Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The Block Party

The recent presidential election, in a nutshell:

Host: "We're having a block party! Since you live on our block, you get to be part of it whether or not you want to, or we'll put you in a cage. We're about to vote on which kind of pizza to order."

Where's the option for "No party"?
Republican A and Republican B both shout: "I vote pepperoni! Also, everyone should pay the same percentage for the pizza, regardless of income. If my vote wins, everyone has to eat my pizza choice whether or not they want to. We'll force it down their throats!"

Democrat: "I vote vegan pizza! Also, the richest people at the party should pay for everybody's pizza. If my vote wins, everyone has to eat my pizza choice whether or not they want to. We'll force it down their throats!"

Anarchist: "I don't want to participate in this block party, and I don't want pizza. So I'm not participating in this vote. Why don't we all just order what we want, pay for our own food, and share what we can with anybody who can't afford to get anything?"

Host: *Orders pepperoni pizza*

Republican A and Republican B: "Yeah, that's right! We won! Now everybody eats pepperoni because it's the best! Pay up, bitches!"

Democrat: "I can't believe that I lost. Pepperoni and cheese are so bad for you and immoral on so many levels. I only like to eat vegan pizza. This pizza is not legitimate. How can you force me to eat it? Why am I being forced to pay for it?"

Anarchist: "Why did you guys order a pizza anyways? Since nobody could agree on the best kind of pizza, and some didn't want pizza at all... Not only am I being forced to participate in the block party in the first place, but I am being forced to eat pizza that I didn't want. Now I am being forced to pay for it? Hey Republicans, how is it ok to force me to pay for and eat your pizza choice because you won a vote that I didn't participate in? Hey Democrats, how would the pizza choice, and forcing me to eat and pay for it, be legitimate if you won?"

That's the way I see it.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Killing Small Business

I love to support small businesses. I do it whenever I can. When shopping online I always look for specialty shops, check ebay, or Amazon looking for merchandise being sold by small internet retailers. I tend to go to my local card shop for Magic: The Gathering cards instead of buying from one of the giant department stores.

In fact, I hear the same all the time, from just about everyone. I have a hard time remembering any time anyone has ever told me that they do not like to support small businesses, or at least, believe that small businesses should be given a fair chance in the market.

What boggles me is that so many people want small business to have a fair chance and/or want big business to fail, yet these same people support government intervention in the market that hurts small business and, by extension, helps big business.

Well, not all of us...
Most might support a minimum wage, or even raising the one we have in place now, because it makes the super rich pay higher wages to the super poor. People need to be able to live off of what they earn. That must be a good thing, right?

You see, a retail giant like Walmart, can handle a jump in government mandated minimum wage. Cut some hours here or there, raise a few prices by a few pennies, even terminating a high paid employee or five does the trick.

But, a small business owner cannot handle forced changes to their payroll. Generally speaking, a "mom & pop shop" is that family's only source of income. A small business with only a few employees makes just enough for the owners to live comfortably, if they're lucky. A locally owned retail store with twenty employees is in the same boat, though the owner may be a little better off financially, they're still not easily able to handle a change like that being forced on them. For these stores, any price changes that they make are significant, because they have to be. Instead of raising a few items in their store by a few mostly unnoticeable pennies, they need to raise all of their items, much more noticeably. Losing one employee hurts a business like this significantly.

Minimum wage is actually really bad for the economy, especially for the middle and lower classes. Check out this post for more on that.

What about the other types of regulations put on businesses?
Licensing is required
Permits must be obtained
Codes must be followed
Taxes must be paid

Government is a red tape factory. You pay them to wrap red tape around everything.
Walmart has a building full of people whose only job is cutting red tape,
but they get just as much tape as your local business owner.
Who is responsible for these regulations? The city, the county, the state, the feds. Sometimes you, as a business owner, are required to pay all 4 of them for the same thing. But you are always responsible for knowing which regulations to follow and who to pay for something that your business could run just fine without. This all adds up to massive overhead, cuts in expected profit, and a serious headache. For a guy who works hard at keeping his small business afloat, finding out that he is being fined $10,000 when he only brings home $65,000 is a life changing event. For a big business, finding out that you were fined $10,000 when your personal income is in the millions, not that big of a deal.
It's not about choosing the right order to "regulate" things.
It's about realizing that government is the fence.
If we want a booming economy, where everyone gains wealth, we need a market that is fair for everyone. The only way to have a fair market, is to remove government "regulation" completely. No minimum wage, no codes, permits, or licensing. Get rid of it all. Then, and only then, will we live in a place full of opportunity for all.

That's the way I see it.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Why Everyone Should Want Anarchy

What is your political position? How many people do you know who share your views, exactly?

Although you may find small groups of people who share you political ideology exactly, you are much more likely to meet people in your day to day life who differ from you in some way. This is true even if you meet people who hold very similar beliefs. Libertarians, Republicans, Democrats, Anarchists... we have all experienced it.

Imagine six people get stranded on an island and want to form a government.

Joe is a libertarian.
Gary is a communist.
Stacie is a conservative.
Jay is a liberal.
Louis is a monarchist.
Felicia is a constitutionalist.

First thing we need to do is figure out who is going to build the roads!
It is impossible to create a government that would make all of the above people happy. It just can't be done.

Now imagine that each person listed above is representing a large group of people. Instead of six people on the island it's actually six thousand.

Democracy is not the answer here. With a democracy (or democratic republic), even the group that "wins" (the largest group) still loses, since they will never truly have the government they want. They will be forced to compromise with the other groups. And even if they did get the government they wanted, at the expense of all of the other groups, there will always be disagreements within that group. Small subsections of the group who agree on certain points that the group settles on, but disagree on many others. This is evident in the amount of bickering that can occur when you put a group of people together who all consider themselves part of the same political "party".

Now imagine that, instead of putting it to a vote, something else happens.

Not every argument can be won. Let's agree to disagree.
The libertarians created their own libertarian government just for them, then the communists created one just for them, then the conservatives created one just for them, and so on. If at any time, you decide you don't agree with any of the rules, regulations, ideas, etc... of a group that you have joined you can feel free to step away. Join with another group, or no group at all, or start your own group. You have the freedom to do so. Nobody is forcing you to be part of their group. It's anarchy!

What matters in that last scenario is that everyone on the island gets to be happy with the government (or lack of government) that they have. Nobody is forced to live under the rule of a government that they disagree with. Everybody is as free (or unfree) as they want to be.

You want to live in a commune? Go for it. Pure democracy your thing? There's a group over there that likes that.  You consider yourself libertarian, but you want to be part of that one libertarian group that gets free toilet paper. That works, too. You don't want to be part of a group? Sure thing. Do as you like, but know that if you use force, fraud, or coercion to violate another persons rights then there will be consequences, since most people do have groups that back them up, and the ones that don't, probably have the resources to hire a group that will.

I heard there is a group that does cage matches with this guy when you
get caught watering your lawn on Tuesday before 3 p.m.
Nobody wants to join that group for some reason...
Only with anarchy can everyone live with the government of their choice without having to use force, fraud, or coercion on others to get it. Imagine that. Voluntarily choosing the government that is right for you, while simultaneously allowing others to do the same.

Would some people get hurt? Absolutely. In this scenario there is room for mistakes. I think living in a communist or socialist society is a terrible idea, and that anybody who lives that way is making a huge mistake. But that's ok. I'd rather we be free to make mistakes than not. I just wish others felt the same way.

That's the way I see it.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Let's Play a Game!

We all love games, right? Whether you're an organized sports fan, a board game geek, a video game crazy, or even if you just love to do a crossword puzzle every once in a while, everybody loves a good game.

But what makes a game good? The game has to be fair. It doesn't matter if it is a game of skill or luck (or both), the game has to have rules in place that make it fair for all players. You have to have some chance at winning.
I wouldn't expect to win a game of Trivial Pursuit against Google.
Politics is a game. The object of the game is to get law makers in play who will create laws you like, and/or get rid of laws you don't. The rules are simple. Just vote for the guy you want to win.

Everybody who plays gets together and votes for law makers. But what about the few who don't want law makers at all? There isn't an option to not have a law maker, so we lose every time. The rules state that you have to pick a law maker. That sounds like a rigged game.
Heads I take 10 dollars out of your wallet, Tails you give me 10 dollars out of your wallet.
Now, you can choose not to play the game of politics (as I have), but that still doesn't change the fact that the players (voters) are constantly playing the game. This is something I normally wouldn't have an issue with. Live and let live. But... the nature of the game that they play is such that it uses force on those who don't participate. 

Think about that...

Imagine getting a phone call from your next door neighbor.

"Hey buddy, the whole neighborhood is coming over and we're about to have a vote between Chris and Ron. Chris wants a 50% share of your car but promises only to use it for charity work, Ron only wants a 20% share of your car to make deliveries for his new business."
"Very funny, Bob. I'm not sharing my car."
"Sorry, but you don't have a choice. Don't worry though, you can come over and vote too. If Ron wins you only have to share 20% of your car..."
"I'm hanging up now, Bob."
"Pardon my French, but you're an asshole."
Two days later, Chris, the winner of the vote, shows up at your house demanding keys to your car so that he can drive to a homeless shelter to volunteer for the afternoon. He won the vote, and believes that he is now entitled to a 50% share of your car. When you refuse (I know I would), he comes back with cops who now demand you give up the keys, or they will kidnap you at gunpoint, lock you up with murderers and rapists, and give your car to Chris permanently.

Don't try to plea to the neighbors for help either. Chris has made sure that you've already been branded as the evil selfish guy down the street who doesn't care about the homeless.

I won't play the unfair game, because I see it for what it is. I lose no matter the outcome. The day needs to come when more people see it as I do, and stop voting to take away other people's freedoms and property.

That's the way I see it.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Gambling with Freedom

When you vote in an election you're not just choosing who you want to lead, or who gets to write laws. You're taking part in a system that may or may not get you the freedom or benefits that you want.

You are, in effect, actually gambling with your freedom. That's what democracy really is... a gamble. You're rolling the dice, flipping the coin, spinning the wheel, all in the hopes it will fall in your favor. I don't know about you, but I dislike gambling with anything of any real value, and my freedom is very valuable to me.
How many freedom chips did you lose at the voting booth?
Think about it. You have no idea what the outcome will be! Sure, you voted for the guy or gal that you thought was best suited to be a leader. But too bad, so sad, 51% of the people playing the same game thought that there was somebody better suited for the job. What happens when the one that was picked goes against everything you stand for? Oh well. Maybe next time. Where is the logic in this?

What other extremely important and valuable things do you gamble with like this? When buying a house or a car do you pick what you want based on specific criteria that is important to you, or do you spin a wheel and hope you get what you want?
Nah... it's cool. My candidate won.
I just don't get it. Here are your options:

1) Choose your own leaders (or lack of).
With this option you get what you ask for, nothing more. It is a voluntary agreement, between you and said leader. Anytime you decide you no longer want to follow, you back out of the agreement.

2) Pick a leader from a hat.
With this option, you may end up with someone else's leader of choice. This is involuntary, of course. If you decide you do not like the way this person leads there is no real recourse. You're stuck with them until the next lottery.

Isn't this a no-brainer?

Please, don't get me wrong. You have every right to gamble away your freedom, just like you have every right to gamble away your paycheck. My issue is that I did not give you the privilege of gambling away mine. And that's what really irks me the most. People don't just like gambling with their freedom. They like to think that, because they lost, you lost too. How would you feel if your bank account was empty tomorrow because I gambled your money away and lost. You'd be furious! How the hell did I get access to your bank account? Who do I think I am gambling away your money?! This is basically how I feel when people participate in elections to choose a leader for me. You're gambling with my freedom, and I don't like it. I don't like it one bit.
Really, please. It's not just your life you will ruin.
I would like nothing more than to live in a society that truly understands how unacceptable it is to gamble with someone else's freedom. Give me a world where each individual is responsible for their own actions, their own choices, including the leaders they choose for themselves. Only then will we truly be free.

That's the way I see it.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

I Just Wanted to Buy Beer.

I consider myself a beer connoisseur. Some would even say I'm a beer snob.

I went to the liquor store today to buy beer and they were closed. So I went to the other liquor store to buy beer and they were closed too. I finally went to the gas station where I know they sell beer and asked the lady there...

"Can you sell me beer?"
"Not until <looks at the clock>... well, right now actually."
"Wait, so if I walked in here 5 minutes ago you couldn't sell it to me?"
"Right. It's stupid, I know. But it's the law."
"Is that why the liquor stores are all closed?"
"Right. They're not allowed to open today."
I'd love to take your money in a voluntary, mutually beneficial
transaction that doesn't harm anyone, but I can't.
I found out that there is a similar law that says liquor stores cannot sell beer that is below 6.7% abv. For that, I have to go to grocery stores or gas stations. And grocery stores and gas stations are not allowed to sell beer that is over 6.7% abv. The result? Any beer worth a damn that is below that 6.7% abv is absolutely unobtainable here, since grocery stores and gas stations carry Budweiser or Miller products almost exclusively.
I miss you so much!
What the hell is going on here? If you've read my blog before you already know (or suspect) that I do not think we need laws at all. But with most laws there is, at least, some poor misguided claim that it somehow protects the rights of one person or another. What right is supposedly protected by this law? None.

It just doesn't make any sense to me. You would be hard pressed to find anyone at all who feels as if this law is a good one. If so many people disagree with this law, why do people let it slide? You can find hundreds of similar laws just like this. Some "law maker" decides that something should be forbidden, or mandated, and even though almost nobody agrees, most people still comply with the "law".

This isn't just about beer, either. Government interference ruins more stuff than most of us could imagine. They have their noses in everything, and they're making it worse at every turn. And they're using your money to fund it. We would be driving better cars, taking better showers, eating better food, and drinking better beer, and all of it for a lower cost then we do now.
But what could I do? I have no choice.
Get rid of government, and you get rid of government interference in the marketplace. Do that, and find out how easy it is to find the beer you want.

That's the way I see it.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Did You Vote?

Yesterday was the day!

"Everyone get out there and vote!" was being pushed at us from every direction. Celebrities, Facebook, Google and more were pushing us to get out there and cast our ballot. Often this slogan or line was pushed with a picture of one or both candidates in the background.
The thing is...

Pick one of these two!

About half of the voters were telling you that a vote for Trump was a bad idea, because he will ruin the country. At the same time, about half of the voters were telling you that a vote for Clinton was bad idea, because she will ruin the country.

For once, I agree with all voters. Not half of them, all of them. I believe that both halves of the voters were right. No matter which of those guys you voted for, you voted for the wrong guy.

"But my guy is the lesser of two evils!"

I'm sorry... Did you just admit to voting for ... evil? Wow.

The worst part of this, of course, is that you voted knowing that if you won, you were actually forcing more than half of the country (if you count the voters who voted for the other guy, and those who didn't vote at all) to live with a president that they didn't want. They screamed "That person will ruin us!" and you laughed in their faces like it was a sports game and your team scored a touchdown or a grand slam. I don't care if your guy won or your guy lost. That doesn't matter. In these elections we all lose. You should be ashamed.

Unless of course, like me, you chose not to vote.

I don't believe I have the right to force my will upon others, through "election" or any other way.

You see "I'll lower taxes!" - I see "I will steal less!"
They're still stealing.

You see "I'll create jobs!" - I see "I'll get government even more involved in the market, destroying small businesses and forcing business owners to find jobs working for large corporations!"
They're destroying small businesses.

You see "I will end the war soon!" - I see "I will only kill those people until I find other people to kill!"
Still murder.

You see "I will make a law that says you can marry anybody you like!" - I see "You can't marry anybody unless I say it is ok first!"
Still government getting involved in the most personal aspect of our lives.

I have no right to steal, so I don't vote for someone who will steal. I have no right to kill, so I do not vote for someone who will kill. I have no right to tell you who you can or cannot marry, so I will not vote for someone who thinks you have to ask for permission. I have no right to get involved in how small business owners run their business, so I won't vote for someone who will "regulate" them into oblivion.

I can't help it if you choose to use elections as a way to passively force your will on others through "government". I'll have no part in it.

That's the way I see it.