Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category
The enemy of my enemy is my friend is a popular sentiment. Hell, a great deal of the United States’ foreign policy is built on that sentiment. But is it always true?
Here in the United States we’re in the midsts of a political class. Communists have been working, and have been greatly successful, at gaining control over academia. While their political opponents have been trying to push them back they have met with little success. So we now exist in a country where college campuses have a tendency to lean heavily to the left. Now, seemingly out of nowhere, a new group has promised to take care of this communist menace. This group, as you’ve probably guessed, is the alt-right.
While the alt-right is still pushing socialism, it’s pushing a “lighter” form of socialism. This has lead a lot of libertarians and conservatives to side with the alt-right on the grounds that the enemy of their enemy is their friend. Mind you, this is nothing new for libertarians and conservatives. A lot of them sided with the Republican Party for the same reason (just look at the political history of Lew Rockwell, Murray Rothbard, and company). This is also nothing new for history.
During the early 1900’s communists were making a lot of headway in Europe. Several European countries fell to communist revolutions and their neighbors were desperate to find a way to ensure the same thing didn’t happen to them. That solution came in the form of a “lighter” form of socialism; fascism. Fascists were able to gain power in several European countries by exploiting both the government and peoples’ fear of communism. While many disagreed ideologically with fascism they also believed that it was a preferable alternative to communism. The enemy of their enemy had to be their friend, right?
I think most of us are well enough versed in history to know how that turned out. While people were dying left and right in countries that fell to communism, people were also dying left in right in countries that fell to fascism. While the fascists were successful at defeating the communists they were no better.
As we watch the alt-right and communists “fight” (really live-action role-play) remember that the enemy of your enemy is not necessarily your friend. The alt-right is offering a solution to the communist problem and the antifa is offering a solution to the alt-right problem but is either actually better than the other? I think history has shown that “lighter” socialism ends up being just as destructive as “full” socialism, which shouldn’t be surprising since both fascism and communism are authoritarian and pragmatic in nature.
Tax seasons has once again come and gone. Now that everybody has filed their papers that will hopefully appease the State enough that it won’t send men with guns to your doorstep, I think it’s time to reflect on just what the income tax means. Simply put, the existence of the income tax means that you’re property:
The great essayist Frank Chodorov once described the income tax as the root of all evil. His target was not the tax itself, but the principle behind it. Since its implementation in 1913, he wrote, “The government says to the citizen: ‘Your earnings are not exclusively your own; we have a claim on them, and our claim precedes yours; we will allow you to keep some of it, because we recognize your need, not your right; but whatever we grant you for yourself is for us to decide.”
The income tax, like so many other government evils, seemed innocent enough when it was first proposed. It wasn’t going to be used to soak the poor or middle class. Heck, it wasn’t even going to be used to soak the wealthy. It was only going to be used to take an infinitesimal percentage of the income of the wealthiest Americans. Fast forward 104 years and we’re all being soaked.
Precedence is something I like to point out periodically. The government likes to grant itself seemingly innocent powers. Often these grants of power are even celebrated by the masses. But as time goes on the seemingly innocent grants of power are used as justification for overtly sinister grants of power. The income tax is the perfect example. Although it started as a tax that only targeted the rich, it established the precedence that the State has first claim to income. That precedence was used to expand the income tax until it applied to everybody’s income. Now even the poor get a percentage of their income skimmed off of the top by Uncle Sam.
The income tax may have been one of the most egregious grants of power because it established the precedence that individuals, not just the products they make or trade, are government property.
The people of Venezuela are starving, the nation’s currency is in free fall, and the government is arresting anybody who expresses displeasure with the situation on charges of sabotage. In other words, Venezuela is experiencing late stage socialism. As with most failing socialist (a redundant term, I know) governments, the government of Venezuela is trying to maintain its grip through terror. But terror only works when people have something to lose. When faced with the prospects of complying and starving to death or fighting and possibly surviving, people will often choose the latter.
Maduro, Venezuela’s dictator, is seeing the writing on the wall. The people are angry with him and his policies and look to be gearing up for a revolution. In response, he has begun arming his loyalists:
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said he will expand the number of civilians involved in armed militias, providing guns to as many as 400,000 loyalists.
The announcement came as Maduro’s opponents are gearing up for what they pledge will be the largest rally yet to press for elections and a host of other demands Wednesday.
History shows that late stage socialism has two possible outcomes. The first is that somebody like Gorbachev obtains power and implements policies that allow a peaceful transition away from socialism. Maduro doesn’t appear to be a Gorvachev so Venezuela will likely experience the second possible outcome, civil war. I hope that Maduro sees the hopelessness of his situation and abdicates power but I’m guessing this mess will only end with blood.
Rahm Emanuel is the current feudal lord of Chicago. Throughout his political life he has been an unapologetic advocate of big government. How to pay for big government programs is a question that appears to never have crossed his mind, until now:
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has a message for the Trump administration as it prepares an infrastructure-building push: The money has got to come from somewhere.
“You’re going to have to be honest with people: It takes money,” Mr. Emanuel said Wednesday at a breakfast panel in The Wall Street Journal’s “Business of America” series. “When we built schools and roads in Iraq, we didn’t do it on tax credits.”
I can see the lightbulb lighting up over his head, although very dimly. Still, the habit of politicians to both espouse certain political beliefs and simultaneously speaking out against them has always fascinated me. Mr. Emanuel is a great example of this. When it comes to his pet projects spending isn’t an issue. When it comes to his political opponents’ projects spending is suddenly an important issue.
New York is considering make college tuition “free”for all students from households that earn less than $125,000 per year:
ALBANY, New York (Fox 32 News) – This weekend, the New York state legislature moved another step towards making tuition free for all public four-year colleges in the state.
The free college educations are part of the state budget agreement.
The Washington Post reported if the budget passes, the state it will pay tuition for any New York resident accepted into a New York community college or four-year university. The student’s family must earn less than $125,000/year.
There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch. Electricity, water, building maintenance, food, professors, etc. all need to be acquired and acquiring those things costs money. Simply passing a piece of legislation doesn’t make economic realities go away (believe me, many socialist nations have tried). New York isn’t proposing free college, it’s proposing a plan to dump the costs on somebody besides the students. In this case, as is the case with all “free” government programs, the costs will be dumped on the denizens of New York. Not only will households making more than $125,000 per year be soaked more but taxes will have to go towards college tuition as well. Instead of the students going to college paying for it, this proposal will make tax payers in New York pay for it whether they are or have students in a New York university or not.
But so many people have been “educated” in government indoctrination centers that they’ll eagerly lap this nonsense up. Then after everything goes to Hell they’ll demand the government step in again to fix the mess it created.
One of the funniest forms of criticism, in my opinion, is claiming that a new entity will be able to do the same thing a current entity is doing. For example, Alabama just voted to allow churches to establish their own police departments. My favorite part about this isn’t the idea of churches with
inquisitors police departments though, it’s this:
Critics of the bill argue that a police department that reports to church officials could be used to cover up crimes.
Oh no! Church police departments may be able to do the exact same thing government police departments already do on a daily basis?!
These critics may want to think really hard about what they’re saying. They may come to an interesting revelation.
Because most politicians today lack any kind of spine, most states have laws against public officials solving disputes by dueling. Oregon might changed that. There may be a ballot initiative in that state to remove the prohibition from the constitution:
Should ongoing discussions in Salem materialize, voters would see a question on their general-election ballots asking if a 172-year-old ban on dueling by public officials — as in, the old-fashioned way of resolving fights — should be erased from the Oregon Constitution.
The constitutional ban in question is Article II, Section 9, which says anyone who offers, accepts, knowingly participates in a “challenge to fight a duel … or who shall agree to go out of the State to fight a duel, shall be ineligible to any office of trust, or profit.” (this is exact language from the constitution)
I’m of the opinion that dueling between politicians shouldn’t only be legal, it should be mandatory! They’re constantly looking for ways to use the State’s capacity for violence to enforce their will upon the people. That being the case, they should have to face some of that government violence themselves. Although I have my doubts that this proposal will gain any traction, if it does I hope the people of Oregon eagerly support repealing the prohibition.
The problem with statists is that they never ask whether or not people should be ruled. All of their time is spent arguing over who should be ruling. Donald Trump’s election has infuriated a lot of statists because they don’t believe it’s the right person to rule us. Now a handful of these statists believe that the only solution is for them to rule us:
There’s a growing trend of scientists and engineers seeking public office, many of whom say they’re reacting to the cabinet picks and policy decisions from the new Trump Administration, which in many cases have been at odds with science.
Now more people in STEM fields are showing an interest in running for office—and many don’t have any formal experience running a campaign. 314 Action, a nonprofit organization named after the first three digits of the number pi, hopes to help solve that problem. It encourages those in the STEM community to run and offers resources to potential candidates, such as training sessions. Founder Shaughnessy Naughton, a chemist who previously sought a seat in Congress, says that having more science-minded people in Washington “would lead to a more collaborative and fact-based approach to governing.”
“We have a lot of people that never considered running for office before that now feel compelled to step up and try to make a difference in their communities because of this assault on our future,” she told Ars.
More than 3,000 people have reached out to the organization since January. Most of those people are left-leaning and about half of them are women. 314 Action has not officially endorsed any candidates yet, but it’s currently only supporting Democrats because the organization considers the Republican party anti-science, especially on issues like climate change. The training sessions, however, are open to people from all political parties.
A dictatorship of the intelligentsia will solve everything! It’s science!
This is why statism will continue to doom us all. These people are upset about the Trump administration’s track record in regards to science. Instead of learning the obvious lesson, that the State shouldn’t be involved in scientific research in any capacity, they’re repeating the cycle that has lead us here. In fact, their inability to theorized based on observations really makes me question their scientific credentials. Even a cursory examination of the history of the State and its attitude towards scientific research would lead anybody of at least lukewarm intelligence to the conclusion that its attitude changes every time a new group of politicians come into power. If nothing else, allowing the State to involve itself in scientific research inserts unnecessary and undesirable instability.
Instead of running for office or supporting a political action committee that claims to want to put the “right people” in charge, scientists should be working to divorce their fields from the State. That is the only longterm solution.
Most governments make some attempt to appear to have the people’s best interests in mind. These attempts usually take the form of giving the people the illusion of having power over the government by granting them permission to petition, vote, and publicly criticize the government. But when a government feels that its power is being challenged it reveals its true nature. Venezuela is in the midsts of economic collapse. Even basic necessities like food and toilet paper are hard to come by. This has made the people unhappy with the government and that has caused the government to feel threatened. In response it has taken its gloves off:
On Thursday the Venezuelan Supreme Court seized power from the opposition-led legislature, a move that could essentially allow it to write laws itself.
The court justified the move by saying the National Assembly’s lawmakers were “in a situation of contempt” after allegations of electoral irregularities by three opposition lawmakers during the 2015 elections.
The move is the latest example of the socialist President Maduro tightening his grip on power, which critics say he has been doing for months, amid a deepening economic crisis in the country.
The socialist government has finally had enough of its troublesome opposition. With a court ruling the illusion of power, the National Assembly, has been rendered irrelevant. As you can imagine, this isn’t setting well with the people but if they don’t quiet down the next step the government will likely take is unleashing its police and military forces on anybody who dares question it.
This is the true nature of every government.
Computer security has become a hot topic, which I appreciate since it was almost completely ignored for such a long time. Unfortunately, as with any hot topic, politicians are forcing themselves into the conversation. Two members of Congress have come up with the wonderful idea of putting the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in charge of regulating computer security:
Two Democrats in Congress are imploring FCC head Ajit Pai to address cybersecurity issues in the United States, arguing vulnerabilities in cellular networks infringe on citizens’ liberties and pose a “serious threat” to national security. Sen. Ron Wyden and Rep. Ted Lieu penned a letter to Pai laying out known issues in modern communications systems and asking the FCC to step in. However, that’s unlikely to happen.
Putting an agency of one of the single most incompetent organizations, one with networks that are supposedly too old to secure, on Earth in charge of computer security? What could go wrong!
This is the problem with letting people who are clueless about a subject talk seriously about regulating it. I’ll at least give Mr. Lieu some credit for having a degree that involves computers. But a computer science degree alone doesn’t make one an expert in computer security and, as far as I know, Mr. Lieu didn’t work in the industry so his knowledge on the subject, if he has any, is likely entirely theoretical.
But we live in a democracy, which means that whatever the plurality of voters, in this case members of Congress, say is literally law. It doesn’t matter how unqualified the voters are. It doesn’t matter how idiotic the idea being voted on is. The only thing that matters is whether the majority of voters say yay or nay.