A Geek With Guns

Chronicling the depravities of the State.

Archive for the ‘Not So Crazy Libertarian Ideals’ tag

Mr. Musk’s Greater South Africa

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Elon Musk has two transportation programs, as space program, and now he’s working on a utilities program. At this point he has enough traditionally government programs to basically be a government:

For around four years now, the water supply to the city of Flint, Michigan, has been contaminated with lead. Now, Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has promised to help. Replying to a request on Twitter, Musk pledged to fund remediation work to houses with contaminated water supplies.

Snowcrash’s future is actually one of the more pleasant ones and I don’t think that I’d mind being a citizen of Mr. Musk’s Greater South Africa. At least it’ll have a space presence, high-speed underground transportation, and clean drinking water.

Written by Christopher Burg

July 13th, 2018 at 10:00 am

Public Schools Aren’t About Educating

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I take every opportunity that I can to point out that government indoctrination centers, often mistakenly called public schools, aren’t about education. However, no matter what evidence I provide to back up my argument people continue believing otherwise. But now even the government itself is admitting that its indoctrination centers aren’t about educating children:

A federal judge has concluded that the Constitution doesn’t require schools to promote students’ literacy.

This is something that you don’t see every day, a government goon being forthright and honest.

The core of this story involves a group of Detroit students suing the government because it failed to even teach them their ABCs:

The lawyers filing the suit—from the pro bono Los Angeles firm Public Counsel—contend that the students (who attend five of Detroit’s lowest-performing schools) are receiving an education so inferior and underfunded that it’s as if they’re not attending school at all. The 100-page-plus complaint alleges that the state of Michigan (which has overseen Detroit’s public schools for nearly two decades) is depriving these children—97 percent of whom are students of color—of their constitutional rights to liberty and nondiscrimination by denying them access to basic literacy.

I don’t see their case going well for the students. The deck is already stacked against them since they’re suing the government in the government’s own court system. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to sue the government without dealing with that conflict of interest. The other problem the students will likely run into is the Constitution itself. If you look at enough court decisions based on the language of the Constitution, you quickly learn that the Constitution more often than not means whatever is convenient for the government. Take the language in the Second Amendment as an example. The phrase, “Shall not be infringed,” seems pretty straight forward. The language itself seems to clearly state that the federal government cannot restrict firearm ownership in any way. But the federal government restricts firearm ownership in a multitude of ways and most of the time when those restrictions have been challenged in court judges have decide that “Shall not be infringed,” means that the federal government can infringe gun ownership in almost any manner it wants.

As far as I recall, the Constitution doesn’t mention education. Since it doesn’t mention education and it’s far more convenience for the government in this case if it has no responsibility to provide an education, you can feel safe betting money that judges will rule against the students.

Written by Christopher Burg

July 10th, 2018 at 11:00 am

Another Socialist Paradise

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The best argument against socialism is socialism itself. Socialists will often argue that socialist nations ensure that their people have access to shelter, food, clean water, healthcare, and so on. That may be the case initially, though even that is extremely rare, but eventually the iron rule of TANSTAAFL comes into play and the price of all of those “free” things makes itself apparent and, unfortunately, that price is very high:

Venezuelan security forces have carried out hundreds of arbitrary killings under the guise of fighting crime, the UN says in a new report.

The UN’s human rights body says it has credible accounts of security forces raiding poor neighbourhoods and killing young men, often in their homes.

The rule of law was “virtually absent” in the country, UN human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said.

Somebody has to pay for all of those “free” goods and services. If there is a great deal of wealth in a nation, its government can pilfer that wealth for quite some time to provide its promised “free” goods and services (which is how many European countries are getting away with it). However, the government eventually pilfers all of the wealth. When that happens, people begin to starve and starving people have a habit of not starving to death quietly. They tend to rebel. When that happens, the government has only one option to maintain its power: brute force.

Things get ugly when men with guns go against men without guns. But the men with guns who are employed by collapsing governments tend to only stay loyal so long as they’re receiving paychecks. Since the Venezuelan government is running out of money, it will soon be unable to pay its soldiers. Once the soldiers aren’t being paid, they will likely turn on everybody (they have the guns so they can take whatever they want from those without guns) and a warlord or two will eventually gain enough support to become the new government. It’s a messy process but the inevitable one for socialist nations.

Written by Christopher Burg

June 22nd, 2018 at 10:00 am

Civitates Foederatae Americae Delendae Sunt

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Since I’m on the topic of perspective, let’s take a moment to consider the current crisis, immigrant children being held in concentration camps:

Reporters and Democratic lawmakers have been allowed inside a detention centre that lies at the heart of a growing storm over a new US policy separating migrant children from their parents.

Authorities did not allow photos or videos to be taken inside the centre, but US Customs and Border Protection later released several images. Former First Lady Laura Bush has compared it to the internment camps used for Japanese-Americans during World War Two. A Democratic congressman who visited the site said it was “nothing short of a prison”.

If you listen to many partisans, you may be lead to believe that Trump is personally kidnapping these children to put them in concentration camps. The first red flag in this article should be that photos were not allowed. Why should that be a read flag? Because it raises an awkward question, from where have all of the pictures of these concentration camps come? Awkward questions often have awkward answers:

There’s also precedent for warehousing immigrant children at military bases. In 2014, Obama temporarily held kids at an emergency shelter at Lackland AFB in San Antonio — a development that Ted Cruz and Greg Abbott were appalled by at the time. The photo at the top of this story — of Central American kids at a Border Patrol processing center — has been repeatedly mistaken as a recent, Trump-era image. In fact, it’s from 2014, during the Central American refugee surge.

Many of the pictures being passed around supposedly from current concentration camps full of children are actually from concentration camps full of children that existed under the previous president. Yes, you read correctly, concentration camps that existed under Obama.

If it wasn’t for humanity’s wonderful feature referred to as cognitive dissonance, this news might shake some partisain’s political faith in their party. Fortunately for them, cognitive dissonance will guard most of them from having to accept this difficult information. However, all of us should keep in mind that human rights abuse is nothing new for the United States of America.

From kidnapping Native American children and forcing them to abandon their heritage and language under the guide of civilizing and educating them to interring Japanese Americans during World War II for no other reason than their descent to the continuous abuse of black individuals from slavery to Jim Crow laws to the drug war, there hasn’t been a single instance in the United States’ history where the federal government wasn’t abusing large swaths of people.

None of the human rights abuses being perpetrated under Trump are new or without precedence. Moreover, if voting could fix this, as most partisans either outright claim or imply, this issue would have been fixed already.

If you’re actually looking for a solution to the human rights abuses perpetrated by the United States government, there is only one solution.

Civitates Foederatae Americae delendae sunt!

Written by Christopher Burg

June 19th, 2018 at 11:00 am

The End of Enforceable Prohibitions

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I’m fond of pointing out to prohibitionists that the era of enforceable prohibitions is over:

In the very near future, governments will lose the ability to keep guns, drones, and other forbidden goods out of the hands of their subjects. They’ll also be rendered impotent to enforce trade and technology embargoes. Power is shifting from the state to individuals and small groups courtesy of additive manufacturing—aka 3D printing—technology.

Additive manufacturing is poised to revolutionize whole industries—destroying some jobs while creating new opportunities. That’s according to a recent report from the prestigious RAND Corporation, and there’s plenty of evidence to support the dynamic and “disruptive” view of the future that the report promises.

Throughout history power has ebbed and flowed. At times centralized authorities are able to wield their significant power to oppress the masses. At other times events weaken those centralized authorities and the average person once again finds themselves holding a great deal of power.

Technological advancements are quickly weakening the power of the centralized nation-states. Encryption technology is making their surveillance apparatus less effective. Cryptocurrencies are making it difficult for nation-states to monitor and block transactions. Manufacturing technology is allowing individuals to make increasingly complex objects from the comfort of their own homes. The Internet has made freely trading information so easy that censorship is quickly becoming impossible.

We live in exciting times.

Written by Christopher Burg

June 12th, 2018 at 11:00 am

You Have Only the Rights You Can Take and Hold

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I lamented about living in a postliterate society when the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Jack Phillips. Nobody read the fucking article so they decided that the Supreme Court ruled in favor of religious rights when it actually ruled in regards to procedural shenanigans. The American Institute for Economic Research has a good summary of what the ruling entails:

Reading this case literally, we can conclude the following. If you want to exercise property rights and behave as if you are free, according to the Supreme Court, you need to get religion right away and hope that the bureaucrats adjudicating your case put you down as a monster for that very reason. Then you can narrowly escape prosecution.

Otherwise you must comply. If you take the majority opinion on face value, had the deliberations in Colorado been undertaken with no invidious discrimination against the faith of the baker, the decision would have gone the other way.

In other words, you don’t have any rights.

I’ve discussed this matter before but it’s worth repeating. Questions regarding rights, such as whether or not you have the right to refuse to provide a good or service due to your personal religious convictions, are pointless. Why? To pull out one of my favorite George Carlin quotes, “Folks I hate to spoil your fun, but there’s no such thing as rights. They’re imaginary. We made them up. Like the boogie man. Like Three Little Pigs, Pinocchio, Mother Goose, shit like that. Rights are an idea. They’re just imaginary.”

You can claim that you have the right to freely express yourself or the right to own firearms or the right to not incriminate yourself but you only actually have those rights if you can exercise them. Consider Jack Phillips’s case. He believed that he had the right to refuse to bake a cake for a same-sex marriage because his religious beliefs are at odds with such a union. When he tried to exercise his perceived right, government goons came down on him. Even after his Supreme Court victory, he doesn’t have the right to refuse to bake cakes for same-sex weddings because he failed to convince the Supreme Court, and by extent the various levels of government in the United States, that he had such a right. When (and it will be a matter of when, not if, because it’s human nature to push boundaries) another same-sex couple comes into his bakery wanting a cake for their wedding and he refuses, he’ll find himself in court all over again.

You only have the rights you can take and hold. How you take and hold them is irrelevant. If you are able to convince a group to respect your perceived rights, then you have taken and held those rights. If you have enough firepower at hand to scare people away from infringing on your perceived rights, then you have taken and held those rights. But if you can’t take and hold them, even if they’re written down on a fancy piece of paper, they don’t exist.

Written by Christopher Burg

June 7th, 2018 at 11:00 am

Once in a While the Nazgûl Toss Us a Bone

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Once in a while the Nazgûl toss us a bone. This is probably because you have to allow the plebeians to win once in a while to maintain the appearance of legitimacy. Whatever their motivation, eight of the nine muumuu clad Supreme Court judges decided that police do need a warrant to search your property:

In an 8-to-1 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that police in Virginia violated the Fourth Amendment by walking onto the driveway of home in order to peek under a tarp that was covering a stolen motorcycle, as the Justices decided the officer had run afoul of the Constitution by engaging in a warrantless search.

The court’s majority said “a parking patio or carport into which an officer can see from the street is no less entitled to protection from trespass and a warrantless search than a fully enclosed garage.

In any sane word this case wouldn’t have had to reach the Supreme Court. All of the lower courts would have agreed that Fourth Amendment protections against warrantless searches extend to the entirety of your property, not just the property behind a locked door. If that wasn’t the case, farmers would have little protection against warrantless searches since much of their property generally lies outside of buildings.

Written by Christopher Burg

May 30th, 2018 at 10:30 am

When the Government Is Big, Private Businesses Want to Do Business with the Government

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I find that a lot of people don’t think their positions through very thoroughly. For example, I know a lot of people who advocate for a large, powerful government but then become upset when they read stories like this:

SEATTLE — In late 2016, Amazon introduced a new online service that could help identify faces and other objects in images, offering it to anyone at a low cost through its giant cloud computing division, Amazon Web Services.

Not long after, it began pitching the technology to law enforcement agencies, saying the program could aid criminal investigations by recognizing suspects in photos and videos. It used a couple of early customers, like the Orlando Police Department in Florida and the Washington County Sheriff’s Office in Oregon, to encourage other officials to sign up.

See this capitalist shit? This is why we need socialism, comrades!

The supreme irony here is that most of the people I mentioned above fail to realize that the very thing they advocate for, a larger and powerful government, is what convinces businesses to pursue government contracts. It’s true that Amazon is operating on the capitalist principle of seeking profit. However, in a country where the government is large and powerful the most profitable contracts are often government contracts. If the governments in the United States were weak and poor, Amazon would have no interest in pursuing contracts with them. But they’re powerful and wealthy so Amazon, like everybody else, wants a piece of the pie.

Everybody Gets a Vote

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Should people who are ignorant about a topic be given the ability to vote on it? If not, the United States should cease holding all elections because nobody has any idea what is going on:

Washington may be more secretive nowadays than at any time in recent decades. Federal policymakers have become accustomed to rationing what they release while citizens are assured that official secrecy makes them more secure. But American democracy cannot survive perpetual bipartisan coverups from the political ruling class.

Since 9/11, U.S. foreign policy has practically been governed by a Non-Disclosure Agreement. Did you know that U.S. troops are currently engaged in combat in 14 foreign nations fighting purported terrorists? That jolting fact is practically a state secret, though it did slip out in a recent New York Times editorial. After four U.S. soldiers were killed in Niger last October, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) admitted they did not know that a thousand U.S. troops were deployed to that African nation. Graham, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, admitted, “We don’t know exactly where we’re at in the world militarily and what we’re doing.” Congress has utterly defaulted on its role as a check-and-balance on the Pentagon, thereby enabling a surge in deadly covert interventions abroad.

An informed electorate doesn’t exist in the United States because the government that is supposedly guided by the voice of the people has developed a fetish for secrecy.

I’m going to return to the question with which I opened this post. Most people would instinctively say that everybody should get a vote even if they’re ignorant about the topic up for vote. This response is the result of living life in a country where democracy is touted as the greatest governmental system of all time. However, few people tolerate such a philosophy in their private dealings. Would you let somebody who is entirely ignorant about automobiles vote on what is wrong with your vehicle? Would you let somebody who is compute illiterate vote on how to fix your computer? Would you let somebody who knows nothing about medicine vote on what drugs you should take? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you’re a damned fool. If any of these resulted in your problem being fixed, it would be by sheer luck. The most likely outcome would be that a lot of money would be spent for nothing. The result of the last situation could even be your death.

As the article notes, even the people elected to the government often have no idea what is going on. Graham and Schumer may not have been aware that there were thousands of troops deployed in Africa but they certainly got to vote on military matters. This really should strike everybody as a problem. Why are people who are ignorant about matters voting on them? Why should a senator who doesn’t even know how to use e-mail have a say on topics such as national computer security laws? Why should a senator who doesn’t know what a barrel shroud is have a say in what firearm features should be prohibited?

When nobody has any clue about what is happening, it’s not realistic to expect people to make good decisions.

Written by Christopher Burg

May 11th, 2018 at 11:00 am

Who Has Authority over Culture

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Culture, like society, is something that exists exclusively in the human imagination. It’s an abstract concept that doesn’t exist in the real world. That being the case, I find stories like this one to be ridiculous:

TAIPEI, Taiwan — When Keziah Daum wore a Chinese-style dress to her high school prom in Utah, it set off an uproar — but not because of its tight fit or thigh-high slit.

After Ms. Daum, 18, shared pictures on social media of her prom night, a Twitter user named Jeremy Lam hotly responded in a post that has been retweeted nearly 42,000 times.

[…]

“My culture is NOT” your prom dress, he wrote, adding profanity for effect.

“I’m proud of my culture,” he wrote in another post. “For it to simply be subject to American consumerism and cater to a white audience, is parallel to colonial ideology.”

Something that only exists in your imagination can only be yours in your imagination. But for a moment let’s assume that culture is a real thing that can be appropriated. Where do people who throw around accusations of cultural appropriation get off thinking that they’re the ultimate authority over what is or isn’t the proper use of a culture? Because while Jeremy Lam may be upset that Daum wore a Chinese dress, Snail Trail and Zhou Yijun believe quite the opposite:

“I am very proud to have our culture recognized by people in other countries,” said someone called Snail Trail, commenting on a post of the Utah episode by a popular account on WeChat, the messaging and social media platform, that had been read more than 100,000 times.

“It’s ridiculous to criticize this as cultural appropriation,” Zhou Yijun, a Hong Kong-based cultural commentator, said in a telephone interview. “From the perspective of a Chinese person, if a foreign woman wears a qipao and thinks she looks pretty, then why shouldn’t she wear it?”

This illustrates one of the biggest problems with treating imaginary concepts as if they were real objects. An imaginary concept may exist in the heads of multiple individuals but each of those individuals will put their own spin on it. The concept of Chinese culture, for example, exists in the heads of billions of individuals but none of those individuals likely agree entirely on what constitutes Chinese culture. Sure, most of them will likely agree to a few major concepts. For example, most people will likely agree that the Chinese language is part of Chinese culture. However, diving into the minute will quickly reveal that no two individuals share the exact same concept.

One of the disagreements over the imaginary concept of culture is who has authority over it. If one Chinese individual tells a white girl that she can’t wear a Chinese dress but another Chinese individual says that she can, who is correct? Which of the two individuals has the authority to dictate whether or not the white girl’s behavior is appropriate? Feel free to answer the question in the comment box if you want but I will require that you show your work.

Written by Christopher Burg

May 3rd, 2018 at 11:00 am