Masked by Virtue

July 19, 2020 at 11:22 am

It’s been a crazy year by all accounts. We’re trying to manage a global pandemic. Cops killed yet another unarmed black man unleashing a new wave of protests across the country. Millions are unemployed due to economic shutdown and socially isolated due to COVID-19 mitigation measures. It’s an odd time. Unfortunately, I’m finding that the increased stress and angst is bringing the worst out in some people. Our society has been unduly politicized. Seemingly non-political topics have taken on a stereotyped political identity. State governments across the country have enacted emergency declarations, taking on special powers to dictate personal behavior in response to the pandemic. The governor can now decree which businesses may operate, and how they must operate upon threat of government sanctions. Some states have ordered all citizens to wear a face covering when outside of their homes. Research indicates that face masks and “social distancing” are effective in reducing the spread of germs. I don’t dispute this. I do take issue with it being mandated, and I take issue with the toxic, politically motivated response. This is a discussion I’ve tried to have on social media a couple of times, but it’s just not a good venue […]

Christmas Musings

December 16, 2019 at 5:01 pm

As I get older I have found that meaning has become very important to me. I want depth. I want to think and be challenged. I want the story behind things. I don’t have patience for frivolities that fail to offer meaning or depth. This becomes particularly obvious during the Christmas season when there seems to almost be a tug-of-war between the meaningful, and the meaningless. On one side is the Christian tradition of Christmas as the celebration of the birth of Christ, and on the other is the sickeningly consumerist “I want” culture and it’s fat, white-bearded, red-clad mascot. The modern Santa Clause had been exorcised of much of his historical substance and meaning. Today, he’s a symbol of rabid consumerism, childhood greed and Big Brother lite. Everyone likes to complain about society is going down the tubes, but few consider the possibility that it might stem from lying to our children, telling them that a magical fat man and his army of elf slaves are going to bring them whatever they want for free. And oh-by-the-way, Santa is “always watching” to see if they’ve been “good” or not. Nothing like preconditioning them to live under an all-seeing government […]

Real Substance

January 22, 2018 at 7:16 pm

Lately I’ve found myself getting more and more fed up with society.  From fake news to people showing off a fake version of themselves online, it’s just gotten to the point at which I have a very strong desire for things to be real.  I’m a millennial. I was born just in time to live the digital revolution and the further it progresses, the more disgusted with it I am and the more empty it seems to become.  It’s not just the Internet though, or the PC, or smartphone.  It seems as if society in general is gravitating toward the lowest common denominator.  Prime time television just continues to pump out mindless garbage — brainless sitcoms, yet another predictable drama about first responders, or the latest iteration of some starry-eyed individual singing/dancing/doing stupid human tricks for a shot at fame and fortune.  Sure, there are exceptions (This Is Us being one), but the general goal seems to be a total lack of substance. Social media isn’t any better.  It’s absolutely overflowing with mindless junk.  Pointless quizzes about silly topics that spit out totally useless results.  “News” articles that offer the writers obnoxious and baseless opinion on some hot button topic […]

Let’s Start a Reading Guild!

August 29, 2017 at 11:02 pm

I’ve not posted in a while.  In part because I’ve had to step back from political discussion in general.  I find it incredibly irritating to constantly read about what horrible (even if it wasn’t) thing Trump did today.  In the view of the left, this includes everything from how he runs the nation to how he ties his shoes.  The level of nitpicking and negativity is astounding.  As much as I dislike Trump, there is no such thing as a balanced report on anything he does and that bothers me.  At any rate, I’ve spent the recent months working on personal improvement.  If we throw away all of the collectivist hogwash, it leaves individuals.  The world will not improve unless we, as individuals do. Part of that personal improvement I’ve been working on is barbell strength training (Mark Rippetoe’s Starting Strength program).  The program is based primarily on linear progression which is a strength training technique that involves adding progressively more weight at each workout. It is the best and most efficient way to increase strength.  You start off with light weights, and you continue to add more and more as the body adapts to the load and gets stronger. […]

Should Government be Run Like a Business?

March 29, 2017 at 2:08 pm

This video has been making the rounds on social media – namely Facebook.  A few Facebook friends have shared it and expressed positive opinions on it.  Today I’m going to offer you the counter-argument.  Below is the video.  Following that, I’ll make my case.   So let’s take this point-by-point. Points listed within quotation marks are direct quotations from the video, those listed without them are paraphrased. Premise: “Having a CEO run the country like a business is one of those things that sounds good in theory, but when you actually stop and think about it for 5 seconds, you realize it’s a really terrible idea.” A CEO is supposed to run a business, but the government is not a business. This is correct. Government is not a business.  Government is its own monstrosity armed with a monopoly on violence that it wields against its citizens to acquire “revenue” via taxation (theft), tariffs, and other means.  It would be far better if it were a business, or even a charitable organization.  As a business, government would be bound to the will of the market (consumers) and would be forced to follow their demands, and discontinue “services” that were not wanted […]

A Note on Self-Interest

January 19, 2017 at 5:43 pm

I stumbled upon a Facebook post the other day which appeared in my feed because a friend “liked” it.  In it, the author was expressing their exasperation over a lesbian friend who did not support “trans rights” – equal rights for transsexuals.  Naturally, I checked out the comments hoping for some amusement.  Within the comments I found the exchange you see below.  I didn’t comment on it, as I didn’t really feel like starting a Facebook war with a bunch of people with whom I likely share very little common ground.  I’ve redacted the names and profile images in the following screenshot because the point here is not to skewer the people making these comments, but rather the idea they are expressing. So let us discuss.  First, we notice the implied assumption of those commenting that Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders would have been more friendly toward LGBTQ rights than Donald Trump.  This may be correct, it may not be.  I’ll leave you to your own research and conclusions on that point.  The striking problem with these comments is a more subtle thread running through them.  All four of the individuals in this discussion are assuming that they know the […]

A Call for Civility

January 11, 2017 at 9:11 pm

Everyday I read numerous articles and comments online.  The articles are generally informative.  The comments are atrocious.  Quality and intelligence seems to be in short supply in the realm of online commentary.   Most comments are riddled with spelling and grammatical errors.  Many demonstrate a pointed ignorance of the topic being discussed.  Probably the most disappointing aspect is just the sheer number of comments that lack all civility.  At times, the article itself is guilty of the same shortcomings; sometimes by design, sometimes by oversight.  We need a return to civility.  We need to remember that each of us are unique individuals fighting our own daily struggles.  Can we not discuss with mutual respect, even in disagreement? Granted, I’m guilty of this from time to time.  It is a fault that I recognize and am attempting to make a concerted effort to improve upon. Perhaps the following is a case of the pot calling the kettle black, but perhaps it needs to be done.  I find that this lack of civility is non-partisan.  Conservatives are guilty of it.  Libertarians are guilty of it.  Favorite terms of the Right include taunts like “libtard”, “commie”, and plays on the names of disliked individuals […]

To My Liberal Friends

January 8, 2017 at 10:53 pm

I wrote what follows (including the endnote) in the days immediately following the election of Donald Trump.  At the time, for whatever reason, I chose not to publish it.  Now that some time has passed, and I hope everyone has found their footing following the initial shock, I am.  Rereading this, I still stand by it.  I think it’s important to put this out there.  I think in the realm of political discourse we frequently forget that we are all human beings.  So here it is… I have a lot of mixed feelings and thoughts on this election outcome.  I have conservative friends who are ecstatic.  I have libertarian friends who are cautiously hopeful that Trump will be better than Clinton.  And of course, I have liberal friends who are devastated and literally in tears over their loss. As a libertarian, I find myself stuck in the middle.  While I am not sad that Hillary Clinton lost this election, I am disheartened, disappointed, and ashamed that Donald Trump won it.  I empathize with both sides.  I can’t say that I fully relate to how any other individual is feeling, as I’m not them.  My feelings are mixed.  I’m not a […]

The First Political Dog and Pony Show

September 27, 2016 at 2:45 pm

Last night, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton took the stage for their first head-to-head “debate”.  Absent was Gary Johnson – evidently because the Commission on Presidential Debates believed an adult in the room was unnecessary. As expected, there was a lot of interrupting, speaking over one another and generally ignoring the existence of the moderator as he ineffectually attempted to keep the topics on track.  Clinton sounded well rehearsed and as such came off more polished.  What little policy she did articulate though was almost complete incorrect.  I found it to be no surprise that her most glaringly erroneous statements involved economic matters.  From her support for higher taxes on companies and the “rich” to an increased minimum wage, “debt-free” college, and paid family leave, she demonstrated either complete ignorance of economic forces or an unbelievable level of hubris that she could overcome such natural law by sheer government fiat. Trump started off the debate strongly, all things considered.  He stuck to his message that politicians were the problem… for the first 30 minutes or so.  Beyond that, he started taking every bit of bait Clinton put out for him.  At times, he ran off into the weeds, losing sight […]

A Note to Fellow Libertarians Regarding Conspiracy Theories

August 2, 2016 at 12:46 pm

Could we just… NOT? There are many great mysteries in this world and many topics that deserve further discussion, consideration and research.  Conspiracy theories can fit into those categories.  However they are part of a rather paranoid niche and are not fit for public discussion unless you have hard evidence. Of course if you have proof, it’s no longer a theory, is it? Why am I bringing this topic up?  Because this election, the Libertarian Party stands to have its best showing ever.  In order to make that happen, we need people to vote for the Libertarian candidates.  Now I realize, that not all libertarians (small ‘l’) agree with, are part of, or support the Libertarian Party (big ‘L’).  That’s fine.  I just respectfully ask that we not do harm to each others efforts (NAP for the win, ya?), as ultimately we are on the same side.  Toward that end, we need to be mindful of public appearances.  Libertarians, as a whole, would benefit their cause best by acting and appearing in a reasonable, respectable, logical and intelligent manner.  Please don’t be this imbecile! With public relations in mind, let’s talk about our messaging. A few people with whom I […]