Archive for May, 2017

Some thoughts on education

May 31, 2017

The overarching principle we have discovered and discovered again is that parents are responsible for the education of their children. No teacher, no matter how much they are paid, how small their classroom, what materials they are given or how much training they receive, can educate a child where the parent is not engaged. By “engaged” we mean how marines “engage” the enemy.

So, no education reform can be successful unless parents are put in the driver’s seat. Teachers, administrators, and even legislators and governors and presidents must be put in the back seat.

A simple reform that would drive this principle home is the “opt-in” education program. Parents choose which program their kid should pursue. If they want their kid to be ready for the top colleges in the country, they can sign off on that box. If they want their kid to be ready for some second-tier state college, they can do that as well by opting in to it. If they are fine with their kid leaving high school ready for trade school, which is perfectly honorable and highly recommended due to our glut of college graduates and dropouts, they can check off that box. But if they really don’t care about their kid’s education and just want the 12-year babysitting program with a piece of paper that means nothing, they can do that as well.

But no parent should be allowed to send their kid to school for one day without making some sort of agreement with the school.

If the kid is on track to meet their goals in the chosen program, then parents receive a report card that says as much. They can pat little Johnny and Jenny on the head and say, “Keep it up!” If, on the other hand, there are signs that maybe Johnny or Jenny won’t be able to achieve the goals that the parents have set, the parents get a letter in the mail describing the school’s concerns and recommending remedial action — particularly in the home. IE, “Johnny doesn’t seem to be doing well with math. We think this is because he isn’t doing his math homework, probably because he doesn’t understand it. We suggest an after-school tutoring program to help him do his homework and clear up any misunderstandings.”

My belief is that every parent, no matter their background, wants their kids to do better than they did. Even though they may not know how to achieve the goals, that doesn’t really matter. The parents provide the push, and the educators can provide the rest.

There is nothing like having a parent at home who asks a kid how they are doing in relation to the goals the parent has set. Yes, there is disappointment, but there are also major successes.

Silencing the People for Fear of the Muslim

May 12, 2017

It’s stories like Tommy Robinson‘s that make me wonder whether we can tolerate Islam in our midst.

It seems the British police are so fearful of the Muslim population in their country that they actively intimidate and suppress any speech that might make them uncomfortable. When Muslims get uncomfortable, unfortunately, people end up dead.

I wonder if that is the result of all the spying. The government found out just how deep the rebellions and insurrections and terrorism go, and decided that rather than fight it, they’ll put on a show to placate the public but actively suppress anyone who doesn’t conform to Sharia Law.

I remember a story when President Bush sent some moderate Imams to Iraq after the war. The intention, apparently, was to introduce a more moderate strain of Islam. It doesn’t take any imagination to know what happened next.

Maybe we’re going about the Muslim problem in the wrong way. Maybe slaughtering their young men in the Middle East isn’t really accomplishing much. Maybe we should follow their example and use the same tactics they use to control their populations.

As I joked elsewhere, perhaps after we defeat ISIS in the Middle East, we should launch a reverse crusade into Europe to finish the job.

On Conquering and Slavery

May 8, 2017

I was a teenager when I realized something.

Throughout human history, people have been conquering and enslaving each other. It seems that we talk about these conquests and enslavements as if there is some fundamental truth that everyone accepts but no one talks about. And that is that conquering and enslaving people will actually help you.

The thing that I realized is, “Why?”

Why would conquest make you richer? Why is a slavemaster better off with a slave than an employee?

The key realization is that people know how to govern themselves better than anyone else can govern them. After all, no one knows themselves better than themselves.

If I needed my cotton fields picked, I could force a bunch of African transplants to do the work for me, beating them mercilessly when I feel like they are working too slowly. The end result is that the slaves would work as hard as I demanded but no more. And if I demanded too much, they would die due to exhaustion. Indeed, slavemasters in the South noted how lazy and unmotivated the slaves were.

A better option is to simply pay people to pick the cotton. If I can’t pay them enough to get them to do it, I shut the whole plantation down and do something else with my time instead because obviously it’s not profitable.

When you look at history, the thing we often see that is called “conquest” is really a liberation of sorts. Alexander the Great didn’t conquer the people in the Middle East so much as open up their markets. See, Alexander’s MO (modus operandi, the way he did things) was to establish independent regional governors with a mutual contract of trade and commerce. The people who were conquered by Alexander were not enslaved but rather freed from the tyranny of their local government, particularly the highly inefficient Persian government form, that treated people like slaves.

Roman history is also full of conquest, but they followed Alexander’s MO. In the end, the Roman Empire was more of a Roman Federation, with the emperor who made sure that all the regions worked together and that citizens were free to travel wherever they liked. At the peak of the Roman Empire, you were pretty much free to do what you wished if you were a citizen. Granted, Romans practiced slavery, as did the Greeks, and this is probably the recipe for their disaster.

Perhaps they felt that the people they enslaved were better off as slaves. Or perhaps they simply stopped trying to make a profit. Whatever the case, it is pretty clear that their practice of slavery spelled the end of their empire, or at least contributed to it.

Now we are the top country in the world. In a way, we have already conquered the entire world, with token resistances in Russia, North Korea, Iran, etc… Let’s be extra-special careful not to repeat the mistakes of the past. We must not assert our will on other countries except to ensure free trade between them. We must be the enforcers of Pax Americana, not by slavery but by bringing freedom.

I hate communism and socialism

May 5, 2017

I am increasingly convinced that people who fall for the siren song of communism or socialism (really, any statism), should be hanged. After a just trial, of course.

This is because such a philosophy is an affront to my individual rights, and I believe that I have a right to fight and kill to protect said rights. That is the very foundation of government, after all. Read the Declaration of Independence.

When someone walks into my house and says, “I believe this house is mine”, I have a right to shoot him in the head.

This is what communism and socialism and statism really is. It is an usurpation of power, a direct assault on my individual liberties and rights.

Granted, most people think that these philosophies are all about helping the poor or being fair. These people are stupid, though, and frankly, they should not be voting at all. When you say, “Let’s make the world fair by punishing these people over there for being successful”, what you’re really saying is, “Let’s steal their property and take it for ourselves.” That is a threat of theft. If there was a criminal gang planning to rape my wife, murder my children, and steal my property, and I found out about it, and I broke into their hideout and slaughtered them, is that immoral? No, that is, in fact the only sane thing to do. What is insane is waiting for them to attack. Read any treatise on war, and the idea is to fight the war in THEIR living room, not yours. Granted, I would want the police to do the dirty work for me, but if the police didn’t exist, I would have to do it myself.

Antifa and these people who want to impose statism, socialism and communism are a direct threat to my safety and my property and my wife and my children.. I believe we should take their threat seriously, and preemptively strike. Those who want to use force and violence should be met with force and violence. Those who wish to seize property should have their property seized. (Oh wait, when you said you wanted the rich to help the poor, you meant the *other* rich people?!)

I have little tolerance for foreign regimes who make images of destroying America or chant “Death to America!” and so on. I feel it is morally right and justified, even a duty, to take their threats at face value and respond with greater force immediately.

The same goes for communists, socialists, and statists, who threaten my individual rights and liberties. Let’s not play games: They are talking insurrection and rebellion. If they rise to power, I, a rich property owner, will be one of the first people to be plundered and killed. It is only right, therefore, that we take their threats seriously and preemptively strike against them.

Limited Suffrage

May 4, 2017

Ultimately, democracy is a terrible idea. Giving everyone, regardless of their status and condition, the right to vote, leads to the predictable results: people voting themselves money.

Here are a few proposals to limit suffrage. I am not convinced that any are great, but we’ll see.

First, the idea that only property owners can vote. If you own a certain amount of property, then you can have a vote. This would allow people who own the property in a certain voting district some control over who gets to vote there. If you don’t like the politics of a person, don’t sell them property. It would also encourage people to own property, something that rich people already do. Finally, it would likely raise the IQ and attentiveness of the voters, preferring those who are at least able to accumulate enough wealth to own property.

Another idea is to limit it based on how much taxes you pay. If you pay no taxes, you get no vote. That is, “No representation without taxation.” We could make the limit very low, say, $1, and then we would have people basically paying $1 to vote. Or we could make it quite large, say, $1k or $10k. The benefit here is the people who fund the government actually get to choose how it is conducted, while those who do not get no say. Alternatively, we can have your vote count based on how much you pay in taxes. You get 1 vote for every dollar you spend in taxes.

The problem I see here is people might pay people money just so they can pay taxes and vote. So either we make it non-optional (IE, you have to prove income and the tax rate is 5%, so you have to pay 20x to give someone the right to vote) or we make sure that we exclude people who make money from government.

Another idea is to bar people who receive money from the government from voting. As a consolation, we can also keep them from paying taxes as well, since that just plain stupid in the first place.

Here’s an option: You literally buy votes. Every election cycle, you get to spend $1 for a vote. If you really want someone to win, spend $10,000 and vote for him 10,000 times. This money would be used to run the government, obvious. The side effect of this is it sort of becomes a lottery. If I dumped $1B dollars to get 1B votes, and everyone else paid $999M, then not only would I control my $1B, but I would control everyone else’s $999M, thus doubling my rate of return.

Here’s another option: You can vote, but it doesn’t count. In this scenario, we go back to the old system where the senate is appointed by the states and not the people, and we end the practice of voting for president. If you want a say in who is president, you have to control enough state legislatures first.

Health Care is Not Health Insurance

May 4, 2017

One of the biggest pet peeves of mine is people who conflate “health care” with “health insurance”.

If you are healthy, and are worried that you might contract some expensive disease, you need health insurance. This will cover future expenses related to some unforeseen disease that you are unlikely to get. It is, in short, the opposite of gambling. You are basically aggregating the risk of getting sick with a lot of other people, with the agreement that those who have some bad event will get covered.

If you are diagnosed with a bad disease, what you need is health care. Obviously, health insurance should cover that health care for you if you did not already have that disease before you bought insurance.

In today’s medical industry, we have conflated the two concepts. We don’t need insurance for people who are already sick. We need doctors, we need hospitals, we need nurses and technicians and machines and medicines.

Ideally, health insurance would simply pay out a lump sum when you get diagnosed with a disease. They would run calculations to figure out how likely you are to get a disease, and if you end up with that disease, they write you a check. You would then use that money to pay for health care to treat that disease for the rest of your life.

Now, to address people today who have already been diagnosed with bad diseases and are looking for health insurance, let me explain what you really, really want more than anything else in the world: You want the best medical care for the lowest price possible.

Thus, you really want a free-market solution for health care, since the free market and capitalism has been proven time and again to drive down costs and increase quality.

For those of you who are healthy but worry about what would happen if you got sick, you need health insurance, and you want it at the lowest price possible with the highest coverage. So you, too, need a free market and capitalism, which are proven to bring the lowest priced goods at the highest quality to the largest number of people.

The combination of free market health care and free market health insurance would be the ultimate ideal. Not only would you get the benefits of free markets for those industries in isolation, but the fact that medical care is cheap and abundant would mean you don’t need as much insurance coverage.

We live in a world today where free market goods are readily available to even the poorest among us. It is the brutal and condescending regulations of government bureaucrats that is causing health care costs to go up and health care quality to go down, along with the problems in the health insurance industry. Keep that in mind, and look for a free market solution, even if you are sick right now.

A Radical Idea for Money

May 3, 2017

I have this idea floating in my head. It is not finalized by any means, but I think it is totally feasible given our current technology.

The idea stemmed from the thought, “What if everyone owned their own bank?” and then “What if they own their own banks?” This runs along with the idea of “If the masons run the world, why not become a mason yourself?”

What do banks do? Simply put, they create money. They hand out pieces of paper and expect people to store their pieces of paper with them. Now, a bank needs some sort of collateral, usually precious metals, before people will trust that their currency means anything. But if you look at my previous post where I explain, at a minimal level, Mosler’s idea that money is credit, you might see where I am going with this.

Suppose I show up at the grocery store. I say, “I’d like a loaf of bread.” The grocery store says, “Have you any money?” And I say, “Well, not now.” They’ll say, “I’ll give you the loaf of bread if you promise to bring money later on.” I get the bread, and later on, I give them some money, and the debt is settled and everyone is happy.

Suppose I went back home and wrote “$1” on a piece of paper and went back to the store to buy a loaf of bread. Rightfully, they would say, “You really think of that as money?” If I said, “Well, this is a promise from me to pay you $1 in the future, and look, I signed it myself!” Well, they might just accept that as money, but they will expect $1 in the future.

Suppose I showed up in the future with a new piece of paper with “$1” written on it, and they said, “You really think that is money?” If I said, “This is a promise to pay you $1, which should satisfy your $1 credit with me” they might go for that. I don’t know. It sounds an awfully lot like refinancing.

Now, suppose it worked like this. I give the store a $1 bill I made up, and then the store showed up at my house and say, “Remember this $1 bill you gave me? I want you to settle the score right now.” I say, “What do you want?” and they say, “Give me 15 minutes of labor” or something, and then the debt is settled.

Now, to close the loop.

The store hires me as an employee. They pay me with store credit or rather Jonathan debt. When I buy stuff from them, I can buy it with Jonathan credit or rather store credit. The Jonathan debt can be redeemed with store credit, and the store debt can be redeemed with Jonathan credit.

This is the key here: Me and the store have a relationship, where we are mutually benefiting each other. I work in the store, they give me food, but we keep track of how much work I do and how much bread I eat, and we try to make things settle.

What if the store wanted to pay Billy, and the gave Billy some store credit. I mow Billy’s lawn, and he says, “I can give you Billy credit, or I can give you some store credit” and I say, “I’ll take the store credit, because I happen to have some store debt to settle.” Then I take Billy’s store credit that he gave me and I cancel some of the store debt that I accumulated.

This should sound terribly confusing, and it is, but let’s use computers to keep track of stuff. To wit, I would keep my own computer that lists all the store credit, Billy credit, Sam credit, Joseph credit, and everything else I have. Simultaneously, I list all by store debt, my Billy debt, my Sam debt, and so on and so forth. Every time it comes to a trade, we can negotiate to trade in one form of credit or another. The fact that we are connected means we likely share a third party that we both deal with and we might likely agree to trade in that currency rather than in our own.

Suppose I decided I wanted to scam the system. To the store, I am Jonathan. To Billy, I am Bob. To Jim, my name is Edward. This would make it really hard for the store to trade my credit with Bob and Jim. In fact, there’s pretty much no way for the store to know that the Jim I know is the same Jim they know, and so we wouldn’t know that we can settle our debts by exchanging Jim credits. So this actually doesn’t benefit me. In fact, it’s important that I am public about who I am and people know that I am the same person.

Each person has to build up a reputation. Maybe the first time I buy a loaf of bread, the store says, “You can only buy 1. I don’t want to allow you to have more than 1 loaf of bread of credit.” After a year of buying and selling with the store, they know I am always good for a loaf of bread so they say, “You can have up to 10 loaves of bread of credit.” As my reputation and trust increases, they are willing to extend me more and more credit, perhaps vast sums if they know I was always good for it. Thus, the store would have to track each person it deals with and their credit worthiness, independent of everyone else.

If I shared my same persona with other entities, and I connected them for the store, then I could say, “Hey, I shop at Store X, and you trust store X, and you can ask them: I’m good for 1,000 loaves of bread.” Store Y could then verify that I am indeed the same Jonathan at Store X, and Store X certainly is willing to trust me that far, and then decide that they’ll start me off at 100 loaves of bread rather than 1.

In fact, stores can refuse to deal with me at all until some reputable 3rd Party vouches for me. For a kid starting off life, that could be the adult parent, for instance, or it can be some clearinghouse which tracks the credits and debits for you.

The point I wish to emphasize is that in such a system, *trust* and integrity are the currency. You either show up with some currency from some reputable source in hand, or you build that reputation for yourself by keeping your promises.

I think such a system would work, and at the same time, make banks and such obsolete in that everyone would have their own.

The beautiful thing is that there would likely be a currency exchange market that would develop, which would basically send price signals over who is trustworthy and who is not.

I think that would be a very good thing indeed.

The Conservative Measuring Stick

May 3, 2017

As I discuss politics all over the internet and in real life, I have come to the conclusion that the battle of ideas really boils down to this question:

Do individuals have God-given rights?

This is the conservative measuring stick, and should be, for every conservative everywhere.

First, it must be individuals, not groups, that have rights. If you do not recognize individuals as responsible entities for their own decisions, then you do not recognize anyone’s ability to make decisions.

Second, the rights must come from God, and be completely non-negotiable. This is critical. The Supreme Court cannot grant rights. Government doesn’t create rights. They can only infringe on God-given rights, or respect them. Those are the only choices they have.

Third, why “right” and not “freedom”? Because rights are what you should do, not what you can do. You do not have a right to get drunk. You do not have a right to be an idiot. You do have a right to protect life, to stand up for truth and righteousness, to condemn evil and to create wealth. Those are things everyone should do, every day, for the rest of their lives. Rights and duties are the same thing. For instance, if I claim that people have a right to live, then I have to be willing to kill to save life, otherwise it is mere words, meaningless words.

People who refuse to recognize individual, God-given rights inevitably fall into the trap of thinking that government should do something more than protect rights. They see the government as a really rich relative, or a strong bully, and they’d like to use that wealth and strength for their own desires. This leads to things like the welfare state, to immigration policies that fail to respect individual rights to freely associate and live in peace, and many other evils. Inevitably, if you press these people on where government should stop, you’ll find they can see no limit, that they’d be perfectly happy living in a country where there are no rights and government does everything all the time. This is, in essence, slavery.

One more thing: People who do not recognize your individual, God-given rights are a real threat to your safety. You must be willing to engage them in mortal combat when they become aggressive, and you must persuade them to change their ways before it comes to that point. Inevitably, throughout history, those who recognize rights have either had to lay down their lives or get their hands bloody.

As Kyle Chapman (Alt-Knight, Based Stickman) said, “I’m a pacifist: I will never initiate violence. But if someone uses violence on me or my people, I will meet that.” If you’re not willing to fight to protect peace, you’re not really a pacifist.

Money is Credit

May 2, 2017

A commentator suggested I read Mosler Economics. I found this page which explains his theory on money.

To understand his theory, you must first understand the “status quo”, what climate scientists might call the “consensus”. That is, money is some good that is universally accepted as valuable and thus can be used to buy or sell any other good. This theory teaches us that money is found in gold and silver and sometimes copper, that obviously more gold means more money, as well as more silver and more copper.

Where Mosler diverges, however, is in this observation that when it came to coins in the ancient world, they behaved more like tokens rather than quantities of precious metals. The variety of weights and even the composition of the coins meant that if you expected a certain unit of money to equal a certain amount of some metal, you would be disappointed.

This is not to say that when a coin became worth less than the metal in it people would not melt them and sell them for a tidy profit. This can and does happen, and most places have strict laws against this sort of behavior.

What Mosler explains is a fundamental flaw in the story of how money came to be. The story is that say you have a baker and a butcher and the baker wants some meat but the butcher does not want bread. Under a barter system, the baker has to learn to live without meat, because there is no way he can convince the butcher to give him meat.

Now, this argument to me seems absurd because it is. All the baker has to do is make an agreement with the butcher that he will give him or whoever he says bread at some future date, and the butcher will happily sell him the meat. The butcher might sell his credit to someone else, and thus, money is born. Anyone that can make any promise for anything people might want now have the power to mint money.

Governments get involved because these sorts of contracts can get confusing. So they issue tokens, usually tied to taxes, and the people who provide economic goods are happy to trade for these tokens and trade with each other for those tokens. The tokens, then, are money. And what are the tokens? Credit. That is, the bearer of the token has either obtained it by providing something of value to the government or to someone else. They have already performed some deed or delivered some good.

This idea turns money on its head. Gone are the old ideas that money represents some physical substance like gold or silver.

Now, granted, this doesn’t erase the possibility of inflation and deflation and all the other bits that go along with money, but it should make you feel a lot more comfortable if congress were to issue “IOUs” as money rather than borrowing them from the Federal Reserve, which prints the money under congressional approval.

I’ll continue next post with a radical idea I’ve had for money.