GOA vs ACLU

gun rights, rights
golden gun

The best gun is the one you have with you.

I saw that the ACLU is suing South Dakota to allow an immigrant to have a concealed carry permit.  Even more strange was that GOA was opposing the suit.  So I asked GOA about it:

Me: “What’s the deal with Wayne Smith?  More private gun owners is good thing, right?”

Some GOA grunt:

“Constitutional rights belong only to citizens.  The ACLU’s logic can lead to tearing down our border – that there are no rights unique to American citizenship, so, hey, let everyone come in.  That same logic allows the state to take away the right to keep and bear arms of a citizen.  We have argued in court that only a citizen can lose his right to keep and bear arms by renouncing his citizenship.  The current view that citizenship is no big deal has led to a progressive encirclement of the exercise of our rights. We gave gone from denying the right to keep and bear arms to felons, then to those with misdemeanors, now to those with certain medical diagnoses (and that without any due process).

“We must make the distinction between citizens and others.

“The American constitutional order is one of rights for citizens.    Any enjoyment of those rights by non-citizens is a privilege in constitutional terms.  The ACLU, as usual, is wrong in this case.  It is for the state of South Dakota to determine whether legal non-citizens have the right to keep and bear arms.  I don’t agree with their new policy, but constitutionally, they are within their power to so act.

“I have forwarded your comments to my supervisor.”

Me: …

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Specter of Monopoly

government

the free market lets you choose any pepper you want, or not to buy a pepper at all

Whenever anyone says anything bad about the free market, it is generally a misplaced critique of government.  Whenever someone says something good about the government, it is usually a misdirected praise of the free market.

For example, democracy is often praised as a way for people to get what they want.  Yet, by definition, those who are not in the majority do not get what they want.  Even those in the majority often do not get everything they want, but merely their preference between two unsavory options.

In contrast, the market gives everyone exactly what they want.  You don’t have to choose between a pickle flavored yogurt and sauerkraut bubble gum.  You can choose not to buy either.

A common objection to freedom is that if everyone were allowed to buy and sell whatever they wanted, one person could buy all of the water, and then everyone would be at that person’s mercy.  It is truly a horrifying thought, that someone might have that much power over you.

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The Ridiculous Rahn Curve

economics, taxes

The Rahn Curve indicates two things.  The first is that there exists a single, optimal level of taxation for maximizing economic productivity.   The second is that this maximum is somewhere between 15-25% of GDP.

The first statement is true.  The second is not.

Here is the Rhan Curve:

Notice the pathetic nature of this graph. No grid, no units and no endpoints. It gives us little information but implies a lot.   It implies that GDP can only grow, not shrink.  It implies that what lies outside of the narrow (?) range covered by the graph is unimportant — nothing to see here citizen.  Let’s improve the graph a little:

Here we show that GDP could rise or fall, and some potential values for the curve near 0% and 100% taxation.

I’ve drawn three potential extensions of the Rhan curve.

If the red extension were correct, then without government (0% government spending), then the economy would collapse (presumably due to lack of police services).  On the other hand, giving government total control of the economy would lead to even more impressive GDP growth than the local maximum that was originally marked as optimal.

If the blue curve were correct, then there would not be much to complain about — just that whoever made the original graph was lazy.  One interesting thing about the blue curve is that the economy would remain the same size with either no government or total government.

Finally, if the green curve were correct, then totalitarianism would lead to economic collapse, and anarchy would lead to prosperity.

Of course, drawing lines on the graph does not tell us anything about what is true about the economy.  However, it does help indicate how poorly conceived the Rhan curve is.

In order to maximize economic productivity, there must be every incentive to produce, and little incentive not to produce.  Why do people work?  To get money.  What do taxes do?  Take away their money.  Taxes are clearly a reason to work less.  The higher tax burden is, the less productive people will be.  The lower taxes, the better.  This is not rocket science.  How low can taxes possibly go…?    Zero!

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Social Contract Fallacy

government

Denial is a defense mechanism in which a person is faced with a fact that is too uncomfortable to accept and rejects it instead, insisting that it is not true despite what may be overwhelming evidence.

You are a slave.

If you’ve ever argued with a government apologist, you’ve heard the social contract fallacy.  It says that even though government does evil things like steal your money and kill people, that is okay because everyone agreed to live under the government’s rule.

Of course, there is no explicit contract.  Nobody agrees to give away 50% of their income when they turn 18 either verbally or with a pen.  So, the statists need to fall back on the idea of an implicit contract.  This is the idea that by living in a certain country, you implicitly agree to follow whatever rules the government comes up with.  This argument is easily overcome by pointing out that if you are on land that you own, then nobody has the right to come onto your land and force you to join their “club”.  That is called extortion.  Extortion is what government does.

Predictably, enablers will continue to change their justification.  The will now assert that the government owns all the land in the country.  If you don’t like it, you can leave.  Of course, this argument also runs into trouble

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Sweet

economics, health

Money grows on corn.

The Coca Cola company vowed that they would never change their original cola formula.  Yet, in 1984 they substituted high fructose corn syrup for sugar.   Sugar tastes better than corn syrup, so why the switch?  The government forced them to.

Not directly, of course.  The government simply forced up the price of sugar and pushed down the price of corn syrup.  Then companies like Coca Cola and Pepsi responded.  What’s the proof?  They still use sugar in every other country.

As an aside, let me point out that the government also prevents Coca Cola from putting cocaine in their beverages the way they used to.  People should be free to buy or sell cocaine laced soft drinks if they want to, but that is a matter for another post.

Anyway, it would have been bad enough if the government had simply passed a law forcing companies to use corn syrup instead of sugar.  Instead, they found an even more immoral way to bring about the same effect.  This plan had two parts.  The first part had the following steps:

  1. Take a bunch of money from innocent people.
  2. Keep some of the money.
  3. Give the rest to corn farmers.

The second part had these steps:

  1. Take a bunch of money from innocent people.
  2. Keep some of the money.
  3. Use the rest to suppress foreign sugar competition.

These plans might seem oddly self serving for a public benefit organization like the government.  And they are.

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A Note on Google

privacy

Let me mention two things as background. First, I occasionally do a web search of my own name to see what pops up. Second, I have a private website where I upload files to share with friends. The directory is not secured, so anyone who I send the link to can view all the files and download them, 1990s style.

www.mysite.com/files/videos/

file1.vid
file2.vid

The last time I searched for my name on Google, I noticed that it had found one such directory on my website where I had uploaded some videos. I was surprised because, as far as I know, there was only one place where Google could have found the link to those files: in private emails from my Gmail account.

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Porno-scanners

government

I flew out of Atlanta, Georgia today.  While waiting to go through the TSA checkpoint, I was directed into a special waiting line.  The line was special for two reasons.   The first was that it was about five times longer than the normal lines.  The second was that instead of just having a metal detector at the end, it also had a new millimeter wave body scanner, which is part of the TSA’s Advanced Imaging Technology.

When I had gotten close to the scanners, I saw that a government agent was directing each person to either go through the metal detector or the body scanner.  I loudly asked another TSA agent, the manager, if the second machine was “one of those nudo-scanners”.  It laughed and said that the machine was a “nudo-scanner”.  Then I turned to some teenage girls behind me and asked them if they were going to go through it.  They stared at me blankly.

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Water Fluoridation

government

In the movie Conspiracy Theory Mel Gibson says, “You know what they put in the water, don’t you? Fluoride! Yeah, fluoride. On the pretext that it strengthens your teeth! That’s ridiculous. You know what this stuff does to you? It actually weakens your will, takes away the capacity for free and creative thought and makes you a slave to the state”.  Or take this scene from Dr. Strangelove:

Hang around the freedom movement long enough and you’ll hear someone mention water fluoridation.  This is the controlled addition of fluoride to the water supply.  So, is fluoride really added to the water supply to manipulate the population?  Or is it, as the government says, to promote healthy teeth?

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Top 5 Reasons Government is Responsible for the Gulf Oil Spill

government

BP should be held responsible for all damage that it does to private property.  Government should be held responsible for its contribution to the mess.  Here are some reasons why government shares the blame.

5. Government was in charge of inspecting the oil rig, regulations, safety standards, etc.  In fact, government agents inspected the rig mere hours before it exploded.

4. Government encourages risky behavior by limiting liability.  This is compounded by the fact that the oceans are socialized, leading to the tragedy of the commons.  If people were allowed to own ocean wildlife, they would be able to protect it.

3. Government encourages drilling in deep water.  This is more difficult, which makes spills more likely.  This also makes it much harder to plug any leaks.

2. Government encourages dependence on oil by funneling alternative energy research funds to useless, but politically connected, corn lobby.

1. Government steals half of my money each year, so I can’t afford to help clean up the spill like Kevin Costner.  Okay, maybe that’s a stretch.  But how about this?  The federal government won’t even let the cleaning barges that are on site go into operation.

The Judge explains it all.

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Parent’s License

intervention

A friend of mine said, “It is ridiculous that the government regulates driving, but not having children”.  I agreed with her statement, but not her sentiment.

It makes sense that if driving is licensed, then then having children should also be licensed. So logically the choice comes down to total government or no government.

It’s true that not all parents do a great job, but government hasn’t exactly stamped out automobile accidents either.

You might think that licensing drivers at least gives people an incentive to learn some basic driving skills.  But think about what is required to get a driver’s license.  Not much.  Some very basic driving techniques.  Basically nothing in the way of being responsible.

Now consider a free market system. 

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