Category Archives: Anti-state

Vain Pursuits

It is a curious artifact of American politics that the showcasing of a soldier’s widow (as Trump did during his recent address of a joint session of Congress) has the opposite effect one might imagine. If little Johnny were brought before the class by his teacher to show them how he lost a finger playing with firecrackers, one might expect that frightful outcome would instill in the other children a sense that perhaps holding a lit firecracker in your hand is perhaps not a good idea. We would not expect the children to feel emboldened to engage in the same activity.

Likewise, shouldn’t parading the grieving loved ones of fallen soldiers instill in our “leaders” an instinct to be more parsimonious when using this scarce human capital? We would hope they would become progressively less inclined to engage in bellicose rhetoric that necessitates sending soldiers into harms way. But no, it has the opposite effect. In order ensure the recently departed have not “died in vain” and to defend the “honor” of the country, the leaders become even more inclined to retaliate or engage in new overseas adventures with the supposed goal of “furthering US interests” or “consolidating US power.” Why is that? Because for all the high-minded sounding rhetoric (equality, peace, freedom) and apparently “civilized” structure of the modern democratic state these political decisions still turn on raw emotions. The same emotions that drove primitive bands of hunter-gatherers to raid each other’s villages today drive men in suits sitting under gold domes to murder people half a world away. There is no logic, there is no thought, just raw, visceral emotions of revenge, anger, and pride, all wrapped up in some twisted nationalistic package we label patriotism and uniformly applaud like trained seals when shoved in our faces.

Patriotism, literally “love of one’s country” drives not just American leaders but every other country’s ruling elite to engage in the stupidest, most ill advised behavior – from hot wars to trade wars – all to advance the goal of autarky in an “us vs. them” board game. I suppose it is true what they say, “love is blind,” but in combination with political power this aphorism becomes lethal if love of country blinds one to reason and logic. In the war on terror reason and logic would dictate that blowback and the desire to control others is the proximate cause of virtually the entire problem of terrorism. Stop throwing rocks at the hornet’s net if you want to stop getting stung; beating it harder only makes the problem worse.

You’d think we all want no more widows and orphans resulting from pursuing inane policies. That should have been the point of shoving into the face of Congress the results of their polices. If we keep wasting these fine men and women in vain political pursuits, we will one day find no one left to defend us from an actual external attack.

Tyranny of the Do-Gooders

In 2012 Jeffrey Dallas Gay, Jr. (age 22) died of an overdose of prescription drugs. There is little more tragic than death resulting from something so easily preventable. As a parent the instinct is strong to stamp from the face of this earth that which our child became entangled in. But just as setting a national 5 mph speed limit would be a counterproductive response to death by automobile accident, so too are the knee-jerk reaction of legislators when faced with these sorts of drug related tragedies. Senate Bill 81 was recently introduced into the Georgia General Assembly with the stated goal of trying to eliminate opioid overdoses. As with all such intrusions by the state into the lives of individuals, it leaves in its wake the collateral damage of individual lives sacrificed on the altar of the greater good.

The bill preamble first cites a scary-sounding decontextualized statistics (that roughly 30,000 die annually from opioid overdose – context: 0.008% of the US population) it then moves headlong into the “solution.” Now, if 30,000 people a year were dying because some enemy was lobbing bombs at US cities, then yes, the government should do something about that. But we aren’t dealing with an external foe, rather an internal one, ourselves. Laws on gambling, prostitution, drugs, alcohol, compulsory health insurance, etc. all share in common the well-intentioned desire to protect us from ourselves. But such laws undermine the very idea of a free nation built on individual rights. Do you sell your soul to save your life?

SB 81 purports to solve, or at least mitigate, the opioid “epidemic” by limiting first time opioid prescriptions in the state of Georgia to no more than a 5 day supply. Additionally every pharmacist is required to log all such prescriptions into a statewide database (cough, Big Brother, cough) so usage can be tracked to prevent someone buying “too much” (whatever that may be). Just as someone today can hit a wall if they try to buy “too much” Sudafed so too will the unintended consequence be that some must suffer in agonizing pain because their prescription is “too much” under the eyes of “the law.” But hey, who cares about individual suffering if we think our policy might help someone. What’s next, tracking our grocery purchases to be sure we aren’t “abusing” our bodies by buying the food that makes us less healthy and leading to higher health care costs? The greater good of “public health” would surely allow for such reasoning. Yes, laugh now, but it’s coming one day.

Of course these legislators want their cake and eat it too. The paragraph stipulating no more than a 5-day supply is quickly followed by a paragraph supporting the right of a physician to prescribe whatever they deem medically necessary. So once again politicians get to bask in the limelight of “doing something” while not actually doing anything other than adding yet another layer of bureaucracy for doctors who are already over-burdened with a mountain of regulatory paperwork they have to comply with from the local, state, and federal level.

The sad fact that no one wants to face is there no way to solve the opioid overdose problem other than getting people to follow the prescription on the bottle. And that’s not going to happen because people are people and some people just can’t follow directions. People “abuse” antibiotics as well by doing the reverse, not taking enough. This promotes antibiotic resistance. Indeed, nearly as many people (23,000) die each year due to antibiotic resistance. Why no bills designed to solve that “crisis”? Perhaps because no one is getting high off antibiotics? The desire to stamp out any possibility of artificially induced pleasure seems to be the driving force behind drug policy in this country. Anyone who needs a medication should not be made to suffer the hardship of additional hurdles just to get what they need because a handful of people can’t act responsibly. If you want to make a meaningful inroad toward ameliorating this problem, lobby the FDA to remove rules on side effect disclosures that require events with a 0.00001% chance of happening being listed. This leads to information overload and people just tune out everything. If the warning listed only actual hazards – like death from overdose – people would pay attention. Thus unintended consequence of government meddling leads to “solutions” like SB 81 which will invariably lead to more unintended consequences which can only be solved by yet more rules and legislation. The state cannot remake man through the pen. It must stop trying to do so.

DeVoss vote a proxy for freedom, choice

The Democrats waged a bitter campaign against the confirmation of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education. Ultimately they lost that battle when Vice-President Pence cast the deciding vote in a split Senate. But this battle had less to do with DeVos the women (indeed, perhaps one can only be a misogynist if they oppose Democrat women) and more to do with the concept of “school choice.” Ah yes, the Democrats, the party of “choice” when it comes to women and their bodies are decidedly anti-choice when the debate shifts to where you send your children to school. Because DeVos has expressed support for school vouchers, that means she is a blood-sucking monster who wants to see children die. This is no hyperbole in characterizing the oppositions rhetoric – noted Democrat film critic Richard Lawson tweeted “voucher programs will lead to more suicides, Betsy DeVos’s policies will kill children. That is not an exaggeration in any sense.”

The tweet has since been deleted. But you get the idea. These people literally believe that if we don’t all meekly line up single file like cattle to go to our assigned schooling center, then the very fabric of society will be rent.

Apparently allowing parents the freedom to decide where their children go to school means the public schools will be unable to function by virtue of decreased revenue. But this makes little sense on its face. If a school has 1,000 children and 500 leave for another school then both revenue and expenses have fallen in concert. This is why if you choose to eat at McDonalds and not Burger King no one says your actions are “defunding” Burger King – as though Burger King has some superior claim to your money that for the good of society necessitates you eat there. Why if you don’t eat at Burger King then they may have to fire people, and unemployment is bad for society, therefore we will tell you when and where to eat, shop, live, and go to school. Even though schooling is the only active part of that hypothetical edict, logically there is no reason this greater good argument can’t be used for any other economic activity.

School choice means that if money is directed away from public schools that are not satisfying the parent’s desire for a good education, then those public schools will have to fire teachers and (gasp!) administrators. Fewer public school teachers mean fewer public school union members. Unions oppose school voucher programs not because they genuinely think it will harm children. No. They oppose it because they genuinely think it will harm their current position of political clout.

Fortunately the American public sees through the self-interest of the unions and past their spurious claims of wanting what is best for the children. A recent poll found that 68 percent of Americans are firmly in the school choice camp. Indeed it is often claimed that school choice is a clandestine method of re-establishing segregation in schooling again, but don’t tell that to the 72 percent of blacks and 75 percent of Latinos who are pro-school choice. For many of them it is the only life-line they have to escape the failing schools they have no choice but to attend by accident of their zip code. The Democrats claim to stand for the interests of the poor and underprivileged, but they are all too willing to sacrifice those ideals upon the altar of political expediency in praise of their god the unions (indeed, the Department of Education was established by President Carter to reward the strong support he received from the teacher’s unions). But there’s still hope for the anti-DeVos camp; throw your support behind Rep. Thomas Massie’s bill H.R. 899 which will abolish the Department of Education.

“Mr. Gorbachev, give us this wall”

Throughout Trump’s campaign he repeatedly promised that “we” would build a wall and that Mexico would pay for it. The details of that boast were conveniently omitted. But class is now in session and the homework is due, so at long last we have been made privy to his “secret” method of getting Mexico to pay for this wall: tariffs. Trump plans on imposing a 20% tariff on imported Mexican goods coming into the US. The proceeds are earmarked for paying for said wall. There’s just one problem with this little scheme of course: it won’t work, or at least not the way Trump imagines. In other words, as with all government actions, there will be unintended consequences. One of the central tenants of economics is that incentives matter. Closing a door just means now the window doesn’t look so bad. Like rats from a sinking ship, there are numerous routes to avoid the tariff. To offset the tariff Mexican exporters may raise prices, which of course means US buyers will shoulder the cost (although magically increases in minimum wage never incline one to increase prices). But higher prices mean US buyers may then opt to forego the purchase or to seek alternative goods; the net effect being no tariff earned and decreased sales for the Mexican company employing, you know, Mexicans (homework assignment: what effect might increased Mexican unemployment have on the demand to enter the US looking for work?). Or if the Mexican company decides to absorb the cost then that means they’ll either have to cut costs by potentially scaling back their work force or slowing the rate of hiring – all of which puts more Mexicans out of work (again see homework assignment above). The more you turn up your stereo to drown out your neighbor’s music, the more he does likewise in a perpetual game of one-upmanship until you both go deaf.

The immigration “problem” is one of positive feedback. Actions designed to decrease an effect actually make it grow. The irony here is that Trump of all people doesn’t see the problem. He is quite fond of blaming China for harming the US economy and putting people out of work by flooding the US market with cheap goods. However, he fails to see the US has been doing the exact same thing to Latin America for decades. That area of the world is less developed and so depends much more on agriculture production to support its economy. Any factors (such as cheap imports) in that agricultural market will have an outsize effect in that region. The US has a long history (since the depression) of agriculture subsidies to US farmers. Subsidies lower the cost of US agricultural products, allowing US farmer to export heavily into the Latin American market where local farmers can’t compete. That darn NAFTA! Yes, NAFTA enabled cheap imports in both directions. These imports had the obvious effect of putting them out of work whereupon they are left with little choice but to move to where there is a demand for low skilled labor – the US.

The inconvenient truth is that the solution to most of the immigration “problem” is to simply end all agricultural subsidies. But no, we’d rather scratch our heads as to why so many keep coming here, shrug our shoulders, and then set about building a wall to keep “them” out. Farm subsidies have become such a political lighting rod in this country that it is actually easier to subsidize foreign farmers (the US sends subsidies to Brazilian cotton farmers!) than to scale back subsidies to our own farmers.

If Trump really wants to stem the tide of Mexicans entering the US he needs to make Mexico great again – great enough that their economy becomes a magnet to all expatriates, drawing them home to where the jobs are. Perhaps Carrier should build that Mexican plant after all.

Eyes Wide Shut

Trump’s most recent executive order (EO) regarding entry to the US of aliens and refugees from seven Middle Eastern countries has sparked a level of public outrage we have not seen since, well, a week ago during the “Women’s March”. At least this time the protestors have a legitimate reason to complain. This heavy-handed approach to preventing terrorist attacks in the US by barring entry of potential terrorists rests on the ill-advised principle that it is better that a thousand innocents be punished lest one guilty party go free. Some have argued that the choice of countries barred is illogical since there have been no known terrorists attacks in the US from citizens of those countries while citizens of Saudi Arabia who were involved in 9/11 are not on the list. But I would go one further: it doesn’t matter which country you put on the list, this process will be wholly ineffective. Actual terrorists trying to get in would not take the lengthy 2-year route of refugee status or try to travel commercial air where they would be quickly identified. They would find any number of other clandestine means to enter. The radicalized, but as of yet inactive, terrorist will easily pass. Lying is quite effective since we have no way to read minds or predict future events. Indeed, this EO would have not prevented the three most recent terrorist attacks in this country (Boston, Orlando, San Bernardino).

Now for the part people don’t want to hear. This action of Trump is what the state does every day: harms innocent people. For every supposed “beneficial” state action that you can point to as being “good” there are a multitude of unseen victims, sometimes unintended, sometimes intended. In that regard I’m glad Trump implemented this EO. It has finally awakened my friends on the left from their 8-year slumber. They are once again outraged when the state victimizes the individual on the altar of the nation or society. But, this reawakening will only have lasting effects if they can see and admit to themselves that what Trump is doing is a difference in degree, not kind, when compared to the actions of Obama in this arena. The US has always had policies that restricted travel of certain individuals. Sometimes when those policies were enforced innocent people were unfairly barred from entry. And sometimes those policies would arbitrarily change on a dime. Indeed just a week before he left office Obama ended a long-standing policy that would have permitted Cuban refugee (and many more just like him) Alexander Gutierrez Garcia entry into the US. Many were literally mere steps away from crossing the US-Mexico border when the order came down, crushing their dreams of freedom. So you see, a Democrat can also unfairly impose arbitrary rules that harm innocent individuals with hopes of living in the land of the free and the home of the brave. To my liberal friends, please try to remember that in 4-8 years when “your guy” (or gal) is back in office. I’ll be waiting.

The March on Windmills

The Women’s March on Washington DC (and around the world) this past January 21 was supposed to “send a message” to the new Trump administration. But rather than address his actually harmful stated goals (tariffs, wall building, etc.) they’d rather tilt at the imaginary windmills of things he never even touched on once. The inanity of it all cries out to be addressed; therefore I give my blow by low critique from their entire Unity Principles. Enjoy.

“We believe that Women’s Rights are Human Rights and Human Rights are Women’s Rights.”

Well duh, hard to argue with a tautology.

“We must create a society in which women”

So that would cover all women, irrespective of all other sub-categorizations, right? No, ok, so apparently “women” is unclear and you find it necessary to further qualify it…

“including Black women, Native women, poor women, immigrant women, disabled women, Muslim women, lesbian queer and trans women”

You forgot short women, skinny women, fat women, old women and young women. So I guess those women don’t qualify for the right to be

“free and able to care for and nurture their families, however they are formed, in safe and healthy environments free from structural impediments”

I wasn’t aware women are not being permitted to care and nurture their families was a thing. When did they pass that law?

“Women deserve to live full and healthy lives, free of all forms of violence against our bodies.”

Wait so men don’t deserve these things? I thought women’s rights were human rights and men are human… so why not be a bit more inclusive here with “people deserve”? Oh right, identify politics derives its power from the notion that we must separate ourselves into little political fiefdoms rather than accept the proposition we are all simply human beings with identical individual rights.

“We believe in accountability and justice in cases of police brutality and ending racial profiling and targeting of communities of color. It is our moral imperative to dismantle the gender and racial inequities within the criminal justice system.”

Can’t disagree with that… then again this sort of thing grew substantially during Obama’s 8 years… where were the marches and protests by millions of women highlighting his actual failures to address this vs. your mere fear that Trump might not focus on it.

“We believe in Reproductive Freedom. We do not accept any federal, state or local rollbacks, cuts or restrictions on our ability to access quality reproductive healthcare services, birth control, HIV/AIDS care and prevention, or medically accurate sexuality education. This means open access to safe, legal, affordable abortion and birth control for all people, regardless of income, location or education.”

Right, in other words “I have a right to free stuff… it is my right that you use a gun to take money from people in order that I don’t have to suffer the indignity of being asked to actually pay for $20 worth of birth control pills”

“We firmly declare that LGBTQIA Rights are Human Rights and that it is our obligation to uplift, expand and protect the rights of our gay, lesbian, bi, queer, trans or gender non-conforming brothers, sisters and siblings.”

So LGBTQIA people don’t have the right to vote, hold a job, own a home, get married, get a driver’s license, go to school? Wow, that’s news to me. What rights is it they don’t have again?

“We must have the power to control our bodies and be free from gender norms, expectations and stereotypes.”

Right, body control is fine as long as you use it in those ways officially sanctioned by the left. Two bodies engaging in trade requires “regulation” (the market). A body being forced to labor for another is perfectly fine (taxation). The right to “be free of people thinking x about me” is the right to use violence to control the bodies of others by curtailing their free speech and free thought lest someone’s feelings get hurt… cause hurt feelings are the worst possible thing in the world. Far worse than Obama drone-bombing brown women and children on an almost daily basis. But we only care about brown women and children in the United States. Those in other countries aren’t Americans so we don’t care about them. We don’t march for them.

“We believe in an economy powered by transparency, accountability, security and equity”

What does this even mean? Today’s menu consists of word salad.

“All women should be paid equitably”

They are already, if they weren’t then female unemployment would be 0% and it’s not, so case closed.

“with access to affordable childcare, sick days, healthcare, paid family leave, and healthy work environments.”

“Access” – another euphemism for “point a gun at that guy so he gives me stuff I want for free”. To claim you have a right to anything that can only exist by the labor of another is to say you own the labor of others. We have a word for that. I’ll let you figure it out on your own.

“All workers – including domestic and farm workers, undocumented and migrant workers – must have the right to organize and fight for a living minimum wage.”

Sure, fight all you want, but you don’t have the right to use violence, at the individual or state level, to get what you want. Of course let’s just ignore the fact that this thing that you want to control (the state) so you can have your grab bag of “rights” is also the thing that defines people as “undocumented” or “migrant” and limits their rights to begin with.

“We believe Civil Rights are our birthright, including voting rights, freedom to worship without fear of intimidation or harassment, freedom of speech, and protections for all citizens regardless of race, gender, age or disability.”

And these things don’t already exist? I’m sorry, I must have missed the part when Trump campaigned on a platform of repealing the Civil Rights Act and the 1st Amendment.

“We believe that all women’s issues are issues faced by women with disabilities and Deaf women.”

You already included “disabled women” above in your laundry list of female subgroups. But I guess the irony of treating the disabled differently by pointing them out in particular is lost on you. Oh, and when did deafness not become a disability? So blind women are disabled but deaf women are not? So confusing…

“Rooted in the promise of America’s call for huddled masses yearning to breathe free, we believe in immigrant and refugee rights regardless of status or country of origin. We believe migration is a human right and that no human being is illegal.”

Agreed – of course Obama deported more “illegals” over 8 years than even Bush. So there’s that. But why let partisanship get in the way of holding your leaders accountable.

“We believe that every person and every community in our nation has the right to clean water, clean air, and access to and enjoyment of public lands.”

I guess the irony is lost on you that you are beseeching the government to maintain this right when in fact it one of the world’s biggest polluters. It also uses as a perennial excuse it’s own failure to protect the environment to justify even more funding. Normally doing a poor job gets you fired, not a raise.

“We believe that our environment and our climate must be protected, and that our land and natural resources cannot be exploited for corporate gain or greed – especially at the risk of public safety and health.”

Yes it would be far better to let everything in the world lie fallow and unused. This is Snow Globe Environmentalism – the notion that the Earth is a static bubble that man must not disturb. Everything has a trade off. The balance is found through the discovery process of the market price system. Not by top down edicts that would condemn 95% of the human race to death if they got their way (through elimination of electricity and mechanized agriculture).

We now return you to our regularly scheduled apoplectic Trump bashing for things we think he might do.

Mother may I?

You walk outside one morning and witness your neighbor struggling to move a tree that has fallen across his driveway. Do you (a) ask him how you can help or (b) compose a letter to request a hearing before the town council in order to request permission to assist your neighbor? You request contains a detailed outline of your proposed methods of assistance whereupon you dutifully wait 2-3 weeks for a response back from said council. If you’re like 99.999% of people on this planet you go with (a). And that right there is what the free market is all about. People identifying a problem encountered by their fellow man, visualizing a solution, and then offering that solution If the solution is desired then people will show their acceptance by voluntarily engaging in trade in order to obtain said solution. If not desired then no such trade takes place.

But that is not the world we live in. There is no free market in the US or anywhere else in the world. There must be a defect in humanity that inflicts some with the instinct to force their ideas of what is normal or right or fair onto those that happen to be in proximity to them. In other words, we have a “permission market” – if you wish to solve a problem and offer the solution to the world you must first seek out the permission of these self-anointed guardian and kiss their ring on bended knee.

A recent example of this ring kissing involves a company “VidAngel” – a streaming service brought to market by two brothers who wanted to stream movies to their home with certain profanity or violent acts omitted. They searched high and low and when they couldn’t find anyone offering such a service, they started one! As an aside, this is how many such innovative companies get a start – unable to find a solution to a problem the entrepreneur solves the problem and then markets it to others with the same problem. CEO Neil Harmon recently explained on the Tom Woods Show podcast that when they started out they knew there would be copyright challenges to what they were attempting (witness the fall of Aereo, another innovative problem solving company) so they made sure to strictly follow the letter of the law. Their service, they contend, falls under the Family Movies Act, which gives consumers the right to filter movies they own – on videotape. So in order to comply with that antiquated provision they actually purchase on the consumer’s behalf a DVD or Blu-ray disc that is dedicated to only that consumer. Then their software allows the consumer to selectively remove certain words or content. Don’t like the “f” word – then delete away! Ok with profanity but don’t want violence? No problem! They were not secretive about their business. They requested licensing arrangements from all the studios. Some granted a license, but for those that did not, they followed the disc per consumer route. Then the big three (Disney, Warner Bros and Fox) decided to put an end to their little endeavor – not alone mind you, but with the help of the United States Federal Government. You see government is here to protect our rights, even the imaginary ones (copyright, trademark, patent and before that, slavery). VidAngel has now been shut down due to an injunction issued from U.S. District Court in California.

Even in the permission market it’s not enough to ask and get permission, you are also subject to the mercurial whims of those in power. Almost enough to make one have second thoughts about starting a business…nah… regulatory uncertainty would never have an impact on business starts and job growth.

The Carrier Deal

Donald Trump is an enigma. On the one hand he is not even President yet and he’s already using his legendary (according to him) negotiating skills to make good on his promise of keeping jobs in America. On the other hand this feat was accomplished through a combination of crony-capitalist carrots and sticks whose effectiveness was largely a consequence of Carrier’s parent company (United Technologies) being a cog in the military-industrial fascist apparatus. Dependency fosters control and United Technologies is highly dependent on the federal government for much of its business, therefore this was somewhat of a low-hanging fruit “win” for Trump.

The reaction to this deal has predictably fallen along party lines although there is a bit of cognitive dissonance on both sides as they try to come to terms with balancing fairness with pragmatism. People appreciate that Trump saved those jobs but are troubled by how he did it. Is it fair to bestow tax “giveaways” on one company but not others? Is it fair to reward only those that threaten to leave? Is it fair to invoke a punitive 35% tariff on goods imported from US overseas firms? The answer depends on the framework in which the question is asked. Within the framework of natural rights and individual liberty none of these are legitimate. The actions of any entity that initiates violence (taxation, tariffs) to achieve its ends are illegitimate. But we don’t live in that world. We live in a world literally run by the very warlords we are told would arise absent the state. Every state (i.e. country) is a plantation; some are far worse than others, but a gilded cage is still a cage. So given our condition of servitude to the state is it fair if the master decides to treat one slave more favorably than the others? Should we tell the master “You have no right to lift our brother out of the mud, please, cast him back down here with us!” Thus we have both sides of the political spectrum opposing this but for opposite reasons. The left opposes it because they enjoy being in the mud and believe this is the only way we can all be equal, therefore it is “wrong” for anyone to get out of the mud. The right opposes it for purity reasons. They believe ALL should escape the mud but that it is an either-or proposition; either all escape or none escape. Libertarians will argue for the moral solution but (grudgingly) accept the pragmatic one as a stepping-stone. Better for some to escape than none. Since wholesale emancipation seems to be off the table, then let’s create so many loopholes and deals that all can escape.

So do I wish I could get the kind of tax incentives Carrier got? Sure. It is absolutely unfair that they get them and other businesses like mine do not. However I’ll still applaud their small victory if it means it moves the needle even a bit toward the direction of universal tax relief.

Calexit

The vote counting continues. Thus far Clinton has accrued approximately 2.5 million more popular votes than Trump. Wailing and gnashing of teeth ensues – “how can this be? Democracy!?” The democracy game depends in large part on how one slices the pie. Democracy is fundamentally arbitrary insofar as the rules for inclusion are based on imaginary invisible lines in the dirt. Just take a look at a map of gerrymandered congressional districts; those distended and warped puzzle pieces forensically betray the party of their author. We could easily redraw state boundaries that would give Clinton a win; likewise we could draw new state boundaries that would give Trump an even larger electoral college win. But let’s play this game: if we look solely at popular vote within two distinct geographical areas we find a stark contrast. The first region is California and the second region is every other state except California. In California, Clinton handily won by 4 million votes. But in the other not-California region Trump won by 1.5 million. If direct democracy popular voting is going to be the new gold standard, then would it not be a crime to force the entirety of not-California to suffer under a Clinton presidency merely because one state, California, wished it to be so? Indeed, remove just one more state from that mix, New York, and the differential climbs to a 3 million more for Trump in the new country known as not-California-or-New-York.

Oh but you argue that’s disingenuous, we are “one country.” But are we? Borders are arbitrary, there is no physical law of nature that dictates biological entities living at these coordinates on a sphere must be irreversibly bound into a political union. Unions exist only so long as the parties wish it. Indeed, union dissolution is the last vestige of the people’s right to counter federal overreach. Yes, we’re talking about the “s” word: secession, an end to that “indivisible” union. Before November 7, 2016 such talk was ridiculed by the left (in straw man like fashion) to be the bailiwick of racists. However, now that the left no longer holds the reins of power they have suddenly discovered the merits of federalism, states rights, and even (gasp) secession. There is currently a movement for “Calexit”, that is the idea that California should leave the union and becomes it’s own country. A Calexit success would finally sever that peculiar linkage of secession to slavery in the American psyche. Normalization of secession would release a long neglected cudgel against expanding federal power.

The mere fact that secession is on the table as an option is further proof of the failure of the constitution (or rather the failure of men to be bound by it). The principals of federalism embodied in that document gave most power to the states with only a narrow set of enumerated powers granted to the federal government. Were that still the case no one would even care who the president was.

Whitewash

So Fidel Castro is dead – well it’s about time. His “revolution” plunged the island nation of Cuba into a 50-year nightmare. Cuban citizens were stripped of all rights (speech, assembly, movement, property, etc.) and reborn as slaves on Fidel’s Cuban plantation. His lapdog, brother Raúl, was his remorseless enforcer (so do not expect much to change until Raúl is dead as well.) To those with the audacity to oppose either, cold-blooded murder was the response. To those that attempted escape, death on the high seas was the prevailing fate. To those that remained, a life of poverty and servitude to the state was the best one could hope for. Castro’s crimes against humanity are on par with those of Pol Pot, Pinochet, Hitler, Stalin, Mao, and every other petty dictator who believes the path to unanimity and consent is to kill all those that disagree.

But while those dictators are (mostly) vilified by the popular media, for some grotesque reason Castro is nearly universally held in high regard by today’s ruling class and ivory tower academics. Then again perhaps it should be unsurprising; they are all cut from the same statist cloth. They differ only in degree, not kind. Would that they could get away with Castro’s methods they’d do so in a heartbeat. Those darn pesky constitutions keep getting in their way. But the people aren’t stupid. We the common folk know what kind of monster Castro was.

If you are still struggling to understand why Trump won, look no further than the difference between his response to Castro’s death and Obama’s. Obama wrote the following: “At this time of Fidel Castro’s passing, we extend a hand of friendship to the Cuban people. We know that this moment fills Cubans – in Cuba and in the United States – with powerful emotions, recalling the countless ways in which Fidel Castro altered the course of individual lives, families, and of the Cuban nation. History will record and judge the enormous impact of this singular figure on the people and world around him.”

Talk about whitewashed apologia for a dictator! Obama turns ambiguity into an art form. Assuming you knew nothing about Castro would the reader take away from this that he was a murderous dictator that executed thousands of his own people (yes I suppose murdering someone would alter the course of their life)? Or that he put homosexuals in slave labor camps to “cure” them? Or that he forbade his citizens to leave the country, turning into a Caribbean Alcatraz? This insipid portrayal insults the memory of those that gave their lives opposing him as much as portraying Hitler as an “important figure in unifying Europe and whose aspirations eventually propelled the founding of the state of Israel” would insult the memory of those that died in his concentration camps.

Now, here’s what Donald Trump said: “Fidel Castro’s legacy is one of firing squads, theft, unimaginable suffering, poverty and the denial of fundamental human rights.”

Any questions?