Category Archives: libertarianism

Anyone Want to Fly United?

Gotta capture this one for the books. This week started off with a viral video clip of Dr. David Dao’s violent removal from Flight 3411 because, though the flight was NOT overbooked, 4 airline employees needed the seats to get to Louisville for other flight duties. So after an unsuccessful attempt at offering up to $1000 per passenger to voluntarily deplane, flight attendants arbitrarily picked 4 people, including Dao and his wife, to be ejected from their ticketed seats.

You probably know the rest. Dao refused. Airport Security / Chicago PD was called. They grabbed him, apparently clocked him in the mouth, and dragged him off the plane.  He’s now believed to have lost 2 front teeth and suffered a broken nose and concussion.

Not helping the situation has been United Continental Holdings’ Chief Executive Officer Oscar Munoz. In his first 2 responses to the PR crisis, he’s gone from behaving like a cold, legalese-spouting robot to even blaming Dao for being “disruptive and belligerent”. At the time of this writing, Munoz has made several additional attempts at apologizing in public and also to Dao directly. He’s announced that all passengers on Flight 3411 will be reimbursed for the flight. And United has promised never to call the police on its passengers again.

All that you probably knew. What I wanted to capture here was the surprising reaction I’ve been seeing from friends and total strangers on social media to the situation. But to start, I’ll summarize my personal take on it.

When you make a purchase from a business to provide a service, you are entering into an agreement. In fact, by accepting payment, the business is creating a POSITIVE RIGHT for me. (See my previous post on the differences between Positive and Negative Rights for more details.) There’s no need to have a formal, notarized contract ratified to legitimize our agreement. I give you some money. You promised to deliver a service. It used to be that we did things on a handshake because our word was our bond.

An agreement can have several conditions included in the exchange – some are explicit, others are implicit. For example, if I order a pizza to be delivered and it shows up next week, technically the business met the WHAT part of our agreement, but they certainly failed to meet the HOW or WHEN.

When it comes to the airline industry, it’s a hot mess. As consumers, we’ve grown so accustomed to receiving appalling service, getting molested and robbed by TSA agents, enduring abysmal on-time service level agreements, and begrudgingly stomaching an overall customer satisfaction rating that rivals most used car lot interactions.

So how shall we think about the events of this week? Well for starters, let’s look at the fact that city police were called to intervene on behalf of a business when no laws were being broken. Judge Andrew Napolitano said:

“By dislodging this passenger against his will, United violated its contractual obligation. … [Dao] bought the ticket, he passed the TSA, he was in his seat, he has every right to stay there.”

The Judge went on to say “If the reason for their call is not a crime, [CPD] should leave. … They have no right using violence to resolve a civil a dispute. … If the passenger is politely or reasonably sitting there, waiting for the flight to take off, he’s not committing a crime, he’s not engaged in violence, he’s not doing anything that justifies police force.”

Couldn’t agree with the Judge more. For those that are defending the authoritarians and touting the “Romans 13 / always obey the man with the badge” line of thinking, consider the dangerously slippery slope this creates. What’s to stop business owners from calling the police if you complain that you didn’t get the food you ordered at your favorite restaurant? They can now call the cops to just have you punched and dragged out? What about when you put money down to have a builder create your dream home? During your final walk through, you notice they used the nickel faucets instead of the copper that you had ordered. Cops will be called to force you at gunpoint to take delivery?

Again, these are civil matters. Not criminal. That’s exactly why the Judge states police have no business intervening. And these are obviously extremes, but in today’s crazy times, I’ve learned never to say “never”. Once the precedence is set, the door only swings open wider. Pandora’s box never closes.

Then you have the ad hominem attacks on Dr. Dao’s character. I haven’t seen any of my friends specifically justify UAL / CPD’s actions because of it, but they’ve felt the need to regurgitate the ‘background’ juicy details that have surfaced by digging into Dao’s past. So let’s think about this. Did the CPD know anything about his past when they assaulted him? Did UAL? Of course not. So anyone that’s actually taking even a second’s notice of anything that has to do with Dao’s character is basically playing a game of Statist Russian Roulette.

Put another way, when your moral evaluation of an attack hinges on whether the victim’s history warranted an arbitrary, unrelated, random (almost karmic) dispensation of justice today, then your argument is contrary to the ‘sanctity of the Rule of Law’ most of you also spout from the other side of your mouths. You can’t have both. You can’t support the “follow the rules” mantra and at the same time say “well regardless, he deserved it because he’s a jerk”.

Lastly, there’s the matter of the fine print. I’ve read over and over that the “fine print” on our tickets basically signs away all of our civil rights, constitutional protections, our first born, and part of our 401ks for the privilege of being stuffed into a can and shipped like cattle. (It’s very similar to the case of the Social Contract I often hear about whenever I protest the government stealing from us through taxation or waging wars we don’t support.) To this all I say, “is this fine print set in stone? We, as consumers, can’t demand more for our business? Are we completely powerless and simply have to take it?”

And yet again, the FREE MARKET is the solution to all of the airline industry’s problems. Why do we have such horrible service? It is not because of the lack of government intervention. It is directly CAUSED by government preventing competition from entering the US air carrier marketplace.

Marc Scribner of the Competitive Enterprise Institute notes that domestic airlines are protected against foreign airlines that want to fly domestic routes in the U.S.:

Since the Air Commerce Act of 1926, federal law has imposed ownership and control restrictions on U.S.-flag airlines. These restrictions were tightened under the Civil Aeronautics Act of 1938. Under current law, the maximum foreign ownership and control share of U.S.-flag airlines is 25 percent (see 49 U.S.C. § 40102(a)(15)(c) for the relevant definition of “citizen of the United States”). This is why Richard Branson only held 25 percent of Virgin America prior to its sale to Alaska Airlines. The rest was owned by a New York hedge fund.

The Air Commerce Act of 1926 also prohibited cabotage (see 49 U.S.C. § 41703 and 19 C.F.R. § 122.165), whereby foreign airlines service U.S. domestic routes. There are extremely narrow emergency exceptions to this broad ban on foreign airline competition along U.S. routes and these typically are only granted when a remote domestic route in the Pacific loses all U.S.-flag carrier service—which has occurred in Guam, for instance.

Have you ever flown Virgin America or Emirates Airlines? I’ve flown VA. Still waiting for the chance to fly EA. I can tell you that VA was one of the most pleasant flying experiences I’ve ever had. And I wasn’t flying 1st Class or Business. Just regular coach.  (I’ve heard that Emirates is the stuff of legend.)  Competition in the marketplace forces businesses to offer better service, more reliable departure/arrival SLAs, friendlier staff, and competitive pricing. Take away the competition (i.e. Cronyism) and you reduce incentives for businesses to improve. They get lazy. They get complacent. And they aren’t as eager to keep your loyalty.

It will be interesting to see what changes take place at United and the US airline industry in the next few months and years coming out of this debacle. The cynic in me thinks the public will lose interest in less than a month and Dr. Dao’s violation will become a distant memory in the Hall of Memes. The realist in me believes opportunistic politicians will see this as their clarion call to further regulate which keeps out competitors from entering the marketplace. I hope for our sake that sanity will prevail and the public will keep the pressure on businesses like United to change. I also hope we embrace competition and freedom rather than control and regulation to energize the airline industry.

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The Election and the Aftermath

It’s been almost a week since the election. I’ll admit that I had assumed Hillary was going to win.  Seemed to have been what most people were expecting as well. Certainly, the mainstream media is calling Trump’s victory “shocking” and “disheartening”.

Most of you know that I’ve given up on voting for a political official.

Forever.

Now, there may be referendums and bond initiatives that will come along for which I might cast a vote someday. But I will always vote against any increased government spending, power, and jurisdiction.

(Every once in a while, my wife tells me I should run for our HOA board. My platform would be simple: I will work to disband the HOA and return power and money to the people. Probably not a very popular platform on which to run.) 

(SIDE UPDATE: In between the time when I had started drafting this post and publishing it online, I received a notice from the HOA lords that we’ve violated some standard of “reasonable noise” and that we’re “disrupting [our] neighbors”. More on this drama as it unfolds.)

Looking back at the last year or so, there have been so many aspects about this election to consider. I wrote about my initial thoughts back in February, challenging would-be voters – “How Far Are You Willing to Compromise Your Integrity and Values?” Re-reading this, it’s interesting to me given the state of the country 1 week into Trumps victory.

I think our human nature and selective memory makes everything seem unique and circumstances to be new. But as we know, there’s nothing new under the sun. In fact, I will make my 2020 election prediction here and now:

  • There will be Trump. His platform will be ‘I have only begun to make America great. It would have been greater except for the obstructionist Democrats in Congress and liberal Supreme Court justices. We need to stay the course and protect our country from liberals and their agenda.
  • There will be a Democrat. His/her platform will be ‘end the terrible reign of Trump and his cronies. Tax the rich. Power to the 98%!
  • There will be at least one Third Party Candidate. His/her platform will be ‘I offer you a little from column A and a little from column B. Vote for me because I’m kind of different.

To recap how we got here, think back to the early primaries. For the Democrats, Clinton was the heir apparent. But low and behold, Bernie Sanders was actually making waves among the young and naïve. Preaching Socialism, free everything that mattered to the young, and BAD! rich guys. BAD!, the naïve and hopeful actually thought Bernie stood a chance.

And then came the Super Delegates — those political insiders whose votes counted so much more than yours and were accountable to no one. The truth started to unfold before our eyes that this charade was predetermined from the start. Clinton would be the Democratic nominee. Go back and look at her demeanor and interaction with the press during the primaries. Half the time, she didn’t even bother to address the press. The other half, she really didn’t have the appearance of someone fighting to earn her party’s top spot. She was calm, confident, and even arrogant.  There were others in the race early on, but I’d bet most people could not name a single Democratic candidate other than Clinton and Sanders.

And what happened to Sanders? Just when the hopeful were calling on him to break off for a 3rd party run, contest the Convention results, or even continue to challenge Clinton as a Democrat all the way to November? HE SOLD THEM OUT!  After months of calling Clinton a crook unfit for the office of President, a political insider, and a whore for special interests, Bernie turns around and tells his supporters to fully embrace Hillary and to campaign for her. And . . . then a few months later, he buys a $600,000 waterfront vacation home in Vermont.  But never mind that.

Then there were the Republicans — Cruz, Jeb, Carson, Rubio, Christie, Fiorina, Paul, Huckabee, Santorum, Kasich. For many Republicans, Trump seemed like a joke early on. Wasn’t this guy a Democrat a few years ago? Didn’t he campaign for BILL Clinton? To their detriment, some of the early Republican candidates probably didn’t even factor Trump into their strategy. They focused on the Cruz, Rubio, and Carson campaigns.

These men and woman fought tooth and nail against each other, jockeying for the Republican ticket. They called each other liars, cheats, adulterers, insider hacks, and many other names. The Republican Party was buzzing with hopeful anticipation that their candidate would stand for Conservative, Christian, Values. There was talk of overturning Roe vs. Wade (yet again). There were promises made to overturn Obamacare. They were going to crack down on illegals, build walls, round up all the terrorists and send them back to the Middle East.  Republicans were going to end this unfair trade agreement with China and Mexico.

And then?  You settled on Trump.  Because you were told to.

The weeks running up to the 8th of November were filled with negative campaign ads.  Even the World Series was not immune to both parties conjuring up bogeymen coming to ruin the country if we didn’t get out and vote for the right candidate.  Days before the 8th, the FBI suddenly had a renewed interest at looking into Hillary’s email scandal.  Republicans were shouting “hallelujah!!!  She’s going to jail!!!”, only to find out just as quickly that the FBI gave her another free pass.  

Finally, election day had arrived.  Early voting results had indicated Trump was gaining speed.  Media pundits were painting the electoral college map into a sea of red.  One by one, Trump was picking up key ‘battleground’ states.  Iowa. Ohio.  Florida.

And to everyone’s amazement, Hillary was done.

The days that followed were are entertaining, to say the least.  Social media went hog wild with reaction.  Republicans felt vindicated and celebrated the end of Obama.  

Democrats wept.  

And wept.  

And wept.  

And then, they took to the streets.  

At the time of this post, protesters are still out and about.  Some peaceful.  Many not so much.  The genuine panic in their voices would have you believe Trump is the next FDR, coming to send all the homosexuals, minorities, and women into internment camps in Guantanamo Bay.

And then, there’s folks like me.  There aren’t many of us out there.  But our numbers are growing.  Some figures suggest that eligible voter turnout is at a 20 year low.  3rd Party Candidates have become part of the mainstream dialogue, not just among the college kids and foil-hat wearing conspiracy theorists.  If you’re a fan of political / social memes like me, there’s been a wellspring of great material out there since the results.

As much as I love to sit back and laugh at all the hysterics, poking fun at those that take the election of the POTUS so seriously, my mission is clear.  Like Neo freeing trapped minds connected to the Matrix, I find myself having meaningful conversations every day, online and in person.  People are starting to awaken and see the futility of the so-called “choice” they are told to make.  They see that the system is rigged.  They see that there’s little difference between the DNC and the RNC.  It’s finally starting to get bad enough that friends from all age groups, geography, races, economic classes, and religions are open to hearing the message of Liberty.  

Many, however, are still skeptical.  They can’t let go of the safety of having a terrible, yet predictable, path ahead of them in favor of the unknown potential.  You might recall my earlier post when some have asked me “What is your plan and how do we get there?”  But I am encouraged that when we get past the one liners and hilarious memes meant to stir up reaction, I find that many more than I had thought possible are considering not Republican vs. Democrat but Liberty vs. Coercion.  

How Far Are You Willing to Compromise Your Integrity and Values?

Election fever has taken hold. A new generation of young voters will have their first chance to vote for the next President this November. The energy of the American dream will surge in the hearts of the masses. Like the groundhog that comes up once a year, the American voter will suddenly care about the issues, rules of engagement, democracy, laws, social contracts, and a bunch of -isms that divide into Us vs. Them, only to retreat into their safe zones and watering holes for another 4 years.

If social media is any kind of representation of reality, then I can tell you this election is going to get ugly. People are angry. People are pointing fingers. Everyone has an ax to grind and someone to blame.

And then there are our Leaders. The snake oil peddlers and soothsayers are drumming up the sheeple, feeding on their fears and hatred, and promising to care about them and solve their problems. Every one of them is peddling something at the cost of your liberty. Want better health care? You need to be taxed and pay for services you don’t want or need. Want secured borders? We need to have access to your private information. Want equality and protection from hate speech? We need to threaten you with incarceration for unsanctioned speech or expression. Want a greener planet? People in poorer countries might have to starve to get that done.

As of this moment, the 2 presidential front runners appear to be Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. I really hope they are the ones on the ballot. You might think I’m saying that because they represent polar opposites of the political spectrum and should find some common ground for most voters from which to choose, but that’s not the case. I find them to be more similar than not. The real reason I want to see them on the ballot is because I believe they are SO bad, that many honest, thoughtful people will have to do some deep, soul searching to motivate them to actually cast a vote for one over the other.

Now many die hard political party drones will simply vote along party lines. But I suspect if you’re out there reading this, and you have been bathing in the Bernie ether pond, and you see that he’s led in many primaries by popular vote, but lost because of the SuperMario insider caucus voters — then at some point, you’ll have to come to terms with the fact that in the end, your precious grass roots movement meant nothing because money and power, within your own party, sold you out. And are you prepared to fall in line and cast your voice to support the system that chewed you up and vomited you out?

Similarly, if you are a professing Christian, and you’ve been pushing for Rubio or Cruz or Carson, fooling yourself into hoping that your guy will uphold Christian values (while bombing civilians in foreign countries or justifying police brutality and creating a nation held hostage by thugs with anger issues and badges) — and you’re left with a flamboyantly adulterous, pro-abortion, misogynist who has promised more govt regulation and more wars, are you comfortable standing before a Holy God someday and saying “but he was better than Hillary”?

Now some of you are going to say “you can still write in your candidate” and that is true. My question back to you is – do you honestly believe they are going to be any different? Is the government they run going use their power for good or for selfish gain? Are corruption and backroom dealings going to go away if we elect X instead of Y?

So I challenge all of you out there.

Don’t continue to support a corrupt system by casting a symbolic nod of approval. Let’s see voter turnout down to single digits this fall. If you want to stand for something, stand for integrity and your soul.

Stop worshipping the State and appointing your next slave master.

As for me and my household, we have but one King and that is Jesus the Christ. I owe allegiance to no one else. Go ahead with your silly fixed, 2 party race.

But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to judge us.” So Samuel prayed to the Lord . And the Lord said to Samuel, “Heed the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them. According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt, even to this day—with which they have forsaken Me and served other gods—so they are doing to you also. Now therefore, heed their voice. However, you shall solemnly forewarn them, and show them the behavior of the king who will reign over them.”

So Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people who asked him for a king. And he said, “This will be the behavior of the king who will reign over you: He will take your sons and appoint them for his own chariots and to be his horsemen, and some will run before his chariots. He will appoint captains over his thousands and captains over his fifties, will set some to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and some to make his weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. He will take your daughters to be perfumers, cooks, and bakers. And he will take the best of your fields, your vineyards, and your olive groves, and give them to his servants. He will take a tenth of your grain and your vintage, and give it to his officers and servants. And he will take your male servants, your female servants, your finest young men, and your donkeys, and put them to his work. He will take a tenth of your sheep. And you will be his servants. And you will cry out in that day because of your king whom you have chosen for yourselves, and the Lord will not hear you in that day.”

Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, “No, but we will have a king over us, that we also may be like all the nations, and that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles.”

And Samuel heard all the words of the people, and he repeated them in the hearing of the Lord . So the Lord said to Samuel, “Heed their voice, and make them a king.”

And Samuel said to the men of Israel, “Every man go to his city.”
I Samuel 8:6-22 NKJV

Where is your hope and faith?

It’s been almost a full week of a self-imposed sabbatical from Facebook and shockingly, the world continued to move forward.  I had no profound reason for taking the break other than I want to see how long I could go without the daily facepalms and pulling out my already thinning hairline.  Still, there were some big events this week worth discussing.  One event in particular, that I’m sure has been blowing up FB, was likely also a topic covered by pastors and preachers from pulpits all around the world this Sunday morning.  This is, of course, the 5-4 SCOTUS ruling that States could no longer prohibit homosexual couples from getting a marriage license.

Based on some of the conversations I’ve had with friends, I imagine that some Christians (and other believers of faith which prohibit such unions) are wallowing in the ruling, lamenting over the failure of the Right Wing to mobilize enough petitions or grass-roots community protests ahead of the vote.  Others may be asking how things got “so bad”, how our country founded on Judeo-Christian doctrine could allow such an abomination.  I’m sure there are others looking down their noses and pointing to the failure of Democrats or fathers or the church or the media or women’s lib or the Kardashians to blame for the current state of society.

As a Christian first, and a Libertarian second, I’m not surprised at the outcome of the ruling.  I can honestly say that I knew this day was coming sooner rather than later.  I also can say that this doesn’t change a single thing for me.  And if there are some of you out there that fit the description above, I think you need to re-evaluate where you put your faith.

KEEP CALM

I’ve written previously that the government should get out of the marriage licensing business altogether, which is a popular political viewpoint shared among Libertarians.  I still think grown, consenting adults should not be legally prevented from marrying whoever they want.  The State has no business sanctioning or prohibiting any kind of marriage.  Many Christians take my attitude as a cop-out or that I’m somehow watering down God’s law in place of Man’s law.  That couldn’t be farther from the truth.

The difference is simply that I don’t think the State can or should try to prevent sin through its various mechanisms of coercion (fines, imprisonment, theft of property, life and liberty).  The State is not our judge.  That place of honor is reserved only for Christ.  And Christ does not need the local police, city council, state representatives, federal judges or the POTUS in order for His will to be done.

In Romans chapter 1, Paul writes about the depravity of man.  He lays out quite clearly that man has a sinful nature and that we ALL fall short of God’s holy standard.  For the unbelieving sinner, this is foolishness.  Why should I not fulfill every pleasure or desire I have without an ounce of guilt, simply because God is holy?

On this point, I don’t understand why more Christians don’t seem to grasp this simple concept that sinners are going to sin and do so boldly.  No laws, no policeman, no threats of violence or wars or imprisonment are going to stop that.  What’s even more perplexing to me is how Statist Christians try to legislate God’s law into Man’s courts thinking this will somehow redeem the lost.

More importantly, how does God deal with man’s sin?  Verses 24, 26, and 28 in Romans Chapter 1 clearly states that God “gave them up” or “gave them over” to their sinful natures (and those of you that study God’s word will know to pay particular attention to anything repeated not just once but twice).

What does this mean?  God is not shielding or preventing man from following their sinful natures.  We must choose to follow our own consciences whether we will follow our stomachs or follow Christ.  We must choose whether to guard our eyes and ears from watching questionable movies and pictures so readily available on the internet.  We must choose whether our mouths will spout profane language, and not just because states like Virginia that want to fine you if you do.

As a Christian, I understand that I’m saved by faith in Christ through grace, not by my works.  Our moral living and obedience to God’s law does not earn us salvation or God’s love.  But our desire to live in holiness it is our reaction, our realization of our salvation.  It is not the mechanism by which we are saved.

To me, it’s clear that our faith, our morals, and our standard has absolutely nothing to do with Man’s Laws.  The government does not provide a roadmap for moral living and that was never the intended purpose for it in the first place.

For those that believe that the latest SCOTUS ruling somehow damages God’s plan for marriage, I ask YOU whether you’ve pursued adulterers and divorcees with the same frothing fervor as homosexuals seeking a marriage license.  I would be willing to bet that some of the most vocal opponents to this ruling have been divorced or looked lustfully at another person or even had adulterous relationships.  What does God’s plan for marriage have to say about that?

For those Christians that are still confused, disillusioned, or losing faith in ‘Murica over this ruling, I want to encourage you to step back and remember God is sovereign.  There’s nothing that catches Him by surprise.  This ruling should likewise not change an iota of your faith.

If anything, I pray this development has opened your eyes to the realization that putting our faith in the laws of the land, or the Congress, or the President, or the Supreme Court is folly and you will ultimately be let down someday.

But instead of lamenting, as our preacher shared this morning, rejoice and have the perspective of 1 Peter 4:12-13 “12 Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; 13 but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.”  Similarly, as Christ preached in Matthew 5:6 and 10 “6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled. . . . 10 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

Join me LIVE on the Annoying Peasant Radio Show Tuesday, May 5. @ 7:00 pm cst

I know I’ve been offline from posting for a while.   Hope to be back soon.  But, I wanted to invite all of you to join me as I guest host the Annoying Peasant Radio Show next Tuesday, May 5th at 7:00 pm cst.   

I’ve appeared on the show a couple times already with my friends Tom and Tanya, but we’ve been wrestling with some audio / technical difficulties.  Really hoping we have all the kinks worked out.

On the docket will be an important topic that is near and dear to my heart — Organ Donations and Liberty.  Whether you have no opinion or very strong thoughts on the topic, my goal is to get you to think more about this as it affects millions of people around the world every day.

Click — http://www.spreaker.com/show/annoying-peasant-radio on Tuesday to get to the show.  (You can also go there and listen to recorded shows.)

Be sure to join us in the Chat Room as well during the show.  Click on the bubble icon to get to the Chat.  You will have to create a Spreaker login to Chat, but it’s free and can be linked to your Google or Facebook accounts if you’d like.

Capture

You can follow the Annoying Peasant Radio show on Facebook.  www.facebook.com/AnnoyingPeasantRadio

Hope to see you online this Tuesday!

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re: https://txfatherofseven.wordpress.com/2014/10/21/you-think-you-own-your-body-try-selling-your-organs/