Friday, November 22, 2013


A friend posted a video of Matt Damon reading a speech that was given by Howard Zinn several years ago.

This is my response.

Apart from the fact that Zinn was an idiot of jaw-dropping proportions, there is some merit to this speech. The main point of agreement for me is that in order to break the present cycle of ever-more unjust law, we're going to have to break hell out of some of those laws. We have been bullied and brainwashed into this non-violent form of prolonged suicide for so long that the only people who can really visualize themselves breaking hell out of some laws are the people who are part and parcel of the problem.

The problem in Germany did not start with people obeying Hitler. It started when Hitler was elected on a socialist/environmentalist platform that promised to smash the rich and redistribute wealth. Hitler said he was going to do all those things, and the German people thought that sounded like a good idea and elected him. None of them asked, "Just how does he figure on doing all that stuff," until it was too late. Hitler did what he did without the consent or assistance of the German people. If anyone spoke up, they died.

In Russia, the people accepted socialism/communism years before Uncle Joe came along, so there was no consent involved with his accession to power. As for obedience, it was pretty much the same thing in Russia as in Germany: obey or die. I've heard people say, "Hitler [or Stalin] couldn't murder a million people if they stood up to him. I think the scoreboard indicates either of them could murder way over a million.

So when Zinn compared the state of the American Sheelple to that of the Germans or Russians, he was miles off target - about average for him.

The single most thundering bit of idiocy is his reference to how the law allocates wealth. Only a Keynsian or a Bolshevik could make such a stunning error. Zinn, if I'm not mistaken, had spent a great deal of time around professors, and was, in fact, a professor, himself, which explains that advanced level of brain damage.

Wealth is created by human action. You can have all the berries in the world laying around, but until someone goes out and picks them, you'll starve. When that someone picks them, it is reasonable for him to say, "Hey, guys. I spent the day picking these berries, so I don't have any firewood. I'll swap berries for wood, K?" And there you have a very rudimentary economy, one based on human action and trade. Oh, and the firewood didn't just happen, either; somebody busted his hump getting that in, too. Keynsians don't understand that. They think wealth just happens, or, as Keynes, himself said, wealth is whatever people decide to call wealth. I can see him now, trying to make a living selling cordwood in hell: "Aw, come on, guys! Wood is worth as much as ice water; you just have to open your minds to a different definition of wealth!"

Government creates one thing, and one thing, only: force. The only way government can allocate wealth is to take it from those who produced it ('cause those who didn't produce it don't have none, and you can't take it from them 'cause they don't have it. K?) So the government can forcibly take wealth from those who produced it and give it to those who don't. Somebody's gettin' screwed in this deal, I can tell already. That's why the best government is a limited one, and specifically, one limited by a written body of law. (Zinn's contempt for the law amazes me. If it weren't for laws against littering and discharging a firearm in the city limits, he'd have been a sack of guts on the sidewalk a long time ago.) Government can allocate ONLY the use of force. Does that scare you? It damned well should. That's why the people need to be armed on par with the government. If the government's only product was pancake batter, the people might not need battle rifles, but that ain't the way it is.

When you accept, as a matter of policy that somebody's gettin' bent over the barrel, the only thing remaining is to decide who gets bent and who stands up behind them - not to put too fine a point on it... Systems that allow this to happen are notoriously fickle. The stand-behind citizen of today is the bend-over-the-barrel citizen of tomorrow. Anyone who advocates such a system really should think about that before voting. (It's too late for America, now, but that's the way it SHOULD HAVE worked.) When you put that kind of power in the hands of the government, all you can do is say, "Yassuh, Boss," and pick dat cotton.

There's an old joke that's a perfect parable. A guy asked a gal if she'd sleep with him for a million bucks. She said she reckoned she would. He said how about a buck and a half? She snapped, what kind of woman do you think I am? He said we've already determined that, Darlin'; we're just dickering over the price.

There really are only two ways to run an economic system. You can let the producers do their thing, using the written law as a standard of behavior so they don't use force against anyone, or you can put the power in the hands of the government. In the former case, the producers are motivated by a desire for wealth, and the surest way to that in a lawful, orderly society is to provide the best product at the best price. Wages, prices, supply, and demand are controlled by natural forces. And always - ALWAYS! - there must be the law, making sure that nobody uses force on anyone else.

In the latter case, the government is motivated to run the economy in a just and fair way, allowing the producers to make enough to satisfy them, and generously allowing those who don't produce enough to be comfortable and happy. The government will recognize that a desire for more in a producer is base greed, and in a lazy shirker, a simple human desire to live better. Oops. My sarcasm got the better of me. Sorry. So, yes, a free market can go awry, but so can a controlled one. On the one hand, you must trust to human nature and to the law. On the other, you must trust to human nature and raw power.

23 Nov., 2013

Sunday, November 10, 2013


The claims by the Left of “controlling health care costs” baffles me on several points.  Here’s one.  The government is talking about health care insurance, and paying all these medical bills.

Hmmm, says I.

Let’s say I were buying a loaf of bread, and the store owner wanted $100 for it.  I’m filled with despair because I have about five bucks, and I’m hungry.  Along comes this tall, good-looking black fellow in a really sharp suit, and he says, “I’ll tell you what. I’ll take some money from this fund I have, and I’ll pay the other $95.”

“Great,” says I, and out I go with the bread.  But later, I hear the black fellow say on TV that he has lowered the cost of bread.

Like bloody hell, he did!  If anything, he guaranteed bread will ALWAYS cost at LEAST a hundred bucks a loaf!  He didn’t lower the price; he just paid what the jerk in the store was asking. You don’t seriously think the store owner, having tasted blood, and knowing where he can get more, will ever actually lower his price, do you?

But then comes the really aggravating part.  I gets to thinking, “I wonder where that fund he mentioned came from?

And then it hits me; that fund was taken from me, in the first place!  That crooked sonofabitch took my money – and a lot more than the $95 he paid for the bread – and invested it in a guaranteed level of inflation that would choke a Weimar banker, and then had the unmitigated gall to brag to me that he’d lowered the cost of my bread!   He didn’t lower a flippin thing!  All he did was make sure the cost would never come below $100, and took from me the money I might have used to pay for the bread, in the first place.

Let’s break this down a little more.  The government has passed laws and allowed – nay, encouraged and mandated – practices that have caused medical costs to go through the roof.   Now, rather than actually doing anything to reduce those costs, they are going to rob me, my children, and every future generation of Americans in order to pay the costs they have created.  And, of course, pay themselves a handsome wage for their hard work.

Ah, Fascist America!  Ya gotta love it!

Sic Semper,
Rebsarge 2013

Wednesday, November 6, 2013


I’m not sure of the emotional dynamic that is driving me this morning, but I couldn’t sleep for thinking about this.  I’ve left jobs before, but always with the single-minded obsession that I’d have another one.  This time it’s like walking a plank; I’m stepping off the end and I’ve no idea what’s beyond. With varying degrees of success, I’ve worked for others since I was about 13.  Some of it has been unpleasant, but some of it has been amazingly gratifying.  In neither case was I prepared for what happened, and comforting as it may be to think myself blameless for the former and wholly responsible for the latter, the reality is probably somewhat less comforting.    However, I have a few ideas that seem important for me to share with y’all because you’re my friends, and I feel somewhat fatherly toward many of you.

In all things, never do less than your flat, level best.  Whether it’s working or playing, loving or fighting, hold nothing back.  At the end of the day, if you can look in the mirror and say, “You did your best,” you should await the results in peace. 

Love money for what it is and what it can do, but never make a god of it, or love it for its own sake.  Money won’t buy happiness, but neither will poverty.  I’ve been broke and miserable and fairly well off and miserable, and being broke makes it worse.  Money will not make a man good or evil; it will only unmask the good or evil he already has in his heart.  Work hard and honestly for your money, but never for a second forget that if you spend part of your allotted span earning a dollar, whatever you trade that dollar for becomes the symbol of that minute of your life.  The money for which you trade the minutes of your life may be used to build temples or whorehouses.  It’s your choice, and rightfully so, but give a moment’s thought to what legacy you are leaving to your children.

Companies, especially big ones, like to pretend that money isn’t a motivator.  Such insanity is part of the unique form of brain damage that comes from excessive exposure to professors.  Working for wages does not make you a prostitute.  Only selling your principles for favor can do that.  Working for wages makes you a producer, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

Let your employer stay a few dollars ahead of you.  Do this by making sure you do just a little more than you are paid for.  When the time comes, and it usually does, for you to tell him to kiss your grits, you want to make damn sure you don’t owe him a nickel.  Years ago, I read a proverb titled, “Alaskan Philosophy,” and I’ve found that the further from it I drift, the more stupid and screwed up my life gets.  It is simply this:  “Live each day so you can look every man square in the eye and tell him to go to hell.”  Telling people to go to hell is NOT the objective!  The objective is to make certain you have dealt with all men fairly, and have taken advantage of none.  At the top of the list of those with whom you must be on the level is the one who looks back at you from the mirror.  That sucker will kick your butt if you don’t, and if you don’t have that kind of relationship with him or her, you have greater problems than you know.
Shakespeare said, “To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.”  Believe it.

If you run into someone smarter than you, don’t get mad at him. It ain’t his fault.   ~Cowboy proverb.

Never get so damned smart you can’t learn something from every person you meet.  ~My dad

Read.  Read at least a few minutes every day.  Start with something that interests you, but as you grow, branch out. Read things that challenge and stretch you.  Five years from now, you will be the same person you are today with the exception of the books you read and the people with whom you associate.  Goethe said, “A man’s mind, once stretched to fit a new idea, will never return to its former size and shape.”  (He also said “Where they burn books, they will burn men.”  True dat.)

You can’t interfere with folks’ right to be stupid.   ~My mom

Being open minded does not mean accepting any damnfool drivel that happens to blow through your ears.  It means listening to the ideas of others and evaluating them honestly and fairly.  Have your own values and standards, know what they are, and live by them.  If you find something better, change, but never, ever let anyone bluff or bully you into changing your mind without a good reason.  And in your own dealings with others, remember that all you can do is offer your opinion; it’s up to them to pick it up or leave it lay.  This is at the heart of The Gospel.  We all have the right and obligation to exercise our agency, and that agency starts with what we think and believe.  God offers us His testimony and His wisdom, but He doesn’t jam it down our throats, and when people who claim to be His servants start jamming things, don’t hesitate to put a stop to it.  Don’t judge the Gospel by some of the idiots who profess to teach it, but remember you can go wrong by being too skeptical as readily as by being too trusting. 

Most folks’ idea of religion has about the same relationship to the Gospel as education does to intelligence, i.e., none to speak of.  ~Me (because I’ve used it a lot and don’t remember where I got it.)

Never let school interfere with your education, your job with being productive, nor a relationship with loving.  ~Me

You can spend all your love making time, or you can spend all your time making love. ~The Eagles

The only person who never made a mistake never did anything.  Always – always do your best to do what’s right, but understand you aren’t perfect, and you’re going to screw up.  You will hurt yourself and those you love. You will blow opportunities.  Don’t let it make you afraid to play the game.  Do your best, learn from your mistakes, and keep slugging.  God will forgive you if you ask Him sincerely, but it’s not that easy for people.  Forgiving yourself may be one of the toughest things you’ll ever do, but few things will contribute more to your personal growth or the satisfaction you take from living.  You are an amazing, stunning being, “wonderfully and fearfully made.”  Wallow in it, and be thankful.

Finally, don’t be stupid.  May Our Father in Heaven bless you all and keep you safe.

Your pard,

Sunday, November 3, 2013


I’d like to put forth a proposition:  The 2nd Amendment to the Constitution says we have the right to keep and bear arms.  Therefore, I demand that the government, at public expense, provide me with a militia-suitable firearm, ammunition, spares, maintenance gear, load bearing gear, and training, complete with a range where I can practice at no expense.

Or how about this:  The 1st Amendment to the Constitution says we have the right to free speech.  Therefore, I demand that the government, at public expense, provide me with a newspaper and a radio station, complete and entire with staff, hardware, support, payroll, benefits (no Affordable Care, please, thank you).

After all, how can I exercise my rights to be armed or to run my mouth if I don’t have a gun and a newspaper?  Isn’t it hypocrisy to tell me I can have a gun, and then not give me one?  Or to tell me I can speak my mind, and not give me a pulpit?

While I haven’t heard this absurd argument for guns, I have heard it for newspapers and radio stations.  This is precisely what the “fairness doctrine” is about, and it is built on a fundamental misunderstanding of what a right is.  No, this is not a matter of semantic hairsplitting.  It is a matter of the perversion of a perfectly valid concept, and the use of that perversion to manipulate people.

There is no such thing as a right TO something.  “Rights” are not a voucher; they are the freedom from restraint.  The 2nd Amendment means no one can prevent me from getting a gun.  The 1st Amendment means no one can prevent me from getting a newspaper.  A right cannot be a positive title to something.  A right can only be a guarantee of freedom from restraint in getting that thing.  Here’s how that works.

Nothing Mankind needs to survive occurs in usable form in nature.  Berries must be picked, animals must be hunted, crops must be grown, lumber must be cut, cloth must be woven… the list is endless.  Everything – EVERYTHING – Man needs to live requires some form of human action to make it usable.  There are but four ways of getting the things we need:  we can produce them, ourselves, we can produce other things and trade for them, we can beg for them, or we can steal them.

That’s it.  Make it yourself, buy it with something you have made yourself, beg for it, or steal it.  We are producers, beggars, or thieves.   There are no other options.  Since no one can produce all that he needs over an extended period, dealing with others is inescapable.  Beggars are doomed to live at the discretion of their benefactors, and thieves live only until they encounter a strong man armed, politicians notwithstanding.

We are given a limited time in this life, and each second that ticks past is gone, forever.  If we spend a minute making or doing something, that thing is all we have to show for that minute of life.  As such, the value of the thing we have made is whatever value we place on that portion of our lives.  When we offer to trade that thing to another for a thing he has made, we are, in a very real, practical sense, trading our life for his.  It is human action, alone, that makes the things of the world useful to us, and the value of that action must be reflected in the cost of the item.  We don’t just trade stuff; we also trade the portion of our allotted span that went into producing the stuff.

We and we alone have the authority to set the value of our lives.  An employer can offer us a wage, but we have the option of accepting it or not.  As in any other trade, an employer is offering to give you part of his life in exchange for part of yours, and, like you, he has the authority to set the value of his own life.  This is where Progressives, Liberals, and other Fascists lose all grasp on reality.  They appeal to the egocentrism imbedded in all of us when they teach that you, the person to whom they are speaking, have the right to set the value of your life, but employers can’t set the value of their own.

What a lot of people (more than 50%, if the last election is an indication) fail to grasp is that the fascists are telling your neighbor the same thing!  All statist politics is based on the premise of passing law that is binding on that guy over there, but never on us.

Back to the gun.  To produce a modern firearm requires a huge amount of material, engineering, and manufacturing equipment.  Just as with picking wild berries or preparing animal hides, human action is required to convert natural materials into steel and electricity.  Just as with the berries and hides, those who provided that action may set the price on their labors.  To say they are required to give you the gun is to take from them that authority and establish, as law, that when they are dealing with you, their lives are of zero value.  They are your slaves.  That appeals to a lot of our neighbors, though they are less enthused when it’s their turn to be our slaves.

When you claim a right to groceries, you are filing a claim to the lives of the farmers, truckers, and everyone else involved in the chain of production and supply.  When you claim a right to time on a radio station, you are filing a claim to the lives of the engineers, factory workers, clerks, and entrepreneurs who put that station on the air.  (The Fairness Doctrine [gag] uses the phrase, “public airways,” and says they belong to everyone.  The air might, but the equipment that generates radio signals damned sure does not; it belongs to the people who created it. You can turn your radio on and wait until there’s a cold day in a hot place, but until someone turns on the transmitter, you won’t hear squat.)

When you claim a right to health care, you are filing a claim to the lives of the doctors, nurses, technicians, manufacturers, builders, administrators, filing clerks, janitors, and all the multitude of people whose actions create the highly abstract thing called “health care.”  When you claim a right to an x-ray, you are negating the right of the x-ray tech to determine the value of her life.

And when you allow the government to make that claim for you, the crime is no less.  In fact, it may be even greater because if you do it, that is naked, bold theft, but the government’s action is cloaked in fraudulent righteousness and academic babble that actually reverses the roles of masters and slaves.

No one has a right to health care because no one has a right to the lives of all those involved in providing it.  Your right consists of the absence of restraint – you cannot be kept from trading a portion of your life for a portion of theirs.  This may seem, and actually is harsh and strict, but what is the alternative?

If you grant to the government the authority (not the right, but the authority) to set the value of your doctor’s life, what in the world is to prevent that same government from setting the value of your life?  When your doctor comes to your place of employment,  what is to prevent the government from limiting what you charge him?  We think about the government telling our employers how much they must pay us, and most people expect the government to set a wage higher than what they are making now.  But what is to keep the government from setting a lower wage?  You have already granted the government the authority to do such things; what is your protection?  After all, by ordering you a greater wage, the government has set the value of your employer’s life.  Are you comfortable with any government having that kind of power over you?

Having accepted and voted into law the principle that the government can enslave any group of people for the benefit of any other, the only thing we have left to discuss is who is enslaved to whom – and when are the roles reversed?

The simple fact is that prices for health care must be set by someone, and to access that care, the prices must be paid.  You can work it out with your doctor, or you can sell your soul to the fascists who are firmly convinced they know better the value of your doctor’s life, and of yours.

If I am faced with these two harsh realities, I’ll do my own horse trading