Non-aggression in debating.

     It is difficult to address this subject without, well, inviting aggression. Many people have embraced the principle of non-aggression in their physical lives, and quite a few have also done so in their financial lives, but how many are willing to do so when it comes to debating their philosophies?
     This is an area where the natural tendency of a person is to believe that their position is correct, and all others are somehow lacking. This can lead to the unfortunate temptation of viewing others as being somehow inferior to yourself in their understanding of the subject of the debate, and frequently it is a subconscious temptation of which you are not even aware. This can easily result in taking an overly defensive stance in arguing your position, and engaging in either overt or subliminal attacks on your debate opponent.
     When you strengthen your position and weaken your opponent’s in this matter, whether consciously or not, it may well appear to you that you are prevailing, but you should remember that your opponent probably has the same impressions regarding their efforts. What is the probable result? Either an endless disagreement, or a cessation of communication leading to…..nothing. A wasted effort on both sides.
     Here is how I try to apply the non-aggression principle to my debates. Rather than staunchly defending my own position while denigrating that of my opponent, I first try to find out what my opponent believes, and why. I must be able to understand my opponents position to be able to properly refute it if I believe it to be incorrect. I also keep in mind my own fallibility and prepare myself for the possibility that my opponent has found a better solution or idea than I have. I have discovered that if both of us can enter the conversation with this mindset, and maintain that attitude though out, we will gradually acquire each other’s correct strengths and shed our own incorrect weaknesses. The result will be that both of us will together move one more step towards the true solution to the problem we are debating.
     Although this is a time consuming way to engage in a debate, I propose that if continued to its conclusion it is generally the best way to approach the truth of the matter, and to maintain a friendship at the same time.
     Those who know me, especially those who have debated me, can attest to the fact that I do not always adhere to this principle very well myself, and my only answer to that is that we are all, even and especially myself, equally fallible at times.

Dem Reps Maxine Waters And Keith Ellison Outraged By Sight Of Debt Clock On Capitol Hill…

Dem Reps Maxine Waters And Keith Ellison Outraged By Sight Of Debt Clock On Capitol Hill…

     This article says it all, however, although he will probably never read it, I will address a statement directly to Keith Ellison. I live in Minnesota and am one of the voters you are supposed to be representing. How dare you say that you think the debt clock is a political prop? The debt you people are so carelessly racking up is a valid concern for all of us, and to say that it is merely a prop is akin to saying that either you care nothing for our concerns or you are not competent to hold that office of which you appear to be so proud. In either case, that is a clear indication that you are unfit to appear as our representative, and I would appreciate your resignation. Failing that, I will campaign against your reelection as stridently and thoroughly as I can.
     Anyone with an interest in either Minnesota or National politics, please feel free to spread this message.

What Kind of Libertarian Are You?

     The Libertarian movement has grown tremendously in recent times, but there is still a large rift to be found between what can be best described as two competing sides, both of which essentially want the same thing, more individual liberty, but who have differing ideas on the methods to attain this result.
     The two factions are usually described, although this is not completely accurate, as “conservative” and “liberal” libertarians. Both have fallen victim to some extent to the trap of, “I am right and you are wrong.” I propose, however, that both sides are right, and that both have their proper place. I also lay the claim that both positions are wrong, in that neither will succeed alone, but both have a proper role to play, and both must be willing to recognize this and work together.
     The conservatives claim that the liberals want to remove all restraints on society and allow people to do anything that they want. The liberals accuse the conservatives of wanting to regulate certain behaviors which the conservative do not approve, and claim that because of this that they are not really libertarians. Both of these positions are correct in their goals, but are incorrect in their methods and timing. Yes, the ultimate goal is to completely remove the government from any regulation of individual behavior, except for that which harms another, or infringes on the freedom of another, but to go directly there is not possible in our current society. This is where the conservative side shows its merit. Since we must accept the fact that there are not enough workable moral and ethical restraints existing at present, we unfortunately rely on some form of government intervention, even though we do not like the idea, to keep people’s “bad” tendencies in check initially until a proper respect for the rights of others is gradually restored in our society. The problem with this is that if the government controls are maintained too long, they will naturally grow incrementally until we are right back to the situation we find ourselves in now, which is what happened in the previous two centuries of our history. This is where to liberal side will find its proper place. While the conservatives start the process, the liberals must educate people in the value of having a proper moral code, especially regarding the respect of the rights of others, so that the government controls can immediately, but gradually, begin to be replaced. If we can not work together in this way, yet still manage to set up a libertarian system, we will end up following the same path we have already seen in our own history, with a country initially among the most free on earth, but gradually being subverted by statists who take advantage of the fact that most people do not have a proper understanding of their own personal responsibility in the maintenance of their own freedom.
     The negative arguments in this are both valid, but not impediments in the proper context. True, allowing state control for the long term will lead to an authoritarian type of government, while not allowing state control at the outset will leave us victim to the depravity of those who do not have the proper moral structure in their personal lives to dissuade them from violating the rights of others. I maintain that both systems must be used in tandem, with mostly state control at the beginning, followed by a gradual, but intentional and controlled, transition away from that state control, until the end result is the absolute minimum necessary. It is unfortunate that this would be necessary, but since we are not trying to set up a society from scratch, and are trying to repair an existing society, we must devote ourselves to the task of gradually dismantling the broken country, then reassembling it properly.

FEMA Camps and Propaganda.

     What I intend to do today may at first sound like a statement about FEMA camps, but it is not really that. I am just going to use the FEMA camp story as an example of how mis-information is sometimes used as a tool of propaganda. The statements i will make about the alleged FEMA camps are mostly, at this point, my personal opinion, but I do believe that there is some validity here which I also believe will be shown later by history to be true. My focus today, though, will be to demonstrate how mis-information can be used to hide or distract from a story which someone does not want to come to light.
     Let us suppose, in this example, that there is one real “FEMA camp” which has been demonstrated irrefutably to exist. That, in and of itself, would be a huge story. Now suppose that the evidence can not be hidden by those who do not want it known. This evidence will certainly become public, so what is their safest course to protect themselves? Add false evidence to the mix, or even better, allow someone else to whom they are not connected, add false evidence. In either case, allow the story to become 800 camps, most of which can be proven to be something altogether different, and not FEMA camps at all. Next, allow, or encourage, people to repeat this enlarged story without properly verifying it, which is relatively easy to do if you can cause them to emotionally overreact, and cause the story of the one to be completely replaced with the new story of the 800. Then introduce into our scenario the inevitable detractors, who do not or will not believe the story, and begin to try to discredit it. They will immediately begin to spot the false information which has been added, and based on the amount of these false claims, decide that the entire story is false and  not only dispute the validity of the story, but proclaim loudly and clearly that those who sought to spread the story are “conspiracy theorists.” What will result is pretty much what we see now in so many areas; we have a large number of people who are expending their energies defending an indefensible position which they took prematurely.
     The above is just a speculative example of how the introduction of a large quantity of false information can be used to cover up the real truth. For the record, I personally believe, but can not prove, that there are quite likely camps such as this in existence, but in much smaller numbers than the 800 that have been reported. This is also a story which must continue to be looked at, because the existence of only one of these camps should be of grave concern to us all.

Business owners and the minimum wage.

Minwage3
Minwage3 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

     The minimum wage debate is in full swing again. Many of the leaders in the argument against it are business owners, and they are frequently demonized for this, even though they rightly maintain that they need to preserve their profit margin in order to stay in business. In this they are correct, however, most of them make a fundamental mistake in regards to their pay scale, for which they should be blamed as much as the minimum wage is. This mistake is to view their labor costs as a whole, and therefore wholly as an expense. This is the root of their basic mistake. This has, unfortunately, been fostered by the increases in the minimum wage at a faster pace than the market would sometimes bear, especially since the minimum wage is usually applied as a blanket rule rather than being tailored to a specific environment.
If the employer would look at wages as in individual investment in a specific person, based exclusively on their contribution to the profitability, they would be able to more easily see that the more they invested in a productive person the more they would profit, and the more they invested in a non-productive person, the more they would lose. Whenever everyone in the employ of a company is paid at the same rate in perpetuity without real possibility in greater reward for greater profitability, the company is enticed to look at all employees equally due to the fact that on paper they are all an equal expense. Likewise, the employees are subtly discouraged from putting forth extra effort, as there is no tangible reward. There will always be a few who exhibit enough pride and self-esteem to do their best in spite of this, but for the most part, the employee will work no harder than anyone else, because for them it is not personally worth the extra expense of effort for no apparent reward. This leads the company into the realm of the lowest common denominator, and prevents the company from succeeding solely on its own merits, causing a reliance on market demand to keep the doors open, and when demand wanes, these companies usually fail or are forced to significantly downsize. It also leads to the employment of a cross section of all who are available in the work force, rather than being able to draw the very best exclusively by having a higher pay scale than the average company in the same market. This leads into further mediocrity cause by having an adequate set of employees instead of an excellent one.
There is no easy solution, as the minimum wages skews the market and limits the flexibility of employers to have a large enough wage spread to provide real and obvious incentive with which to reward the best workers, but to start the process employees need to be viewed as investments which are either profitable or not rather than as a piece of a large labor cost analysis.

Marriage

     The current debate on marriage, I feel, has been insidiously derailed into a debate on the means by which the federal government will be allowed to further intrude into our personal lives. What is my basis for this statement? The vast majority of people seem to fall into one of two camps. Either they support the government mandating that marriage be allowed for all, regardless of sex, or that the government mandate that marriage be restricted to being between one man and one woman. There is, however, a serious fallacy with both of these arguments. They both require assignment to the government the authority to regulate the personal affairs of individuals, without regard to whether those affairs infringe upon a third parties rights. The idea that a child is a third party whose rights are being infringed upon is brought up frequently, but that is really a separate discussion, and should be debated as its own topic.
     Whichever one of the two most popular positions you take, I ask you to point out the part of the U.S. Constitution which assigns the federal government the authority to regulate marriage at all. Yes, there is a case for the requirement that the states recognize and respect each other”s laws, but does this really mean that the federal government has the constitution authority to create a law superseding state laws, or that the federal government simply has the authority to require the states to recognize each other’s laws? I answer simply that if the federal government is allowed the ability to override state laws in one area not specifically assigned it by the Constitution, by inference it is given authority in all areas, thereby eliminating the concept of state sovereignty which is so vital for the success of a constitutional republic such as ours. The solution is to assign the authority to regulate or not to regulate marriage to the individual states where it was intended to be. Here I must answer the question of individuals moving from one state to another. The answer is obvious. While you are a resident of a state where your marriage is accepted as a legal contract, all other states must recognize that. If, however, you become a resident of a different state in which that contract is no longer valid, it is not that state’s responsibility to change their laws to recognize your desires, it is your responsibility to either abide by that state’s laws, even if it means renewing your marriage contract under their requirements, or to choose not to move there if you find their laws unacceptable to your desires. If the laws in that state do need to be changed, they must be changed in the proper format, as defined by that particular state’s constitution, and by the will of that state’s citizens, not by federal mandate from above where the citizens of that particular state have minimal say.
   
   

Is History Repeating itself?

     Back in the 16th century, Europeans “discovered” North America. They soon realized that it was a large territory full of resources which they could use to further their power, wealth, and authority. Unfortunately for them, it was already populated by the Native Americans. They at first tried to civilize these “heathens” with religion and goods, and this worked in some areas. Their next step was to conquer them by force, then enslave them both directly and by removing them to unproductive areas with the promise that if they complied, they would be taken care of. In the cases where neither of these solutions worked, they resorted to genocide. All that is left now is a small remnant of the once numerous Indian Nations.
     Starting in the 19th century, European idealists and their allies in North America saw the same place as an extremely desireable place to spread their central government systems, but this time for two reasons. The first was the same, the quest for power, wealth, and authority. The second made their goal more urgent. The citizens of the United States were among the freest in the world, and the Constitution at that time sufficiently restrained the government to hopefully keep it that way, and improve their situation even more. Since the United States had demonstrated that it could not easily be defeated by force of arms, the whole system had to be subverted to remove it as an example of a government that worked without full central control. This was the birth of the Progressive Era. For over a hundred years those who believe in a strong central authoritarian government have been trying to “educate” us in its benefits, then they, as they gained power, began to slowly remove our liberties a little at a time “for the good of us all” so as to gradually enslave us. The next step was to begin to give us “stuff” so we would be adequately taken care of. Starting to feel like the reservation yet? It gets better. When eventually enough people learned to depend on them that they felt ensured of remaining in power, They began to take “stuff” away from us and to curtail our private activities, again for our own good. They seek to make themselves look like heros, don’t they? My question in all of this is, “When will we become so dependant, and our liberties so scarce, that they begin the final phase of genocide to get us out of their way, or have they already started it?”
     You can disagree with me on their endgame if you like, but the parallels are uncanny