The True State of the Union?

I’ve lost most of my confidence in the political class. I will no longer vote for the lesser of two evils. That merely guarantees more evil. Unfortunately the majority of Americans are willing to compromise so long as the free shit keeps rolling in. It’s not going to change before it all collapses. The Democrats offer fast collapse while the Republicans offer slightly slower collapse. Maybe it would be better to just rip the bandaid off. Hopefully there will be enough people left dedicated to liberty to rebuild at least a smaller free republic afterwards.

We are past the tipping point. Federal debt and liabilities mean the government is insolvent. The true inflation rate (the actual amount of overprinting of our fiat money) requires merely a hiccup to bring the house of cards tumbling. And the Fed keeps printing more of its promissory note legal tender. Federal scope and power has so overflowed the dikes put in place by the Constitution that it is doubtful that this should even be considered the same country. Ninety-four million working age Americans are not working but the official “unemployment rate” is only 5%. Half of the American people pay no income tax yet get to decide what the other half pays. The Democratic Party has fallen so far that it has a criminal as its front runner over an admitted socialist while the best the GOP can offer is Donald Trump followed by a bunch of semi competents whose idea of smaller govt is trimming the increases.

The number of people unwilling to trade their liberty for security continues to decline. Many no longer even consider liberty as they hand their power away. Of course there is hope in that only 11% or so actively participated in the American Revolution. The rest were either loyalists or apathetic.

Being Negative on Rights

Negative rights form and must remain the foundation of our American ideals lest we replace our flawed but serviceable Republic with a more totalitarian structure (whether the hard totalitarianism of the 20th century or a softer version in which the mailed fist is covered by a velvet glove).  The lack of understanding of the negative nature of natural rights and the attempt to enshrine positive rights is at the root of many of today’s hottest political issues.  Negative rights are generally those that make us free FROM the force or coercion of others as opposed to positive “rights” which would give us the right TO something.  Negative rights are natural rights and form the foundation of our Republic.

Natural rights are rights that adhere to us as human beings because of our nature.  Government or individuals might trample upon our rights but fundamental to our very existence as human beings are the right to not be physically harmed or killed by another, the right to maintain one’s own beliefs, thoughts, and reason, the right to worship (or not) as one pleases, the right to protect one’s existence both physically by maintaining arms and judicially by maintaining silence, the right to gather with others, the right to be free from forcible seizure of the products of our work and thought, and the right to use our resources to disseminate our own beliefs or thoughts.  These rights are “negative” by their nature because they do not entitle us to anything.  You have these same rights if you are dropped on a deserted island.  On that deserted island you do not have the right to food, water, shelter, clothing, healthcare, etc.  Nature does not give you those rights.  If you choose to stand on such “rights” on the island, rather than on your reason and work, you will die.  But until you die, you may think as you please, worship as you please, assemble with anyone else that might want to assemble with you, and place as many of your views into bottles to float away as you have bottles to float.

There is a drive both nationally and internationally to create “positive rights”. These are “rights” or entitlements TO things rather than from things.  Some who do this understand the implications and are evilly seeking power over others.  The masses who go along with them have not thought these ideas through to their logical conclusions and are agreeing because they seem good or “fair”. After all, how could anyone disagree with a person’s right to X if they need X to survive?

Let’s take water for example.  Most of your body weight is water and you must replenish this to continue to live. People from the Pope, to UN movers and shakers, to some of your facebook friends support a “right” to clean water.  This ultimately means free clean water. The problem is that the delivery of clean water to your faucet is not free. It requires effort by laborers and engineers, the purchase of equipment and materials, and significant know how developed over the last 150 years. None of that is free. Therefore, the only way to make this a right for some is to violate the rights of others.

Who is going to tell all the municipal water workers they have to work for free? And when they say no and leave their jobs does this right extend to forcing them to stay?  Who is going to tell the pipe companies, pump companies, tank companies, and  treatment equipment companies, that they must supply their wares for free?  Who is going to tell the engineers they must think for free?

So who is going to work for free when you make clean water a right? And when they say no then you can force them right? Because they are violating your self declared rights. Hopefully you pay the police that force them but technically you shouldn’t have to because no doubt that is part of your right as well.

What? That is crazy you say. Nobody will work for free. We will just make some people – those who can afford it – pay for the others. Now you have merely traded one victim of your extortion plot for another. And you are doubly violating their rights because you are now violating their natural rights as well as this new right to water you have created. Because if they have to pay for it, it is not a right to them.

Any so called “right” that involves somebody else’s labor or assets ultimately involves extortion or slavery. That is why there are no positive rights in a just society. There is no such thing as a legitimate right which entitles you to something. You have a right to freedom of press but you are not entitled to receive a printing press. You have a right to freedom of religion but you are not entitled to have whatever deity you decide to worship actually exist.  You do not have rights to things. Any “right” to things that you decide upon ultimately requires taking things from somebody else by force – whether their labor or their assets. It is at its best extortion and at its worst slavery.   You may believe otherwise of course. That is why I have the right to keep and bear arms. To defend myself against people like you.

Gibbs’ Unwritten Rule: NCIS and our

I like NCIS. It is probably my favorite TV show. I like the characters, the plotlines – pretty much everything about it. Of course if you like NCIS you must be familiar with Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs (played by Mark Harmon). Gibbs is known for many things – black coffee, palm slaps to the back of the head, bourbon in nail jars in the basement, and a set of rules he has been accumulating since his days in the Marine Corps. These rules are guides for his career and life. The rules are numbered but have been revealed haphazardly throughout the series. Based on the NCIS wiki, there are about 50 rules but so far only 31 have been revealed. There seems to be one rule however that applies to Gibbs and his team as well as many other heroes of police tv shows:

The Unwritten Rule:  Break any rule to get the bad guy – just do not get caught.  

Rules to be broken include the Constitution as well as other federal laws (all of which as fictional federal law enforcement officers they are fictionally sworn to uphold). The team regularly breaks federal law by hacking computer servers, tracking and hacking phones without warrants, breaking and entering to search residences without warrants, and continuing to interrogate suspects who have requested an attorney. They have also assaulted suspects in interrogation and have even killed a criminal or two rather than apprehend them (but they were really really bad criminals).

But we watch the show. We know Gibbs and his team are the good guys. They’ve got our backs. We can trust them. We come to expect that they will do whatever it takes to catch the bad guys and protect us. It is all in the name of entertainment but it also can condition us to make these tactics seem more acceptable.  But these rules were not made to be broken whenever a truly good guy sincerely believes he needs to break them to catch the bad guy.  Even if the good guy seems really good, like Gibbs.

Amendment IV to the US Constitution

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Unfortunately these problems cross over from the fictional TV world to our real world.

  • In the highly publicized case of the alleged Silk Road mastermind, federal agents illegally hacked foreign servers to identify the defendent and were not even required to show how they obtained the “evidence” at trial.
  • Police use of dogs trained to give a positive at will to “justify” unconstitutional car searches is well documented.
  • Civil asset forfeiture rules enabled police departments to illegally steal more money last year than all the burglars in the US combined.

Unfortunately, these examples merely brush surface of the problem of government authorities who have become accustomed to overreaching their authority at will.  So does Gibbs have a relevant rule?  Maybe number 40:

“If it seems like someone is out to get you, they are.”

And of course there are ten others known as the Bill of Rights.