Category Archives: Rights

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.

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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.

An Evening With Bastiat

Yesterday, my wife and I attended a lecture hosted by the Charlotte chapter of the Bastiat Society.  I was thrilled to learn there was a local chapter in Charlotte and even more excited to learn there was a free lecture being given on Capitalism.  Those who don’t know, Claude Frédéric Bastiat was a 19th century French economist who wrote revolutionary, pro-liberty works such as The Law.  This book was responsible for my first step into the philosophy of Liberty.  If you haven’t read it, download a free copy of it here on audio or pdf at Mises.org.  

Seriously, it’s like 50 tiny pages and will take you less than half an hour.  Go learn something.  

The speaker for the evening was Clemson University Professor of Economics Dr. Bradley Hobbs.  He was very entertaining and informative, engaged the audience well, and gave a lot of excellent, historical and contemporary data about the benefits of Capitalism, why Socialists and the Left seem to be gaining popularity, particularly among the young and senior-aged cohorts, and gave some perspective on many of the common debates often heard on social and traditional media around the evils of Capitalism.  Dr. Hobbs will be sharing some of his presentation notes and references with us soon, so I hope to pass them on when I get them.  

One interesting exchange took place between me and an older, self-proclaimed Crony Capitalist (I’m 90% sure he doesn’t know what that means.  Pretty sure he thinks because he’s an entrepreneur and aged, that makes him one.)  Anyway, the exchange went something like this:

CC:  The problem with Capitalism is that people aren’t concerned about all these larger, global issues.  They’re selfish and only want to think about themselves.  They don’t think about what’s best for society.  That’s just human nature.

Me:  And so you are making an argument that because Human Beings are selfish and short-sighted, we should put Human Beings in charge of determining what’s best for everyone to deal with these issues?  Milton Friedman once asked “Who are these angels that are going to come down and organize society?  Where do we find them?”  

He didn’t like me tone, I guess, because that got him going.  

Somehow, we got to the topic of Public Safety and Motorcycle Helmet Laws.

CC:  Someone has to take responsibility for protecting us and keeping us safe.  The government enforces things like motorcycle helmet laws. . . .

Me:  So if I want to ride my motorcycle without a helmet, breaking the law, and I get into a crash, who is the victim?  

CC: Society is when my money has to take care of your family and loved ones because of your selfishness.  

Me:  So you are protecting Me from Myself [on behalf of my family]?

CC:  Yes because when you’re in the hospital and don’t have the money for emergency care, my money is going to pay for your care. 

Me: No, I do not want any of your money.  

CC:  You will someday.  When you’re laid up and have nowhere to turn.

It’s like a broken record, but I have this same exchange almost everywhere I go (physically and virtually) to talk about Free Markets, Choice, and Liberty.  I even had a similar exchange with a co-worker the other day.  The idea that elected officials, people who were slick enough to convince 50.1% of the voting population to put them into power, know what is best for the hundreds of millions of people in our country is beyond my tiny brain to comprehend.  

Invariably, Statists proclaim that the reason why Free Markets and Liberty fails is because people can’t be trusted.  Thus, People need to be placed​ in charge of everyone.  They also arrogantly claim responsibility and authority over my own free will to make choices about my life.  Because somehow they know what’s best for me.  

Updated edit – The organizer of the Charlotte chapter said I should lead one of the next lectures.  Hmmmm. . . .

 

Trigglypuffs, Toilets, and Tolerance

No shortage of news to discuss. If you care about the elections, which I don’t, every day there seems to be more finger pointing, name calling, skeletons coming out of the closet, and oh yeah, violence amongst the most rabid sycophants defending their leaders (or tearing down their opponents). I’m just as guilty I suppose (except for the violence). I do take more than a smidge of pleasure in poking fun at the loyalists and exposing just how completely irrational the 2 party system has become. Some people in the Liberty movement (I call it a movement because it’s definitely gaining widespread attraction and attention) get angry or advocate even more violence which I never understood.

If you’ve read my blog before, you know that I’ve given up on voting because 1) we should have no other king but Christ, 2) the act of voting is pointless because the system is completely corrupt and bought, and 3) even without the corruption, I am no longer able to trust that the majority should be empowered to determine what is just or unjust simply because they outnumber the minority.

What’s interesting about Liberty is that once you get it, once you understand the most fundamental concept of the Non-Aggression Principle (NAP), it’s very easy to navigate a seemingly complex world of moral tests. (Go Google the NAP or read some of my previous posts on it, but essentially, it comes down to Christ’s 2nd greatest commandment – love your neighbor as yourself. That’s it.)

Now, I can hear my Christian readers chomping at the bit accusing me of elevating the NAP to some sort of new New Testament and that couldn’t be further from the truth. God’s Word should always be the standard by which moral determinations are made. But I can think of very few examples where the NAP actually contradicts Scriptural truth. And in those rare cases, absolutely, the Bible is preeminent. If you’re still not convinced, I would turn your objection back on you who hold Americanism or American Christianity on a pedestal (aka the religion of how ‘Murica is awesome and everyone else sucks. You know, because God is American.)

I had a couple of interesting exchanges on Facebook, and it was abundantly clear that Liberty is not something that is universally accepted as a virtue. Maybe it was 20 – 30 years ago. If you asked the average person on the street whether Liberty was important or good back then, you’d probably be hard pressed to find someone that would disagree. Today, the question is more often than not met with “well, it depends” or just “no”.

And that’s a problem.

What’s ironic is that these people that fear and curse Liberty will oftentimes tell you it’s too dangerous to let men be completely free, that men need to be controlled or monitored or protected for their own good. By whom? Other men, of course.

If you don’t have school-aged children or haven’t been keeping up with college campuses (or even public school K-12), you’d probably be shocked to learn just how far this indoctrination has spread. Safe Zones, Trigger Warnings, and Cultural Appropriations Vigilantes have become part of the fabric of higher education. And this is not the Political Correctness we endured through the 80’s and 90’s. This is “don’t disagree with the liberal mob or we will cut you” thuggery. And it’s not just limited to the students. Who do you think is feeding this insanity?

Which brings me to my favorite example of this cancer of late. Brothers and sisters, I give you – Trigglypuff.

giphy

I don’t know anything about her other than what I’ve seen online when her rant went viral. Apparently, she’s a college student who came to protest some controversial guest speaker named Milo who has ticked off progressives around the globe. She’s also an outspoken critic of fat shamers (a critic of critics, if you will). The reason I bring up Trigglypuff is because her modus operandi is typical of many progressives today that oppose Liberty. They claim it’s their right to Freedom of Speech to protest haters, racists, and misogynists. Yet, their mission is to prevent others their same rights to speech. (The theatrics of her protest are just a hilarious bonus, exemplifying the crying, whining generation of cupcakes.)

If you embrace Liberty, how do you reconcile ugly speech, racism, and vulgarity? You realize that you don’t have to agree with someone’s verbal diarrhea in order to stand up for their rights to it. What’s the alternative? Simple. Keep censoring and someone will someday determine your voice needs to be suppressed or silenced because the mob doesn’t like what you have to say. That includes religious speech, scientific discovery, artistic expression, and political discourse to name a few.

J.K. Rowling, the author of all the Harry Potter books, gets it. I don’t care for her novels, but she’s absolutely right.

The other story that’s dominated the news, particularly in the Carolinas, has been the controversial toilet wars. Who can use which facilities seems to suddenly be on everyone’s minds. So much so that artists, performers, sports teams, and businesses have either canceled or threatened to back out of plans to do business in NC. I don’t want to dwell on the legal gymnastics because as you know, I don’t care about the system. The point I’d like to make on the whole fiasco is that this really comes down to Liberty and Property Rights. If a government entity comes in and arbitrarily decides your business MUST allow someone access to ___, you’ve already lost me. Doesn’t matter the issue. So when I hear about Obama or the governor or some dude wearing a dress telling a private business owner that they must bake a cake or perform a wedding or let anyone that wants into the bathroom, my response is basically – take a hike, not your concern or jurisdiction. That’s between me and my customers and no one else because my business is my property. It is not owned communally.

Again, what’s head scratching to me is the response from the celebrity progressives. They don’t like the law, so what do they do? They exercise their right to choose not to do business in the state of NC. In other words, they seem to completely miss the irony that they are doing exactly what businesses are seeking legal protection to do as well. If they were logically consistent, shouldn’t these artists be forced to provide their goods and services to NC despite their objections, in the name of fairness and tolerance? But why start being logically consistent now?

Which brings me to the overarching realization I’ve had. See, boomers and gen-Xers have been led to believe that Liberals / Progressives are supposed to be people of tolerance and acceptance. They might even remember a time where hippies stood for non-violence, embracing the ideals of people like Rosa Parks, Gandhi, or MLK. Those days are long gone. Progressive, entitled millennials are no longer the people of tolerance and non-violence. They are, in fact, a fascist hate group, completely intolerant of dissenting opinion and totally open to violence in the name of achieving their causes. The sad truth is, most of them can’t articulate what their cause actually is or how they plan to get there. They really haven’t thought it through because, well, they’re entitled. Someone else will probably figure it out for them, right?

So where does that leave the rest of us?

Fortunately, there’s still hope. As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, Liberty is catching on. More and more people who see the mirage progressives chasing today are realizing that the only sane, rational, consistent, and achievable road to progress is Liberty. People must be allowed to choose how to live, what to eat, where or whether to work, and to reap the benefits and consequences of their choices.

The same is true with the staunchest conservatives. More of them are recognizing the futility of throwing everyone in jail or bombing anyone that doesn’t agree with them, particularly when it comes to victimless crimes. They grow weary of endless wars and policing the entire world. But most importantly, they recognize (due in no small part to the ‘choices’ they are left with the elect come November) that morality transcends the broken system of government control we have in place today. There are other options. There are alternatives to falling behind party lines.

Stand up for Liberty. Justice, equality, compassion, and peace can only be achieved through Liberty. Without it, there can be none.

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.

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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/