Writing about liberty… and other thoughts

My apologies to readers – posting of commentaries has been pretty uneven here recently. A combination of press of work for clients and travel and similar fun (or not so fun) things.

But it brings up an interesting thought – not just about liberty but about creativity. One of the best thing about having liberty, having freedom is NOT just Eric Frank Russell’s famous “Freedom=I won’t.” Important as that concept is, freedom and liberty mean that we CAN do the things that benefit us. Benefit us and our family and our community and more: not just physically and financially but emotionally and morally. (As long as we understand that MY liberty stops where YOUR nose begins.)

Refusing to do something that is forced or mandated is important. But more important? Jefferson called it “pursuit of happiness.” Doing what we want to, to benefit ourselves and others voluntarily.

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National parks – strike a blow against racism?

Politically, when one faction (or party) gains massive power and control – when they have defeated their political enemies and reign supreme – the faction starts to fracture internally. They turn on their own comrades. Often, they treat one other worse than they treated their enemies.

Consider the so-called left here in the Fifty States. These transnational “progressive” enemies of liberty are in the ascendant right now. Their “enemies” (themselves just another faction of anti-liberty statists that split from the so-called left a long time ago) are almost crushed. At least in their eyes. Trump is gone and subject to more and more action to stay gone. The GOP is in the minority in the House, and losing power in the Senate. The deep-state allies of the regressive tranzis are back in full control of the apparatus of government. Although many of the States are still in GOP hands – even if “liberal” by standards of just a quarter-century ago – the major cities are firmly in Tranzi hands.

As a correspondent noted, “We’ve reached peak woke.”

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Power corrupts and …

Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely.

Let’s look at one of the latest poster-children for this saying. But first, consider the saying itself.

Our readers are certainly familiar with this famous statement and fundamental principle as stated by John Dalberg, Lord Acton. This was actually, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men…”, which he made in a letter to an Anglican bishop in 1887.

It was, I am sure, intended as an observation and NOT instructions. Despite the fact that myriad generations of politicians, warlords, conquerors, monarchs, and bosses treat it as a command.

Consider both Parliament, with its totally worthless House of Lords and its completely toothless Executive (who does have our sympathies on the loss of her husband). The power of the House of Commons has truly assumed near-absolute power in so many areas of British life that it comes as no surprise to see its growing corruption.

But the real poster child (or children!) is the United States Congress. Both houses have demonstrated that the power they have assumed (even with what the Congress has frittered away to the President, his bureaucrats, and the courts) has resulted more and more in greater and greater corruption.

So, today, consider one member of that corrupt and corrupting body. Courtesy of a correspondent: Elizabeth Warren says Senators should be too powerful to heckle as she fusses with Amazon.

Her arrogance and corruption are on full display, as the Senator and Amazon spatted on Twitter about taxation.

Amazon claimed (correctly) that Warren is one of the people who writes the tax code. The company, itself both powerful and corrupt, stated that it follows the rules to perfectly legally minimize their tax bill.

Elizabeth Warren replied: “I didn’t write the loopholes you exploit, @amazon – your armies of lawyers and lobbyists did. But you bet I’ll fight to make you pay your fair share. And fight your union-busting. And fight to break up Big Tech so you’re not powerful enough to heckle senators with snotty tweets.” [emphasis mine]

Is this not so typical and funny? First, Warren started the fuss. And I think that Amazon only responded, respectfully, with facts and common sense.

But to Warren this is heckling, snotty, and shouldn’t be allowed. In this, she is far from alone, either in the Senate AND the House. McConnell, Schumer, Pelosi, and dozens more are not only more and more powerful each year, more and more corrupt each year. They also have more and more shills doing their work for them. And then, of course, like Warren, they blame the shills for what Congress told them to do.

As my correspondent noted, there is great irony in that the entire exchange took place on platform built by… a Big Tech company. My oh my. So Fauxahanus-Beth wants to break these big companies up, and at the same time, suck them dry in taxes, fees, and regulatory cost. Yet, she can’t bring herself to stop using their services.

Maybe. Wanna bet she’s an Amazon Prime member too…

Click here to read the Tweet.

Of course, this is far from the only example of how government more and more not only exercises its power, but treats American people and business with contempt, distain, and lies.

Power does indeed corrupt, and the more absolute the power, the greater the corruption. And the greater the evil.

It is past time to take this power away from them: not by getting Warren and her ilk out of office, but by taking the power away from ALL of Congress, and the FedGov (and State and local governments) in general.

Footnote: John Emerich Edward Dalberg-Acton, 1st Baron Acton, 13th Marquess of Groppoli, better known as Lord Acton, was an English Catholic historian, politician, and writer.

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What are people scared of? (Guest column)

This was the question a friend asked a correspondent of ours, a few days ago: ‘Why are people scared to the point where they are buying up all the guns and ammo in the USA?

Marty Bugg’s reply is worth sharing…

As someone who sells guns for a living I get to ask them why they’re buying, what the gun will be used for and a lot more as part of the selling process. With very rare exception, everyone says, for self defense. Most follow with something to the effect “things keep getting worse”, “I never expected things to get this bad” or “have you seen all the crazy things happening?” I can tell you that a major proportion of them say they’re buying a gun for the first time. Many say “I never thought I’d ever buy a gun”.

Not many go into specifics on any single thing but we’ve all seen the deterioration of respect for law enforcement. We’ve all seen the political divide deepen and become heated and tribal. We’ve all seen a deterioration in civility, first online, then spill into the public square. We watched riots as cities burned. Blocks of major cities have been taken over and named while they are declared no go zones fore police. We’ve seen businesses shut down, jobs evaporate, the economy crushed.

At the same time militant groups like Antifa and BLM have risen. While our media declares violence “mostly peaceful” as buildings burn and looters scurry about behind the reporters, visible to the cameras. Then we see a rise of militants on the other side with names like Proud Boys and QAnon. We even have politicians fanning the flames with vitriolic language. Who ever thought we’d hear a congresswoman say things like this?

Did anyone doubt gun and ammo sales would explode when there are calls for defunding and disbanding police across the nation as we watched nightly arson, looting and riots? We can’t even agree on the right of folks to defend themselves. As the McCloskey’s watched a large mob destroy the gate to their neighborhood and enter their yard threatening their safety, they armed themselves and they were charged with crimes, the public divided over the issue.

The same happened when Kyle Rittenhouse went to Kenosha during the riots with his med kit and rifle to help local business owners protect their property and to render aid if needed. As he was chased down he did defend himself. It turns out all three men shot had criminal records and at least one was armed and pointing a handgun at him as he fired. Another assaulted him, striking him in the head with a skateboard but only Kyle was charged. Not the man with the gun in hand or anyone in the crowd chasing him.

After nearly a year of the violence being heavily one sided and the media covering it as cheerleaders for those committing the violence, a few on the other side decided to to step up their anger to the next level as well. We saw on Jan 6th the first example of what we all knew would happen, eventually. Some protestors on the other side erupted into violence of their own. No shots were fired on the side of those who breeched the Capitol but a shot did ring out and took the life of one of those engaged in what was a riot of their own.

The media silent on arson, looting and riots finally found their voices. The police were now heroes and the mob was now the villains. Fences and National Guard were now needed although we were told both were oppressive and tools of fascists from mid March until Jan 5th. The script was flipped. January was the highest month fo gun sales ever in US history as a result. The entire year of 2020 was already unprecedented but now it went off the charts. Over 4.3 million background checks in a single month. The record had been over 3 million prior to 2020 and only one month ever hit that number. During 2020, eight months exceed 3M.

Its obvious COVID wasn’t the only thing very different and alarming about the past year. It was and is a tragic pandemic. But it was also an opportunity. An opportunity for those who wanted more power and control over a population by government. It was an opportunity for an agenda to finally succeed. We’ve heard the words “never let a crisis go to waste” before many times. This time they didn’t. They escalated the rhetoric of of identity politics. They used the crisis to change election laws and processes. They demonized anyone opposed to their message. They unified a party with media, radical groups and even tech giants and corporate sponsors. 2021 promises to be another chapter in the fight. We’ll see if they have gone too far and we’ll see pushback or if they succeed in delivering on their stated goal of “fundamentally changing America”.

Those now in power promise to bring gun control. That means the gun and ammo sales will likely remain very high for a very long time. Will they succeed in disarming Americans? That remains to be seen but Americans are pushing back with their purchases despite economic conditions. There is open chatter about civil war and secession brewing. On the other side there is chatter about changing the Supreme Court, the electoral College and more. Border security rules and immigration policy is already changed with the stroke of a pen. A record number of Executive Orders have already been issued. An agenda is under way and there are very few impediments to it now. America is a very different nation than it was a year ago today. What will it look like over the next 2–4 years? We’ll see.

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A quick look at the LP 2021

Whatever happened to the Libertarian Party?

Does anyone remember “The Party of Principle” and a group of people who were willing to endure being abused in the political process in order to face down the “Omnipotent State?”

Now, the Nevada Libertarian Party has endorsed “free-market” COVID-19 vaccination passports. Bizarre, at first glance. They have publicly announced that they (the leadership, at least) have NO PROBLEM with private businesses requiring vaccine passports. Provided the passports are issued by a PRIVATE organization, and have blockchain or other encryption to “protect privacy.”

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Cities and their suicide: the example of New York

It is sometimes said that cities do not die natural deaths.  Rather, they commit suicide.  They fail to maintain essential infrastructure, like letting their harbors and channels silt up. Or accept things like lead and sewage in their water supply, or overloading it.  Or failing to defend themselves sufficiently against the barbarian, savage invaders and destroyers. Or they fail to keep up with technology or prevent the destruction of their immediate environment, or take proper action against truly nasty diseases and epidemics. (The Black Death kind, NOT the Coronavirus type.)

Or… Some cities destroy themselves through their arrogance and abuse of their hinterlands and other cities – or even of their own people.

And some cities destroy themselves through excessive, crushing regulations and taxation.

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Fool me once…

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me XX times?

Cartoon Hand Drawn Bacteria Virus Little Monster, Hand ...

I was reminded of that old saying when I again saw this headline: “Top epidemiologist on Covid surge: “Get ready… We are walking into the mouth of this virus monster.”

Gaggh!

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More internal conflicts and rebellion

With the Biden regime now “firmly” in control – in just 60+ days of “unrivaled success” the Fifty States are rapidly moving into a utopian situation. No? The future is bright! Uncle Joe is in command, backed up by his very own Rasputin. Yeah!

Except…

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Drought, wildfire and the American dream

Drought and wildfires are constantly with us. This summer and fall are expected to be particularly bad for both according to many forecasters and predictions. Some areas are hard hit, and some have been very bad in the past. Now, Spring of 2021, fire season is already upon us here in the Black Hills and elsewhere.

Except for California, the country was actually doing much better than usual – 2019 and 2020 were relatively quiet fire seasons in the Great Plains and Rockies. This is perhaps largely because of the very wet winter of 2018-2019. Although drought has returned to the Four Corners and much of the Southern Rockies and Southern Plains, conditions were much better than the past five-ten years. That is changed in 2021, as a huge chunk of territory is at the highest (worse) rating: not severe but EXCEPTIONAL drought. This is the “Drought Monitor” showing what parts of the country have drought conditions. The darker the color, the worse the drought.

Looks pretty ghastly, doesn’t it? Nearly 2/3 of the Forty-Eight States are in some stage of drought, from “Abnormally Dry” (bright yellow) through “Exceptional drought” (dark red/black) both S – short-term and L – long-term. Even usually wet areas (with 30, 40, 50 inches of precip a year normally) are suffering this Spring. Summer will likely be worse. Much worse.

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Why do we call people thugs?

Is our language too harsh when we write of government, multinationals, and other entities and the people who control them? I try, even more than Mama Liberty did, to avoid vulgarities and profane language. But I know I come across very harsh oft times. One of those harsh terms is “thug.”

Recently, several readers have asked why I use this term.

The dictionary tells us that THUG – “a violent person, especially a criminal.  Synonyms: ruffian, hoodlum, bully boy, bully, bandit, mugger, gangster, terrorist. historically a member of a religious organization (cult) of robbers and assassins in India. (“thugee”)

New World Dictionary
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