Happy Earth Day – Now Let’s Burn Down Your House

Earth Day is here, and it’s time to trot out the “Every day should be Earth Day!” refrains, globes, and blue and green logos.

As a proponent of freedom, we do not promote pouring tar over the world and setting it ablaze. We do advocate the freedom of individuals who want to “greenify” the earth to propose new products and ways of doing business to further their agenda.  We do NOT support using the power of government through tax or regulatory coercion to force a preferred way of life on anyone. People should always be free to evaluate the information at hand and make their own decision without government’s “help.”

Which brings us to the topic of the day. Steve Zwick, writing for Forbes Magazine writes:

We know who the active denialists are – not the people who buy the lies, mind you, but the people who create the lies.  Let’s start keeping track of them now, and when the famines come, let’s make them pay.  Let’s let their houses burn until the innocent are rescued.  Let’s swap their safe land for submerged islands.  Let’s force them to bear the cost of rising food prices.

They broke the climate.  Why should the rest of us have to pay for it?

In the same article, people who don’t share Mr. Zwick’s world view are “denialists,” “shirkers,” and “deniers.” Mr. Zwick fails to understand that in a world of 7 billion souls, some are bound to disagree with his views. We’ve already made our peace with it here at FFP. And people should be perfectly free to do so.

If you accept the argument that there is “climate change” or “global warming” (or if your reject it outright) this doesn’t also mean that you have to accept that these are, without a doubt, human-caused events. Much to Al Gore’s dismay, the science on this is definitely not settled. Many who currently question the chorus of climate change sky-is-falling arguments of Zwick and others such as Al Gore may have recalled another era in the not so distant past where the then sky-is-falling argument revolved around global COOLING.

But back to Zwick and others like him. Inflaming the tone of the argument and fanning the resulting flames to convict “deniers” of climate and sentencing them to having their houses burned down and force them onto submerged islands and “make them pay” does not advance your argument and is not welcome. Environmental fascism such as this is just another form of ideological tyranny and shouldn’t be tolerated by any who value freedom of association and the right to think freely.

Photo Credit:  Image: think4photop / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Tax Day Blues

Would be a fantastic post this week but we were busy working on damned TAXES!

 

 

 

Photo Credit:

Image: Arvind Balaraman / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

What Can the Federal Government Learn from an Octopus? by Charles Cooper

Natural solutions are often the most amazing examples of agility and complexity intertwined.  A recent article in Wired magazine pointed out that the technology industry should take a lesson from the Octopus’ Camouflage system, which monitors the environment around it and controls the color it displays at a cellular level without the use of the central nervous system.  In computers, it’s referred to as distributed computing, where a task is divided into finite elements and processed independently, then reintegrated to create an overall solution.  The point of the article was that this was the only way for technology to be used to create products that were powerful enough to address diverse needs without creating too much burden or overhead on the system itself.  Government has yet to learn this lesson.
 
What does it mean to Government?  Simply put, it means centralized control creates equal, monochromatic solutions that cannot by their nature answer the needs of individuals.  It means that government solutions are long (some have said eternal) and unable to deal with any set of circumstances it was not set up to deal with. With more than 313 million individuals living in and recognized by the United States in the 2010 census, does that mean government serves no further purpose? 
 
Of course not, but those purposes are limited and more limited as the number and diversity of the citizens increase.  A good example of what government should do is building roads and regulating the operation of motor vehicles. Why? Because when people are in transit, their needs are so similar that a uniform, monochromatic solution is the perfect answer.
 
What about bad examples?  The 300 pound giant in the room right now is health care.  Think for a moment about what it would take to create an objective health care system that could handle every possible scenario.  Remember that there are more than 313 million people in this country who have different ideas about how to deal with their own health care.  Then consider for a moment that in 2010, there were at least 691,000 practicing physicians who have their own backgrounds, experience, and education.  Then consider that there are more than 14,000 current diagnoses for medical issues in the Merck Manual.  Do the math, 313 M * 691,000 * 14,000, which creates a possible combination of 3,027,962,000,000,000,000 possible opinions on what a patient has and how that patient should be treated. 
 
This bars, of course, people seeking any sort of alternative medical treatment, or as in the case of some religions, people who want no treatment at all.  I also forgot the Bureaucrats who become experts about anything and everything that will bring them job security.  They will also want a say.  So the question becomes, how can any central system be created at a reasonable cost to operate with so many moving parts?  The answer is as easy as that number is staggering.  It can’t.
 
There is only one way, and that is to follow the model of the Octopus.  Allow a market to be created between the Doctors and the Patients, completely free, regulated at the contract level.  Let the people handle it by themselves. Do that math. One patient * One Doctor * One Diagnosis = 1.
 
How do you stop the ever increasing growth of medical costs? Create a market where the supplier is not two or three steps removed from the consumer, who has no visibility into the actual cost of the treatments received.  Make medical care and payment for that care an issue between a patient and his/her doctor.  Make the cost as transparent as possible, so that the patients know that when they take a Tylenol in the hospital, it is costing them as much as a bottle of Tylenol in the store.  Force Pharmaceutical Companies to pursue their own research without a continual flood of government grants that allows them to create cures that cost more than the income of a lifetime.  We will lose some advancement, but my guess is, these companies will still see the profit in curing cancer.
 
The Bible was not the only blueprint God gave to man about how to solve enormous problems: his handiwork is in everything.  When God created the Octopus, he gave it skills to survive, but when one system threatened to crush the fine brain he had crafted for the creature, he gave birth to the idea of distributed processing.  When God created the United States, he gave distributed processing to people in the form of Freedom.  The greatness of the United States has always been 313 million minds creating solutions to the problem of the day.  That greatness can meet this challenge if we can keep government out of the way.
 
About the Author:
 
CHARLES COOPER is the President of C3 Acquisitions, a company that conducts analysis, builds effective business processes and provides proposal and project management services to companies seeking to expand their business base.  He is a long time conservative activist working to restrain the growth of government.

Attacking the Referee Instead of Seeking to Change the Rules

Pick a game, any game. One of the things that make your favorite game is a set of rules that parties agree to before the game begins. If a dealer calls “One-Eyed Jacks Wild” in a game of poker, before dealing the cards, then all players know that getting the Jack of Spades or the Jack of Hearts is a very good thing. Games with many participants have a set of rules written down in a rulebook and hire referees or umpires to enforce the rules during play.

The US government has its own playbook in the Constitution. Unlike many laws Congress passes these days, in 4 simple pages, the Constitution lays out the ground rules for all of the federal governments’ powers. By contrast, Congress passes thousands of pages of laws every year, and leaves tens of thousands more pages for regulatory agencies to write to implement the laws.

The role of the judiciary is to ensure that the government is playing by its rulebook. If laws passed by Congress are in bounds, they’re declared constitutional and allowed to continue. If  Congress passes a law that is out of bounds, this is unconstitutional and struck down.

Most would agree that changing NFL rules during the Super Bow—er “BIG GAME” would be chaotic and unfair. What if in the 3rd Quarter, pass interference were suddenly permissible? It ruins everyone’s sense of fair play.

Progressives and big government proponents have gotten very good at the art of illusion. Our government’s rulebook comes with a built-in process for making changes that are acceptable to the states and to the people’s representatives in Congress. But rather than avail themselves of the amendment process, the progressives would rather have you believe that the rule book is “a living, breathing document” that must be free to change with the times. Rather than wait until the off season to propose a rule to legalize pass interference, they’d rather heckle and cajole the referee into not enforcing the rule from the game field. Or, in a blind quest to secure more power for themselves, they hire referees insisting that they turn a blind eye to the rules and instead ignore the rulebook or invent new rules as they go.

This is the behavior our President has engaged in this week. Rather than calling for a renewed debate on the role of government and healthcare, and asking Congress to amend the country’s rulebook, he’d rather heckle the Supreme Court into changing the rule from the game field.

Not only is this behavior unbecoming of a president, but it steals our freedoms by depriving us of a stable rulebook that we can use to invest, hire employees, and live our lives. Just like football fans would decry a vigilante referee on the playing field who changes rules at a whim, Americans should soundly reject the idea of a Constitution that can be informally reinterpreted outside the amendment process to say whatever a group of politicians wants it to say as chaotic and offending a sense of fairness.

 

Photo Credits:
“Jacks” Image: posterize / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
“Referee” http://www.flickr.com/photos/avinashkunnath/

Paid Writing Opportunity!

(No April Fool’s Joke!) FFP is holding a contest for the best response to the following prompt.

Was there a time your freedom was taken away? How did it affect you? What did it take to earn it back? What did it mean to you when you finally did? (Or what would it mean to you when you finally do?)

Freedom can come in different forms, in this writing prompt you do not necessarily have to have been physically locked in jail or have been imprisoned in a tower guarded by an evil dragon. Loss of economic, religious, social, and other freedoms are also valid topics. What if you ran a business that was affected by government policies such that you could no longer operate it? What if the government seized your property?  What if you lived somewhere where you lived in fear of punishment for speaking out against government policies?

  • We are looking for original, and non-fiction submissions of about 1,000 words in length.
  • You can (and are encouraged but not required) to submit an “about the author” paragraph that does not count toward the overall word count.  Include titles of any previously published books or work and where your work has appeared (we will gladly plug your links!), website (optional), and photo (optional).
  • Entries will be accepted until midnight (EST) on 4/30/12.
  • Winning entry will be paid at the semi-pro rate of 1 cent per word with a maximum payment of $10.00. Your entry may exceed 1,000 words, but the payment will still be capped at $10.00.
  • Formats accepted: cut-and-paste text into email, Microsoft Word (.doc and .docx), Rich Text Format (.rtf) files.
  • Check our Submission Guidelines page for more details, and submit your entry to submissions (at) freedomforgepress (dot) com.
  • Your entry, if selected, may be edited for brevity, grammar, and/or clarity.

Contest Winner Announced! Congratulations to Julie B. from Rhode Island

Congratulations to Julie B. from Rhode Island. Julie won FFP’s first giveaway contest and received $10 large (as large as you can expand the picture to the left!) on an Amazon.com gift card.

While the jackpot wasn’t nearly as big as Friday’s Mega Millions drawing, we hope Julie enjoys her prize all the same.

Thank you to everyone who entered, and please stay connected for future contests and writing opportunities!

Sometimes Government Does Know Best

We at Freedom Forge Press have been looking back on our posts so far, and we do have to give credit where credit is due. At times even small government supporters can (and must) accept that a world without government would not be a very desirable place to live. From ensuring justice via a court system, to courteously managing droves of lines at the DMV, to efficiently delivering mail, government has earned its place as a provider of some of life’s most essential services. Let’s face it, fellow libertarians, conservatives, and liberals alike love when police come out to chase bad guys, when fire fighters come to fight fires, and when we have roads to travel to the grocery store and to our jobs.

Uniting in the brotherhood of man to pursue the common cause of humanity, establishing a fair and equitable system for living modern life can truly be done by no other entity than government. We must “give props” to all the good things government does.

Government delivered us from the maw of economic collapse via cleverly named acronyms such as the TARP, TALF, CALF (little known follow-on program to support low-income bovine), HARP, HERP, and HERP-DERP. Government truly knew best when it threw more than $1 trillion in stimulus and budget supplements at “shovel-ready” projects such as a government funded study to train Chinese prostitutes not to drink excessively while “on the job,”

What about roads? We always hear from anti-libertarian groups that we can’t possibly be serious about not supporting government’s role in maintaining roads. “I guess you’re anti-road then,” the line goes. Damn straight! In the words of the venerable Doc Brown, “Where we’re going we don’t need roads!”

Why, you ask? Clearly, paying precious tax payer dollars to paint roads and roadkill alike are a waste of resources to subsidize an oil-driven economy, oil companies, and encourage the mass production of carbon dioxide which will raise the planet’s temperature in a hockey stick-like graph until the rate of increase reaches about 1000 degrees Farenheit each week. This mysteriously coincides with either the Mayan doomsday in December of this year or could also spontaneously happen during any airing of Jersey Shore.

 

 

Alternatives abound! We already have rail projects popping up all over the country. Residents of Fairfax County, Virginia, as well as several Maryland counties already know the speed and efficiency with which their metro system operates. Loudoun County is about to learn the joys of escalators that are never broken (even the new ones!), a highly responsive (if underpaid) customer service staff, and miles and miles of track that are so well maintained that Metro even has money left over to provide lucrative salary and benefit packages to its unionized workforce.  Heck, with government subsidies, Metro hardly costs a thing to operate, so it’s really free transportation and every city in the US should get its own system! And since it doesn’t cost anything to operate, we’re essentially writing a check for our kids and grandchildren to cash at the bank with all the money that would have been spent propping up the oil companies. Even President Obama found the wisdom in this modest proposal stating that a goal of his administration was to bring rail to 80% of all Americans, most likely about a week before Election Day 2012.

Now, in the near term, we may still need a few valuable projects funded by government subsidies. You already no doubt have heard about the “bridge to nowhere” in Alaska, which cost anywhere from $500 million to about $25 billion depending on whose estimate you believe. Why stop there? We need to build roads to cross the oceans and connect to our brothers and sisters on all 7 continents, even Antarctica. After that, I’m thinking maybe a bridge to the moon would offer just the sort of shovel-ready project needed to get this economy going again.

But enough about roads and shovel-ready projects. We all know one of government’s chief purposes is to keep its citizens safe. Surely, folks of all political flavors can agree on this! If left to mere individual citizens, no one would have been smart enough to realize that the best way of securing or southern border does not involve building fences or increasing border guards. No sir! Only government could truly have found the best solution to this problem.  And solve the problem they did! What individual in his or her best wisdom could have come up with the proposal to actually ship weapons across the border to Mexico where they’ll fall into the hands of drug cartels who will then use them to kill each other off. But who really cares if a few Americans and Mexican innocent bystanders are kill too. Right?! They have given their lives to achieve a greater good.

 

And maybe we here at FFP have been going about this thing all wrong. Why shouldn’t the government regulate school lunches? Who wants to have to think about what to pack for their kids each morning? And why stop there? By George, we’re Americans! Why should we have to waste precious hours of our days counting calories or avoiding the temptation of the golden arches? Wouldn’t it be nice if Uncle Sam would just outlaw trans-fats altogether? It would truly be nice if some benevolent and well-meaning politicians would create mandatory morning exercise, a corps of though police to prevent things such as hate-speech and thought-crime, and give us the greater good that we should work toward so that we don’t have to waste our own time as individual thinking about it.

And what were we thinking when we wrote about lowering taxes? To think that the general population might best know how to spend their own money is flat-out absurd! If we let people keep and spend more of their own money, they might not spend it the right way, which would be bad for everyone. Who would voluntarily pay into entitlement programs to redistribute funds if there were no taxes to require such payments?

The list could (and does in fact!) go on and on…and on and on and on. But maybe big government supporters are on to something when they say that without government, all these valuable projects vital to every day life would not be funded. Let us give pause and praise to our benevolent overlords and bear witness to the wonders which the beneficent hand of government hath wrought.

So raise a glass to the benevolent hand of government, and all its elected officials, paragons of excellence, and have yourself a very happy APRIL FOOL’S DAY!