Monday, July 13, 2009

Handing Over Control

Let me make this clear, I'm not, at this point, alleging that this is a malicious act by any one person or entity. I'm not advocating, nor do I ever advocate, violence against Americans. There, that's out of the way. And I have to say that, because a lot of people think that what i'm saying is somewhat controversial.

Our liberty is being taken from us one handout at a time. Control of our lives is being absconded in the name of the greater good every day.

Lets look at a model for how to take control of an individual. Suppose a friend of yours comes to you and tells you how they lost their job and they ask you if you can put them up for a week. You have enough money for yourself and one other person for at least a week. It might be a little imposition but what's that when compared with doing the "right" thing and helping out a friend? So you decide you will put them up temporarily. Well this temporary plan in your mind becomes more permanent as your friend realizes that he does not really need to work. Other than the fact that he is becoming increasingly dependent on you for his lifestyle not much changes the first week or two. Eventually though, because you are the sole provider for both of you, you have to start setting boundaries on him. It starts with turning off lights, to conserve money. Next you realize you're struggling at work because he watches movies till late at night, and you don't get to sleep. Still not too restrictive he easily agrees to turn off movies at 10pm and all is good. A month into the ordeal you come home to your friend coughing. 2 weeks and $1600 later, you have been to the emergency room and bought his prescription . It occurs to you that this could have been worse, you really don't have the money to do it, but its just wrong not to cover his health care is it? Now to be fair to him, he's now looking earnestly for a job, and promises to pay back your kindness one day. His friends of course hear the story of the nightmare. What kind of friend would let him go for two weeks without seeing a doctor? You did after all agree to help him out. When you mention that you didn't have $1600 lying around they point out that it was irresponsible for him to not have health insurance. 5 of his friends suggest that you all chip in and help him out with health insurance, its only $300 a month and if you split it up it won't be that big of a deal. These people, naturally, make less than you and you wind up footing half the bill while they split the other $150 for a policy with a $750 deductible. Of course when you do this, you have to limit your liability, so you tell him that his nightly trip down to the courts can't happen any more because you really can't afford to pay $750 for a the emergency center. Additionally, he has to quit smoking because that got you a discount on the health insurance premium. Of course at this he balks. How dare you try to control him? How dare you not see him as an individual? You wind up in a big fight, which ends up with him calling another friend to come get him. As they are walking away his friend turns around and reminds you that you need to give him $150 to cover the next months insurance, that's the least you can do to help out a friend in need.

Now, this all seems a little crazy. There is no way this happens in real life because even the best friend isn't going to pay for your health insurance... They aren't responsible for your health care.
And you never set out to control anyone's life. why would you want that responsibility?

Of course, you have an uncle who wants to dedicate his life to this. In the name of the greater good, or of the good of the community, we are all being asked to be that friend. Well almost all of us. Admittedly, I see polls every day citing that an overwhelming majority of Americans want some sort of government run healthcare. The problem is we never have a chance to see the questions that are asked. If you ask 100 people if they want free health care, 90 of them will say yes and the 10 doctors you ask will say hell no. What if you ask the people if they want to be "you" in the little story above?

If that's the case where does it end? Should we make sure milk is passed out? Why don't we all just invite a poor person into our house and offer them the milk and cheese they need? And what do we get in return? Am I obligated to pay for your life because you won the race to the egg? Does that somehow entitle you to free stuff?

How would you like to be the friend? Don't you have to cede some measure of control to your life to the person footing the bill? Do we honestly think that the government isn't going to place more restrictions on our lives than it already has? Its a dangerous slope you slide down, when you start handing over rights and decisions to someone else just to get a break. Everyone has that friend that is willing to help out, if you'll take his conditions. They have an uncle like that too. Uncle Sam.

Don't even get me started on where in the constitution these powers originate from. I'll leave you with one final thought. If you have the opportunity to move to any state you want. Would you chose the one in which anyone who makes, well $200k or more a year, has to pay an insurance surcharge? How many people who make over $200k do you think would move there? What happens if not enough people make $200k+ a year? Do you charge it to anyone with an icome of 150k? 100k? anyone with a job? In the end doesn't it become a state of mostly unemployed people? And who pays for it all now? When does it stop now?

Its just food for thought while I do some actual research for my next post.


Friday, July 3, 2009

An introduction and some thoughts

Welcome to logical thought. I know its a strange place for some of you out there. Here's the basic premise though. You are allowed to have ANY opinion you want. This however is not a federally protected piece of land. I don't guarantee your right to free speech here. That doesn't mean I wish to impose on it, but rather, any comments that I deem irrational, will be deleted. Feel free to discuss whatever you want but be prepared to defend it with more than "that's not how I feel". In the words of Andrew Wilkow "you have to break the argument". This means that in order to discuss something you must utilize verifiable facts and logical reasoning to arrive at your conclusions.

Now here's a bit about me. I'm part of the silent majority you hear of so often. I'm a self proclaimed "individual rights activist". I'm anti-minority and anti-majority rights. That makes me an anti-gay, anti-black, anti-white, anti-tall activist. I don't care what your affiliation is. I don't care what your background is. Race, religion, sex and creed are NOT important in this venue. I believe you have the right to your pursuit of happiness. I am for YOUR rights. I believe your rights stop at my nose. I believe government is a necessary evil. Ideally you and I would coexist without the need for rule or law, we would merely come up with a mutually acceptable set of boundaries and respect them.

I'm also American. I believe in the constitution. For some strange reason, my beliefs about the constitution are unconventional. It was written in plain ENGLISH for a reason. It wasn't designed to be difficult to read, in fact, it was written by a bunch of non-lawyers. We have "constitutional scholars" and I'm not quite sure why. I'm not talking about the people who hold the official position, I'm talking about the constitution as a field of study. I've read it several times and I am not mystified by it. I may be in awe of it, and how simple it is which is exactly the reason there shouldn't be a dedicated educational field in its honor. "Biblical scholars" are necessary because the bible was drafted in several different languages over thousands of years.

So why am I here? What am I doing? There are a million blogs about politics. Maybe no one ever reads this. Maybe it sits out there in the middle of the abyss of the internet and never gets read by anyone. Maybe it changes the world, maybe it brings us back to our roots. Who knows. Probably a few people read the first few entries, then I get tired of writing for an audience of you and my mom... and it dies out. I hope not though.

To answer the question though, I'm writing this because I believe that I have solutions to today's problems. I'm writing it because while the conservative movement represents some of my values, as do the republicans and the libertarians, nobody encompasses ALL of my beliefs. I think they are worthy of being heard.

I want open discussion, but know this, I assume I'm right until you prove me wrong. Also, if we're debating a document, I want to discuss it with someone who has at least read it. Nothing is more annoying than talking to someone when they say "the constitution guarantees the life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness". If you don't know why that annoys me, go read the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.

Here's a basic synopsis of the core beliefs I've discussed in the last few days:

I believe in separate but equal. Not when it comes to race, when it comes to states. I think we have lost our way in that sense. This union was designed to be just that a union of states. That was the brilliant part of this experiment we call the United States of America. I believe when the framers of the constitution sat down, they had a vision. There is a reason the constitution doesn't have a bunch of laws and regulations. There's a reason that they set out to govern the population with fewer than 4500 words. The constitution wasn't written to govern the lives of the people. It was meant to limit the power of the federal government while guaranteeing some of those sacred rights (through the bill of rights, the largest addendum to the constitution) but allow for choices in the lifestyle you lived.

Today that would mean 50 choices. That's what I want. I want 50 different flavors of liberty. I don't think that if a group of Californians wants to make a rule that the entire country should have to adjust. Choice was inherent in the design of this country. We often forget why the original immigrants came to the country to begin with. They were trying to flee a country in which they had no choices. State religion, state run lives (incidentally the word state, at that time, was much closer to the word "country" today).

Decisions are best made at the lowest level possible. The order should be something along these lines. Individual, family, street, neighborhood, county, city, district, state. And most people say that's what they want. Well responsibility goes with it. That's where people get caught up.

Take for example the decision of whether or not to tie your shoe. Tying your shoe is probably in your best interest, if you don't you obviously risk the possibility of tripping and falling and breaking your arm but its really a personal decision. You could argue that a parent decides it for their children when they are very young, but imagine if there were a state law passed requiring all shoes be tied. How ridiculous would that be.

Another example of this would be the speed limit. The federal government has no business instituting a speed limit. I question the legitimacy of a state speed limit, but I can live with that. Guidelines like 20mph for residential areas etc are instituted by the state but each municipality or other form of local government is better served to set the speed limit than the state. Conversely imagine if each person or family set the speed limit. What if you controlled the limit of the road in front of your home or place of work. Obviously for the sake of continuity, the speed limit has to be set by a government (or community) which has familiarity with the local needs and a wide enough jurisdiction to enforce such a limit.

There are very few things, actually there is nothing, that should be regulated at the federal level; except the power of the federal government, and it should be severely limited. Basic rights, as guaranteed by the constitution should be protected by the federal government, to ensure that no state impedes on these rights, and none should be restricted at the federal level. The federal government's function should not be to place restrictions on your life. Rather it should exist to guarantee freedoms.

At the state level that is where the restriction of rights and privileges should begin. This restriction should however be used cautiously. A great example of this would be "Gay Marriage". It is ridiculous to set that at say a city level, but impractical to create a "national gay marriage protection act".

I often get "but why should a marriage be accepted in one state but not another?". It is a privilege, not a right. There are essentially three parts to a marriage. That would be the vows, the proclamation and the recognition. I won't go into the first one, we know what that is. The public marriage ceremony however, is the proclamation by two people that they intend, promise or whatever, to carry out their vows to one another for however long the marriage is supposed to last (till death do us part). The third, and most controversial part, is the recognition. When you go to the courthouse, you are essentially seeking the community around you's (with the state representing a rather large community) approval or recognition of your union. There are criteria for drivers licenses and marriages alike. Those are the criteria set forth by the community (state) in order to receive a license. If you don't like the state criteria, then move. If you have a great job and don't want to leave it, but want a privilege that isn't given in the state you live in, then make a choice. There are 50 of them. There are countries (China and North Korea for example) where you don't have the freedom of movement. Start voting with your residency.

There is a lot to discuss and a lot of time to do it. Hopefully this gives me a starting point and might even provoke some sort of rational discussion.