Archive for the ‘You’re Doing it Right’ tag
Yesterday I wrote a post about some neoliberals threatening to homeschool their children. Homeschooling isn’t the only anti-state idea neoliberals are getting though. Some are now claiming that they won’t pay their taxes because Trump was elected president:
Andrew Newman always pays his taxes, even if he hates what the government is doing with them. But not this year. For him, Donald Trump is the dealbreaker. He’ll pay his city and state taxes but will refuse to pay federal income tax as a cry of civil disobedience against the president and his new administration.
Newman is not alone. A nascent movement has been detected to revive the popularity of tax resistance – last seen en masse in America during the Vietnam war but which has been, sporadically, a tradition in the US and beyond going back many centuries.
Bombing children in the Middle East, having the highest prison population in the world, widespread unwarranted surveillance, civil forfeiture, and a plethora of other horrible government programs weren’t enough to convince them to not pay their taxes. But Trump getting elected? That warrants such action.
This is me not really giving a shit about their tax protest.
Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate that they’re finally understanding why us libertarians are so opposed to government power. But their protests ring a bit hallow when it’s obvious that the only thing they’re upset about is who is in power, not what people in that position of power has been doing. I’m sure these same people would gladly pay their taxes if Hillary was in power regardless of what horrible shit she was doing because the only thing that matters to them is the party, not the actions.
While I do appreciate their sentiment I must also admit that I look forward to seeing their reaction once they realize that taxation, regardless of what they have previous claimed, is backed by the barrel of a gun.
The aftermath of this election is the gift that keeps on giving. After eight years of loving Big Brother and mocking anti-state ideas, neoliberals are suddenly espousing anti-state ideas. The appointment of Betsy DeVos has a lot of neoliberals upset because they think she is going to destroy the public education system (I wish that were true but it’s not). Some of them are so upset that they’re considering a formerly crazy libertarian idea:
In protest of school choice advocate Betsy DeVos becoming the next education secretary, some liberals threatened to homeschool their children. Lost on them, apparently, is the irony of that threat.
As I mentioned, the Education Secretary doesn’t matter if you don’t put your children into a government indoctrination center. Apparently this point has sunk in with a few neoliberals.
Granted, I know these people will have a change of heart when their team is in power again but it’s nice to see that for at least four years some neoliberals will be open to a few libertarian ideas. Perhaps one or two of them will take the ideas to heart and permanently overcome their statist tendencies.
With all of the terrible shit that happens in this world I periodically need a reminder that there are some really good people out there. Take Mohamed Bzeek, for example:
The children were going to die.
Mohamed Bzeek knew that. But in his more than two decades as a foster father, he took them in anyway — the sickest of the sick in Los Angeles County’s sprawling foster care system.
He has buried about 10 children. Some died in his arms.
Now, Bzeek spends long days and sleepless nights caring for a bedridden 6-year-old foster girl with a rare brain defect. She’s blind and deaf. She has daily seizures. Her arms and legs are paralyzed.
Bzeek, a quiet, devout Libyan-born Muslim who lives in Azusa, just wants her to know she’s not alone in this life.
I have nothing but respect for Mr. Bzeek. Taking in and caring for children that are terminally ill is a tremendous emotional burden but it makes the last days of those children more comfortable. The world would be a far better place if it had more Mohamed Bzeeks in it.
If nothing else, Trump’s election has taught a lot of people, albeit only temporarily, about the dangers of a power government. The responses to this newfound knowledge have been all over the board. On the minor end a lot of people have stated that Trump isn’t their president. I welcome them to the club of those of us who don’t have presidents. But the minor end of the scale is dull. On the more fun end of the scale a lot of people are talking about secession. Surprisingly enough, the state talking most loudly about secession is California:
A proposal for California to secede from the United States was submitted to the Secretary of State’s Office Thursday.
The proposed “Calexit” initiative – its name borrowed from the UK’s “Brexit” departure from the EU – would ask voters to repeal part of the state constitution that declares California an inseparable part of the U.S.
Secretary of State Alex Padilla said the group behind the proposal, Yes California Independence Campaign, was cleared to begin attempting to collect nearly 600,000 voter signatures needed to place the plan on the ballot.
“In our view, the United States of America represents so many things that conflict with Californian values, and our continued statehood means California will continue subsidizing the other states to our own detriment, and to the detriment of our children,” the Yes campaign’s website says.
Over a century and a half ago the states learned what happens when you try to secede from a powerful federal government. But what happened so long ago shouldn’t dissuade people from trying again today. Secession is something worth fighting for. It’s the beginning of something that could be beautiful. First states could secede from the United States. Then counties could secede from the states. Then townships could secede from the counties. And finally, individuals could secede from the townships. Going from one federal state with 50 vassal states, which is all the 50 states really are at this point, to 320 million separate states would be wonderful.
Although California is not a place I’d want to live, if it starts the chain reaction of secession I will forever give it its due credit.
Our brave boys and girls in blue are out there everyday putting their lives on the line! They are they only thing that stands between us and anarchy! Knowing this, how can we stand idly by while organizations like the New York Civil Liberties Union spew their hatred of our glorious officers by demanding they abide by the Fourth Amendment:
The New York Civil Liberties Union is pushing a new state bill that would require law enforcement to obtain a warrant prior to deploying a cell-site simulator, or stingray. The bill also includes other new restrictions.
The bill, which was first reported by ZDNET, doesn’t mention stingrays specifically. However, it specifically forbids law enforcement from accessing “electronic device information by means of physical interaction or electronic communication with the device” unless they have a warrant. There are a few narrow exceptions, such as exigent circumstances.
Requiring a warrant before a search can be performed or a wiretap put into place? What is this world coming to?
I’m sure there are cop apologists out there who believe this restriction is a terrible affront to law enforcers. But cell-site simulators are both searches and wiretaps wrapped up into one convenient package. Historically warrants have been required before law enforcers could perform a search or install a wiretap. For some reason that requirement was seen as unnecessary when the searches and wiretaps could be done wirelessly. I’m not sure what the logic there was other than it was slightly different therefore the rules must not apply.
Without government who will build the schools? It’s a stupid question since nongovernment schools have existed for ages but it’s a question statists love to ask. They seem to think that single question justifies the existence of the State. So I’m going to answer it. People who are sick of the poor quality of education will build the schools:
A libertarian businessman based in Raleigh, North Carolina, Luddy made his fortune as the owner of the nation’s leading manufacturer of commercial kitchen ventilation systems. CaptiveAire has factories in six states, and its 2016 revenues were $400 million. But what does fabricating stove hoods and building HVAC systems have in common with turning out successful students? More than you might think.
In 2007, he decided to take a more radical step by creating a non-profit network of schools called Thales Academy. Influenced by economist Albert Hirschman’s classic 1970 treatise on political science, Exit, Voice and Loyalty, Luddy conceived of Thales as a way to give families “exit.”
“‘Voice’ is [when] you go to vote [or you] express an opinion…Exit…is like Uber…where someone comes up with an entirely new idea, they bypass the existing industry, and they get amazing results.”
The first thing statists are likely to complain about is that Thales Academy charges tuition. Supposedly schools that charge tuition put education out of reach of poorer families. But as anybody who has been to a school in a poorer neighborhood knows, even though every family is forced to pay tuition for the school (although they use the euphemism of taxes) the quality of education is usually subpar (and that’s being extremely generous). In other words, the complaint is equally applicable to both private and public schools.
What should be considered is that even though public schools they are so bad at providing an education that Mr. Luddy still decided to invest a portion of his wealth to build an alternative education system. That right there speaks volumes about the quality of government schools.
Yesterday Barack Obama showed the world that he still has some humanity buried deep under his bloodlust. As is tradition for exiting presidents, Obama handed out a series of pardons and commuted sentences to chosen federal prisoners. Amongst his list was Chelsea Manning:
In one of his last moves in office, President Obama has commuted the 35-year prison sentence of Chelsea Manning, the Army private who leaked a massive trove of military secrets to WikiLeaks.
The former intelligence analyst’s prison sentence has been shortened to expire on May 17, 2017, according to a statement from the White House.
And by “leaked a massive trove of military secrets” NPR means evidence of war crimes.
While I could spend an entire post criticizing Obama’s unwillingness to pardon Chelsea or commute her sentence sooner, I’m not going to look a gift horse in the mouth.
Instead of “”In God We Trust” the motto of the United States of America should be “Give Me Your Goddamn Money”. Judging by my Catholic upbringing, there isn’t a lot of godliness in the United States but every level of government demands that you pay a tithe. Unlike most religions though, the State will punish you severely for failing to pay your tithe. But just because the State has a gun to your head doesn’t mean you can’t be a little creative:
A US businessman in dispute with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has paid his $3,000 tax bill using five wheelbarrows containing 300,000 coins.
Nick Stafford from Cedar Buff, Virginia, delivered so many coins that the DMV’s automated counting machines could not cope with the volume.
His delivery stunt follows a legal row he had with the DMV over contacting its staff to make tax inquiries.
It took staff at least seven hours to count the coins, working until late.
Nick Stafford is a real American hero. He managed to make his $3,000 tithe a bigger pain in the ass to the State than it was probably worth. At the bare minimum he tied up several of the Department of Motor Vehicle’s (DMV) goons while they hand to manually count the 300,000 coins. And the pain wouldn’t have stopped there. The money had to be stored until it could be transferred to the State’s coffers. Transferring the coins, which weighed 1,600 pounds according to the article, would require more gas than paper bills or a check. Some poor sucker at the State’s bank might even been required to recount the money.
I’m sure this stunt will cause whatever level of government Mr. Stafford was dealing with to change the rules so that tithe payments can’t be made with coins. But he managed to throw a wrench in the State’s machinery and cause a bit of havoc, which is what matters. If everybody did the same the State would end up choking on its own bureaucracy.
What is a hero? Many people will claim it’s somebody who puts on a military or police uniform. Me? I believe a hero is somebody who acts morally, especially when they’re against an immoral enemy. Gordon Hirabayashi was a hero:
“This order for the mass evacuation of all persons of Japanese descent denies them the right to live,” Seattle native Gordon Hirabayashi wrote in 1942. “I consider it my duty to maintain the democratic standards for which this nation lives. Therefore, I must refuse this order of evacuation.”
With that, Hirabayashi became one of just a handful of Japanese-Americans who defied the government’s move to put more than 100,000 of them in detention camps following the attack on Pearl Harbor. For his refusal, he was imprisoned more than a year.
As a friend said, “Hopefully the casket is built to accommodate his giant brass balls.”
The United States government, in order to drum up fear in the people at home, declared every American of Japanese descent an enemy of the State and rounded them up and put them into concentration camps. Mr. Hirabayashi told the United States government to go pound sand. In retaliation they kidnapped him and locked him in a cage. While, like his fellow Americans of Japanese descent, he ended up in a cage he didn’t do so willingly. He stood up for what was right. His defiance even forced the United States government, after four decades, to admit that it may have gone a bit far:
It took four decades for Hirabayashi to be vindicated, with a U.S. Supreme Court decision that the internment policy “had been based on political expediency, not on any risk to national security,” as The Associated Press writes.
Ludwig von Mises’ motto was, “Tu ne cede malis, sed contra audentior ito.” For those of you poor bastards who don’t know Latin it means “Do not give in to evil but proceed ever more boldly against it.” It’s a beautiful motto. If one abides by it then they stand the chance of becoming a real hero like Mr. Hirabayashi.
Big Brother is watching. Many people have been defeated by the constant improvements in government surveillance. Instead of fighting they lie themselves into complacency by claiming that they have nothing to hide. Don’t allow yourself to fall into that trap. Privacy is an arms race. As surveillance technology improves so do countermeasures:
The use of facial recognition software for commercial purposes is becoming more common, but, as Amazon scans faces in its physical shop and Facebook searches photos of users to add tags to, those concerned about their privacy are fighting back.
Berlin-based artist and technologist Adam Harvey aims to overwhelm and confuse these systems by presenting them with thousands of false hits so they can’t tell which faces are real.
The Hyperface project involves printing patterns on to clothing or textiles, which then appear to have eyes, mouths and other features that a computer can interpret as a face.
Camouflage is older than humans. In fact, much of what we know about camouflage comes from our observations of animals. As predators improved so did the camouflage of prey. To win against the predatory State we must constantly improve our defenses. Against surveillance one of the best defenses is camouflage.
I admire people like Adam Harvey because they’re on the front lines. Will their plans work? Only time will tell. But I’ll take somebody who is trying to fight the good fight and fails over somebody who has rolled over and surrendered to the State any day.