Voluntary Participation Makes Good Coffee Tuesday Possible

I have opinions about the whole Kavanaugh circus, but I don’t have the energy to write about it today. Instead, I’ll highlight a perfect example of Liberty and Voluntaryism.

My employer provides coffee for us. It’s not particularly good coffee. In fact, it’s downright nasty. I have never heard one person make a comment that the coffee is good. Most that drink it basically say they tolerate it because it’s provided at no cost to them (it obviously isn’t free because my company pays the vendor to provide it. More on that point in a bit.)

I started to bring my own coffee beans and brew a pot in a Chemex every morning. Most of my coworkers on the floor have seen me brewing my own coffee. I get a lot of curious looks. Some people ask me about it. Others comment that it smells amazing. I tell them I just like good coffee.

Something wonderful happened a few months ago. Someone, or a group of people, decided to bring in better coffee to share with the team once a week. They started calling it “Good Coffee Tuesdays”. There’s a cup on the side for donations if the drinker feels inclined to contribute, but there’s no one enforcing sales.
Because it’s voluntary.

If you like the idea that someone started, then you contribute.

If you don’t like the beans this week or if you don’t drink coffee or if you’d rather drink the bad coffee, that’s all fair game.

The beauty of voluntary participation is that there are no expectations or limitations. No one is entitled to better coffee. If no one drinks it or contributes to the fund or even steals the bag, Good Coffee Tuesdays will probably stop. But it’s also not limited to Tuesdays. Anyone can start Good Coffee Wednesdays or Sweet Tea Fridays.

Now, some statists out there will say something like –

Those that are wise understand that if my company pays for bad coffee, that’s less money available for other benefits like bonuses, healthcare subsidies, parking, etc. “Free” coffee comes at a cost, diverting money away from other needs. And this is always the case with Socialism, nay, the world. (go and study the Scarcity Principle.)

This reminds me of something I saw the other day. As you might recall, I go to the local Farmers Market on the weekend sometimes with my wife. Glorious free market capitalism. I noticed a curious Honda with 2 particular bumper stickers.

One reads: FeelTheBern, supporting the socialist tyrant Bernie Sanders. The other reads: Every time you spend money you’re casting a vote for the kind of world you want.

Ever see something so completely contradictory that you have to believe that there’s either multiple personalities or really good drugs involved? Socialism, by definition, removes all opportunity to choose or Vote with your money. Your choices are made for you. Only in a free market are you actually given the opportunity to shape the world with your money votes. By spending money on better coffee, you are casting a vote for more Good Coffee Tuesdays.

Applying the analogy of Good Coffee Tuesday to the tyranny of government, imagine if another floor decided that they would not allow it to continue, making it illegal for any floor to have any coffee other than the company’s authorized brand, including going out to Starbucks for a cup. Or picture if an office in another state had determined their local brand was the best coffee in the world and that everyone in the company had to subsidize their building’s Good Coffee Tuesdays from now on. Or suppose some scientists or soothsayers had determined that coffee was bad for your health and instead required employees to drink kombucha each morning.

You get the idea. This is exactly why government meddling in any of our choices is inherently evil, inefficient, and devoid of morality. The only morally sound, consistent, and actionable policy for individuals is for us to take full responsibility and reward for the choices and votes we make with our time and money every single day.


Back from vacation


My wife and I returned from a week-long trip to the mountains of East TN, an early celebration of our 20th wedding anniversary this October. She found a quiet, remote B&B called Whitestone Country Inn for us online and we booked the Oriole Suite.



This isn’t the first time we’ve gone on a vacation together on our own, but I’m fairly certain this was the longest time away – 5 nights / 6 days. The kids are old enough now that they can pretty much take care of themselves.

My plans for the trip were simple: relax, enjoy some uninterrupted time with my wife, get some reading done, and maybe eat something yummy along the way. She had a longer list of things to accomplish.

Fortunately, we both got what we wanted out of our trip.

It got me thinking. I’ve been reading a lot about different generations, particularly Millenials, and how they’re reshaping travel, technology, the workplace. Multiple surveys have shown a shift in how generations approach ‘vacations’. Millenials tend to favor ‘the experience’ vacations – Iceland to see the northern lights, Hamilton on Broadway, kayaking down the Rockies or golfing with some celebrities. And it’s not just Millenials. There are plenty of Gen Xers or even Boomers that want the experience vacation as well.


But for me, a Generation X, father of 7, husband for 20 years, I’ve come to enjoy simpler pleasures. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not talking about going completely granola and ditching all the technology and modern conveniences we have today. But there’s something beautiful and peaceful about taking more than a couple days or a weekend with your wife to someplace remote, away from alarm clocks and schedules, and just enjoying each other’s company.

I was able to jump into full-on relaxation mode the minute we had unpacked. But my wife, who is normally very driven and focused, took at least 3 days to completely let it all go. But when she did, it was magical.

We even ventured into Knoxville for a day and had a fantastic time on a private foodie tour of some hidden gems in the big city. If you’re ever visiting, I would definitely recommend reaching out to Paula and taking one of her Knoxville Food Tours. But at the end of the day, we went back into the mountains and enjoyed the quiet of the hills once again.

Eventually, it came time to go home to our children. We took the scenic road home over the Blue Ridge Parkway. The drive is incredible. We were up in the clouds overlooking some of the most amazing views of God’s creation.

We’ve been incredibly blessed for 20 years together and, Lord willing, we will have many more to come. The experience we enjoy has less to do with the where and the what but with whom we spend it.

Happy anniversary, my love.

We need less government, not more

Look at all this Free Market / Voluntarily Participating / Mutually Benefiting GREEDY Capitalism! Every single vendor, farmer, craftsman, rancher, baker, and artisan here took their time, money, talent, and sweat equity to produce goods to sell on their own.

There was no govt commissar dictating what to produce, how much, and to what standard. No one is forcing customers to buy things they don’t want or need. The only way an exchange is made is when both parties agree to the terms and are BOTH better off afterward. If buyers don’t like what they see, they move on. If producers are charging too much, they move on. If one guy is charging astronomical rates for eggs, by next week, a dozen farmers will be here to undercut him and grab up market share.

When people say stupid things like Food is a Right or Healthcare is a Right or that Everyone is entitled to Housing and blazing fast wifi, they don’t realize that there are people and labor and investment capital required to bring those things to market. They don’t just magically appear, even when the govt steals half of our paychecks from us. To claim rights to someone else’s labor or work product against their will is tantamount to Slavery.

My kind of vacation

For the second year in row, our dear friends from Texas (AJ, Laura,and #8) drove all the way to our home in South Carolina to spend a few days of their vacation with us and to celebrate our Independence Day together, blowing stuff up and eating lots of yummy food.  We laughed, shared memories and just enjoyed each other’s company.

Somehow this year, we started talking about Meyers-Briggs personality types and my brother-from-another-mother pointed out a simple description of the difference between Introverts and Extroverts.  I, being an Introvert, lose energy with prolonged exposure to people, even beloved friends.  He, being an Extrovert, replenishs his energy supply from being around people.

So, when I wake up in the morning, my batteries are fully charged because I’ve had a nice long break away from people (well, except for my beloved wife).  AJ wakes up depleted and needs company fast in order to recharge.  Basically, my brother is a vampire feeding off of people like me.  😂

Thing is that I love being around my friends and family, but I don’t really have this burning need to DO stuff.  I just love knowing they are near.  I do, however, need a plan or some milestones for the day – like what we’re going to eat or if I need to drive anyone anywhere or if we need supplies, etc.  Guess if you are a father of seven, much of this stems from necessity.

At one point during our weekend, I think a circuit just snapped in my head and I made a mess of the festivities, getting short with my wife and embarrassing myself in front of my friends because “I just needed to know the details of the plan!“. 

Sigh, thankfully my wife and our friends love me too much to hold a grudge when I get stupid.

Have you ever seen Weird Science?  There’s this scene where Gary and Wyatt are hosting this huge, rocking party and where are they?  Hiding out in the bedroom, taking some consolation that everyone else seems to be having a good time.  I can totally relate to them.  😁

But here’s how thoughtful and wise God is.  In all my quirks and oddities, my wife is the glue that keeps it all together for me.  She, being an Extrovert, can graciously host dozens of our friends at our home without batting an eye.

Well, the Fourth came and I was super excited.  I had a stock pile of fireworks all planned out.  And then, our friends brought even more!  They brought food, children, and most importantly, themselves.

I was a little nervous because of the rain in the forecast, but it cleared up just in time for the show.  God is good! 

The week was a huge success.  We had such a good time with our friends.  I didn’t have to drive cross country and enjoyed the comforts of home.  We blew up a ton of explosives.  AND, no police showed up!  (We’ve got a cranky neighbor that complains to them anytime we’re out in our yard after 9 pm).  

I am so thankful for all of you in my life.  Thanks for the best vacation an INTJ can ask for.

Quality and Free Markets

Quality.  It’s a hugely subjective measurement. Some may argue there are universally accepted standards for what’s considered to be “good” quality vs. “poor” (eg. your local FDA bootlicker).  I would argue that Beauty is in the eye of the Beholder.

Many people mistake Price for Quality.  In a Free Market, Price only indicates the intersection of Supply and Demand.  If there’s a shortage of Supply and relatively stable or even increasing Demand, you very well could see prices for low-Quality junk go higher and higher.  The reverse is also true in that high-Quality goods may be in ample supply and thus prices drop.  (eg. computers, memory, and processors over the last 30 years.)

The reason I bring these up is because Socialists will, without exception, argue there is only one acceptable standard for Quality.  In fact, their aim is to eliminate choice altogether.  A Socialist State cannot allow for product differentiation because that opens the door for Disparity.

The head scratcher in all this is that Socialists want you to believe their agenda will give everyone the best fruits the Free Market has to offer.  Suddenly, everyone will have palatial mansions, Ferraris, and grass fed Wagu filet mignon every night.

This can’t be further from the truth.  Throughout history and even today in countries like Venezuela, Socialists and central planners cannot even supply basic needs like food, water, or even toilet paper.  

And let’s not forget the fact that not everyone wants or needs the same Quality of goods or services.  My needs may be very different from yours.  We have 7 children in our home.  Do you think for one minute your transportation needs are the same as mine?  Or size of home?  Or meal planning?  Or healthcare needs?

What about your own needs over time?  Will your needs change over the next 10, 20 or even 40 years?  My wife and I are big fans of Ikea and Walmart mostly because they provide LOW-COST options for our family.  It’s understood that everything we buy from them is pretty much disposable.  Furniture, electronics, food items, sundries, clothing — we have zero expectation of holding on to these things after all of our children have grown and moved out of the house.  But these things are very much in demand in our household for the time being.  The Free Market gives us the power to weigh our needs, wants, and preferences against our own personal Demand curves throughout time.  

The Socialist State will tell you what you need when you need it.  

You have children with Gluten or Dye Allergies?  LOL!  You think the Socialists care?  

You want organic, non-GMO produce for your salad?  The Socialist has no salad for you this month.  

You like energy-efficient, hybrid cars to ‘save’ the environment?  Socialists can’t even deliver the rubber for making tires.

Make no mistake about it.  When Socialists proclaim equality and fairness for all, they are talking about the lowest, common denominator of quality with no other options allowed.