Libertarian Misgivings

November 27, 2023 at 4:30 pm

I’ve considered myself a libertarian for the better part of 15 years. The idea of being free from others meddling in my affairs was – and continues to be – powerfully appealing. However, recently I find myself struggling with the intersection of libertarian philosophy and reality. Libertarianism is a political ideology. It makes arguments for or against the proper place in society of government and force. It does not provide any sort of moral guidance for the issues it speaks to, and therein is part of the trouble. The second issue is pragmatic – the cold, hard truth is that we are never going to have a Libertarian president. We are never going to have a government meaningfully smaller than the perennially expanding one we have now unless something truly cataclysmic happens. Not enough voters will get out of the R vs. D mindset to actually make a third party viable unless one of the major parties utterly collapses, and you can be sure that if that happens, the people in power of whatever fills the power-vacuum will be the same people who were in power all along. Maybe this is an overly pessimistic take, but I think it realistic. […]

Privacy and Alternative Platforms – 2.1: Do you need that app?

January 31, 2021 at 7:21 am

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from JM Atoms. He’ll be bringing additional posts to this series over the coming weeks. While his views are generally inline with my own, his posts appearing on this site should not be considered endorsement of opinions expressed herein. This is not sponsored by Brave, we get no income from them. JM is just a big fan. Do You Even Need an App at All?Before getting into recommended apps in my next article you should first determine, of the apps you have installed, if the standalone app is needed in the first place.  Most services have a web browser interface that functions almost completely like the app itself.  Many of the most popular apps like YouTube, Gmail, Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Instagram, Twitter, Dropbox, OneDrive, any app in the Microsoft Office Suite, and countless others all have fully functional websites.  PizzaHut, Dominos, Wayback Burgers, and most restaurants, even a small local restaurant near me, all have websites that you can order ahead online. Reservation sites like OpenTable, Expedia, Priceline, Kayak, and all the others all work through a browser rather than an app. Click any of the links above for a screenshot preview. There […]

Privacy and Alternative Platforms – 1: Your Web Browser.

January 11, 2021 at 5:04 pm

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from JM Atoms. He’ll be bringing additional posts to this series over the coming weeks. While his views are generally inline with my own, his posts appearing on this site should not be considered endorsement of opinions expressed herein. If you’re here, there are two things I assume you’re interested in: privacy and censorship.  The first thing we’ll dive into is privacy.  Privacy should be addressed first as it’s the foundation for virtually everything else to follow.  I assume you’re already familiar with the “if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to worry about” vs “I may or may not, but it’s none of your business regardless” arguments.  Perhaps I’ll write up something more in-depth later. The biggest leak to our privacy is the phone we carry in our pocket.  It listens to you. It listens to the people around you.  It knows where you’re going based on text messages and emails you write.  It tracks and keeps a history of where you’ve been.  Using the unique ID of your Bluetooth antenna it can keep track of all other people you come in proximity with. Your Bluetooth antenna can also be […]

Restoring the Republic, One Originalist at a Time

October 13, 2020 at 7:02 pm

With the recent death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, President Donald Trump has an opportunity to appoint his third Supreme Court justice. Naturally, the Democrats are crying foul due to the upcoming election. They claim that the Republicans set this precedent by blocking President Obama’s pick in the last year of his term. The difference of course is that this time around the GOP holds the presidency and the Senate and thanks to the Democrats killing the filibuster, they need only a simple majority to confirm Trump’s pick, Judge Amy Coney Barrett. When Judge Barrett becomes Justice Barrett the Supreme Court will have a solid 6-3 conservative majority. This terrifies many of those who identify as liberals. They see it as the end of Roe v. Wade, the end of Obamacare, the end of gay marriage… the end of their progress. I say to this, good riddance. The foundation of the United States government is the US Constitution. That document was written with the express purpose of restraining the national government. It outlines which authorities the government is permitted. The 10th amendment leaves everything else to the states, and the people. So-called Progressives have built their big government empire on […]

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 […]