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The Best We Can Do: Freedom and Independence For America

Tim Gerrity: We may not always get what we want. We may not always get what we need. Just so’s we don’t get what we deserve!

–True Colors, 1991

Do you ever get the feeling we’re getting exactly what we deserve?

As the Crisis deepens, 13ers will feel little stake in the old order, little sense that their names and signatures are on the social contract. They will have reached full adult maturity without ever having believed in either the American Dream or American exceptionalism. They will never have known a time when America felt good about itself, when its civic and cultural life didn’t seem to be decaying. From childhood into midlife, they will have always sensed that the nation’s core institutions mainly served the interests of people other than themselves. Not many of their classmates and friends will have built public-sector careers, apart from teaching and police work. Most 13ers will have oriented their lives around self-help networks of friends and other ersatz institutions that have nothing to do with government.

–Howe, Neil; Strauss, William (2009-01-16). The Fourth Turning

It’s easy for Americans in the 21st century to believe we deserve better. Some people say everyone deserves free education through college, free medical care, free food, free transportation, free contraceptives, even free tampons. Maybe “deserve” is the wrong word. “Right to” is what people actually say.

What if we don’t?

Let’s play a thought experiment.

What if you woke up tomorrow on a tropical island. It’s not tiny, but it’s not too big. You find lots of tropical plants and animals but no other people. You are alone on an island. All alone in paradise.

Being alone, you won’t find a doctor or a professor. No stores to shop. No contraceptives. And no one to use them with. You are alone with yourself and all of your natural rights.

Sure, there’s no one to talk to, no one to kiss, no one to love, no one to comfort you. But there’s also no one to boss, no one to bully, no one to enslave, no one to rob. Just you.

On this paradise island surrounded by food that you can harvest yourself, you feel completely in charge of yourself. Perhaps for the first time in your life. There are no license bureaus to visit, no security lines to wait in. You pay no taxes.

You have all of your rights. You have a right to an education, but you can’t force someone to teach you. You must teach yourself to survive on the island.

You have the right to shelter, but you probably have to build one yourself. Or build twenty if you want.

You have the right to health, but you have to treat yourself. (What do the animals do when they get injured? How do they heal themselves?)

You have the right to eat, but you have to harvest the food yourself. (What do the animals eat? How do they get it?)

You have the right to transportation: your legs. You may crawl if you wish. No one there to laugh.

You have everything you deserve: your freedom and total independence.

You probably wish someone were there with you, but company comes at a price, does it not?

One day, long after you’ve developed routines and practices to ensure your safety, nourishment, and maximum happiness under the circumstances, something catches your eye. Out on the ocean between the horizon and the shore you spot an object. It’s large and different from anything you’ve seen since waking up on your island.

Over the next hour or two, the object gets bigger as it drifts closer to your island. Soon you see the object is a raft of some sort. Yellow. Crowded onto the raft are seven people. Some begin waving, so they must have seen you. They drift closer and closer and you can hear them shouting. You cant make out their words over the surf and the breeze, but you know they’re trying to talk to you.

In a moment the raft reaches shallow water. You wade out to help bring the craft ashore. You are no longer alone. You have company.

Everyone on the raft speaks the same language you speak. One of the “rafters,” the word you use to describe these visitors, is a doctor. One is a professor. Another is a former legislator. The other four are a young family consisting of a carpenter, his wife (a receptionist) and their two children, one boy and one girl.

“How long have you been here?” the politician asks.

“Huh. I’m not sure,” you answer. “A couple years, I guess.”

“And you’re alone?” the doctor asks.

“As far as I know,” you say. “I’ve pretty much explored the whole island, and I’ve never found signs of other people.”

“How have you survived?” asks the professor.

You start to tell stories of your time on the island. How you panicked at first, but then learned to live.

“I was so angry for a while. I though I didn’t deserve this. I felt deprived and lonely. And, honestly, scared. I had no idea how to survive out here. But I realized I had to eat, so I taught myself how to gather coconuts and pineapples and a lot of berries and plants I saw the animals and birds eating. I stay away from all the snakes and lizards because there’s no telling which ones are dangerous. I built shelters for myself around the island so I’d never be caught out without protection. I figured out how to spear fish–there’s so many fish in the waters here, it’s easy.”

“How do you cook?” the doctor asked.

“I don’t.”

“You’re lucky to be alive,” the doctor continued. “You could get all kinds of parasites and bacteria from raw fish. You should know better.”

“We need to figure out a way to make fire,” the politician said. Then, turning to you, “Since you’ve been here for two years, I think you should figure that out. You know this island better than anyone.”

“I agree,” said the professor. “I can tell you what might work.”

“Okay, but I don’t really need fire,” you say. “I’ve survived without it for two years. If I knew how to do it, I’d have done it.”

“Well, we need some organization, then,” said the politician. “Why don’t we take a vote?”

They vote. The professor and the politician decide that only adults may vote. The carpenter and his wife abstain, but the doctor, the professor, and the politician vote that you are responsible for finding a way to make fire. They also decide that you must teach them which plants are edible and which are not and to make a map of the island so the others can find their way around.

In the next few days, the group makes a lot of other decisions, all by vote. Your days get busier and busier trying to fulfill all the obligations the rafters dumped on you. Because you’re the most experienced, you gather most of the food. You help the carpenter build shelter for the others. (The professor decided your existing shelters were inadequate.) The rafters form a government of which the former legislator is the head.

You work day after day gathering firewood, building materials, food, and fresh water while the doctor, the professor, and the politician spend most of their days deciding new rules that mostly apply only to you and the carpenter’s family. You’ve grown close to his family. Like you, they mostly do whatever the council tells them.

“Why don’t you tell them to get lost?” the receptionist asks you one day after the council decided that you may not refer to the others as “rafters.”

The receptionist had been down on the council ever sense it voted to make her two kids attend class six hours a day. She and her husbanded want the kids to learn skills useful on the island, but the professor and the politician insist they need to learn other things that will prepare them for college.

“Well, they vote on everything, so how can I just say ‘no?'”

“They just made up this system. Really, we’re all on our own. We don’t owe any allegiance to them,” she says.

Her husband says, “yeah, they really don’t do anything but tell us to make them comfortable. You work your butt off for them. What did you do before we got here?”

You think about this. What did you do? Woke up whenever. Caught a fish for the day’s protein. Ate berries and fruit. Explored the island. Experimented to find ways to make paper, ink, and clothes. Practiced animal and bird calls.

But since the rafters arrived, you never seem caught up. Fishing takes hours every morning, and some people don’t like all the varieties of fish. Then you and the carpenter haul water and remove waste from the little village. Then gather fruits and berries. Then mandatory school for a couple of hours in the afternoon. And village meetings. Then do it again.

You think back to the days before the rafters. You were free. You were alone, sure, but you felt whole. You appreciate the family, but the others, the experts, are really just mild slave masters. They do little work and make all the rules.


On Independence Day, remember that you had all your rights when you were alone on that island. No one grants you a new “right” without taking away someone’s freedom. You probably don’t want to benefit from slavery, do you?

America was founded on the idea that people create governments to serve them, not the other way around.


If you like truth, justice, and the American way, you might like my latest book.

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Loretta Lynch Mob **UPDATE**

“I think it’s important that as we again talk about the importance of free speech we make it clear that actions predicated on violent talk are not America,” said Lynch. “They are not who we are, they are not what we do, and they will be prosecuted.” (source: Daily Wire)

Take a slide on the slippery slope.

Yesterday I warned that the PC Police will soon call for summary incarceration of anyone who violates the rules of their nationwide “safe space.” Today, we see that US Attorney General Loretta Lynch has vowed to do jus that.

Lynch told a Muslim group that she will prosecute people who say or write anything she considers “predicated on violence.” In other words, she will subvert the First Amendment.

What constitutes “predicated on violence?” Who knows.

The narcissistic crybabies at Mizzou and Yale consider any speech they don’t want to hear “violent,” including “clean your room” and “eat your broccoli.”

And that’s exactly why we have a First Amendment. Because the people in 1789 didn’t trust politicians to arbitrarily decide what we can say and think—only what we can do.

Some will say, “you’re being unreasonable, Bill. She’s talking about inciting violence.” No, she’s not. She’s talking about speech that’s predicated upon violence. Everything I’ve written about the San Bernardino Muslim Massacre was predicated on violence, was it not? (Absent the violence, there’s no story.)

And Ms. Lynch limits her prosecution of writers and speakers to those who write and say things Muslims don’t like. Is she prosecuting Muslims who call for jihad in America? No.

It’s not exaggerating to say that I can go to jail if this post irritates a Muslim. It’s not an exaggeration to say Christians and Jews are being punished for Muslim terror. Loretta Lynch and her merry mob of bubblemakers are turning the DoJ into the Department of Jihad.

Here’s former Congressman Joe Walsh’s response to the Lynch Mob:

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Update: Loretta Lynch is walking back her comments. Via Politico:

Attorney General Loretta Lynch Monday appeared to recalibrate remarks she made last week that suggested the Justice Department could investigate speech deemed hostile towards Muslims.

“Of course, we prosecute deeds and not words,” she said at a press conference Monday to announce an unrelated civil rights investigation into the Chicago Police Department.

Some conservatives criticized Lynch for her comments to a Muslim civil rights group, where she lamented “the ability of people to issue hateful speech of all types from the anonymity of a screen.”

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This Seems Like a Really Big Win

I am so embarrassed.

I didn’t even know that Fred Sauer, Gretchen Logue, and Anne Gassel were suing Missouri over Common Core.

Did you know that?

(I probably knew it and forgot. Sorry.)

But here’s the thing: THEY WON!!!!

Wait. YOU won. You won because Fred, Gretchen, and Anne stuck their necks out for you. And for me.

So Thank You! to Fred, Gretchen, and Anne. And this case seems really, really big. Like headed to the US Supreme Court big.

Since I don’t remember the case and know nothing about it, I’ll quote heavily from Fred Sauer’s email:

Jefferson City, Missouri.  On February 24, 2015, the Circuit Court for Cole County, Missouri ruled in favor of Missouri taxpayer plaintiffs Fred N. Sauer, Anne Gassel, and Gretchen Logue in their constitutional challenge to one of two interstate entities charged with implementing Common Core.

The Court blocked the payment of $4.3 million of Missouri taxpayer funds as membership fees to the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, an interstate organization that is implementing tests aligned to the Common Core State Standards (“Common Core”).

The Court’s Judgment states: “The Court finds that the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium . . . is an unlawful interstate compact to which the U.S. Congress has never consented, whose existence and operation violate the Compact Clause of the U.S. Constitution, Article I, § 10, cl. 3, as well as numerous federal statutes; and that Missouri’s participation in the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium as a member is unlawful under state and federal law.”

Plaintiff Fred N. Sauer stated: “The Court’s judgment recognizes the reality that the interstate ‘consortia’ charged with writing and implementing the tests aligned with Common Core are, and have always been, unconstitutional interstate compacts.  Missouri should not be a member of such an illegal entity.”

The Compact Clause of the U.S. Constitution states that “No State shall, without the consent of Congress … enter into any Agreement or Compact with any other State.”  In their lawsuit, Sauer, Gassel, and Logue contended that the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium is an unconstitutional compact because (1) it undermines the authority of the U.S. Congress, which has passed numerous federal statutes forbidding the establishment of a national curriculum; (2) it threatens the sovereignty of member States by forcing them to cede some of their control over educational policy within their borders to an interstate entity; and (3) it threatens the sovereignty of non-member States by seeking to create an educational “cartel” aligned with Common Core.

There’s a joke in there, somewhere, about how many doctorate educators it takes to read the Constitution. But let’s not be petty.

We have a WIN!!! And it’s thanks to three people who give a crap about the country and its children.

I look forward to AG Chris Koster’s appeal. Nothing like a gubernatorial candidate breaking bad on three citizens who simply want their ultimate contract with Washington (and Jefferson City) enforced.

Humble thanks and congratulations to three wonderful people: Anne Gassel, Gretchen Logue, and Fred Sauer. I’m proud to know them, and I’m thrilled their on our side.

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The tangled web of net neutrality

A friend asked my thoughts on net neutrality.

I hemmed and hawed and told her a story she probably didn’t want to hear. The best I could come up with was:

  • I don’t trust the FCC or the Obama Administration to do anything honest
  • I don’t trust the Republican establishment to do anything right

First, the Obama Administration would love to get control of internet content. They can already read every message, every keystroke anyone types anywhere. The next step is to “protect” us from error. And the Gods of Washington believe only they can judge error. The internet is full of error, but it’s also the greatest source of truth-sharing in human history.

Next, the Republican Congress. The GOP establishment does the bidding of huge corporations. If huge corporations have no position on an issue, the GOP will mostly agree with you and me. But on most issue, corporations have a position and the Republican establishment makes the corporate position their own. That means crony capitalism wins out over free markets. Incumbents get to dominate insurgents. Might makes right.

On February 26, the FCC will make a decree. The internet will become a telephone line, subject to massive federal regulation. In Mark Cuban’s words, the FCC “will fuck everything up.”

Here’s what you can expect:

  • All innovation that touches the internet will have be dumb enough for a political appointee to understand. That means the iPhone, the iPad, and most cat videos on YouTube are done evolving. What’s there now is all there ever will be.
  • The incumbents (ATT, Comcast, Verizon, etc) will get federal protection on pricing. The government will also protect the giants from innovation. The way it works is so New Deal. The government will force the incumbents to provide some level of service for some low price. In exchange, the incumbents will be granted monopoly status. So new inventions can’t be sold into existing markets. The incumbents might lose money for a few years, but they can eliminate R&D altogether. (Have you wondered why the big incumbents haven’t been jumping up and down over net neutrality? Who do you think is funding the “grass roots” movement?)

  • About every 10 years, the incumbents will release some marginal improvement to the existing internet. Like when the phone company introduced telephones with dials so you didn’t have to ask an operator to patch you through. Or, later, when they introduced the push-button phone (with awesome marketing name “touch-tone”) so you didn’t have to dial. Maybe Ma Bell will give us an iPhone you have to dial. Wouldn’t that be dandy?

  • People my age will go to their graves cursing the day that innovation stopped. Younger folks will be less concerned. They won’t have the innovation history to compare. They don’t remember going from no computers to Apple IIe to Windows 95 to iPhone to . . . whatever. The incremental upgrades of Mountain Lion to Yosemite will seem like the way it’s always been.

  • The biggest hit will happen to innovation centers. St. Louis has been trying to become the Silicon Valley of the Midwest (just like every other city in the Midwest). Missouri’s slave-like non-compete employment laws thwarted St. Louis’s dream for years. Now, net neutrality will kill it for good. But for those who like pain spread evenly, the Silicon Valley of Silicon Valley will die a painful death, too.

    The good news: 40 years from now, you’ll still be able to buy replacement parts for the very device you’re reading this on right now. Because nothing will change ever, ever again.

    Perhaps after Obama’s gone, Congress can reclassify the internet as an information service, not a phone line. Until then, sell your tech stocks.

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    It’s Not Pro-Immigrant; It’s Anti-American

    Let’s be honest with ourselves: President Obama’s unilateral, dictatorial action on immigration is not to benefit illegals. It’s to punish American voters for rejecting him.

    This is personal.

    In two years, the next American president will let this and many other Obama executive orders expire. Executive orders are not law. They expire with the term of the president who signed them. No future president is bound to renew them. And the next president won’t.

    So life for the illegals will get worse. Instead of wrongfully believe they’ve been denied something, they’ll correctly feel they’ve lost something. They’ll feel vulnerable and abandoned. All because Obama needed to “get even” with the American people.

    Increasingly, Obama’s actions are not just wrong; they’re evil.

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    Michelle Obama’s Dictates Force Eureka High PTO To Beg

    When did first ladies become dictators?

    Seriously. The president’s family has no more authority than anyone else. The reason people show contempt for activist spouses of presidents is the same reason history hates Marie Antoinette.

    I know, the all-Democrat Congress passed the school nutrition law in 2010, but Michelle Obama wrote it.

    Michelle Obama has dictated that no tasty foods may enter any school property. That ban includes school bake sales and snack shops which has PTOs scrambling to replace lost income.

    According to the Wall Street Journal:

    The law also required the U.S. Department of Agriculture to set standards for all food and beverages sold during the school day, which includes vending machines, snack carts and daytime fundraisers. 

    That law could cost the Eureka High School PTO half its annual profits according an email to parents sent last week:

    These guidelines directly affect most of the items that we sell in our School Store and we are no longer able to offer them to our student customers.  In the past, our school store has made profits totaling almost $20,000 each year.  This has allowed us to support many programs at the school without having to fundraise.  We anticipate that these new guidelines will reduce our profit from the store by more than $10,000.

    Those “profits” pay for numerous programs and events for students. So the PTO is asking for parents to make up the difference.

    We know that you are asked to fundraise [sic] for the many activities your child participates in so we will not be asking EHS students to fundraise [sic] individually to benefit the PTO.  But we are asking your assistance to help us make up the deficit we are now facing.Please consider purchasing Spirit Wear this fall or ordering a Balloon Bouquet this school year. 

    Now, I’ll be the first to admit that Americans are too fat. We’re also too lazy, too slow, and too afraid of walking a block. Missouri is particularly obese—so much so that people around the country laugh about it.

    On a business trip to California, recently, a waitress paid me the backhanded compliment of, “you’re to thin to be from St. Louis.” Word gets around.

    And schools don’t need to be shoveling Suzy Qs and Mountain Dew at kids all day.

    It’s the school’s job, though, and not the federal government’s, to cut down the carbs available on campus. Twenty years ago, administrators found he money addictive when Pepsi distributors flooded their schools with vending machines. Plus, federal funding allows school cafeterias to serve enormous portions of pizza and burgers at low cost to the students. And elimination of recess, because kids might get hurt, took away the kids’ chance to burn calories and to just be kids.

    The answer to obese kids isn’t a federal nanny state. The answer is to get the federal government out of education and for parents to shut down the video games for a couple of hours a day.

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    Who Will Be America’s Clothing Czar

    Are you ready for America’s first Clothing Czar?

    According to RightQuestion.org, this person, “will decide what you will wear every day for the
    next four years.

    If you’re a Goth, what if the Czar disallows Goth? What if he’s an 80s fan and orders collars up?

    What other questions do you have for the new Clothing Czar?

    The good news: you can vote for the Clothing Czar of your choice.

    What questions would you ask?


    In the Right Question Institute’s exercise to get young people to vote, the facilitator lets them know there is no Clothing Czar.

    But there is a President. And Congress. And, together, they appoint judges.

    And in Missouri, there’s a governor and legislature and judges on the ballot.

    And these real offices make decisions about your life every day. Maybe they’re not as personal and immediate as What Not To Wear. But the decisions government makes for you are far more important.

    The government is about to decide very personal things:

    • Healthcare
    • Housing
    • Taxes
    • Security
    • Schools
    • Jobs

    And the NSA listens to your phone calls, reads your emails, and, potentially, spies into your bathroom window with a drone.

    So, while the Right Question Institutes wants to you write down as many questions as you can about the fictitious Clothing Czar, I want you to consider just one question:

    Why would you let anyone make those decisions for you?

    I understand that in our representative system, we elect people to handle some details we don’t want to bother with. But the list above includes personal life decisions, not general, boring government activity.

    Why wouldn’t you want to own your own life instead of renting the one some bureaucrat chooses for you?

    In the end, that’s the only reason I dabble in politics and self-governance. I want to own my own life, and I want everyone else to be free to own theirs, too.

    If you want to own your own life, say so in the comments. It’s an important question. Your life, literally, depends on your answer.