The world’s (and history’s) biggest monopoly

By Nathan Barton

Just a short posting to share something neat!

Over at the Garrison Center, Tom Knapp has a winning commentary. Not only does he offer a contrarian view of Senator Elizabeth Warren (“Fauxahontas” to many people), but he also points out that the world’s biggest monopoly is one that he hopes Warren (and many others) will seek to bust.

The FedGov.

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Revealing their secrets?

By Nathan Barton

Democrat congresscritturs’ “signature legislation” is intended to take away free speech rights of Americans

As reported by the Washington Examiner, HR-1, the “For the People” Act is very likely the major attack on freedom of expression launched in the Fifty States in a generation. Not only that, the Act, if passed (highly unlikely in this Congress) would cost more than 250 billion dollars. A quarter trillion bucks stolen from taxpayers now and in the future.

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Update – South Dakota civics test fails

By Nathan Barton

A quick follow-up on the South Dakota bill that would have required home-schoolers to pass a state-mandated (and -written) test on civics in order to get a valid high school diploma.

It has (for now, at least) failed.

After the requirement for homeschoolers was removed in committee, the entire section was “hoghoused” back into the bill.  However, in two floor votes, the homeschool language was then removed, and ultimately, the entire bill died.  The State of South Dakota will NOT require a civics test to graduate from high school from anyone: public, charter, private, or home.

The vote was an interesting one.  South Dakota has 35 senators, 30 Republicans and 5 Democrats.  The bill died 13 to 21, and as far as I can tell, all Democrats voted for it. So that means that there were 8 GOP types who supported an unfunded mandate and micromanaging piece of legislation.

The history of the bill is also interesting that it was introduced at the request of the governor. The GOP governor.

Which may explain why 8 GOP votes continued to support this: clinging to their vows of support for Governor Noem.  And because requiring things like this are typical of conservatives.

I do not condemn the idea of teaching civics and having tests of knowledge of civics.  It is an important part of life and therefore should be taught.  But having state government (or federal, or tribal, or local) dictate that to homeschoolers and private school students is a bad idea and should NOT be any part of government power.

I taught my own sons the subject of “civics” (or as we called it, “civil affairs” and “constitutional government”).  And will no doubt (Lord willing) teach my grandchildren that as well.  Just as my own father taught me the basics of civics (he called it “social studies”) when I was growing up.

And it is clear, in reading and hearing what goes on in the Fifty States today, that there is a great need to teach young people about government. But the LAST people we want either teaching civics or dictating the content of those studies and tests, are the bureaucrats and politicians of government. Resources? yes.  But NOT in charge or with influence.

 

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Sharing the blame and the shame

By Nathan Barton

We just can’t depend on government to do things right.

See the source image

Lovers of liberty are not the only people who embarrass themselves with what they say. (See my last commentary on JPFO, Hawai’i, and Levi Strauss.)

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Pushing the panic button

By Nathan Barton

See the source image

There are, I will admit, constant threats to our God-given liberties right here in the Fifty States.  Clearly, the gulf between lovers of liberty and those who fight against freedom is growing. This is certainly the case on the extremes of the two sides that statists divide themselves into: Regressive (better known as liberals or progressives) and Conservative (both paleo- and neo-cons).

While these threats are real and continuous, too often the response to them is a poor one. Bloggers and organizational websites over-react to many comments by politicians and political and legislative acts that are tentative and highly unlikely to go anywhere. (In other words, they act just like their opponents and politicians!)

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Commenting on Quotes – Ingersoll

By Nathan Barton

A while back, Liberty Tree posted this quote from the great Robert Ingersoll.

“Every crime is born of necessity.  If you want less crime, you must change the conditions.  Poverty makes crime.  Want, rags, crusts, misfortune – all these awake the wild beast in man, and finally he takes, and takes contrary to law, and becomes a criminal.  And what do you do with him?  You punish him.  Why not punish a man for having consumption?  The time will come when you will see that that is just as logical.  What do you do with the criminal?  You send him to the penitentiary.  Is he made better?  Worse.  The first thing you do is to try to trample out his manhood, by putting an indignity upon him.  You mark him.  You put him in stripes.  At night you put him in darkness.  His feeling for revenge grows.  You make a wild beast of him, and he comes out of that place branded in body and soul, and then you won’t let him reform if he wants to.”

While much of what Mr. Ingersoll preached (yes, even he called it a sermon) in 1886 is correct, he still reflected his background and understanding as a lawyer, politician, and the understanding of the times. Nevertheless, we could probably consider him to be an advocate of self-government, and at least a minarchist.

I think his points are worth pondering for lovers of liberty. Consider:

 

First, he is correct in much of crime – and especially in the 1800s before we entered into the modern Age of Plenty here in the Fifty States (and much of the world). Much crime IS born of necessity: poverty often does make crime.

But there are two points that we must consider.  First, not ALL poverty, not ALL necessity, leads to crime.  People who are taught correctly, who know that aggression is wrong – and that includes theft and conning people – do not commit crimes, for the most part.

I am not saying that poverty cannot lead to crime.  The man whose children are starving will steal that loaf of bread, if there is no other alternative.  Just as people who are taught correctly will do something criminal, losing their temper or in frustration, or faced with a temptation they do not resist.  But overall, poverty does NOT issue a “go straight to jail” card.

So what does lead to crime?  One concept is the confusion between “want” and “need.”  The modern American underclass is wealthy beyond understanding when compared to their counterparts in the 19th Century, to say nothing of earlier centuries.  First Century Syrians or Tenth Century Anglo-Saxons would have boggled at the idea that “poor people” would be overweight, have personal transportation, and enjoy all the benefits of television and radio broadcasting and cellular phones.

Another is the idea that we as individuals or families or groups have a “right” to a certain socio-economic status or standard of living.  This is closely related to “want” versus “need.”

Yet another is the idea that not all humans are “people,” and that we (and our families, associates, etc.) are superior to other humans and groups, and therefore have a “right” to demand whatever we want from the inferior humans around us.  (This is sometimes called tribalism.)

These things lead to crime.  Including the crime of tyranny. So, we see how tyranny and other crimes come about. If someone stop believing (or never believed) in the intrinsic worth of each and every individual, then it is easy to decide that those “non-people” with less worth can be owned (more or less) by others – by “real people.” This results, inevitably, to a lack of personal responsibility (on the part of both “owners” and the “owned”). Which in turn excuses and demands tyranny, as well as all sorts of crimes against persons and property. Even if they are no longer recognized as crimes by the decayed society.

The solution to crime is NOT ending of poverty, but rather, the teaching of personal responsibility for our actions. And that is an essential part of teaching and living liberty for all people.

Even then, it won’t be perfect: there will still be those who try to be parasites and prey on others: commit crimes against others.

But nothing else works, either. And liberty has a great many more benefits than any other methods.  Especially the welfare state and the police state (often one and the same).

Liberty is best, and God’s greatest gift to man other than His Son (in Whom we HAVE liberty). Even if Mr. Ingersoll would not agree! <grin>

 

 

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Consistency is a rare jewel

By Nathan Barton

For me, integrity is the consistency of words and actions. Part of the way that you do that is to ask people questions on some of the most difficult issues that you confront. ‘Take me through where you felt you had to compromise your values.’ Kenneth Chenault

The Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) is one of the good guys.  Although not truly libertarian, they nevertheless come close in many areas.  As their name states, they legally defend home-schooling parents against government tyranny.  Especially the petty bureaucratic mindset of too many educrats: public school administrators and faculty.  And the inflated egos and stupidity of too many public school boards and their members.

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