Constitutional Libertarianism

Constitutional Libertarianism

Monday, June 22, 2009

We the people of the United Casinoes of America

There was a point in American history when there was only one type of capitalism. Based on free trade and small businesses standing by their product or services.

People not only took responsibility for what they made or sold, they took pride in it. More often than not, their name was on it and there was a sense of accountability.

Laws changed and allowed corporations to form, taking responsibility from the people doing business. It was the company now who took the hits, People could make or sell a poor product with cheap parts and they were no longer responsible as individuals. They could take the money they made and run, leaving the company to sink or swim. nothing stopping them from starting another corporation under a new name doing the same shady business.

Lawsuits went from being reasonable, cause and effect related cases to being frivolous, "how much can I get for being ignorant" cases, also seeking to shirk personal responsibility and see how much they can take a company for.

They go hand in hand, companies claim they need the protection of incorporating to shield themselves from costly and frivolous lawsuits and customers say they need more responsibility and personal investment in the businesses they buy from.

There was a time when businesses experienced success or failure based on the quality of the product or service they provided instead of how much the value of the companies stock was worth from one minute to the next.

I like to refer to the two as 'corporate capitalism' and 'classic capitalism'.

Classic capitalism is how business in this country grew and became the foundation of what "Made in America' stood for.

Corporate capitalism is not about making a solid product or service, it's about making money. nothing else. It's like being in a casino. There are many 'players', people who put themselves in the games and the people who bet on the side, not even having the guts to play the game themselves, just throw money in and hope to cash in on what someone else is doing.

Under corporate capitalism, companies only want to know how much they can sell out for. They exist to make the investors more money. Once investors have decided they can't make 'enough' money from a company anymore, regardless of if that company makes a decent product or not. Regardless of how making some changes might improve it, they don't care. If the money isn't there right now, then it's no good to them.

Immediate gratification and money are the only things corporate capitalists are interested in. They don't care about 'antiquated' notions of pride and loyalty or being a responsible part of the community. It's just about the money.

They only see "the bottom line" and nothing else is important. If it's not about getting rich, it's not important.

When people remember the better years of their lives, they infallibly recall the earlier years when the stores and companies in the towns and communities were owned and or run by people and families that lived in the same community.

When business practices were determined based on peoples wants and needs. Not what the company wanted to pay for.

That kind of capitalism is what made this country great and looked up to. It is what made people proud to be who they were and where they worked.

It is about people, just like the government is supposed to be and the Constitution is. People shaping their own lives and investing in their communities. When they succeed as individuals, the whole community succeeds by having better products available and better jobs to work at.

I believe in capitalism as it was, classic capitalism. When individuals took the risks of starting a business and accepted those risks as well as reaping the rewards.

In corporate capitalism, the only risk those people are taking is how much money they threw at the situation. While in many cases, that may be a considerable amount of money, they make no personal investment in the business. They toss money in as one would as they watch a game of dice, not even being a player, just betting on the sideline.

I believe it is in the U.S governments best interest, the best interests of the country as a whole, to curb the effects of corporate capitalism. While they need to fix the many problems they have in-house, they need to take a stand for the American people as a whole.

America is not a crap shoot. It is peoples lives. It is the ability of one man or family or group of friends to make something of themselves. To go out and do something they believe in, something they are proud of and something that will eventually benefit the community as well.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

No two ways about it, "Zero Tolerance" must go

Individual and community. America is one of the greatest experiments in trying to perpetually maintain that delicate balance of respecting the needs and rights of the individual and trying to maintain a community in which the community as a whole is taken care of as well.

There is a pretty common saying, at least around where I am, that "the individuals freedom extends until it reaches the the next person."

I can agree with that. I should be able to do what I feel I need or want to do with my life, my property, my career, etc.. as long as I am not directly impeding someone else's personal rights.

When you sit down and think about it, that's a lot of freedom, especially when you do a comparison to other places in the world where the same types of freedom are not recognized or respected. Over in those places, it is supposed to be all about the community.

"Zero Tolerance" attitudes are an age old approach to making rules that typically is founded in frustration and a feeling of powerlessness by inadequate people who haven't been able to effectively communicate or demonstrate the ability to keep that balance between individual and community very well.

Zero tolerance leaves no room for individual circumstances or possibilities to recognize extenuating circumstances. It is the last gasp of air, struggling to maintain some sense of control.

Zero Tolerance is dictatorship, plain and simple, but apparently, many people seem to think this is OK as long as their image as a leader is maintained and the appearance of 'public safety is projected.

One of the most common phrases you will hear associated with Zero Tolerance is " ..but if even only one person is saved, then it will be worth it." It leaves the audience to think that everyone else will view them as a craven, cold-hearted monster if you vote to let the "one person" not be saved. It's blackmail, is what it is.

Not to often is the discussion allowed to move to, "If we save just one person and it causes a negative effect for ten others, is it still worth it?" At that point, The experimental balance is being weighed. What has more value, the individual or the community as a whole?

Even though they are arguing to merit of saving 'just one person...", the proponent is actually representing the side of the community over the individual.They are saying that the best thing for the community is to make and enforce laws that further inhibit the abilities of individuals from doing whatever it is that is seen as causing harm, necessitating the need to rescue all those "one persons".

It's the excuse of "A few bad apples spoil it for the whole bunch" where the soon to be criminalized activity has been done by many people over a long period of time most likely but since the enforcers of law cannot determine who is going to abuse the limits of being responsible and 'common sensical' of that action or behavior in question, it is easier for them to prohibit everyone from doing so. Therefore, if no one is doing it, then no 'one person' can be hurt by it again.

It boils down to enforcement, not concern for the people, that motivates Zero Tolerance rules.

To further confuse matters is there are two primary 'types' involved in bringing Zero Tolerance about.

1) The emotional, sensitive people who have witnessed something go very bad and are simply an emotional mess inside and they are motivated by sincere, yet over-protective thoughts in how to prevent the next bystander from witnessing or being emotionally affected.

2) The ineffective community leaders and law enforcement officials who realize that policing for the said 'bad apples" is a tremendously difficult job that is made much easier to do if they could 'ban' items or actions that are most visibly associated with the behavior or actions in question and only have to look for those who are in possession of said items, instead of trying to deduce who of the people having said items is exercising poor judgment.

When you see the news, more often than not, you will see reports of victims of Zero Tolerance rather than the supposed 'beneficiaries'.

Simply because someone or some office is unwilling or unable to take consideration of all the information relating to the case, someone is criminalized or facing severe and publicly scoffed consequences.

"Sorry 72 year old person, you cannot carry that pen knife because you might accidentally stab someone with it, and because you carried it in with you, we will now have to put you in jail for awhile. I'm sorry if you have bad arthritis and this is the best way to help you do common things like open mail and other 'typical' tasks, Zero Tolerance is in affect here and so we must check our wits at the door and allow no rational thought on the subject. Enjoy your stay in county jail."

While you may think the comment above is ludicrous and inflammatory, it has actually happened. in a place where all knives of any type, were banned because some juveniles were scratching up public property and officials could not get hold of the situation, so, Zero Tolerance came about and no knives of any sort were allowed in those public areas anymore, by anyone.

Even a 72 year old man who opened letters and cleaned his fingernails with a 1 1/2 inch keyring pocketknife.

Boy, they showed him who is boss, didn't they. I bet he was just waiting for the officers in that area to leave so he could carve his sweeties initials in a tree or on a picnic table.

BUT, no one got hurt, no one was accidentally stabbed or had an eye put out. No property was damaged and everyone in the community learned a valuable lesson, that rules is rules is rules and everyone needs to be mindful of the rules. Whew, society is saved once again.

Zero Tolerance is an over reaction that trounces an individuals rights and has no respect for any individuals ability to use reasoning and good judgment for themselves. It only takes in to account those who do not control themselves and refuse to be good citizens and neighbors in a community.

Of course, it also makes people who are exceptionally emotional and 'community conscious' feel better too.

The next time a school or town or any law enforcing entity tries to bring in Zero Tolerance, remember, education and persistence as well as everyone in the neighborhood, school, where ever, will have more beneficial impact on the situation than Zero Tolerance rules.

One person might be saved, but eventually, everyone else will get the shaft.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

At the end of the day...

I have been one to point out things that aren't going as well as I would like to see them go on a national level as well as locally.

However, believe it or not, when I think of this country, the U.S., I think of potential.

I see what is gained at the end of the day after a lot of conflict, misunderstanding, ignorance, arrogance and sometimes plain old pigheadedness on the parts of everyday people and politicians alike.

People have worked and struggled, fought and bled to take a step forward at the end of it all. To see that the next day will be a better day. It's been this way since before the first European ever stepped foot on this land.

This country has been centuries in the making. Bringing different people together from a variety of places around the world.

We are continuously evolving as a united people. Americans thrown together voluntarily and by circumstance.

We shed old habits and ways of thinking and adopt new ones to better suit a different way of life here.

My ancestors of indigenous blood both here in the geographical U.S. and south of the border once lived in vast Indian nations that often thought of themselves as higher on the evolutionary ladder or as a more advanced people than those in other tribes and nations.

They were quite surprised to find themselves on the downside looking up the ladder after Europeans with vastly different technology for making war arrived and not only wanted what the nations had, but didn't want to see the indigenous people even as equal human beings.

They were prideful and that was one of the big contributors to the downfall of the Indian nations in Mexico and the U.S.

The incoming Europeans were prideful as well, it was only due to the technology and the ruthlessness in which they used it they gained the upper hand in dominance.

Since then, other people from other countries have come and added their essence to the mix. Some accepted readily, others having to fight the same battle against pride.

Throughout all the violence and harsh words and hurtful things said and done by everyone involved, everyone stayed. They still stay. It's the hard fought battles and the well deserved wins for respect, dignity and fair treatment of all people that keep us here.

The people, all of the people, have fought too hard and too long too give up now. It would be wasteful of all the effort and hard work by everyone involved to waste it all on quitting.

When we look back at history and the progress we have made and the hard won understanding gained by defeating pride again and again so that all human beings are seen as equal and deserving of the same respect and rights, we see success made over those long days.

To bring all the people from all the places of the world and none being in dominion over another, instead, all people having the opportunity to live their lives as free people and no one group or class dictating their fate is incredible, astonishing and truly awe-inspiring.

For those of us who have lived our entire lives here and caught up in the squabbles and battles day to day life brings us, it can be hard to see this great progress we have made. We can't see the forest for the trees, as the saying goes.

Let's pull the camera back a bit though and take a look at the big picture, not only at this one point in time, but over the course of the last three hundred years or so.

If we went to any place on the planet back then, not one person would have said what we have now would be accomplished. It would be foolish in their eyes to even try.

Do all of the people living here behave in a dignified, conscious manner? Not all of us. In truth, some of us have become ignorant of the history that has been made. Some of us are too self absorbed become it has become easy to be that way in this country now.

The U.S. constitution is a document that has made what seemed the impossible, possible.

Have there been hardships suffered by some? Yes. Are there still hardships and wrongs perpetrated upon one another as we live today? Of course.

The fight is no longer a fight of life or death in this country anymore though. It is no longer a debate of whether a different looking person is a man or not a man anymore. it is a given that all men all created equal and a hard won given at that now.

The battles today are in the nuances, the details. There are also painful and exhausting discussions and fights. But they are worthwhile.

At the end of the long day, reason will be seen and the right thing will be done. It is what we are brought together here to do.

I ask all Americans to stop every once in awhile, don't just see the here and now. See where we have been, where we have all come from and as we have come together and lived together, fought together and squabbled amongst each other, look to see where are we headed.

We have done so much right at the end of the day that it bears continuing the fight to work on what is still wrong. It is not a waste of time to keep trying, to have hope and to think things can be better than they were. They already are.

As long as we continue to keep true to the Constitution and have some faith in one another, we can accomplish even more.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

A postcard from out-of-country. Texas, that is.

What would it take to secede from the Union?

What would the overwhelming ramifications be?

To be sure, it is not something that goes un-discussed. This is a topic that is bandied about in certain states, Texas being one of them, regularly.

In this day and age, could a state even manage it?

Think about it from a money perspective. Texas is home to some multi-billion dollar international corporations. Their allegiance to Texas is likely only with a favorable tax base. They don't want to lose the millions of dollars, er consumers, that might look negatively on them if they were to secede with a Texas state.

What about politics?

You really think the U.S. Government wouldn't pull a trick out of Russia's hat, as recently displayed in Georgia over in Europe? You bet your sweet bippy the army and national guard from all over would be called up to take positions anywhere around and in Texas they could manage.

They would feel they had to. The U.S. would be a laughingstock around the world if one state broke away after all the B.S. U.S. politicians have blustered to just about every other country out there.

The U.S government would adopt a "If you aren't with us, you are against us." position in the situation, only making a difficult situation worse.

As we speak, our politicians are actively encouraging corporations to build 'smart grids' referring to power companies using modern technology to control exactly how much electricity you use, where you get that electricity from and even enabling them to make the decision to change the temperature settings on your thermostat if they think you are using too much.

It's true. Imagine what it would be like for you to have to pay your bill for electricity every month, only to have some faceless corporation, with the blessing of your government, telling you how cold or hot you can have your home.

No, I can't imagine anyone thinking about secession with something like that coming down the pipes.

Am I advocating secession? No. It's not the answer either.

It's a tempting thought though. Provoking to say the least. Starting all over, from scratch, if you will with a new 'national' government. Trying to improve on the things that were good about the old government and do away with the negatives at the same times.

No, it wouldn't really solve anything and I'm not sure it could happen anyway at this point in history without a lot of companies buying in (it would take a tremendous amount of money to finance the ordeal) and a lot of unnecessary bloodshed.

No, all it would really take to fix things is to have the politicians get a spine and tell the corporations to stick it. This is a country "of the people, by the people, and for the people", not "of the corporations, for the corporations".

Our politicians are too easily bought by companies with big budgets for gifts and vacations and board positions after they retire.

The best solution is that as provided by the U.S. Constitution. Vote them suckers out and don't elect easily corrupted con artists back in.

If the corporations have their way, the people of this country will have no individual freedoms left, all in the name of the dollar.

Yes, I can see the appeal of the discussion to secede. I just think there's a better way to effect real change that would help everyone, not just the lucky SOB's who got a second chance to start over.