Archive for the ‘libertarianism’ Category

It’s really hard being a libertarian sometimes. My parents were down here a couple of weekends ago and we had a long sort-of talk about how I’m wrong to be so, well, libertarian. It makes me feel bad because I like to please my parents and yet I like also to be intellectually and spiritually consistent. Libertarianism is the only way I can do that.

There are times I fantasise about going back to Republicanism, but then I think of how the Republicans in office are in many ways indistinguishable from the Democrats in office. As far as spending goes, that is. I’d also like to say there are times when I flirt with Liberalism and then I realise that, well, it just cannot happen. I can’t condone Forcing Your Way To Doing Good.

I suppose “libertarianism” is the best way I can think of to say “look, we’re all adults here.”

I’m not a pot smoker. Whether or not I’m a gun nut remains to be seen. But there are some other things about me on my mind tonight.

  • I have to have two procedures where they snake cameras down your throat and up your bum. I don’t mind the idea of that so much, as I’ll be asleep for the whole thing. Or so they’ve promised. What I AM dreading is that apparently I have to buy this nasty beverage stuff and drink it by the gallon. I’m quite terrified of that. I plan to spend the next 10 days dreading the thought of drinking that ooze. The doctor has promised I may take my phenergan, so there’s that anyway.
  • I’m supposed to be writing a 50K word novel for this National Novel Writing Month challenge. I’ve hardly written anything because I am just petrified and I don’t know why. In case you haven’t noticed I haven’t even been blogging. I’m like one of those guys who tells everyone he’s a poet but has never written a poem. It’s shameful.
  • I’m almost irrationally angry at the striking writers in Hwood. Intellectually I see their point, but functionally I’m just seething. I don’t ask much from these people. Just give me a couple hours two or three nights a week of something I can look forward to. Something which takes my mind of my world and transports me someplace else. We have an agreement. I’ll put my books down and step away from Age Of Mythology on the Mac [blast them for not releasing the Titans expansion pack for this platform]. You’ll churn out something at least PASSABLE. How hard is that? I know everyone’s fighting over what they think is right and that’s okay, but here’s the deal. I can just as easily go back to my books and my games and my knitting to Books on CD or whatever. Those few hours I gave you each week can become filled with something else pretty easily. It’s like how when I went to Florida my boyfriend took another girl to the Beach Boys concert with the tickets I bought him. I wasn’t there so he found something else to amuse him. If you all aren’t careful I’ll go to the Beach Boys with Civilization IV. That’s all I’m saying.

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I guess we’re having this conversation again. As a conservative libertarian who swims in a sea of liberals, I’m used to being thought ‘wrong’ or ‘stupid’ or ‘misguided’. Goes with the territory, I suppose.

On the 4th of July I had a conversation with a 9-year old who seemed to understand the concept of libertarianism and charity better than most of the people I’ve encountered lately. Unlike Mack, young Declan* (not his real name, remember…) got the general idea I was trying to put across. So maybe I haven’t explained myself well enough to be understood out here in the blogosphere. Maybe it’s a conversation that needs to happen face to face. Regardless of the limitations of the medium, I’ll try.

I am not greedy. I do not despise the poor and downtrodden.

Like Thomas Jefferson I believe wholeheartedly in the separation between Church and State. Like Jesus I believe in “rendering unto Caeser what is Caeser’s and unto God what is God’s.”

What this means to me is that I do not believe it is the job of the State or ANY institution, be it a church or faith-based charity to look after the poor and downtrodden. I believe such things are our responsibilities as human beings. Individual human beings.

I have nothing against charities–secular or faith-based–if that’s how a group of individuals decides to make their charity most effective. If you want to give the money you’ve earned to Catholic Charities or the United Way or Mennonite Disaster Relief, that’s your business. But I don’t believe the Government should take your money by force and redistribute it the way they see fit. That’s my opinion on taxes, entitlement programs, and federal funding of faith-based charities.

There’s a common misconception floating out there in the ether to which several liberals seem to be latching on. That’s the concept that conservatism is anti-community and pro-greed. I don’t quite know where these memes generated, but I’ve been seeing them a lot lately. I feel as though I’m not getting the original memoranda upon which they were printed.

And here’s where it gets tricky. Because it is my hard and fast rule that I will not give a resumé of my charitable deeds. Doing so means that the charity aspect of it all stops and the whited sepulchre kicks in. I could go looking for the myriad studies about who gives more to charity–conservatives or liberals–but I’m not playing that game. It’s all judgmental and sanctimonious and advances that hideous “us v. them” mentality.

Conservatism is not about keeping our money for ourselves, but deciding for ourselves the best uses of our money in benefit to the world.

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Remember when I used to come up with clever titles for blog entries? Those days are gone, my friend. I SOOO could not think of what to call this post. Although I do think it’s high time we turned July 5 into a lesser sort of holiday, kind of like Boxing Day. That way there’s not all this pressure on the 5th to get out and do something elaborate, but you do have a sanctioned excuse to rest. I just read a bunch of books set in Ireland and they were forever going on about Boxing Day as though it were some beautiful rest cure for Christmas. Then they also have Easter Monday. I think. Anyway, someone has “Easter Monday”. And it’s not official but we’ve got Black Friday as the “day after Thanksgiving.” Now, that’s kind of backwards, though, at least around my house, because Thanksgiving is the quiet and restful day, while Black Friday is the day of going to the mall to watch other folks lose their minds. It’s become a sport for us. Maybe this year we’ll even place bets on which people are gonna crack.

Sorry. None of that was what I meant to write about. My brain just got stuck in this loop. Moving on…

Yesterday was the best Independence Day I’ve had in awhile. We got to go to Casey’s house to watch his fireworks display. Let me tell you all something right now. That man takes his fireworks seriously. And by seriously I mean that I live 3/4 of a mile from Nashville Shores. Three times a year (Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day) I take my Adirondack chair to the end of my driveway and watch their show for 15 minutes. Casey’s show was more impressive AND it lasted for two hours and change. For real.

Before the fireworks I had the creepiest thing happen. I met this guy named **Declan** (That’s not his real name, but I don’t hand out real names on the internet. That’s bad juju.) Anyway, meeting Declan was both cool and weird.

Because Declan is just like me, if I were somehow turned back into a ten year old. And turned into a boy. (At least I think he was 10. He may be 9. It’s hard to tell with kids like us. Because we’re tall and we talk like miniature adults.) Declan and I apparently both got the “don’t talk about politics” speech before the party, so we were banished to the kitchen where we–yes–freely discussed politics. The best non-firework related party moment was when he asked me if I ate only liberty. See, he’s a vegetarian and so the natural assumption would of course be, upon hearing that I was a libertarian, that I ate only liberty. And anyone speaking to me for any length of time and familiar with KIBO will know that yeah, it would seem like I eat liberty.

So that was cool.

Also cool, yet weird, was finally getting to talk to Casey in person. Do you all know how odd it is to have exchanged long emails with people for more than a year, have long debates in comment sections, follow their every move on Twitter and then finally say “It’s nice to meet you”? Yeah. The Internet sure has made life odd, don’t you think? Casey is very cool in person, and also very into explosives. So that could either mean that he’s genuinely cool OR that I’m afraid he’ll blow up my house. In this case we’ll go with genuinely cool.

So this 4th July was awesome. It beats other 4th of Julys hands down. I didn’t even have to come up with a new Epic Movie Marathon. (Other years we’ve done LOTR, Star Wars & Jurassic Park. Prior to Casey’s invitation this 4th was looking more and more like Tarantino’s year.)

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Libertarian Rant

I have to admit that one of my favourite things about being a Libertarian is the fact that I can be all “that’s not my business / not my problem” about stuff that most people fret over. It’s very freeing to allow other people to live their own lives without my assistance. Since I’ve got enough garbage to worry about in my own world, I don’t mind letting smokers kill themselves with Demon Tobacco if they want. I don’t mind letting motorcyclists lose their brains on the highway if they want to ride without a helmet and I don’t particularly find myself caring about what everyone else’s kid wears to school.

Ahhhh. It’s very Zen.

Ironically, I am increasingly bothered by other people’s inability to butt out. This conversation at NiT has me puzzled. To my libertarian mind the answer is simple. If you don’t like the store, don’t shop there. If you don’t shop there, don’t whine about wanting to park in his parking lot to conduct your business elsewhere. I don’t use your toilet when I’m in Inglewood, even though it’s closer to me than my own home potty. See how that works? If you own something, you get to use it. If you don’t own it, you don’t have much say, frankly.

And that’s the real point of this rant. I’m glad to see that Hermitage (or at least a small part of it) has a new neighbourhood blog. But I’m really irritated at the purpose behind it. I think neighbourhoods can be a good thing. I like my subdivision. But when I went and got my mortgage, there were a bunch of papers for me to sign,many of which included very clear statements about exactly WHAT land I was buying. When we left that bank after three hours, there was no doubt in anyone’s mind that we owned (in collusion with the bank) a very specific piece of property.  I am under no illusions that my purchase of this house and land entitles me to decide what gets done with the other pieces of land around me which are purchased by other people.   I only had enough credit to borrow enough money for this house.  I do not have the money to buy a large property down the street from my house.   Since I don’t own that property,  I have little business deciding what the owner of the property does with that land.    As long as he’s not putting up a building that belches actual, factual poison into my home via the pipes, I have no say.   And yes, I know the city encouraged a “Community Plan”.   But did you really, honestly, think that was worth the paper it was printed on?  All those things are is busy-work to keep you from feeling completely ineffectual.

Here’s the thing.  If you want to have a neighbourhood with codes, you have to buy into a neighbourhood area that has codes.   If you buy into a condo development across the street from an empty parcel of land owned by someone else, the only way you can truly decide what goes on that land is to buy it yourself.  Otherwise you can kick and scream all you want, and fret about days of yore and how much nicer the world was before the inventions of the elevator and combustion engine.  But you can’t force any real change.

I’m sorry to be brutal, but that’s just the way it is.   Unless you can put your money where your mouth is, you have very little say.

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Oh, Rudy Giuliani. How inadequate I think you are! How terrified I am that you might become president! Your main claims to fame seems to be that you didn’t wet yourself on the morning of 9/11 and that you weren’t scared to appear on Saturday Night Live. The fact that you seem to think the Constitution was nothing more than a frat prank produced by some eighteenth century freemasons has little bearing on whether or not you should be president, according to some folks. You talk a good game and look good on the teevee.

Speaking of “on the teevee”, I guess there was another debate that I missed. (We have a lot of paint drying around here that I simply must keep an eye on.) In that debate I hear from folks that you laid a smackdown on my preferred candidate, Dr. Ron Paul. Now, I like Dr. Paul because even in the areas where we disagree he at least honours the intentions of liberty. If Toms Paine and Jefferson had a very old, very pale baby he would be Ron Paul. So I like the guy not only for what he will do for me but what he won’t do to me.

Anyway, back to the circus debate.

Dr. Paul says that we were attacked on 9/11 because we had too large a military presence in the Middle East and we don’t fully understand the “irrational politics of the Middle East.” Now, this is one area where we differ. I think Ron Paul is maybe a bit too kind toward the nutbars who think that the best way to express your displeasure about life is to blow up a few thousand innocent bystanders. As with serial killers, I think “mommy didn’t hug me” and “you have a military base in my hometown” are poor reasons for killing babies.

But here’s my issue. Dr. Paul’s point of view is a common one. I first heard it standing in the bathroom of my office building on 9/11. I was refreshing my makeup after having cried a little bit. Another woman doing the same thing said pretty much what Dr. Paul said–“they did this because we are in their country”–and I politely smeared my lipstick all over her face disagreed. Since that day, I think I’ve heard or read that view of things approximately nineteen thousand and forty-six times. I still disagree.

Yet Rudy Giuliani–a man who wants to be in charge of our foreign policy–claims to have never before heard “that excuse”. That the first time he ever laid ears on a non-interventionist opinion was during the debate with Dr. Paul.



Well, either Giuliani is so ignorant of foreign policy that he hasn’t heard the rationale of 50% of the country OR he’s so eager to have a good TeeVee moment that he’ll lie just to hear the applause.

Either way, that is NOT presidential material.

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Ron Paul, Penn Jillette and I are all “Terrorists” according to the State of Alabama.

The Alabama Department of Homeland Security has recently constructed a website that defines Domestic Terrorists as those who oppose a strong federal government.

Funny, but I thought Domestic Terrorists were people who blew up stuff. I thought Libertarians were just people who wanted to be left alone.

Thanks, Casey, for letting me know.


Apparently I am also a Godless heathen. Not to mention a big fan of rapists.

Libertarianism breaks down in the eyes of conservatives when the question is presented as to who has the greater right, the habitual rapist’s right to rape or the victim’s right to be free from rape? … Libertarianism doesn’t find much purpose with religion, as liberty and desire trump restraint and social conscience.

All in all not the best day for libertarians. I think perhaps we need to clarify our message.

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This is going to be a long one. And I’ve discovered the “More” tool, so I’m overusing it.

On this eve of the possible execution of Phillip Workman, I need to go on record with a FAQ about how and why I am for the death penalty, even though I believe in the sanctity of life. It’s a seemingly odd position, and I don’t want to give the impression of not having arrived at it logically. So for all of you who’ve scratched your heads over this seemingly bizarre dichotomy among the conservatives you share air with, here’s my attempt at an answer.


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It seems that it’s okay to express an opinion in the City of LaVergne. If you agree with the City Board, that is. Otherwise, you’re just some jerk with a computer.

LaVergne is a small town. But this story is so very AMERICAN in its practices. We are theoretically free and want so much to be brave. But as we’ve given the governnment more control over our lives, we have much more reason to be afraid. Ivy says it best:

They keep harping on about my real name, why? So my tax payments can conveniently get lost? So when I’m one minute late on the water bill my water will get cut off? So when my grass is one millimeter longer than the code states, they can come write me tickets? So they can sic the police department on me? No thank you.

This is what happens when government stops being a servant and starts being a master.

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I haven’t written much about Leslie Bennetts’ The Feminine Mistake because I don’t generally care to promote the various books in the You
Are A Failed Human Being
genre. I assume many people are like me in that they are plagued with frequent moments of self-doubt and fits of wistfullness. I personally have enough night feedings of my worry-baby without some academic or journalist adding fuel to the fire.

The more I’ve read about the book over the last few days, however, the more I realise Bennetts has not written yet another diatribe against Stay At Home Moms, nor has she written yet another paean to female careerism. Bennetts has written the ultimate anti-feminist romance novel.

Now, I’m not a regular reader of romance novels, but I have picked up the odd bodice-ripper for a slice of mental junk food. I’ve also read the back jacket blurbs on countless others–especially since various publishers have been putting thriller-type covers on romances. (Author’s Note: How irritating is it to grab up what looks like a good blood and gore thriller only to have it be the tale of Chase and Mandy’s tryst in Majorica. RRRGH.) The comment element in a number of romances is the Road Not Taken. For awhile there we had a glut of stories where women in early middle age move back to their childhood home and fall madly in love all over again with their high school sweethearts. Then there are the women in late middle age who pursue their dreams of opening a chocolatierie or an Italian restaurant. Heck, I’ve even read books where BOTH things happen.

Women may have the right to choose, but it seems we are often unsatisfied with our choices. I think that’s part of the parcel of woman-worry, the vestigial remains of what made us good at guarding the camp while our men hunted. No matter how good things are, we will always think of what we should have done to make them better. We should have had another baby or we should have used better birth control to keep from having the expenses of the children we’ve got. We should have finished grad school. We should have married when we were younger. We shouldn’t have bought this house or sold that car. We should have blogged less and finished our novel.

In The Feminine Mistake Bennetts provides a pile of dry data and weepy anecdotes about why women should never leave the workplace. Husbands die or divorce you, the career ladders get slippery and crowded in your absence and financial catastrophe looms around every corner. Bennetts’ philosophy is that women open themselves up to vulnerability by opting out of the career market when they choose to raise children. Ah, for the road not taken! Just like a good romance novel, Bennetts spends a lot of time telling you how much better life would be if you made the ‘right’ choice.

She further claims that women’s lives are worth less because they sacrifice their earning power to stay home. Heh. What is life worth? How do we measure that? Is a person worth less because they make less? That seems to be one of Bennetts’ driving points. If only you had stayed in the workplace, your lifetime earnings would be so much higher! Nowhere is there an accounting for the value of a cup of tea drunk at your kitchen table between loads of laundry, or a tangible measure of the value of playing on the floor with your kid.

Over the years feminism has gotten very good at talking about rights and the value of choice. What’s the point? If we aren’t willing to let free adults make the choices which best suit them and their families, we’re just substituting one hierarchy for another. Now instead of being barefoot and pregnant, are all women supposed to be briefcase-toting pie-chart readers? I somehow don’t think that’s the best idea.

Husbands die and divorce no matter what women do. Life happens. Some choices turn out well, others turn out badly. It’ll be nice when we get away from the practice of pointing at other people’s lives and calling those lives ‘mistakes’.

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You might also suggest to your local representatives which of those groups of people should lose the services they rely on so that we can eliminate the $8 or $9 in tax we pay on every $100 of food we purchase.

–Tennessee Taxpayer And Vehicle Services Division in an email dated 26 April, 2007

$8 or $9 isn’t a lot of money to some of us. There are those of us who spend fifteen times that amount on cable.
To the poor and struggling, however, $8 or $9 is a great deal of money. It is several days’ worth of canned tuna and bread, or a couple luxuries like frozen peas and carrots.

The Sales Tax on Food is a Regressive tax which penalises most those who can least afford it. Everyone in Tennessee eats, and unless you are on food stamps you pay the sales tax on food. If you are a person of limited means, that will cost you a larger portion of your food budget income.

Right now the Tennessee State Government has taken in FAR more money that it needs. A bulk of this “found money” comes out of the hides of the working poor in the form of a food sales tax.

you can find some stupid things the state spends money on. … [I]f you give me your checkbook, I can find lots of stuff you spend money on that I might think are stupid.

–State Employee

The State of Tennessee’s money IS our money. It belongs to US. The citizens of the State of Tennessee. And we’d like to see a bit more of it in our hands where we can decide how it gets spent.

Please join me in the Nine Bucks Back crusade. Let the poor and struggling of Tennessee have their own nine bucks back.

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