The Power To Destroy
by Michael Tennant
You are aroused from your slumber by the sound of someone’s pounding on your front door. You stumble to the door and open it to find three men in expensive, pin-striped suits who haul you off to a warehouse and, under the threat of "sleeping with the fishes," force you to fork over thousands of dollars to purchase food, clothing, medicine, and other necessities that they promise to donate to the less fortunate – although at that moment you wonder if anyone could possibly be less fortunate than you. The thugs then return you to your humble abode, warning you that they will return to "help" you engage in further "charity" in the future.
The next night, at about the same time, you are again awakened by knocking on the door. This time you find three men in cheap blue vests who march you off to Wal-Mart and force you to purchase food, clothing, medicine, and other items that you need. They then return you home along with your purchases and promise to return to "help" you obtain necessities in the future.
Question: Which of these acts is a crime?
The answer, of course, is that they both are criminal acts. In both cases you were forced to give up your property, which is to say, a theft occurred. That in one case the result was to provide for the poor and in the other the result was to provide for you is entirely irrelevant. You were coerced into handing over your rightful possessions against your wishes, and no amount of good intentions on the part of the coercer can alter that.
Now let us stipulate that those interrupting your blissful nocturnal rest are government agents. Threatening you with fines and imprisonment for failing to cooperate, they take 50 percent of your income, promising to spend it first to assist the poor and second to provide you with necessities such as roads, bridges, schools, police protection, and defense against foreign invasion. Is there any difference between this scenario and the ones I originally proposed?
If you’re like most people, you almost instinctively believe there is some difference, but you can’t quite put it into words.
Conservatives and libertarians can generally agree that wealth-transfer programs, even when allegedly undertaken to help the less fortunate, are morally wrong – legalized theft, as it were. Liberals, while likely disagreeing with this line of reasoning – unless the wealth is being transferred from the poor to the rich – can at least understand it and may even argue that while it’s a small wrong to rob Peter to pay Paul, the "greater good" provided to Paul outweighs the offense committed against Peter.
But what of the case in which the state is providing genuine necessities, so that Peter is being robbed but getting something he needs in return? Isn’t that a different matter entirely? As most would have it, it’s not theft then but merely "the price we pay for civilization." Peter is not being stripped of his possessions so much as being asked to pay his "fair share," much as a group of friends might divide a restaurant tab evenly among themselves. It’s not as if his money is just being transferred to someone else with no benefit to Peter.
This is, of course, the direct analogy to my second scenario, in which the blue-vested thugs forced you to purchase all your necessities at Wal-Mart regardless of your desires. Perhaps you did need that loaf of bread they foisted upon you; but maybe you didn’t want that particular brand, or didn’t like the price, or just plain hate Wal-Mart. Even if you love Wal-Mart and wanted that brand at that price, you’d still resent being strong-armed into buying it. (At least Wal-Mart would let you return it and get your money back if you didn’t want it, which is more than can be said for the state.)
If it’s theft for private individuals to force people to buy particular goods from particular suppliers, isn’t it also theft for government officials to do the same? Arguing that the goods the government forces us to buy are necessities which the market cannot supply – a seeming truism mostly because the government outlaws or greatly impedes any serious competitors – is begging the question. Joe’s Paving can’t build a private road to my house and then charge me for it if I haven’t agreed to it in advance, nor can Barney Fife Security post a guard on my property at my expense without my consent. Why, then, should the government be able to build roads and operate police departments and then bill me for the cost of doing so without my specifically having agreed to each charge?
The burden of proof lies with those who favor any state whatsoever to demonstrate that an institution whose very existence is predicated on larceny ought to be permitted to exist and to command our willing obedience and respect. We have no respect for private gangsters, though we sometimes obey them out of fear. We ought to have no respect for public gangsters either, and we certainly should not pretend that we are obeying them out of any loftier sentiment than fear for our own safety.
I can already hear the next question from the statists, in response to which I quote the magnificent Joseph Sobran: "‘But what would you replace the state with?’ The question reveals an inability to imagine human society without the state. Yet it would seem that an institution that can take 200,000,000 lives within a century hardly needs to be ‘replaced.’" Would you replace La Cosa Nostra if it suddenly ceased to exist?
Theft is still theft even when the government sanctions it and even when its proceeds are put to supposedly beneficent uses, be they "necessities" for those robbed or "charity" for others. Every theft results in a diminution of freedom, for no one knows to what ends those resources might have been put had they been left in the possession of their rightful owners. Taxation, with or without representation, is merely robbery under an assumed name. Indeed, as John Marshall wrote, "the power to tax involves the power to destroy." It is long past time to put an end to the state, the one institution dedicated to our destruction.November 29, 2008Michael Tennant[send him mail] is a software developer in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.Copyright © 2008 LewRockwell.com
Sunday, November 30, 2008
From AFP via Google
US taps online youth groups to fight crime, terrorism
WASHINGTON (AFP) — The US State Department announced plans on Monday to promote online youth groups as a new and powerful way to fight crime, political oppression and terrorism.
Drawing inspiration from a movement against FARC rebels in Colombia, the State Department is joining forces with Facebook, Google, MTV, Howcast and others in New York City next week to get the "ball rolling."
It said 17 groups from South Africa, Britain and the Middle East which have an online presence like the "Million Voices Against the FARC" will attend a conference at Columbia University Law School from December 3-5.
Observers from seven organizations that do not have an online presence -- such as groups from Iraq and Afghanistan -- will attend. There will also be remote participants from Cuba.
They will forge an "Alliance of Youth Movement," said James Glassman, under secretary of state for public diplomacy.
"The idea is put all these people together, share best practices, produce a manual that will be accessible online and in print to any group that wants to build a youth empowerment organization to push back against violence and oppression around the world," he told reporters.
The conference will be streamed by MTV and Howcast, he said.
The list of organizations due to attend include the Burma Global Action Network, a human rights movement spurred into action by the ruling junta's crackdown on monks and other pro-democracy protestors last year.
There is also Shabab 6 of April, which has emerged as Egypt's largest pro-democracy youth group, and Invisible Children, which spotlights atrocities committed by the Lord's Resistance Army in Uganda, Glassman said.
Others include Fight Back, which fights domestic violence in India, the Save Darfur Coalition, as well as One Million Voices Against Crime in South Africa, said Jared Cohen, from the secretary's policy planning staff.
Also attending will be People's March Against Knife Crime from Britain and Young Civilians from Turkey.
Cohen said Young Civilians is a human rights and pro-democracy organization which works online but has brought thousands of protestors into the streets of Turkey.
Glassman said the State Department is providing about 50,000 dollars in order to help bring delegates from the groups to the United States.
Among the speakers will be actress Whoopi Goldberg and a co-founder of Facebook
Saturday, November 29, 2008
The Columbus Dispatch ran an article on Saturday, November 29, detailing the salaries of state-level union officials ... and the teachers are upset. Upset!?!
Salaries equal performance, ergo the highly-paid union officials are performing better than they would have on a lesser salary. Right? Isn't that the party line? Therefore, the teachers better off.
Seriously, isn't that the same nonsense drummed into parents and taxpayers at the local level: give the teachers more and better results follow.
It appears the line of reasoning is fallacious and offensive only when the teachers are paying the bill. Hmmm.
Note: I thought unions were the guarantor of a workers paradise. Yet the unions and their members, and the unions of the unions, can never seem to get their own house in order. Could it be that Marx's dialectical materialism is not truth? Could it really be so?
-- Henry Ford, 1934 (HT Kevin Duffy via Lew Rockwell)
Friday, November 28, 2008
Everything but the tree
Obama pledged to cut wasteful spending, including "programs that have outlived their usefulness or exist solely because of the power of politicians, lobbyists or interest groups." I guess that leaves just the White House Christmas tree. And even that's suspect.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
The Pilgrims’ Real Thanksgiving Lesson
November 25, 2008
Feast and football. That’s what many of us think about at Thanksgiving. Most people identify the origin of the holiday with the Pilgrims’ first bountiful harvest. But few understand how the Pilgrims actually solved their chronic food shortages.
Many people believe that after suffering through a severe winter, the Pilgrims’ food shortages were resolved the following spring when the Native Americans taught them to plant corn and a Thanksgiving celebration resulted. In fact, the pilgrims continued to face chronic food shortages for three years until the harvest of 1623. Bad weather or lack of farming knowledge did not cause the pilgrims’ shortages. Bad economic incentives did.
In 1620 Plymouth Plantation was founded with a system of communal property rights. Food and supplies were held in common and then distributed based on equality and need as determined by Plantation officials. People received the same rations whether or not they contributed to producing the food, and residents were forbidden from producing their own food. Governor William Bradford, in his 1647 history, Of Plymouth Plantation, wrote that this system was found to breed much confusion and discontent and retard much employment that would have been to their benefit and comfort. The problem was that young men, that were most able and fit for labour, did repine that they should spend their time and strength to work for other men’s wives and children without any recompense. Because of the poor incentives, little food was produced.
Faced with potential starvation in the spring of 1623, the colony decided to implement a new economic system. Every family was assigned a private parcel of land. They could then keep all they grew for themselves, but now they alone were responsible for feeding themselves. While not a complete private property system, the move away from communal ownership had dramatic results.
This change, Bradford wrote, had very good success, for it made all hands very industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been. Giving people economic incentives changed their behavior. Once the new system of property rights was in place, the women now went willingly into the field, and took their little ones with them to set corn; which before would allege weakness and inability.
Once the Pilgrims in the Plymouth Plantation abandoned their communal economic system and adopted one with greater individual property rights, they never again faced the starvation and food shortages of the first three years. It was only after allowing greater property rights that they could feast without worrying that famine was just around the corner.
We are direct beneficiaries of the economics lesson the pilgrims learned in 1623. Today we have a much better developed and well-defined set of property rights. Our economic system offers incentives for us—in the form of prices and profits—to coordinate our individual behavior for the mutual benefit of all; even those we may not personally know.
It is customary in many families to give thanks to the hands that prepared this feast during the Thanksgiving dinner blessing. Perhaps we should also be thankful for the millions of other hands that helped get the dinner to the table: the grocer who sold us the turkey, the truck driver who delivered it to the store, and the farmer who raised it all contributed to our Thanksgiving dinner because our economic system rewards them. That’s the real lesson of Thanksgiving. The economic incentives provided by private competitive markets where people are left free to make their own choices make bountiful feasts possible.
Powell is Research Fellow at The Independent Institute ,assistant professor of economics at Suffolk University and a Senior Economist with the Beacon Hill Institute. Dr. Powell received his Ph.D. in economics from George Mason University. He has been assistant professor of economics at San Jose State University, a fellow with the Mercatus Center's Global Prosperity Initiative, and a visiting research fellow with the American Institute for Economic Research.
Full Biography and Recent Publications
This article was originally published in November 2004. It ran in the San Diego Union-Tribune and Charlotte Observer.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Making a list and checking it twice
It's that time of year here in Ohio: time to make a list and check it twice. Christmas gift list? Not in this instance. It's time for county auditors throughout the state to cause the publication of their annual lists of delinquent real property taxes.
Is the intent to shame the naughty into paying their fair share? To a point. However, I believe government posts those lists to incite a very different emotion: envy.
In his classic treatise, Envy: A Theory of Social Behavior, sociologist Helmut Schoeck exposes envy as a powerful, motivating political force. And it is.
The concept of a fair share implies the collective must suffer at the hands of government - suffer to pay the bill for the public goods the collective supposedly desires. Since it suffers, the collective envies those few tax rebels who dare to withhold from the group. And it's the fear of the evil eye from the collective -- likely the rebel's friends and neighbors -- that leads the rebels to finally pay-up.
Consider this: Does the fact that a neighbor misses a house or car payment create the same level of emotion or suspicion in those aroused by tax delinquencies? I don't think so.
A question remains: Are these tax rebels really that naughty?
note:  Most tax delinquencies are paid before the property is lost.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Paul's comment is nothing less than a modern version of the quote commonly attributed to Trotsky, "You can't make an omelet without breaking eggs." And Paul's levy is an omelet consuming many Hilliard eggs.
I challenged Paul to assist an eighty year-old woman living in Olentangy who will have to work an additional 140 hours next year just to pay Olentangy's new tax -- I asked Paul to give her a reprieve. Silence.
To be fair, Paul didn't vote for this tax. Though, given the chance, he likely would have done so. I wonder if he plans to assist the Ediths of his district. I wonder.
But this post is not just about Paul. It's also about those living in this district who stand to gain from Olentangy's new tax levy -- to gain at the expense of Edith. If taxation is for the public good (I disagree), can the public good stand Edith suffering additional hours on stiff knees?
To that: I challenge readers who supported the levy to help Edith (not her real name, of course) with her heating bills this Christmas. Remember, for her, the decision is heat or taxes. Send me an email and I'll let tell you how to get in touch with her.
At the very least, help one who stands to suffer for your gain.
note: Hey, Olentangy for Kids. Why not open your campaign war chest to those in need? It's your doing.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Why I Choose Low-Quality Healthcare
By Jim Fedako
Before the renewed discussions and debates over socialized healthcare begin in earnest, I want to make my preference known to all: I desire low-quality healthcare.
All right, to be straightforward, I do not actually desire low-quality healthcare; I simply do not desire high-quality healthcare — at least not "high-quality healthcare" as defined by generally accepted standards.
Time for some background. Once a year, around this time, my employer allows open enrollment in the various health plans the company offers. As I went through the process, I took the opportunity to review the physicians I had chosen for my family. In order to select the best pediatrician for my children, I used a feature provided by my company's website: a link to a database of physician ratings. I looked up my children's current doctor to see how he fared. What I found was interesting: he was not rated as well as I imagined. Luckily, the reason was just a few mouse clicks away.
The database rates physicians in three categories: quality of care, cost of care, and number of patients treated. My interest is mainly around quality of care for the following reasons: quality of care and children go hand in glove. His cost of care is not my issue (it is a third-party-payer system), and the number of patients is a statistic that can be considered both positive and negative.
So why was my chosen physician not rated near the top in the quality-of-care category? My wife and I like him. We have never had any problem with the care he provided to our children. Moreover, he gets excellent reviews from other parents who use his services. I clicked again.
Interestingly, it turns out that the evaluation rubric for quality of care is based on "a physician's compliance to medical guidelines established by the medical community." That's pretty heady stuff. Or is it?
Another mouse click led to the breakdown of the quality metrics. The quality-of-care guidelines include standards for specific conditions, such as asthma, etc., as well as adherence to (inter alia) vaccination schedules. And here's the rub: my wife and I do not agree with the current guidelines for treating asthma or scheduling vaccinations. And we have found a physician who accepts our opinion — to his statistical detriment. In these important instances, we do not want quality healthcare as defined by the medical community.
Now I have no issue with guidelines or ratings. They provide a means to understand the services that a given physician might provide. They are not perfect, but what is? And, more importantly, they are not mandates from government. So my wife and I can receive the healthcare we desire for our children in spite of the guidelines. We are free, so to speak, to find our concept of high-quality healthcare unimpeded by government.
Of course, healthcare is highly regulated and therefore not to be considered a truly free market. Nevertheless, it displays some aspects of freedom by allowing the consumer to exercise a level of choice.
Let us contrast the above with public education, setting aside for the moment the fact that public schools are an arm of government. First, the federal government mandates statewide standards for educational outcomes. Then the feds layer additional levels of compliance on top of those standards. The promise is that no child will be left behind. Behind what? Behind the standards set by government, of course. But who seeks the same standards as government, under all circumstances? I venture to say no one other than the members of the committee that approved the standards. And they probably don't agree with their own consensus opinion in all instances either.
Complete the move of healthcare from the free market to the authority of government and the guidelines become mandates. Healthcare providers will no longer be judged against various guidelines, with the consumer deciding whether to accept or reject a guideline based on personal preferences. No, government will mandate that all healthcare providers adhere to its guidelines — under penalty of law.
Many believe that government always provides the efficient solution. They believe this to be so since government-mandated guidelines remove the possibility of ineffective treatment. In other words, the treatment will always reflect the current consensus opinion of medical professionals acting as altruistic government agents. However, following the accepted medical guidelines does not guarantee health. In fact, many claims in healthcare are widely, and reasonably, debated within the medical field.
Guidelines are simply a consensus opinion. They are not correct for all circumstances, nor are they meant to be. While it is true that humans act — they employ scarce means in order to obtain specific ends, it is not true that all humans select the same means or the same ends — or even the same means for similar ends. And we are all better off for that.
In addition, humans do not respond identically to medical procedures. Similar to entrepreneurial profit and loss in a free market, each medical procedure has the potential to provide benefits as well as lead to complications. In decisions involving health and business, true freedom only occurs when the owner of the decision is the respective property owner — the patient or parent in the doctor's office or the entrepreneur in his business office.
Allow government to decide levels of medical risk — to socialize personal risk — and healthcare follows the same path of any socialized sector of the economy. This is apodictically true.
We are acting individuals with our own preferences. We are not automatons seeking to conform to an imposed definition of quality. Though the government may appear to be the safe solution, it is the siren enticing us onto the rocks.
I do not want to be forced to conform to someone else's guidelines. I want the healthcare I desire. Call it high quality or low quality; I could not care less. Simply allow me to make my decisions — informed or ill informed — based on my evaluation of the options. Only then am I free.
Jim Fedako, a homeschooling father of six who lives in Lewis Center, OH, maintains a blog: Anti-Positivist. Comment on the blog.
 Interestingly, our pediatrician rates high in the number-of-patients category. So we know for certain that he is providing healthcare that is sought by many parents. And that alone is enough reason to question his low metric for quality of care. Who better to decide quality of any product or service than the consumer?
Thursday, November 20, 2008
According to Olentangy Facilities Director Andy Kerr and school board member Dimon McFerson, tax burdens are rising due to the mix of residential versus commercial property. Hmmm. And here I thought our tax burdens are rising because of runaway costs and a new levy, the direct result of district benefit increases running twice the private sector.
According to Wikipedia -- the first source of information in the Internet Age, "A sophist is a user of sophisms, i.e., an insincere person trying to confuse or deceive people. Sophists will try to persuade the audience while paying little attention to whether their argument is logical and factual."
Insincere? Confuse? Deceive? Yes, Kerr and McFerson are sophists.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
It's all my fault
I'm late, and I'm sorry. My only excuse is that The Columbus Dispatch printed Thomas Friedman's "Gonna Need a Bigger Boat" today, two days after it was originally published. Still, I should have known better.
According to Friedman, in order to save the economy there is one thing that we "must do right now: go shopping." Since now was Sunday, I'm dreadfully late. And it gets even worse -- I do not plan to shop within the next eight days. Gee, I certainly hope my waiting until Black Friday doesn't sink the Friedmanian boat, so to speak.
For the "bah, humbug" types, Friedman notes that we must also save. But we only save after the Bush economic team "turns off the green light and [tells] people to 'go save.'"
Got that? After the green light is off. Until then, max out the credit cards and save the economy. And do it now!
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
A new study suggests that private schools are not inherently better than public schools. Surprised? Enough people were such that the study, funded by the US Department of Education, has created a stir in the education arena, as well as in the national news. But I want to argue that the results are meaningless, and for reasons not having to do with the methodology employed in the study.
The authors of Comparing Private Schools and Public Schools Using Hierarchical Linear Modeling analyzed math and reading scores of nearly 7,000 public schools and more than 500 private schools on the 2003 National Assessment of Educational Progress at the fourth and eighth grades. NAEP was the chosen assessment tool since it is considered to be the national achievement test and is used to assess student academic performance against national standards.
Though the title sounds impressive, the findings simply suggest a conclusion. Nothing has really been proven and no new truths exposed. I could begin by questioning the whole concept of empirical studies that suggest this or suggest that. I could ask, "What truths have been brought to light by any study that is couched in such a vague qualifier?" I could attack all the assumptions that went into the model and then list those that did not. Had I gone that route, I hopefully would have raised enough doubt in the reader that the study would be discarded as worthless.
But the real error here is more philosophical than empirical. Studies such as these simply show that a deeper ill exists, a malaise caused by government interventionism.
Consider Consumer Reports
The popular magazine reviews consumer goods based on a proprietary set of standards. They test, analyze, test, analyze, etc., until they are satisfied as to the quality of the products under review. CR then assigns individual product ratings and notes one product as a best buy. Though most Americans accept CR's results as being of excellent quality, the noted best buy is not usually the market best-seller. Yes, I will occasionally look at CR prior to purchasing a good, but I almost never buy the best buy. I agree that the CR results are scientifically valid based on their standards, but that doesn't mean I am in the market for the scientifically valid, CR best-buy product.
continue reading ...
Monday, November 17, 2008
There's a lot of hush-hush as the board goes about its superintendent search, with McFerson running the show as The Shadow. "Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? Heh-heh-heh-heh-heh-heh-heh! McFerson (er, The Shadow) knows..."
The question that remains is this: Can anyone run an effective search from Utah? The Shadow can. Yeh, right!
Sunday, November 16, 2008
The Likely Result of Krugmanian Economics: bartering cuckoo clocks for bread
Krugman is advocating a new stimulus package of some $600 billion. Since his number was derived using current conditions and "back-of-the-envelope calculations," expect the amount to grow as the economy worsens. According to my you-have-got-to-be-kidding calculations, $600 billion is $2,000 per capita, $16,000 for my family of eight, and a whole lot of paper nothing.
Question: When should my wife plan to begin loading wheelbarrows of newly-printed paper each morning in a desperate race to obtain real wealth?
Friday, November 14, 2008
note: Art Laffer is the Laffer of the Reagan White House and the nonsensical Laffer Curve.
HT to Tim Swanson.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
There is nothing like being indicted by the ignorant.
Hey, Anonymous, Clark and her newspaper -- The Liberty Voice -- are Pravda in Powell (note: that's not Prada in Powell). You may not want her real views exposed, but they are what they are.
To your nonsense above: I have posted the 10 planks from the Communist Manifesto for you review (courteous of my misguided friends over at Marxists.org). While it is not Obama's public agenda word for word, it's almost spot on (I highlighted the similarities).
Note: To be intellectually honest, it is almost Bush's and McCain's agenda spot on. In fact, it is fast becoming our reality thanks, in part, to those who rob Liberty of her essence, such as Anonymous, Clark, and her TLV.
Nevertheless, in most advanced countries, the following will be pretty generally applicable.
- Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes.
- A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.
- Abolition of all rights of inheritance.
- Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels.
- Centralisation of credit in the hands of the state, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly.
- Centralisation of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the State.
- Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the State; the bringing into cultivation of waste-lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan.
- Equal liability of all to work. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture.
- Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of all the distinction between town and country by a more equable distribution of the populace over the country.
- Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children’s factory labour in its present form. Combination of education with industrial production, etc, etc.
From the Thomas B. Fordham Institute:
Facing the Future: Financing Productive Schools
Over the past quarter century, Ohio-following national trends-has added an average of $760 million per year to K-12 education. In no year has a funding increase been less than $376 million (see here). In ten years, Ohio has seen its average per-pupil expenditure, using inflation-adjusted dollars, rise 25 percent (from $7,500 in 1997 to about $10,000 in 2007, see Graph I below). In 2007, Ohio spent $16.8 billion on public education-some $1,930 for every adult living in the state.
Graph I: Inflation-adjusted Per-Pupil Revenue for K-12 Public Education in Ohio, 1981-2007
Source: Ohio Department of Education, Center for School Options and Finance, Simulation, Foundation & Analysis Unit, adjusted using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' consumer price index inflation calculator (
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Clark, who tends to dress up in tricorne and Patriot garb, has a view of Liberty that is the antithesis of that penned by Thomas Paine and others. Sadly, a number of folks have been fooled by Clark's supposed principled views. Do not get taking in by her corrupted liberty, it is nothing less than class envy.
Run, and don't look back.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Reminds my of the time my oldest son -- who was attending a government elementary at the time -- came home with a blue ribbon for his art work. I said, "Great. How many kids got the award?" His smile disappeared, his head dropped, and he muttered, "Everyone got one." Nice. And great for his self-esteem.
From a reader:
The USGA would like to inform ALL golfers of the following RULE CHANGES:
Golfers with handicaps:
- below 10 will have their green fees increase by 35%
- between 11 and 18 will see no increase in green fees
- above 18 will play for free and even get a check from the club/course played
The term “gimme putt” will be changed to “entitlement” and will be used as follows:
-handicaps below 10, no entitlements
-handicaps above 11 to 17, entitlements for putter length putts
-handicaps above 18, if on green, no need to ever putt, just pick it up
These entitlements are intended to bring about fairness in scoring so that the final scores of all players will be about the same.
In addition, a Player will be limited to a max of one birdie and/or six pars. Any excess must be given to those fellow players who have not yet scored a birdie or par. Only after all players have received a birdie or par from the player making the birdie or par, can that Player begin to count his score again.
These new Rules are NOT intended to CHANGE the game of golf. It is only to make Golf more fair to all regardless of ability. Because in the end, aren’t we all winners.
Monday, November 10, 2008
Our Stalin and Trotsky
Our democracy is really a one-party system split into two factions. There is the Democratic faction -- call them Stalin since they are currently in power. And then there is the Republican faction -- call them Trotsky since they are currently in political exile. As Murray N. Rothbard wrote:
"Actually, despite the fascination of Western intellectuals with the Stalin-Trotsky schism, it was far more an intra-Bolshevik personal and factional squabble than any sort of ideological betrayal."
And as Mises noted:
"The truth is that Trotsky found only one fault with Stalin: that he, Stalin, was the dictator and not himself, Trotsky. In their feud they both were right. Stalin was right in maintaining that his regime was the embodiment of socialist principles. Trotsky was right in asserting that Stalin's regime had made Russia a hell."
Our Stalin and Trotsky are no different. They create faux ideological battlefields as the means to decide which faction receives the rent payments for the next four years. In the end, a coin flip would be just as effective: heads, Stalin gets the spoils; tails, Trotsky does. Regardless of the selection method or its outcome, our rent payment to the Treasury is still due as before.
Sunday, November 09, 2008
"The Gettysburg speech was at once the shortest and the most famous oration in American history...the highest emotion reduced to a few poetical phrases. Lincoln himself never even remotely approached it. It is genuinely stupendous. But let us not forget that it is poetry, not logic; beauty, not sense. Think of the argument in it. Put it into the cold words of everyday. The doctrine is simply this: that the Union soldiers who died at Gettysburg sacrificed their lives to the cause of self-determination - that government of the people, by the people, for the people, should not perish from the earth. It is difficult to imagine anything more untrue. The Union soldiers in the battle actually fought against self-determination; it was the Confederates who fought for the right of their people to govern themselves."
~ H. L. Mencken
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Saturday, November 08, 2008
Young Adult Literature: writing to heal troubled minds
By Jim Fedako
There is an interesting offering in today's Teacher College Record (11/07/08), published by the Teachers College of Columbia University. In her article, "Young Adult Fiction and the Stewardship of Pain," Sara Zarr opens with this incredible statement:
"Good realistic fiction for young adults marries the universal and the specific into stories that give teens both a mirror for their own pain and a glimpse of possible ways of navigating it."Her justification emerges soon after:
"I don’t think these people remember what it’s like to be a teenager. I don’t think they remember the specificity of pain when it's your own, even if it comes in the context of an experience that millions of other teens have had, and generations of them will continue to have so long as the human race exists."We later learn that Zarr experienced many struggles while growing up:
"In writing Deanna’s story, I drew on things like my difficult relationship with my father, my experiences growing up in a family with little in the way of material wealth, with difficult friendships and the longing to set right what’s been made wrong by my actions or the actions of others; my desire that home be a safe place, physically and emotionally; the very universal yet specific pain of thinking that no one---if they really knew me---would like me."So it appears that writing is a form of therapy for Zarr -- it helps exorcise the demons that still haunt her psyche. In this effort, I offer her my best wishes. But she does not stop there. No, Zarr desires to transfer her demons to her young audience. According to Zarr:"
My books do not have traditionally happy endings, but I argue that I leave my characters with enough experience and forward momentum that the reader can be confident that the characters go on to survive. With scars, maybe, but that’s the point. We all bear the scars of adolescence."It is not true that we all bear such scars. Obviously Zarr has wounds that have still not healed. But why create scars in others where none currently exist? And why acerbate those that do? If childhood is supposed to be a safe place, why would anyone desire to have young children enter a world of hurt and pain?
Children are not to be used as therapy cushions for those in need of help. And, despite what Zarr contends, authors do not have to steal a child's adolescence in order to be "good stewards of (the author's) own specific pain and the specific pain of their characters..."
I sincerely wish Zarr two things: that she finds the help she needs and the peace she seeks; and that she finds a different audience for the writings that help salve the wounds that trouble her so.
I had always wondered what drives writers to commit perverse nonsense to books aimed at children. Thanks to Zarr, I have a better understanding. An understanding that makes me want to redouble my efforts to inform parents about the agenda taking root in their children's young minds while devouring, in the quiet of a late night read, a troubled author's tortured vision of pain.
Jim Fedako, a homeschooling father of six who lives in Lewis Center, OH, maintains a blog: Anti-Positivist.
The Reign of Terror Begins
I'm slowly coming out of my post-election blues, all thanks to NPR. Why? Well it appears that the victors are already turning on themselves. That's right, the Reign of Terror has begun, with each radical faction accusing all others of being enemies of the revolution. And, to think, the Terror erupted before any power was transferred.
Where the Republicans tend to coalesce around the power of the president, the Democrats tend to feed on themselves. The hailed change - the end to divisive politics - is now just another slogan lost on the campaign trail.
I expect to see the radicals push agendas that even the left-leaning Democrats cannot stomach. The Terror will be nasty and short, with a Themidorian Reaction to follow.
In the end, we will have moved farther along the path toward total state control. But only by steps, not by my once-feared great-leap forward.
Friday, November 07, 2008
I was trying to explain the driving force behind New Wave music to my older children. The following two videos provided enough of an explanation. The first is from Emerson Lake and Palmer. It opens with a virtuoso piano solo by Keith Emerson. The second is from a German New Wave band that features a keyboard solo of sorts (starting at 1:40). Simply state that New Wave was a rebellion against the sometimes over-the-top style of many 70's rock groups and then watch the videos. Enough said.
note: By the way, I don't think Emerson was over-the-top. In fact, he was right on the mark.
Keep in mind that Edith is a real person living and working in the Olentangy district (only her name was changed). The photo is, of course, not of her. Yet there is a very good chance that Olentangy residents exchange pleasantries with Edith on their shopping days.
Because of our levy, Edith will have to work an additional 140 hours per year, though, physically, she cannot. Somehow, levy supporters easily write-off her life and circumstance in the name of the public good.
Forgotten at the Door
By Jim Fedako
Posted on 7/17/2007
[Subscribe or Tell Others]"There is, in fact, only one solution: the state, the government, the laws must not in any way concern themselves with schooling or education. Public funds must not be used for such purposes. The rearing and instruction of youth must be left entirely to parents and to private associations and institutions." – Ludwig von Mises
I met William Graham Sumner's Forgotten Man — actually forgotten woman in this instance — while shopping at a local supermarket a couple of months ago. With her eighty year-old legs steadily supporting stiff knees and tired feet, this woman is cheerful and ready to share a story or a laugh as she greets shoppers entering the store. This openness endears her to customers who know her by name and smile when they see her. Though her tales and goodhearted fun remain with shoppers for a long time afterwards, she is sadly forgotten by those who live to tax and spend.
There is theory, and then there is reality. To those who adhere to the Austrian School of economics, theory and reality are the same. Yet to many, the separation between theory and reality is the gulf that drowns in anonymity those such as this eighty-year-old woman.
You see, the forgetful ones — the officeholders, bureaucrats, and rent-seekers — have no concern for this woman. Sure, they pay lip service to their beloved concept of community, but they are only concerned with the community of tax recipients; the taxpayers be damned.
The Austrian School, on the other hand, recognizes individuals — not averages, aggregates, or some other convenient statistical or rhetorical tool — just the individual acting at the margin. In the Austrian School, there is no such notion as a typical community member. There are simply individuals going about their own business, utilizing means to satisfy personal ends, all within some arbitrary lines on a map: the collectivist's revered political boundaries.
The Austrians readily recognize our forgotten woman. She is not some faceless automaton, some Economic Woman. She is real, so real that we will give her a name: Edith.
Now, Edith truly lives at the margin. She buried her husband of forty-some years over a decade ago. Since that time, she has struggled. Money is tight and, despite what the Feds says, inflation is running high. However, the cost of consumer goods is only one of her worries. Edith also has to find the means to pay rising property taxes; taxes that are rising at a local rate of almost three times the reported consumer price index. So, she works.
Edith does not want much. She simply wants to live out her days in the house where she and her husband raised their family. Who could possibly desire to put this woman out of house and home? Well, the forgetful ones of course.
You see, in this instance, the forgetful ones want to spend more money on failed public education. There are the locally elected officials who cheer on the efforts of the bureaucrats — the school administrators who live to conceive of new ways to spend money on programs destined for failure. And then there are the hoards of rent-seekers who want others — such as their neighbors — to share the cost of personal expenses, all in the name of the public good.
The forgetful ones base their means on the theory of aggregates and averages. They note the reported average federal adjusted gross income in the area and claim that the community is wealthy. Therefore, they state, the typical resident can afford another $700 or $800 in property tax.
But the average homeowner is a nonexistent myth: a chimera. There is no average, or typical, resident. There are the forgetful ones, plus, among others, you, me, and our dear friend Edith. And, she is certainly not average. To those who know her, Edith is something more. Yet, she cannot afford an extra $100 per year, let alone another $700 or so.
The forgetful ones ignore her plight. To most of them, her suffering does not exist. To others, her situation is a problem that has to be rationalized away. Maybe — so the line of thought goes — Edith should move to another home in a more remote area, an area with lower taxes.
Certainly, it is sad that a long-term resident must leave, but the taxes are for the kids. And, with the kids being the next generation, some eggs have to be cracked.
Whether one chooses to ignore Edith outright, or to rationalize her away, the line of reasoning is the same: the collective decides who wins and who loses. Or, more aptly, who receives, and who pays. It's this line of reasoning that is just about the only thing taught in public schools: the hammer of government creates the community that the majority of voters desires.
Students learn that might makes rights. Well, of course, it's never taught in such harsh terms. Students learn that the community (through might) decides issues of property, liberty, and freedom. This, they learn, is the American ideal.
The schools, through their unionized workforce, teach that unrestrained democracy is wonderful. The ideals of our Founding Fathers are from a time and place that no longer exists. Students can, and should, dream of anything, and attempt to have government implement it by force. Whether it’s recycling, carbon offsets, or additional coerced funding for schools, it's the vote of the majority that makes any dream ethical.
So, the schools rally their constituents — their rent-seekers — in order to influence likely voters to support the new tax. And, the schools, again through their constituents, create the impression that those who do not support the waste that is public education are not true community members — that they do not care about kids.
But Edith does care about kids. She raised three of her own, and she now enjoys regular additions of grandchildren to her growing family. She simply wants to keep her house, which leaves poor Edith in quite a fix.
Not to worry, the occasional forgetful one will finally admit Edith's existence. He will recognize her by name and take on her cause. His solution: property tax relief for seniors. And, what a solution it is! Now we can have our public school cake and eat it too. And, we can eat it without remorse or regret.
Sounds reasonable, with the exception of that ever-so-annoying Austrian concept: the margin.
Property tax relief for Edith moves the burden of taxation to a smaller pool of homeowners. While Edith is no longer the one at the margin, now it is Henry deciding whether the new tax will drive him from house and home. Theory meets reality, and the margin exposes the lie that is the average.
OK, so what do we do? How do we solve this whole mess? How do we address education within the reality of the margin? The answer is quite simple: privatize education. Remove government from the minds of our youth. Recognize the wisdom of Mises and let parents — as consumers — decide what is best for their children. For some, religious schools, for others secular schools, and for many, such as myself, homeschooling.
In all cases, the market will generate systems of education that solve the wants of individuals. Allow theory and reality to come together so that Edith keeps her home, as does Henry, and we all get to keep more money in our wallets; money that will fund the education of the next generation.
Thursday, November 06, 2008
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
And what is a good citizen? Simply one who never says, does or think anything that is unusual. Schools are maintained in order to bring this uniformity up to the highest possible point. A school is a hopper into which children are heaved while they are still young and tender; therein they are pressed into certain standard shapes and covered from head to heels with official rubber-stamps.
— H.L. Mencken, Prejudices: Sixth Series 
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
From Fascism to Socialism in a Bloodless Coup
The only redeeming feature of our political process is that we peacefully accomplished an ideological shift -- a coup of sorts -- that in almost every other instance led to blood in the streets. Of course, the shift is mere window dressing as both McCain and Obama stand for big government, big wars, and big deficits. The only difference between their respective agendas being which group of Americans loses through wealth redistribution and which Third World country watches their women and children suffer and die due to our foreign policy.
Actually, it is ironic. In just about every other country, in just about every other time, the only way an evil, crazed radical took the reigns of power was through bloodshed and intrigue. Not here, though. We did it to ourselves in the reflexive ritual we call democracy. I'm certain that Gramsci is cheering from his Italian grave.
Say good night to the family, the church, and every other institution that made this nation great so many years ago. Our epitaph is: We did it to ourselves.
On the local scene: It appears that most local tax levies passed in my area. Amazingly, while the private sector is contracting, the public sector is growing. It seems that Michelle Obama is right: in order to serve your community, you must work for government. Too bad for those of us who remain in the private sector -- stooped in our rice fields, weighed down by the yoke of taxation. Again, we did it to ourselves.
Note: My sadness would have been the same had the election gone the other way. My bright spot is the opportunity to introduce new folks to Liberty. What else will we have to talk about in the two-hour soup line?
Finally: You know your local teachers are cheering the result -- their utopia is about to arrive.
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
The Doctors Frankenstein Open Their Eyes
A remorseful Dr. Frankenstein speaking to Captain Walton about the monster he (Frankenstein) created and unleashed, "You seek for unlimited power, as I once did; and I ardently hope that the gratification of your wishes may not be a serpent to sting you, as mine has been." (quote from Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, paraphrased)
It's election eve and Hannity and the other Republican talking heads have finally awakened to the outstretched arms of monster they created - the imperial president qua emperor.
Ironically, it was not that many months ago that Hannity and others cheered the increased power being consolidated in the White House. Now that monster is about to turn on them.
Note: I also fear the beast, no matter which brain is used.
Monday, November 03, 2008
Dross and Debt
My fellow Christians, before you vote on Tuesday, consider these two Bible verses:Thy silver is become dross (Isaiah 1:22a)In the first verse, the prophet Isaiah condemns the Israelites for allowing their money to become worthless. In the second verse, Solomon notes that good men leave an inheritance to their grandchildren. What do these two verses have to do with Tuesday’s vote? Let’s take a look.
A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children (Proverbs 13:22a)
Both major party candidates have platforms that appeal to many Christians. Obama has an implied social justice agenda, an agenda that many Christians believe is the best, most efficient way to serve God. McCain, on the other hand, has an agenda that many other Christians believe to be godly, an agenda that includes the defense of the family, along with the standard Republican fare of socially conservative programs.
I can understand the ends sought by these two sets of Christians. Improving the lot of the poor and protecting the family are worthy ends. However, we must consider the means used to achieve those ends.
The agent responsible for employing the means is government – not God or His church, but government and its associated bureaucrats and minions. The agent is worldly, as are its resources. Now many Christians have no issue with government acting on their behalf. They see government as a valid means to perform works in the name of God’s church. I will set that aside and assume their view in order to get to the root of the real issue.
OK. We have Christians using government as the means to their ends. However, we are not done.
Government must secure resources in order to implement social justice and protect the family. Government taxes and Christians render unto Caesar. Again, I will set this aside and assume the view that taxation is a legitimate means to fund the ends sought. We are not at the root, but we are almost there.
In our world of big government, taxation can never provide enough resources. Why? Set the tax rate too high and revolution hits the streets. Government knows this, but it still needs resources, a lot of resources. So instead of raising taxes and battling riots, government turns its constituents into bondservants. Then, to hide its tracks in the financial markets, government prints a lot of money – fraudulent paper lies.
And this is where Christians must take pause: the Bible does not provide a license to commit fraud or lie. That is true regardless of the end sought. We are not to do evil in God’s name. Nevertheless, there it is. And there we are.
Many Christians have allowed – no, encouraged – government to keep printing paper lies. In addition, we have presented God with sacrifices paid for by those very same lies. Our silver is not becoming dross – it is dross. And our children’s children will inherit the yoke of debt, not the inheritance of the good grandfather. Amazingly, we dare to call this righteous.
God turned his back after Isaiah read the charges and the Israelites did not change their ways. Yet we still believe that God will bless this nation in spite of our actions.
When you vote for either major party candidate, you vote to offer God a sacrifice paid for by lies. If your heart is still seeking God, you know that only God can make all things possible (Matthew 19:26) – not government and its lies, but God and His truths.
My fellow Christians, vote for a candidate that will cast the golden calf of lies and debt back into the fire, or do not vote at all. Do not add your name to the list of those who dare to offer lies as an unholy sacrifice. Instead, cry out for our deliverance. Fear God. Fear that He may turn His back once more. I do.
September 12, 2008
Copyright © 2008 LewRockwell.com
Sunday, November 02, 2008
If these folks recognize the supposed need, why do they wait until after the passage of their levy before giving? Yes, why indeed?
Most people know that Americans benefit from high taxes, powerful unions, limited consumer choice, and strong government control. But most people lack the training to fully understand why we derive benefits from these policies, and why government control over public anything results in unsurpassable quality. To remedy your "knowledge deficit" you can ask us any question you choose, and it will be explained by the legendary Professor Paul Krugman in a language that you can understand. From the evils of profiteering, corporatism, and economic exploitation to the rewards of regulation, social justice, and community/stakeholder involvement, Professor Krugman will use his agile mind to clarify the otherwise intimidating field of economics.
One sample spoof of Krugman:
Economics Primer 20: Financial Advice
By Paul Krugman
12/20/2005, 12:16 am
No economics primer would be complete without some personal financial advice. And so, here are some tips; allow my genius mind to feed your ignorance.
1. Spend all your money; you’ll always have Social Security to take care of you.
2. Invest in a socially-conscious mutual fund. A good fund will not place your money with any company that pollutes, discriminates, exploits, or makes a profit in any way.
3. Always buy extended warranties, regardless of how much they cost. Fact: Some items will break: Fact: Extended warranties allow you to get these items repaired for free.
4. Buy lots of insurance, and keep those deductibles low. Insure everything in sight: Your house, your car, and if you can, your grocery bill, your utility payments, and your cable bill. Remember: After you pay your premiums, everything is free. Extra tip: Buy insurance to pay for your other insurance premiums.
5. Apply for welfare. Did you know that it is your moral obligation to be on public assistance?
6. Invest in a Times Select subscription. Why spend money on books and schools when you can instead be educated by Maureen Dowd and Bob Herbert?
7. Avoid shopping in warehouse stores, and especially avoid Wal-Mart. The Walton family didn’t get rich by charging low prices.
8. If you foolishly insist on shopping at Wal-Mart, be sure to tip everyone in sight. Your reward for feeding them will be a clean conscience.
9. Don’t buy items made in China; they will then own you. For that matter, stay away from items made in other states, counties, neighborhoods, or for that matter anyone else. Grow all your own food, make all your own clothing.
10. Destroy your house with a wrecking ball. You will then create a job for yourself when you need to rebuild it.
11. Default on your loans. Eventually, the government will generously forgive you.
12. Try credit card debt. By going into debt, you will be obtaining things for free. And, you’ll also be helping the common good by stimulating the economy.
13. Invest in foreign currencies. And then buy my books about foreign currencies.
14. If you own a business, force your employees to form a union. They will be better workers that way.
15. Pay more taxes than what the IRS suggests. Make it at least triple the suggested amount; any investment in your government will be returned to you many times over.
Saturday, November 01, 2008
I received a Jordan flyer in the mail today that included this quote from Dr. Jerry French, MD:
The Ohio State Medical Association examined both candidates in this race, but endorsed only one: Kris Jordan. He will stand up for your right to receive high quality health care. (emphasis added)Since I assume that French is neither a political philosopher, nor an economist, I will also assume that he did not considered the essence of what he stated. But there it is.
According to French: high quality health care is a right. A right?!? What constitution has he been reading. His statement is pure collectivist nonsense. French created this positive right out of thin air. But what are its logical conclusions.
If French is a high quality doctor, I have a right to his services. If he is not a high quality doctor, he can no longer practice -- we are not talking about him being just a good doctor, but a high quality doctor (as defined by ???).
Assuming that French is high quality, his liberty is trumped by my new positive right to high quality health care. He had better be available whenever I need him, for whatever price the collective decides to pay. No vacations or time off with family. He'll be working from early morning until late in the evening, making next to nothing (think Soviet Union without the benefit of a 40-hour week or the ability to slack).
The problem is not French's misguided statement, it's Jordan's implicit political claim that positive rights exist. If such rights exist, government only gets bigger. So Jordan is either lying about his true political agenda, or he is lacks an understanding of what he claims to hold true -- in other words, he is too inexperienced for the role he seeks.
Jordan, You just lost my vote. If I was looking for leftist candidate, I would simply vote for a Democrat. There is no point wasting my vote on another Republican with Democratic values (of course, Lanier -- the other socialist running -- won't get my vote either).
To compel a man to furnish funds for the propagation of ideas he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.
-- Thomas Jefferson
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