A Glimpse of America’s Future

Britain used to be the country towards which I looked when I wanted to see what creepy surveillance technology was soon coming to the United States. The British government has a long, proud history of surveilling everything its subjects do. But Britain is falling behind the surveillance game. There’s a new king in town and that king is China:

Chinese authorities claim they have banned more than 7 million people deemed “untrustworthy” from boarding flights, and nearly 3 million others from riding on high-speed trains, according to a report by the country’s National Development and Reform Commission.

The announcements offer a glimpse into Beijing’s ambitious attempt to create a Social Credit System (SCS) by 2020 — that is, a proposed national system designed to value and engineer better individual behaviour by establishing the scores of 1.4 billion citizens and “awarding the trustworthy” and “punishing the disobedient”.

China’s Social Credit System is the next step in surveillance. Britain and the United States have been doing something similar. For example, in the United States the information gathered about you by the government can land you on a no-fly list, which then prevents you from boarding aircraft. However, these efforts have been chump change compared to what China is doing. Unfortunately, what China is doing is technologically feasible by both Britain and the United States. All of the required surveillance technology is already in place. All that is needed is tying those surveillance devices into a domestic social credit system.

I won’t be surprised if the United States implements a similar system within a decade. The country has certainly been moving in that direction since at least the beginning of the Cold War and has pushed the pedal to the metal since 9/11.

We’re All Victims Now

For the longest time self-identified rightists have been referring to anybody they identified as leftists as special snowflakes who are constantly seeking opportunities to be victims. The irony in this is that those rightists are constantly seeking opportunities to be victims:

That said, Hanlon is right to bemoan the rise of a “cottage industry of outrage” related to conservatives on college campuses. Whether or not their frustration stemmed from legitimate grievance, the conservative student movement is increasingly, and loudly, playing the victim—with an energy as palpable as the left’s. Too many right-leaning student groups have lost interest in inviting speakers who are knowledgeable about philosophy and policy: they would rather score easy outrage points with provocateurs.

I suspect that some of this is not just a reaction to the left’s hysterics, but rather, a convergence. Many of the forces that incentivize leftists to seek victim status—Title IX guidance, administrative bloat, changing ideas about safety in the K-12 system, helicopter parenting, concept creep—apply equally to rightist students.

As is often the case, in their constant struggle against leftists the rightist have become the very thing they hate. At one point identifying as politically right in the United States meant you were an opponent of socialism, advocate of self-reliance, and absolutist on free speech. Now rightists are just as much of socialists as leftists (but are dishonest about it, unlike most leftists), supporters of the nanny state, and flip their shit whenever somebody exercises free speech in an unapproved manner.

The rightists and leftists in this country deserve each other.

Road Pirates

Yesterday was Memorial Day. Being a holiday at the end of the month the road pirates were out in force. You see, despite citation quotas being illegal, a lot of police departments have unofficial quotas that officers are encouraged to fulfill so at the end of the month enforcement tends to increase. Holidays provide a convenient excuse whether it’s enhanced drunk driving enforcement, texting while driving enforcement, or seatbelt enforcement. This Memorial Day was seatbelt enforcement.

Mandatory seatbelt laws are enforcement of the nanny state, which means they enjoy widespread support. The general population is gullible and tends to roll over and accept new laws that protect them from themselves. Seatbelt laws are one such case.

When an individual decides to not wear a seatbelt the put themselves at additional risk. The key word there is “themselves.” If I refused to wear a seatbelt that wouldn’t affect you in any way. Even if we were in the same vehicle, if we were in an accident I might go flying through the windshield to my certain death but you would remain in your seat. Yet a good number of people seem to believe it’s appropriate for the State to send men with guns and no accountability after anybody who decides not to wear a seatbelt. Somehow the act of a police officer zooming down the highway with their seizure inducing lights flashing so they can pull somebody over and cause a massive traffic clusterfuck as people desperately try to merge over a lane to avoid getting a ticket themselves is a perfectly reasonable way of dealing with an action that only puts the person performing the action at risk.

Traditional Cigarette Industry Finally Receives The Protection It Paid For

E-cigs have become a tremendous problem for traditional cigarette manufacturers. Like traditional cigarettes, e-cigs deliver the nicotine people want. Unlike traditional cigarettes, e-cigs don’t include the massive list of harmful additional materials. Not only is vaping healthier, it’s cheaper to boot. There is also a taboo around smoking these days whereas vaping is seen as the new cool thing to do. These benefits are allowing the e-cig industry to eat the traditional cigarette industry’s lunch.

What’s the last refuge of a dying industry? The State, of course. Fortunately, for the traditional tobacco industry, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is stepping in to stomp down the blossoming e-cig industry:

As the debate over the health risks of e-cigarettes rages on, the FDA is stepping in to “improve public health and protect future generations.” To do that, the US government will regulate e-cigs and vaping gear like it does any other tobacco product. Until now, these products haven’t been subject to government oversight. With the FDA’s changes, the federal law that already forbids tobacco sales to people under 18 will now apply to vaping as well. Sure, this age limit was already being enforced in some places, but this more formal announcement makes it a nation-wide law.

What’s more, vaping products will be subject to the same regulations in terms of packaging and production. Manufacturers will have to register with the FDA and provide a list of products to the agency. Companies will also be required to disclose ingredients, including any harmful or potentially harmful substances, and they’ll have to get approval before putting new tobacco products on the market. In terms of packaging and advertising, e-cigarette and vaping products must also feature a health warning label — just like the brands selling regular cigarettes.

There’s nothing as fun as good old protectionism. The e-cig market has thrived because the lack of government regulations allows new entrepreneurs to enter the market with little startup capital. Since the e-cig industry is fairly new and the products are highly customizable there is a lot of room for new, innovative entrepreneurs. By putting e-cigs in regulatory parity with traditional cigarettes the FDA has ensured that innovation within the industry will drop and that the entire industry will slowly be monopolized into a handful of large companies.

The slowdown in innovation, restrictions from advertising, and other regulatory burdens will allow traditional cigarette companies to stand a good chance of competing successfully again.

“But Chris,” I hear somebody say, “what about the longterm health effects of e-cigs?” To that I say, what about them? All of the concerns about health effects are unrealized at this point so they can’t even been addressed. Entirely hypothetical threats are not a good foundation for policies. Besides, what a person puts into their body is their own business regardless of health side effects. To quote Ludwig von Mises, “If a man drinks wine and not water I cannot say he is acting irrationally. At most I can say that in his place I would not do so. But his pursuit of happiness is his own business, not mine.” If you want to inject some krokodil into your eyeball, inject some heroine between your toes, and vape all at the same time that should be your right.

There is no sound reason for the FDA’s declaration here except to provide the traditional cigarette companies the protections they paid, err, lobbied for.

Hobby Lobby

The Nazgûl managed to stir up a bunch of political drama by ruling that privately held companies whose owners hold strong religious beliefs can be exempted for providing funding for certain contraceptives:

The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby on Monday that for-profit employers with religious objections can opt out of providing contraception coverage under Obamacare.

The ruling deals directly with only a small provision of Obamacare and will not take down the entire law but it amounts to a huge black eye for Obamacare, the administration and its backers. The justices have given Obamacare opponents their most significant political victory against the health care law, reinforcing their argument that the law and President Barack Obama are encroaching on Americans’ freedoms.

As you can expect the Internet has exploded. Feminists are decrying this as a direct strike against women’s rights and the religious are hailing this as a great victory for religious freedom. Both sides, in their fervor to be louder than the other side, are missing the big picture. This battle isn’t one of women’s rights versus religious freedom, it’s the inevitable outcome of this country’s state-employer-insurer complex. Or as I like to call it the trinity of fuckery.

The state really made this entire fiasco possible. Today most people receive health insurance as part of their employee benefits package. Have you ever wondered why health insurance is tied to your employer? It’s because employers needed a way to provide higher wages during a time when the state implemented wage controls. Since the state said that employers couldn’t pay employees a higher wage employers decided to offer benefits, including health insurance, to bypass the controls. Today the state has further solidified the unity between health insurance and employment by mandating almost every employer provider employees with specific types of health insurance. That last part, requiring specific types of insurance, is the real kicker because it mandates certain types of contraceptives that many religious individuals oppose.

An employer with strongly held religious convictions is going to have problems funding coverage for certain types of contraceptives and abortions. Since they’re being mandated by the state to provide health insurance and that health insurance must cover some of the contraceptives they find objectionable they are using the only avenue left open to them: the courts. Hobby Lobby in this case decided to fight the contraceptive coverage and the state made an arbitrary decision, which sided with Hobby Lobby in this case. You can argue that the ruling was just or unjust until you’re blue in the face but it doesn’t matter what you believe. It only matters what the state believes.

Had the state never implemented wage controls and thus tied health insurance to employment we wouldn’t be in this mess. Assuming a lack of some other form of state meddling, employees would then be free to buy whatever health insurance plan worked for them. People with strong religious convictions against contraceptives could get a health insurance plan that didn’t cover contraceptives while people who want contraceptive coverage could get a plan that offered it. Their employer wouldn’t have a say in the matter since they wouldn’t be providing it. So the only viable solution is to break apart the trinity of fuckery.

How Times Have Changed

I’ve been on this planet for 31 years so it wasn’t that long ago that I escaped from high school. But in that short period of time things have certainly changed. Zero tolerance policies, which were just starting to be mentioned when I was finishing up my high school sentence, are now the norm and they are leading to increasingly idiotic outcomes. Alyssa Drescher is a high school student who brought a pocket knife to school. For her infraction she’s looking at expulsion for one year:

Seventeen-year-old Alyssa Drescher is facing expulsion after Wells police reportedly found a pocket knife in her purse during a random drug search Tuesday morning.

Her father, Rick Drescher, said he bought the knife for his daughter a few months earlier at Menard’s. The knife was in her purse after a day of cutting hay bales at her boyfriend’s home a few days prior, and Alyssa forgot to take it out, Rick said.


The father said school officials could have given her a three- to five-day suspension, and initially said they believed that she mistakenly brought the knife to school. Now, however, Jensen is seeking to expel her for 12 months at an expulsion hearing before the USC school board at 5:30 p.m. Thursday.

I took a lot of shop classes in high school. Like most other shops students I carried a pocket knife and used it every day. The only policy my school had about pocket knifes at that time, at least that I’m aware of, was that the blade had to be under a certain length. But even that rule wasn’t enforced, at least by the shop teachers. So long as you weren’t acting in a violent or irresponsible nature nobody really cared that you had a pocket knife as it was recognized as a legitimate tool.

Now pocket knifes are treated as weaponry and students who mistakenly bring them to school face increasingly severe punishments. It’s no stretch of the imagination to say that zero tolerance polices are ruining academic careers of students who have made absolutely trivial mistakes. In fact this is a reflection of our society in general. At one time a person who committed a crime and suffered his cage sentence was released with a relatively clean slate. Now anybody who has served time in a cage, regardless of how minor their infraction was, is dogged with that history for the remainder of their lives.

Our society is becoming one where mistakes are not forgiven. If you forget to remove a pocket knife from your purse you may forfeit the entire school year and be forced to redo it all over again. Smoking a little weed when you’re in college can lead to a cage sentence that will harm your chances of gaining employment after you finish college (if you’re even allowed to finish college). Nothing good can come from our increasingly intolerant society.

Update: 2014-04-27: 20:52: The school board unanimously voted to expel her:

WELLS — The United South Central school board voted unanimously Thursday to expel the 17-year-old girl who claims she mistakenly brought a pocket knife to school last week. The expulsion will last through the end of the school year.

Another academic career ruined by our retarded zero tolerance society.

Minnesota: The State Where Government Protects You from Bad Decisions… Even if Its Not Sure if Your Decisions are Bad

You have to love the legislators here in Minnesota. Even though the transportation infrastructure is in a severe state of disrepair, the electronic pull tabs that were supposed to fund the tax victim’s part of the new Vikings stadium didn’t, and local legislative campaigns are going way up in costs our legislators manage to find the time to deal with the really important issues.

On the table today is the issue of teens using tanning booths. Minnesota’s dear leaders are looking to pass a bill that would make it illegal for people under 18 to use tanning beds:

At a time when melanoma cases are rising sharply in Minnesota, lawmakers appear poised to pass legislation that would ban anyone under 18 from using tanning equipment.

The rate of melanoma cases is increasing and it is due to teens are making more frequent uses of tanning beds. I know this because the government wouldn’t be so stupid as to jump to such a major conclusion without acquiring such facts. Legislators would never introduce such a prohibition based on speculation.

To substantiate whether tanning beds might be behind the increase in melanoma cases, the health department added some tanning questions to the Minnesota Student Survey conducted last year.

The survey showed that one in three 11th grade girls reported that they tanned indoors in the last year. Among those tanning bed users, Korn said more than half reporting tanning indoors more than 10 times that year.

Or they could be doing exactly that. A single survey given to teens about tanning, which has no historical data to go on, is the justification being used to prohibit teens from using tanning beds. Does the increasing rate of melanoma cases correlate to an increase rate of teens using tanning beds? Who fucking knows. That’s not what is important. What is important is that there is an increased rate in melanoma cases and that means we have to do something!

People sometimes ask me, “Chris, how can you be an anarchist?” So here it is, Christopher Burg’s three step program to becoming an anarchist:

  1. Identify the actions of the people tasked with running you life.
  2. Determine whether or not those actions make sense for your life.
  3. If they don’t then logic would dictate that those people shouldn’t be running your life.

Let’s apply this three step program to the melanoma problem:

  1. The Minnesota legislature, in an attempt to address the increased rate of melanoma, is planning to prohibit teenagers from using tanning beds.
  2. No evidence exists trying an increased use of tanning beds with the increased rate of melanoma.
  3. Since there is a lack of evidence showing an increased rate of tanning bed use by teenagers exists the solution of prohibiting teenagers from using tanning beds cannot be said to address the problem.

If you can understand the three step process above then you can apply it to other laws that have been or are being passed by legislators. You will likely find that almost all of the laws being passed don’t make sense for your life and therefore the people passing those laws shouldn’t be running your life. After that you can freely consider yourself an anarchist.

Racist Fish

Last week I theorized that political correctness may simply be a social phenomenon of the powerless trying to feel empowered (but you didn’t see it because my post scheduler decided to forget to post it and I missed it because I don’t check my post queue as religiously as I should). In summary, for those not interested in reading my previous post, whiny bitches are whiny because it gives them the ability to lord a very measly amount of power over another human being.

Minnesota has to be the capital of butthurt social justice warriors. Our army of whiny bitches are ready to move at any sign of potential political correctness. Whenever a man says something the social justice warriors are there to point out his misogyny. Middle class individuals need not fear of being unopposed in everything they say because the social justice warriors will let everybody know that any wealth is a privilege (from their iPhones and MacBook Pros no less). If a white person say something never fear because Minnesota’s social justice warriors are here to point out that individual’s inherit subconscious racism. In fact our social justice warriors are so effective that they have even found that the name of Asian carp is really thinly veiled racism:

Jean Lee, who testified for the Senate bill Thursday, said she became upset by the term as it was used during a round-table meeting she attended with Minnesota Department of Natural Resources officials.

“They were referring to the Asian people in terms of being invasive species. This was offensive,” said Lee, executive director of the Children’s Hope International Minnesota chapter. That St. Louis-based nonprofit organization facilitates international adoptions from countries including China and Vietnam.

Sia Her, executive director of the Council on Asian-Pacific Minnesotans, a state agency, also testified in support of calling the fish “invasive carp.” The negative response to the fish “will reflect negatively on our community,” she said.

I highly doubt that the officials in the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) were referring to Asian people during the meeting about Asian carp. But nonetheless Jean Lee seems to believe that the best way to fight bigotry is with more bigotry. She proposed that Asian carp be changed to invasive carp.

Invasive carp? Really? These poor fish were kidnapped from their native waters, hauled over to America in suboptimal conditions, and forced into labor for the commercial fisheries! They are no more invasive than African Americas. In fact I’m betting that Mrs. Lee’s entire crusade against these underprivileged fish is due to her inherit speciesism. Mrs. Less probably thinks that just because she’s human that she’s a member of the master species and sees other forms of life on this planet as inferior. I’ve got news for Mrs. Lee, these fish didn’t ask to come here, they were kidnapped. We’re not talking about an invasive species, we’re talking about victims of the fish slave trade! Mrs. Lee should be ashamed of herself for publicly displaying her blatant speciesism.

New York City Suing FedEx for Delivering Cigarettes

Michael Bloomberg is one his way out so it’s not surprising to see one last hurrah coming from his administration. In one of its final acts the Bloomberg administration has brought a lawsuit against FexEx because the company supposedly delivered cigarettes to New York City denizens:

New York City has sued FedEx Corp, accusing the package delivery company of illegally delivering millions of contraband cigarettes to people’s homes, violating a 2006 settlement.

Monday’s lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court in Manhattan and seeks $52 million of civil fines and unpaid taxes from FedEx, which is based in Memphis, Tennessee.

It marks one of the last acts by the administration of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, whose more than decade-old campaign to ban smoking in various public and private places has been credited with saving thousands of lives and become a blueprint for other cities.

There’s no way of reforming New York City. I think we’ll have to wait for it to go the way of Detroit before the city’s all powerful mayoral administration is toppled.

How Do You Sign “Shut Up Slave”

I often hear people say that the right to free speech much have reasonable restrictions placed upon it. Usually these people are hyper sensitive ninnies whose skin is so thin that it’s penetrated by even the most childish of insults. A school board in New Jersey, a state that is well ahead of the average American police state curve, have found another reason to curtail the freedom of speech, safety:

School officials have threatened a hearing-impaired girl with suspension if she uses sign language to talk to her friends on the school bus, the girl’s parents say.

Danica Lesko and her parents say sign language is the only way to for the 12-year-old to communicate, especially while riding to school on a noisy bus.

But officials at Stonybrook School — which is not a school for the hearing-impaired — and district officials in Branchburg, N.J., apparently believe signing is a safety hazard. They have sent a letter to the Lesko family ordering Danica to stop using sign language on the school bus or risk a three-day suspension.


In a statement released through the school district’s attorney, David Rubin, the Branchburg Board of Education refused to discuss the details of Danica’s case, saying only that its version of events differs from the parents’ version.

However, the board insisted it has not violated anyone’s rights and is only trying to protect other students who must ride on the school bus.

“The Board is committed to providing reasonable accommodations to all students with disabilities, and is satisfied that there has been no violation of that policy in this case,” officials said in the statement. “The Board is also committed to assuring the safety of all students who travel on District buses, and will continue to take appropriate steps to accomplish that goal.”

It appears that little Danica’s reliance on sign language to communicate is a danger to her fellow students. By Odin, she could have expressed ideas that haven’t been expressly approved by the Thought Police! Imagine the damage she could cause if she incited her fellow slaves to throw off the shackles of the public education system. There could be freethinkers running around in a few years!