Jason Hayes

Libertarian thought, policy, religion, the environment, tech, coffee, and Tabasco – the stuff of life
This is my personal blog - the thoughts and ideas expressed here are posted on my own time and are mine and mine alone.

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Virtues and Vices

Thomas Paine

Thomas Paine (Source: Wikipedia)

 

 

 

 

“Moderation in temper is always a virtue; but moderation in principle, is a species of vice.”

–Thomas Paine, Letter Addressed to the Addressers on the Late Proclamation, 1792

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Liars

Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson (Source: Wikipedia)

 

 

“It is of great importance to set a resolution, not to be shaken, never to tell an untruth. There is no vice so mean, so pitiful, so contemptible; and he who permits himself to tell a lie once, finds it much easier to do it a second and a third time, till at length it becomes habitual; he tells lies without attending to it, and truths without the world’s believing him. This falsehood of the tongue leads to that of the heart, and in time depraves all its good disposition.”

–Thomas Jefferson, letter to Peter Carr, 1785

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Telling ‘Noble Lies’

“In the long run, the climate scare will be revealed as the most expensive hoax in the history of science.”

Tom Harris, ICSC

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Running the next generation into debt

“As parents, we can have no joy, knowing that this government is not sufficiently lasting to ensure any thing which we may bequeath to posterity: And by a plain method of argument, as we are running the next generation into debt, we ought to do the work of it, otherwise we use them meanly and pitifully.”

–Thomas Paine, Common Sense, 1776

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A fighting spirit

How easily we forget that many of our current battles have already been fought. So many of our current questions have already been answered.

Rose Wilder Lane

Rose Wlider Lane (Source: Ludwig von Mises Institute)

 

 

“It was the Americans who lived and kept their fighting spirit through the hard and bitter times that followed every surge of prosperity, it was men and women who cared enough for their own personal freedom to take the risks of self-reliance and starve if they could not feed themselves, who created our country, the free country, the richest and the happiest country in the world.”
– Rose Wilder Lane

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Quite simply, we’re going broke

This Heritage Foundation article quite rightly describes the following statement as a “sobering” thought.

The federal government could cease all other operations (other than major entitlements), including its core constitutional duty to provide for the national defense, and would still end up in a fiscal hole within a generation.

They also provided the following graphic, which describes how each dollar is spent.

Heritage Foundation - Where did your tax dollar go?

Heritage Foundation – Where did your tax dollar go?

Our never-ending expansion of entitlement programs is crushing our ability to pay for what most Americans consider basic functions of government. It is clearly time for a serious overhaul and a rethinking (by people) of what one can reasonably expect government to provide, but I doubt that the country has the will to do anything serious about this situation.

It seems far more likely that our government will entertain (and eventually implement) programs like confiscating the retirement savings of citizens to “spread the wealth around” before they seriously consider cutting spending. A good example of this is the fact that, in the face of our crushing debt, and the sure knowledge that costs would skyrocket, we have gone ahead with a multi-trillion dollar expansion of public health care costs. We’ve almost doubled our debt in the past 5 years and we’re forging ahead with our tax and spend ways.

The truly unfortunate fact is that we still have an opportunity to stop this train before it reaches the cliff and we are forced to endure a far more wrenching and destructive correction. However, I can’t see that anyone in DC has the stomach for even slowing spending to kick the crash down the road a bit further.

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Starting a winning game

Daring ideas are like chessmen moved forward; they may be beaten, but they may start a winning game.

– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
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The Power to Tax

Justice John Marshall

Justice John Marshall (Source: The Supreme Court Historical Society)

 

 

 

“An unlimited power to tax involves, necessarily, a power to destroy; because there is a limit beyond which no institution and no property can bear taxation.”

–John Marshall, McCullough v. Maryland, 1819

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Safety vs. Liberty

“They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

–Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1795

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Honors and virtues

Justice James Wilson

Justice James Wilson (Source: Wikipedia)

 

“Illustrious examples are displayed to our view, that we may imitate as well as admire. Before we can be distinguished by the same honors, we must be distinguished by the same virtues. What are those virtues? They are chiefly the same virtues, which we have already seen to be descriptive of the American character — the love of liberty, and the love of law.”

–James Wilson, Of the Study of the Law in the United States, 1790

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What is “Fair”?

Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell

 

 

 

“Since this is an era when many people are concerned about ‘fairness’ and ‘social justice,’ what is your ‘fair share’ of what someone else has worked for?”

–Thomas Sowell

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Simple Conceptions

Alexis de Tocqueville

Alexis de Tocqueville

 

 

Generally speaking, only simple conceptions can grip the mind of a nation. An idea that is clear and precise even though false will always have greater power in the world than an idea that is true but complex.

– Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America [1835-1840]
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The measure of iniquity is not yet filled

“Our conflict is not likely to cease so soon as every good man would wish. The measure of iniquity is not yet filled; and unless we can return a little more to first principles, and act a little more upon patriotic ground, I do not know when it will…” –George Washington (1779)

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Effort

About the only thing that comes to us without effort is old age.”
– Gloria Pitzer, American writer

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Milking Your Neighbors (part, the second)

I’m not sure why the “you can lower your electricity rates by stealing tax dollars from your neighbors” crowd are coming out of the woodwork all of a sudden, but I had another call from a helpful sales person today.

This fellow was a bit more pugnacious and better prepared than the girl yesterday to defend his role in this scheme. He started off with the same schpeel about how he could help me to qualify for a government-funded program that would help me to lower my electricity rates.

I did not need to ask if this was a government-funded program; he had already clearly stated that it was. So I stopped him mid-sentence and said that I did not support stealing from my neighbors to fund upgrades to my house just to lower my electricity prices.

He only paused for half a second before coming back with,

Whoa, whoa, whoa … STEALING from your neighbors?!?!? What do you mean stealing from your neighbors?

I explained that any government program was funded by tax dollars that were taken from all taxpayers (i.e., my neighbors and me) to pay for this type of handout. I told him that this is exactly what President Obama meant when he said that we should just “spread the wealth around” and I can’t support taking my neighbors money to upgrade my home.

He must have been in the job longer than the previous helpful caller because he didn’t miss a beat. He ignored my primary concern and started to explain that the money was already there and available for people to use.

But the money is already there. You already pay your taxes and every month, when you pay your electricity bill, the environmental fee of $3-$4 is what pays for this program.

I’ll divert my thoughts to address his mindset and characterize it as something that more of us need to stomp out at every opportunity. He is thinking that the government already has this money. It theirs to do with as they see fit. These people don’t realize that the money came from you and me. In his eyes, this is “government money,” so it is only right that he, you, or I should be willing to grab on to it and enrich ourselves.

Instead, what we should all be thinking is that we must stop making use of programs like this and that the government should stop taking this fee from us each month. Instead, we should keep this $3-$4 dollar fee (and countless other fees like it) in our wallets.

We should also stand up and demand that the government cease its  over-regulation of electricity generation and its incessant demands for the use of technologies that have not even been sufficiently tested. As a country, we should push to continue the use of our most abundant domestic energy resources to produce affordable, reliable, and (yes I’ll say it) clean electricity. By doing that, we would effectively remove the “need” for this type of program, which provides corporate welfare for unreliable and overly expensive generation options like solar.

Back to my previous thoughts. After hearing that the government already had the money, so it was OK to grab it for myself, I stopped him again. I said that if I accept his mindset; if I view the money as part of a big government pot, accept the notion that I deserve some portion of that largess, and take part in the program, I am actually perpetuating the “need” for welfare programs like this one.

He was nonplussed. I’m sure that people have said “no” to him for a variety of reasons. They think it’s a scam, they don’t believe him, they don’t have the time, etc. I honestly don’t think that he had ever had anyone tell him that they didn’t want the “free” government money he was dolling out. He kept trying to move forward, reading his canned responses to refusals, but I ended the call by telling him firmly, but politely, that I was not interested in taking part in this program.

So the government already has our money, but just because the money has already been taken from productive people, doesn’t make it “government money.” Just because a thief has already robbed a bank and now has the money in his possession, doesn’t make the money any less stolen. Whether a theft occurs to address the “needs” of a single person, or a “need” is sanctioned by a larger group of voters, doesn’t make it any less of a theft. And now, if I choose to join in with the thief and justify spending his windfall with arguments that it lowers my monthly utility expenses, I am still every bit as much a party to his original theft.

If I rely on the government to pay my way and expect them to carry me when I could (and should walk on my own) I weaken myself and make those around me my slave. Von Mises put it quite succinctly,

The greatest threat to the future of our nation — to our freedom — is not foreign military aggression … but the growing dependence of the people on a paternalistic government. A nation is no stronger than its people and the best measure of their strength is how they accept responsibility. There will never be a great society unless the materialism of the welfare state is replaced by individual initiative and responsibility.

- Ludwig von Mises, Human Action [1949]

I get that this is a small example. I could take part in these programs and still claim to be an advocate for limited government. Most people would never blink an eye at this contradiction. However, I believe that “Whoever is faithful in very little is also faithful in much, and whoever is unrighteous in very little is also unrighteous in much.” (Luke 16:10)

My hope is that more and more people will begin to refuse these paternalistic “share-the-wealth-around” programs and the ongoing “fundamental transformation of America.” I pray that people will begin to see this sort of program for what it is; a creeping expansion of the welfare state and government control over our lives. I pray that this country will begin to wake up from the fog it is currently in and return to its roots of independence and self reliance.

Again, it is a small thing, but it has never been more important to clearly state that you do not support this type of program and explain why. Doing so helps people to understand how we are being dragged down as a nation. I pray that Americans will once again choose to stand up and take responsibility for their own lives.

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Milking your neighbors for your home improvements

I think I just confused the poor sales lady from a local solar company. She called to see if I was interested in having solar panels installed on my roof to help decrease my energy costs. According to the prepared text she was reading, I “could reduce my monthly electricity bills by more than half for zero-down!”

She started to ask me if I thought that I spent more or less than $150/month on electricity, but I stopped her there and asked if the program that she was selling relied on government subsidies to make it possible. She replied that, yes, the solar panels she was selling were covered as part of a federally funded program to promote solar energy.

I stopped her again and said that, “As a libertarian, I find it immoral and personally offensive that you are advocating that I steal tax dollars from my neighbors to install new solar panels on my home, just so I can get lower electricity rates.”

Dead silence for about 2-3 seconds and then “… uhhhh …. Oooookaaaay then … I guess …”

Clearly her employer has not created the “how to deal with libertarian objections to the subsidies that keep this business running” card for their telemarketers.

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On attaining desired ends

The more numerous public instrumentalities become, the more is there generated in citizens the notion that everything is to be done for them, and nothing by them. Every generation is made less familiar with the attainment of desired ends by individual actions or private agencies; until, eventually, governmental agencies come to be thought of as the only available agencies.

– Herbert Spencer

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Freedom of speech

The Constitution guarantees everyone a right to speak his or her mind. It guarantees nobody the right to go through life cocooned away from anything he or she would rather not hear. Those principles apply to everyone—from the lowest college freshman to the president of the United States.

– A. Barton Hinkle, “Trigger Warning — Free Speech Ahead” [March 24, 2014]

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The motive force of society is …

Once we start from this idea, accepted by all our political theorists [that] “The motive force of society is the government”; once men consider themselves as sentient, but passive, incapable of improving themselves morally or materially by their own intelligence and energy, and reduced to expecting everything from the law; in a word, when they admit that their relation to the state is that of a flock of sheep to the shepherd, it is clear that the responsibility of the government is immense. Good and evil, virtue and vice, equality and inequality, wealth and poverty, all proceed from it. It is entrusted with everything, it undertakes everything, it does everything; hence, it is responsible for everything.

– Frédéric Bastiat, The Law [1850]

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CNN’s Don Lemon: “Because he’s black”

Very revealing to get a glimpse into the mind of at least one journalist, CNN’s Don Lemon.

I have to say that I would never criticize (or withhold criticism of) the President “because he’s black.” I would, however, criticize a President if he proposed and carried out policies that damaged the country, the Constitution, etc.

It is truly sad to see a self-professed journalist who would censor or alter his stories about anyone based on the color of that person’s skin. It speaks volumes about who Don Lemon is and what he believes to hear him admit that he does do that though.

As a “reporter,” Don Lemon also needs to work on his research and investigation skills a bit more. It is both laughable and naive to say that President Obama has put up with more criticism than previous Presidents, given the love affair that the media has had with him, and outright political aid and cover that they have provided for him throughout his Presidency.

Anyone who lived through the 80′s knows that Reagan was absolutely savaged by the media on a daily basis for his entire 8 years. Anyone remember stories about how he was trying to start World War III, how about Iran-Contra?

President Clinton and President HW Bush were both criticized heavily. Anyone remember the Monica Lewinsky issue, Ron Brown, “Bimbo eruptions”? Does anyone else remember “Read my lips, no new taxes” or “P-O-T-A-T-O-E”?

President GW Bush was routinely called “Bush-Hitler”. There were novels written about how people wanted to attack and injure – even murder – President Bush. The media just covered that as “art.” President Bush even had entire stories simply made up about him – Anyone recall Dan Rather’s hit piece and falsified memos re: the Texas ANG just days before the 2004 election? How about “Bush lied and people died,” or “WMDs? How about “Mission Accomplished,” or “Heckuva job Brownie,” “Harriet Miers”?

Again, Don Lemon’s research skills are obviously lacking and he openly admits that he alters stories based on the color of the subject’s skin. Tell me again why he is still working at CNN?

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