More on liberty and authority

By Nathan Barton

The vast gulf between libertarians (lovers of liberty – NOT members of a Libertarian Party) and Authoritarians, or Controllers, applies to more than just the State, governments, and politics.

We find it in society, in the market (the economy), and in religion. I’ve considered society and economy in the past. Now let us look at religion, not just in the Fifty States but worldwide. The dominant religion is that broad grouping “Christianity,” having 1/3 of all humans. (Islam is a distant 2nd (21%) and non-religious (including atheists) are 14%.)

In Christianity, we find the Controllers many places. For example, the total depravity of humans is a key element in Calvinism – one of the largest branches of Protestantism.  Indeed, the Calvinist goes so far as to say that free will is denied to men by God – that He compels some of us to believe in Him and to do His will in all things. So depraved humans must be controlled in every way humanly possible.

Continue reading

Posted in Nathan's Rants | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The state’s cannabis racket continues

By Nathan Barton

As I mentioned, there are a lot of people who still cannot accept the legalization of marijuana.

They can’t stand the idea of someone walking down the street and walking into a shop that sells medical OR recreational cannabis – or even something made out of hemp because it might have some infinitesimal trace of THC in it.  They search for excuses and reasons to get voters to repudiate the passage of laws (or even constitutional amendments) to legalize drugs.

They seek to continue to exploit the power of the state (government) to push their cause.

Continue reading

Posted in Nathan's Rants | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The state’s cannabis racket

By Nathan Barton

With yet another state legalizing cannabis for recreation as well as medicine, the inevitable backlash is gathering momentum. There are, sadly, people who still want the state’s racket, the war on drugs or something else, to continue.

Continue reading

Posted in Nathan's Rants | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

It’s about the children – get rid of gravel trucks!

By Nathan Barton

As part of my environmental work, I subscribe to Aggregates Manager, whose daily newsletter carried an article this morning about a fatality in Texas. A gravel truck tee-boned a vehicle with four people, injuring three and killing outright a 13-year-old girl.

Above is the accident scene, from Google (the yellow line gives that away).  The 35-year-old truck driver was not harmed (of course).  Aggregates Manager claims the investigation is on-going but that someone must have run a traffic light.

But that means that they are ignoring the real cause: the American addiction to “build-build-build” that requires millions and millions of tons of gravel (and just as bad, sand and crushed rock and concrete and asphalt) be hauled on the same roads and highways as our precious children. Usually in huge, multi-unit trucks.  These trucks carry 30,000 to 50,000 to 90,000 pounds of rock at a time, hurtling down our highways barely under control of the truck drivers.  They use 10- to 18- (or more) wheels to drive down the roads on: huge whiles, with tires 18, 20, even 25 inches in diameter and often a foot wide or more!

Have you ever seen what a SmartCar or a Kia looks like after it has been driven over by 5 to 9 tires supporting those huge quantities of rock? Tires not much smaller than the eco-friendly little cars that they can compact down to only a few inches high, little different than the road-killed deer and cattle that these monster trucks also kill with abandon on our highways?

Worse, the gravel and such they haul is a non-sustainable resource, produced by raping the earth: stripping it of its soil and then penetrating it with other huge machines: even shafting it and pushing explosives in and blowing them (and the earth) up with abandon.  And this material is consumed as it is used and not replaceable except by going out and stripping and destroying still more land. (Yes, a tiny bit is “recycled” but that is mostly sham recycling, since the material “recycled” is just used to build more roads and buildings and such.)

And governments DO recognize this is dangerous and a threat to public safety.  For example, they don’t allow anyone under the age of 21 to drive these things. And require special licensing, limit how many hours they can drive a day and week, and have many other rules.  But still, children get killed.

Folks, this is just wrong.  Nobody – absolutely NObody – should need more than a couple thousand pounds of rock or sand at a time, enough to build a wheelchair ramp or a back porch for granny.  And nobody should need to deliver that material (if they really need it) tens of thousands of pounds at a time.  We need some common sense laws to control this menace.  It isn’t just children that are killed by mining and hauling this fossil resource: every year as many as twenty miners die and hundreds or thousands more or injured.  Accidents between these huge trucks and smaller, vulnerable vehicles carrying children, mothers, fathers and pets are a daily occurrence.

Where are our priorities? Building new roads and buildings to generate profit for big capitalists and corporations? Or protecting our children and families?

So it is proposed:

  • Get rid of high-capacity trucks: limit loads to 2,000 pounds of sand or gravel: nothing bigger than a RAM 2500 or so. (And NO trailers: those things assault the senses and damage roads and slow traffic.)
  • Expand the licensing system for drivers of even the smaller vehicles: require them all to get a Commercial Drivers License, even to drive a 1/4-ton or 1/2-ton truck.  Safety cannot be ignored.  And require annual retraining of all of these drivers, and testing to ensure that they are still competent.
  • Limit speeds of these vehicles to something a little bit safer.  Perhaps 25 miles per hour is going to be a reasonable compromise.
  • Prohibit even deliveries of 2,000 pounds within 1/2 mile of schools, churches, playgrounds, day-care centers, and all McDonalds with Playplaces – anywhere children are likely to be present. Of course, exceptions could be allowed, provided they had police cars escorting them and a minimum one-week advance notice for planning. Or alternatively, require that only government-owned and -operated trucks be allowed in those areas, with government employees at the wheel.
  • Remove all references – especially pictures – in school textbooks about sand and gravel mining, trucking, truck driving, and related activities and jobs.

I realize this would cost billions, but what is this poor 13-year-old girl’s life worth? And those of dozens of other children each year? Supposedly, there are many benefits of having these monsters on the same roads as our children, day in and day out, all hours, carrying billions of pounds of rock and sand all over the nation, but can any of these really compare to saving a single child’s life?

(Yes, folks, I’m trying to be satirical.)

Posted in Commentary on the News | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Interrupted publication – Happy Hanukkah!

By Nathan Barton

A belated Hanukkah greeting to all.  Although a Jewist feast and holiday, the Festival of Lights is a reminder to ALL of us, that even when liberty and freedom are lost, they CAN be regained. But always at great cost.

Han candles

On a historical note, it is of interest that the Seven Lamp sigil was far more common a symbol of Israel as a people and nation, for centuries, than the now-common Star of David.  Although the events of the Rededication of the Temple in 165 BC were centuries after the reign of David, the Seven Lamps are a far better representation of both nationhood and liberty than the Star. Although David’s reign was relatively benign (following as it did the reign of Saul), it is still a consequence of the people of Israel (the Hebrews) rejecting the liberty given to them by God. They wanted to “become like all the nations around us,” and have a king (other than God). Despite God warning them through the prophet Samuel, the people chose servitude and “security.”

Can we learn from them? I pray so.

Also my apologies.

Work and family events caused a brief and unplanned delay in publishing The Price of Liberty for several weeks, as Debby and I worked 18- to 20-hour days (and long drives) to make major changes to our lives. I started a half-dozen commentaries but did not get any finished and posted.

We hope that matters will now return to normal, as resume writing about liberty and current events.  We are sorry that we’ve not gotten things out promptly: especially to people who post comments to commentary here.

We hope that everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and are looking forward to a great Christmas/Holiday period, as we are well into Hanukkah.

Posted in Nathan's Rants | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Bush 41 – now history

By Nathan Barton

For the next twenty-five days, the flags of the Fifty States will fly at half-staff, for yet another fallen leader and veteran. With the huge state funeral coming on Wednesday the 5th, we will again hear all the usual words and sayings and honors.

But we should look for more.

Continue reading

Posted in Commentary on the News, Nathan's Rants | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Government complexity and failure – illustrated in blood

By Nathan Barton

On Saturday the 10th, tragedy struck Moab, Utah.

Intrepid PotashAt the Intrepid Potash Mine (seen above, from Google Maps), down the Colorado River from the popular tourist town, three men were removing a pump. The equipment touched a sagging overhead live powerline.  Instantly, two men died, electrocuted.  The third jumped out of the equipment he was operating, to try to assist them.  His legs and an arm were blown off by the electrical current jumping through his body.  He died in a Salt Lake City Hospital two days later.  (If he had stayed in the vehicle, he would have lived.)

Continue reading

Posted in Commentary on the News, Nathan's Rants | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment