cousin from Connecticut.”

    About 38,000 of the images were taken over several months from six computers the school said were stolen from a locker room.

    The tracking program took images every 15 minutes, usually capturing the webcam photo of the user and a screen shot at the same time. The program was sometimes turned on for weeks or months at a time, Hockeimer said.

    “There were no written policies or procedures governing the circumstances surrounding activating the program and the circumstances regarding turning off the activations,” Hockeimer said.

    Robbins was one of about 20 students who had not paid the $55 insurance fee required to take the laptops home but was the only one tracked, Haltzman said.

    The depositions taken to date have provided contradictory testimony about the reasons for tracking Robbins’ laptop. One of the two people authorized to activate the program, technology coordinator Carol Cafiero, invoked her Fifth Amendment right not to answer questions at the deposition, Haltzman said.

    About 10 school officials had the right to request an activation, Hockeimer disclosed Monday.

    The tracking program helped police identify a suspect not affiliated with the school in the locker room theft, Hockeimer said. The affluent Montgomery County district distributes the Macintosh notebook computers to all 2,300 students at its two high schools, Hockeimer said.

    As part of the lawsuit, a federal judge this week is set to begin a confidential process of showing parents the images that were captured of their children.

    The school district expects to release a written report on an internal investigation in the next few weeks, Hockeimer said. School board President David Ebby has pledged the report will contain “all the facts — good and bad.”

    • And the rest of the Thoreau quote….

      “…and the best government is one that does not govern at all

      • Judy Sabatini says:

        Tried posting something earlier, but had a problem. What I had said was, that I think you’re right Flag, and I’m inclined to believe we’d all be better off without any government at all, quit dictating to us on how we live our lives, quit telling us what you think is better and right for us. We’re not a stupid people, we think we know what’s right and what’s not right for us. We are not children that has to be led around by the hand. The sooner you get out of our lives, the better everybody and everything will be.

        But the big question is. How do we get rid of government?

        • Judy,

          We get rid of government by ignoring it most of the time, and ridiculing it the rest of the time.

          Do not ask for its “help” or its “service” – ever. When it asks, ignore it – when it demands, demand back. When it offers, refuse it.

          Do not vote, but complain about all things all the time. Demand its withdrawal, do not accept trying to change it.

          Don’t ask it to change a law, demand a repeal of the law.

          Reverse your support of government. Break up government, Decentralize it.

          When its the Federal government vs World Government, side with the Fed against the World Government.

          When its the States vs the Federals, side with the States.

          When its the States vs the City, side with the City.

          When its the City vs the Citizens, side with the Citizens.

  25. Let Freedom Ring

    In our discussions of the past couple of days we have explored whether most folks are afraid of true freedom. I maintain that they don’t know what freedom is. USW points out they are afraid but perhaps it is fear of what they have been told is freedom. So I thought I would provide some examples of just how such a distortion has been fed to us and thus how it does in fact affect our loyalty to the concept of freedom. Our SUFA friends on the left are always proposing that freedom does not work. It will result in death of innocent people; it will not control the greed and corruption of capitalism.

    Ladies and gentlemen, I give you VDLG exhibit A; the ruthless, murderous wild wild west, where there was no government.

    Terry Anderson and P.J. Hill published a book in 2004 called The Not So Wild West. The authors show that crime was actually quite low in the west, and that land and property rights were secure. How could this happen you ask?

    Well, people invented or developed private mechanisms to allocate rights to land and resources like gold and water, resolve disputes, and enforce the law. These systems were not perfect, but our goal is freedom not perfection, nor were they immune to abuses. Of course the same can be said of our more perfect government, can’t it!

    As Thomas E. Woods Jr. so aptly stated, “Civilization was brought to the West by private citizens, private entrepreneurs, and private law enforcement.” A commentary by newspaperman J.H. Beadle while traveling through Denver provides some evidence.

    “Appeals were taken from one to the other, papers certified up or down and over, and recognized, criminals delivered and judgments accepted from one court by another, with a happy informality which it is pleasant to read of. And here we are confronted by an awkward fact: there was undoubtedly much less crime in the two years this arrangement lasted than in the two which followed the territorial organization and regular government.”

    Pioneers who settled in lands not yet set aside as public domain, and sometimes before surveys were done, “relied upon nongovernmental means of establishing and then protecting property rights. Land clubs or claims associations spread throughout the Midwest.” Each association had its own constitution and its own regulations for the adjudication of disputes and the registration of land claims. A fellow named Jackson Turner described these land claim clubs as a perfect example of the “power of the newly arrived pioneers to join together for a common end without the intervention of governmental institutions.”

    The Cattlemen’s Associations established systems of branding, adjudicated disputes, enforced property rights, and devised means to exclude outsiders to help prevent over grazing. In other words, they independently solved the “tragedy of the commons” without government. Which would lead one to believe that perhaps the “tragedy of the commons” was in fact a fabrication of an over zealous philosopher.

    Well how about those rowdy gold rush towns. We all know how lawless those were. Again from T. Woods we see that the large influx of miners into a region with no government except scattered army outposts, the citizens took it upon themselves to form private arrangements of self governance according to common law principles. In fact the common law recognized the rights of the people to do just this very thing in the absence of a “functioning lawmaking body” (Anybody else getting an idea at this point?). Per historian Otis Young:

    “The common law also held that in a land otherwise devoid of appropriate law or a law giving body, the free citizenry might legislate for its own needs and that, as long as this legislation was reasonable and equitable, subsequent formal sovereigns must recognize this prior legislation as valid. Being instructed to this effect by the many lawyers among them (each of whom had virtually memorized Blackstone or Coke), the Argonauts proceeded to organize folk moots or “miner’s meetings,” in which placer law was debated and ratified by vote of all adult males present.”

    Mining districts were established to address challenges the miners faced. Each district had its own legal system that punished crimes against life and property, established a system of property rights in mining claims, and could evolve in the face of changing technology and other fluid factors. Per P.J. Hill, “in more than three years more than 200,000 people had migrated to California, most of them trying to get rich quick. If there were ever a recipe for chaos, this would seem to be one: people of varied backgrounds and ethnicities, all armed and all seeking a valuable resource. But the mining camps quickly evolved rules for establishing mining claims and judging disputes.”

    Historian John Umbeck’s study of mining camps found that miners avoided violence and instead took the path of contract and voluntary acceded to the rules of mining districts “not once but 500 times (different districts). And the length of time in which this took place was not centuries, but days.” All this accomplished by men of various backgrounds and even languages. In fact, they were complete strangers yet order and civilization prevailed over chaos and destruction.

    “The miners settled disputes either through a district-wide meeting or by an elected jury or alcalde. The alcalde kept his position only so long as the miners accepted his rulings as just. They replaced those whose judgments did not conform to generally accepted standards of justice. Crime was also notably low in the districts, a fact attributed to widespread gun ownership among the miners as well as to the efficient nature of the miner’s legal system” (T. Woods).

    Want more? From W. Eugene Hollon’s Frontier Violence: Another Look (1976): “the Western frontier was a far more civilized, more peaceful, and safer place than American society is today.”

    According to historian Richard Shenkman; “In the real Dodge City, for example, there were just five killings in 1878, the most homicidal year in the little town’s Frontier history: scarcely enough to sustain a typical two-hour movie.”

    Dykstra’s study of five major cattle towns (Abilene, Caldwell, Dodge City, Ellsworth, and Wichita) found only 45 reported homicides from 1870 through 1885, and that in Abilene there were no killings at all until “the advent of officers of the law, employed to prevent killings.”

    I could add more, but I think I want to leave you with that last thought to cogitate over. There were no killings until the “advent of officers of the law”.

    To be free you must live free.
    JAC

    P.S. to USW: You might want to pull this to Open Mic. I didn’t feel like waiting up to post it there.

    • JAC,

      Exactly.

      The vast majority of humanity understands that voluntary cooperation improves individual lives. Thus, it makes sense for the individual to group with other like-minded people, and peacefully work out resolutions to the benefit of all.

      Yes, there are those that refuse to participate or worse, attempt to destroy other men. (But those tend to accumulate inside governments)

      I believe most that are confused about freedom believe freedom “is a bunch of individuals who are hermits“. But that is almost always not true.

      Men of Freedom simply organize their affairs in a way to respect the freedom of others. This does NOT lead to hermits – it leads to Civilization – just as your story tells.

      • BF

        I see your up late walking the halls.

        Boy, we just got hit with a hell of a big wind storm about an hour ago. Hit over 80 today. Four days of warm weather after all that cold. Rivers are now on the rise.

        Absolutely, civilized men can organize in a way to respect the freedom of others. Civilized men are absolutely capable of creating a FREE civilization.

        Brutes on the other hand, will always be brutes. It is the spineless, weak, parasites that seek the power over others. It is they who can not stand against men of ego who are comfortable in their freedom. They can not win the debate so they resort to intimidation and coercion.

        Have your various ailments healed up yet?

        Give a big howdy to your girls for me.
        JAC

    • USWeapon says:

      Done. As I noted over there, a great addition to the discussions!

  26. I forgot to subscribe to comments. Must be late. Fixed now.

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