Why Can’t We Communicate?

It seems as though the war of ideas between the social justice warrior (SJW’s) and the anti-SJW’s is coming to a head. At least on social media platforms like Youtube, the anti’s have won. On college campuses and in government, SJW’s won a long time ago. This would make sense because social media is available for any voice who wants to join the conversation. College and government is just not like that. They are both sheltered from the real world. Social media is a more interesting beast. A better description of what is happening on social media would be to say SJW’s vs. The Real World.

Right up front, I have to admit that I’m in camp “real world”. It seems obvious to me that the majority of positions held by the SJW crowd is not only wrong, but dangerously so. It would be easy to say that I have yet to hear any convincing evidence showing concepts like, “patriarchy”, “systematic oppression”, or “privilege” are even real, much less happening. I’ve written several times as to why I think they are not, and my opinion as to what I think those things really are. But here’s the problem, SJW’s absolutely think those concepts are real. For real, real. It is virtually impossible for most people who advocate for social justice to even entertain the thought that what they believe may be wrong. Why can’t we communicate? I have an idea as to why, and I will try to be as neutral as possible, with the reader’s understanding that I am an anti-SJW.

Have you noticed how anyone who disagrees with an SJW is called a Nazi? Then the person being called a Nazi says something like, “you’re the real Nazi!”? Well, this got me thinking. Picture a line moving from left to right. The extreme left is labelled communism. The extreme right of the line is labelled anarchy. Anarchy involves zero government, rights are personal. As you move left, the government plays a larger and larger part in your life until you get to the extreme left, communism, where government controls 100% of your life. At this point rights are communal. You can find the different political philosophies along this line. Next to anarchy is libertarianism, then republican, then democrat. From the other end, next to communism you have socialism, then ancillary socialist like philosophies such as syndicalism, then progressivism. What about the mid-line? Just to the left of the mid-line you would have a system where the means of production are owned by the government but controlled by corporations. Just to the right of the mid-line you have a system where the means of production are owned by the private segment of society, but controlled by the government. This describes two sides of the same coin…fascism.

Now picture the line from above with a concrete wall, with barbed wire running over the top where fascism goes. Social justice is solidly on the side of communism, communal rights, group ownership, etc. When they look right, all they see is the wall of fascism in the way of progress. Anti-SJW’s are on the whole, solidly on the side of the individual and support individual rights, ownership, etc. When they look left they see a wall of fascism in the way of progress.

I believe this is why it is so hard to communicate with each other. An SJW sees things like race through the lens of collective power, whereas on the other side, we see race and color more as demographics describing individuals. For example, you might hear an SJW say that the black experience is one of systematic oppression by white people. Therefore, all white people are racist and all black people are oppressed. An anti-SJW would argue that there is no such thing as the “black experience” because every black person goes through life individually and their experience is their own. Also, “white people” do not make laws or the system. Elected individuals might be overwhelmingly white, but those people are not all people. All people are subject to the same laws as all other people. To an SJW, you are just part of a group, not a person per se. Interestingly, they acknowledge that most people are part of several groups and try to reconcile the concept of being, for instance, both a woman and black with the concept of intersectionality. This is where all your group identifiers intersect to tell you how oppressed or privileged you are. Anti-SJW’s see an individual and everything about that individual are just adjectives describing that person, for instance, you are a black, gay, obese woman. The important part of you is the “you” part, not the adjectives that describe you.

The non-partisan section is over. So What’s the solution? This is the hard part. Due to the nature of individualists, we tend to be much more open to dialogue than those on the left. Leftists tend to make anyone who disagrees an “other”. We tend to get auto-blocked by the major SJW leaders. For this reason, I would start small. A small Facebook or twitter discussion, or one on one. Be courteous and understanding. Do your best to explain the concepts I outlined above. If they are receptive, great. If not, bid them a good day and move on. I think we have an excellent opportunity with women or people in the gay community. Social justice seems, to me at least, to be in direct conflict with a woman, or a gay or trans person’s personal interest. Especially now that it seems Muslims are seen as more oppressed than either of those groups. If an SJW does take an interest in what you have to say, run with it. Sure, it may be a waste of time in the end, but at least they escaped their bubble for a few minutes and heard your point of view. None of this is easy, but we can’t give up.

Is “Democratic Socialism” Different Than Plain Old Socialism

I hate to keep harping on this topic and hopefully I won’t have to as Bernie Sanders becomes less and less likely to win the Democratic nomination. It is quite apparent that many people, mostly under 35, think that “Democratic Socialism” is a new thing, maybe a more compassionate and modern take on the socialism of old that has been responsible for the deaths of hundreds of millions of people in the last century. Maybe the Bernie Sanders socialism takes all the good things out and throws away all the bad things? Let’s just see about that.

As a comparison between old world socialism and Bernie Sanders socialism, I’ll use the 1936 Constitution of the U.S.S.R. and various parts of BernieSander.com and other Bernie Sanders websites. If you remember in my previous blog on socialism, I explained the difference between capitalism and socialism. I think it’s only fair to point out that socialism is not inherently evil. It is a political system devised with the best intentions, I’m sure. Socialism advocates for the very poor people that, in the end, suffer at its hands. This is because of a very simple principle, as it turns out. The cornerstone of freedom and prosperity is the right to own things. Sounds simple right? How can you pin 100 million deaths due to starvation and mass murder on the right to own things? Well, in socialism, the cornerstone of the philosophy, what really makes it work is that individuals can’t own anything. The state allows citizens to own personal property, like their clothes and maybe a home, but stuff you would use to make money, called the means of production, including your building, machinery and all the other things you would need to run a business, are owned by the workers and more generally, the government. It stands to reason that if an individual can’t own the means of production, then they can’t really own anything.

That’s a bold claim. So how can I say that? Well, take a quick look. I think we would all agree that we own our own bodies right? My thoughts, what I’m good at, nobody can take away. So far so good, I hope. I also own my time, because I can choose to use my time here on earth however I choose. Good, bad or ugly. Let’s take that a step further and say when I trade my time, thoughts or talents for things like money or food, I also own those things I gain in the trade. Stated differently, if I trade my time by working, for money, since I own my time, I then must also own the money. By this logic, I can also truly own things by trading that money which I own for other things which I must also own. So far I don’t think many people would disagree with me. Even the Soviet Constitution agrees with me so far. Here’s where I must depart from socialism, and why in that system a person really doesn’t own anything.

This is a line of logic based on the socialist system:

  • I buy a home. Do I own it? Yes
  • I buy a printing press. Do I own it? Yes
  • I buy a typewriter. Do I own it? Yes
  • I start a home based newspaper with myself as the sole employee. Do I own it? Yes
  • Sales increase and I need help, so I hire a few employees. Do I still own my business? No, the employees take ownership of the means of production.
  • Do I still own the typewriters? No, they are part of the business.
  • Do I still own the printing press? No, they are part of the business.
  • Do I still own the home? No, it is part of the business.
  • If I purchased those things with money I gained by trading my time and talent, how can I say I own my time and talent? I can’t.
  • If I don’t own my time and talent, do I own myself? No

With this simple illustration you can see that in a socialist system you not only can’t own things, you don’t own yourself. Your time, talents and treasures are effectively owned by the state government. In socialism the collective group is more important than the individual. This system is enforced by workers unions and cooperatives that are organized by the state. These entities take ownership away from the person who started the business and give it to the workers in those unions and cooperatives. The state dictates the wages based on the income of the business to ensure everyone gets an equal share. This is outlined in the Soviet Constitution I linked to above in the section about “The organization of Society“. Just to recap, in the old socialist system the government, through unions and cooperatives takes over your business, dictates your wages and hours worked by the employees.

What about Bernie Sanders? Well in fact, he absolutely does believe in union and cooperative employee ownership of business. Dictated through government mandates. He absolutely does believe in government dictated wages for employees. Under the guise of income inequality, a socialist mantra, he proposes to steal from the rich and give to the poor, dictate the minimum wage, which is arbitrarily set by government bureaucrats. Class warfare, pitting the rich against the poor, is a classic socialist tactic. Bernie calls the rich the 1% and the poor the 99%, in the old socialist system they called the rich the bourgeoisie and the poor the proletariat. Same exact thing. Create a boogeyman to fight, divide the people, making it easier to control everyone.

How did the old socialist system deal with the needs of the people? In chapter X of the Soviet Constitution, it outlines the “Fundamental Right and Duties of Citizens“. This is mostly a list of positive rights, with a few negative rights thrown in at the end: freedoms of speech, press, assembly and street processions and demonstrations. The positive rights include: the right to a job, leisure time (set workday and paid vacations), free healthcare and social security, free education from elementary to college and vocational school, paid maternity leave for women along with free daycare for their children and the right to join trade unions and cooperative associations.

If any of that sounds familiar, that’s because you have heard it before. Bernie Sanders thinks you have the right to a job, free healthcare and social security, free education from elementary to college, 12 weeks of paid maternity leave for women and expand public unions and grow cooperative businesses.

In chapter X of the Soviet Constitution, not only did they outline workers’ rights, but also the duties they were expected to perform. This is crucial to socialism. Everyone likes the rights because they benefit, but in the end the state has to have a way to provide all those benefits and therefor has to require that the citizens do their part. In the case of 1936 Soviet Union people were required to work, unemployment was illegal. If you did not have a job, a job would be designated to you. If you don’t work, you are an enemy of the state. Military service is mandatory, if you do not serve you are an enemy of the state. If you break any rules, you are an enemy of the state. You have freedom of speech, but if you speak out against the state, you are an enemy of the state. There is freedom of the press, but the state controls the press. There is freedom of assembly, which is state controlled. This is the ugly part of socialism, the part Bernie Sanders won’t tell you about. Without the Capitalist notion of competition and market incentives, a void is created that can only be filled by force.

This is the downfall of socialism and why it has never really worked anywhere it has been tried. It all stems from ownership of things. When a person does not own things, that person does not care as much about those things as when they do own them. Think about things in your life. Do you treat public restrooms as nicely as you treat your own bathroom at home? If you have rented a car, do you care as much about that car as you do your own? When you win a gift card in a contest do you spend that money as wisely as you spend your hard earned money? If you are honest, the answers are all probably no. That does not make you a bad person, just a bad socialist. There has been no system in the history of the world that has propelled people into health, happiness and prosperity like capitalism has. This is because capitalism gets around the problem of incentive by acknowledging the natural right to ownership. When you own it, you have an incentive to take care of it. As we drift closer and closer to a socialist state, we will also go the way of the old Soviet Union.

At the very least, you can at least now see that there is very little, if any, difference between the Democratic Socialism proposed by Bernie Sanders and that of WW2 era Soviet Union. To be fair to Bernie, he’s not the only one with this ideology. He’s just honest enough to admit it. Always vote for freedom.

Political Supersymmetry

I came across this video the other day and it got me to thinking. It seems like there is a parallel between the concept of supersymmetry in science and the abstract political philosophies we have about government and society. Specifically, I was thinking about our current systems of government. We have all these different types of state systems, but are there any “cousin particles”, or political equivalent, that we can look to? Surprisingly, I was able to find a “stateless” version of almost every type of “state” government.

In this visual representation, it becomes apparent that they are not exactly symmetrical. As you move left on the political spectrum the resemblance between the state and stateless options become less apparent. State communism and stateless communism, for example are interchangeable, there is virtually no difference between them. You can also see that the gap between anarcho-capitalism and classic liberalism is bridged by minarchism, which is allegedly where most self-described libertarians live. A minarchist generally thinks the state is irrelevant in most situations, but a few things such as the military and justice system are best done by a state of some sort, at least until a better alternative can be described without a state.

There are several major dividing lines between left and right philosophies that are symmetrical between state and stateless philosophies.

Private property-

As you move left on the scale, the belief that property can be owned diminishes on both state and stateless philosophies. Both leftist systems hold unions in high regard and consider the means of production in private hands as immoral. As you move right on the scale, the concept of private property and ownership become more important, for both rightwing philosophies.

Individualism vs. the collective-

As you move left on the scale, the concept of the individual diminishes and the importance of the collective increases. As you move right the importance of the individual increases and the collective decreases. This is true for both the state and stateless philosophies.

Positive rights vs. negative rights-

As you move left on the scale, the importance of positive rights increase. As you move right on the scale the importance of negative rights increases. This is true for both the state and stateless philosophies.

Of course, I left out a lot of different philosophies and each category can be subdivided countless times. I don’t have the space or patience to list every single type of socialist or fascist or libertarian. But you get the point. This thought does beg the question though: If something can be done without a state, why is the state necessary?

By the way, one of the reasons I find libertarianism superior to the main political parties, is that it forces me to think about things that democrats and republicans never do. A person’s political party is acquired much like their religion, by birth. You are what your parents are, until you rebel and become the other party. Not much thought goes into it. Very few people are born libertarian. It requires first, an epiphany that something is wrong with what you believe and second, research. That’s partly why I didn’t make each word in that word triangle a link to a further description, the other part was I’m too lazy to make that many hyperlinks. Happy researching!

If you are a republican or democrat, progressive or conservative, here is a little exercise to get you started. Answer these questions:

  • Do I own my own body, my time and my talents?
  • If I trade my time for goods do I own those goods?
  • Are my needs as important as the needs of my community?
  • Should my rights obligate you to serve me or take action? (positive rights)
  • Should my rights be able to be exercised without requiring action from others? (negative rights)
  • Should I be able to decide what is best for me and my family?
  • Is freedom more important than security?
  • How much freedom am I willing to give up to be secure?

When you answer these questions, take your answers to their logical conclusion and see if any of your answers contradict each other. They will contradict each other. At this point you will need to make a conscious decision about which way you want to go. Take that decision to its logical conclusion. Feel free to use the word triangle above to see where you place on the spectrum.

I would love to hear about your results. Tell me where you fall and why. Please feel free to ask me where I fall and why.

Leave My Stuff Alone!

061815_0610_SocialJusti1.pngI want to get back to the basics this week. I thought I would take the opportunity of a slow news week to go over some of the basic principles that drive me, and a lot of people when it comes to politics. By the end of this hopefully you will be able to ask some basic questions when trying to sift your way through political speak. I written about this before, but it couldn’t hurt to cover it again.

I’m sure everyone has heard a politician make promises to provide a good or service, like healthcare or jobs. It sounds really good. “I’ll pass laws that will create jobs!” “I’ll make sure you get the healthcare you deserve!” “Your children should be able to go to college without being saddled with debt for the rest of their lives!” The never ending list of things our political leaders promise us to keep electing them is almost endless. It sounds great right? I mean, healthcare is expensive and so is college, who couldn’t use a little help with that? I know I could! It would be very easy to answer these things directly. I could tell you what is wrong with that, but I’m going to try to go a little deeper and tell you why it is wrong. I have always felt that if you know the “why”, then the “what” doesn’t matter as much, because you can apply a deeper thought process to most any situation and come out on top. So let’s jump right in.

Every human being is born with the right of self-ownership. Depending on the culture you are born into, that right may be cultivated or hampered, but that does not change the underlying fact of self-ownership. The most valuable thing we own is our time. There are only a finite number of hours that we will be alive on this planet. Each of our hours is precious and each belongs exclusively to us as individuals. We also own the intangible things about ourselves, our talents. If you are a good singer, you decide to show off that talent or keep it hidden for yourself. Hopefully, at this point I haven’t said anything outrageous. This is important because the next step involves a logical leap.

If you believe that you own your time and talent, and decide to trade your time and talent for things you need, like groceries, a car or a house, then by extension you own those things too. If you trade your time for the money to buy those things, for instance, by getting a job that pays X dollars per hour, then you also own those dollars. Those dollars become a physical representation of your time. Hopefully this makes sense. Let’s call these physical things “treasures”. These are called the 3 T’s, time, talent and treasure. This is not my original thought but I don’t know who to give proper credit to, sorry. I can tell you I first heard about the 3 T’s from Dr. Walter Williams.

I don’t think most people would say it is ok to take something that another person has earned without the permission of the person who earned it. Generally we call that stealing and it’s frowned upon. If someone takes something that does not belong to them and gives it to someone else, it is also wrong, even if that person really needed it. I think most of us would agree that if I have traded my time and talent for some treasure, I should be the one who decides how and if that treasure is consumed, or not, and by whom. I own it after all. This should not be too controversial an idea. If you do find it controversial I would ask how much of my stuff should you be able to take? And Why? Let’s put a pin in this idea. We’ll come back to it later.

Let’s look at the government for a second. The government is made up of us, the people. As an entity, the government does not earn money. It does not have any redeemable talent. Most of the money that the government gets comes directly from the people who live in the country. The rest of the money is borrowed against the future labor of those same people, and their children and grandchildren, etc… As a general rule, most people don’t have a problem with a certain portion of their treasure going toward things like a court system, police or the military. What has happened, in the last 100 years or so, though, is more than that. The government commits acts that would get you or I put in jail. They take from one person and give it to another, not for the security of the nation, but because they think it’s fair. I have news for you, it is just as wrong when the government does it as it would be if I did it to you. When the government prints money, they are not printing what they earned. They are printing what you earned and will earn in the future. They are printing your debt.

As the campaign trail starts to heat up this year, and you hear all these promises made by all these different politicians, ask yourself, would I steal from my neighbor to gain the benefit promised by the politician if he was not here to give it to me? If the answer is no, then do not support that politician. Free college? Would you steal from your neighbor to pay to send some other family’s child to college? No? That is what you are doing if you support legislation for free college. Legislation to help create jobs? Is it ok if I take a bunch of your money so a stranger can get a job? Don’t have any to spare in your checking account? No problem, just give me a few of your credit cards, you can pay it back later. Remember, that stranger is just as important as your own kids.

I truly believe that the person who owns the stuff should be the one who decides what happens to their stuff. If they want to give it away, more power to them. If they want to keep it, so be it. It’s their stuff. Their money. The government should not have more rights than the people. When you consume this “all you can eat” buffet of government goods and services, remember that someone out there worked really hard for that and it was stolen from them so that it could be given to you. That doesn’t make you a bad person for taking it, it’s coming from the government after all. We’ve been conditioned from an early age to not think of the government as a group of people, but as a benevolent entity that is there to take care of us. It is not. The government is there to ensure our natural rights are preserved, not to take care of us.

Hopefully I was able to convey why government spending is wrong. Even if what they are spending money on sounds good, they aren’t spending their money, they are spending yours. They are taking money that you would have used to feed your family and giving it to someone else. If you like the safety net, please sponsor a family and feed them. I’m sure you could do a better job than the government. Just don’t take money out of my kids’ mouths to feed other kids. True social justice is when everyone gets to keep what they earn and spend it any way they wish.

The Politics of Feelings

Watching the political coverage lately, I feel like I’m living in a bizarro world where the laws of common sense are completely the opposite of common and things that make sense. This is true on both sides of the political spectrum. I am not going to use this blog to condemn or praise either side. I will criticize both sides, and try to work through what I think may be happening though. I chose the below examples because they are the ones in the spotlight right now. Every other Facebook post is about one of them. These are guys you either love or hate. I hate both of them. That’s not a criticism, just an observation. Having said that, I think I get both of them.

On one side you have democrats like Bernie Sanders, who want to make everything “free”. College is free. Healthcare is free. Jobs for everyone at whatever arbitrary wage he deems “livable”. You want it? He’ll give it to you. Free. Unless you are one of those evil people who actually produce what the rest of us consume. If you are one of those evil people you will pay, oooohhhh you will pay. People love them some Bernie Sanders. Especially college students who by and large have never had to pay for anything. People love him because he “says it like it is”, and is not afraid to ruffle some feathers. He is a self-described socialist and is not afraid to admit it (unless he’s running for president, then he denies it). One compliment I can give Mr. Sanders is that I get the feeling he truly believes what he advocates. Honesty is a rare commodity, especially in Washington, DC. It’s easy to see young inexperienced people and old hippies could fall for the dribble that he spews. I mean really? Free college for anyone who wants to go to a state college? I guess the professors, textbook providers, school related businesses and everyone else related to public universities will be perfectly ok with providing their goods and services at no charge. No? Well how do those people get paid if the education is free? Oh, that’s right. Those evil producers who make everything and give everyone jobs will be forced to pay for your kids’ college. Free.

On the other side you have republican superstar Donald Trump dominating the airwaves and social media. Love him or hate him, he is saying what conservatives want to hear right now. He is riding the wave caused by his remarks about Mexicans a few weeks ago. Apparently, he thinks half the people coming from Mexico illegally are rapists and felons. Of course that is wrong on a variety of levels, but it taps into the feelings of American’s towards illegal aliens in a very Trumpesque over the top way that makes people scream, “He says it like it is! You can’t handle the truth!” Trump has the appeal of not being a Washington insider. To my knowledge he has never held any kind of office. What Trump is, is an opportunist. In the past he was a huge admirer and supporter of Hillary Clinton and universal healthcare. He calls himself a “big second amendment guy” and then advocates for outlawing assault weapons, because only criminals and cops need those. Now that it’s a popular position, he wants to repeal and replace Obamacare. He wants to reduce or eliminate corporate taxes, but advocates for a 14.25% one-time tax on the top 1% because they hold 99% of the wealth and can afford it (paraphrasing). He is really good at making general statements and platitudes without having an actual plan to back them up. He is the worst kind of crony capitalist in his own business pursuits. He at one time tried to take private property through eminent domain. He has strengthened the already dizzying array of necessary license agreements necessary to open a casino in Atlantic City to make competition against him harder. The one compliment I will give Donald Trump is that he is really good figuring out what people want to hear and then telling them that. In times past, I will remind everyone that “crony capitalism” went by a different, more sinister name. You can discover that name for yourself.

So what does all this mean? Why these two? My best guess is that these two guys fill a need. They are a voice that is getting overshadowed by the established leadership on both sides of the political spectrum. People are sick of hearing meaningless political talking points, stated in the same words by different politicians and pundits over and over again. They are saying new things, in a non-politically correct way that speak to the core belief systems of normal citizens everywhere. They are blunt and unapologetic in their commentary. Frankly, it’s refreshing to hear something different. Never mind what they are actually saying is nonsensical, ridiculous, without factual merit and utterly ridiculous in many cases. They make themselves seem to the average guy, with no political pull, just like them. They will work for you when they get to Washington. I would caution everyone to not only listen to what they promise, but to ask how they plan on doing it. Before you grab your pitchfork and cleverly worded poster and head out to the Mexican border or a mega-millionaire’s home, say to yourself, “I know I liked what he said, but does that make it true?” I would certainly personally benefit if all state schools were free, but can we really get enough new money from rich people to pay for it? No. Of course not. Sure, illegal immigration may be a problem in some areas, but are half of them really rapists and felons? No, of course not.

Bottom line, get past the feelings politicians give you. The worst thing anyone can do in politics is trust a politician. Americans love to cheer for their team and boo the opposition. Politics is not sports, it’s not professional wrestling with baby faces and heels. These are real people with real control over your lives, treat them as such. Like I said, I’m not condemning Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump. If they weren’t in the headlines I would have used other examples. If you like them, by all means, you be you. I just think you are wrong, that’s all.

Having Your Cake, and Eating It Too

I struggled a little this week to find a topic of discussion. I’ve been too busy with holiday parties, Christmas stuff and life in general. I decided to go back to a theme that has been quietly and not so quietly present in most of my blogs, and deserves a proper mention. When you ask most democrats what the difference is between a republican and a democrat, or a conservative and a liberal, you will hear things like, democrats for common people and republicans are for rich people. Conservatives are against gay people, women and minorities, liberals like to help people. A typical republican answer might be that republicans like lower taxes and democrats like high taxes. Conservatives are moral and liberals are hedonistic socialists. The actual differences lie in the size of government that each party and group prefer. Republicans tend to like a less powerful central government where states have more power and democrats prefer a large central government that treats everyone the same. While what actually happens while each party is actually in power is very similar, I’m going to take the under riding principles at their word and speak to those people who think our federal government’s job should be to help people. I’m not sure if there is an actual term for these people. Libertarians call them statists. Being called a “statist”, by a libertarian can be done in a few different ways. Adjective- “Stop being a statist idiot!” Noun- “Stop being a statist idiot! You statist!” It’s basically not good.

The problem with these statist type of people is that they want to have their cake, an all-powerful and giving government taking from the rich to feed the poor, but they don’t want that government to interfere with their lives, eating the cake. What these people apparently don’t get is that when you cede all that power to a central government, you basically hand them your freedom to take care of as well. For instance, if you were to eat to the point of being bed ridden and asked a nurse to take care of you, that nurse gets to pick how they take care of you. It’s really that simple. You can scream for all the Twinkies in the world, but that nurse does not have to give them to you. If you give your government the power to dictate your freedom, security, income, healthcare, housing, food, what you can and cannot buy, sell or own, they have that power, you cease to. There is no case in which you share your freedom once you give it away.

Who cares? We have a benevolent government that concerns itself with helping the less fortunate and it only enhances and protects my freedom. If that were true it would follow that where in the country we have the largest government there is the most freedom. Is this so? Certainly the freest parts of the country would be the poor inner cities with all the public housing, public transportation and large police presence right? No? Certainly, then, the safest people in America live where the government protects them with rigorous gun laws and highly regulated businesses, right? The truth is that where you find a large governmental presence, you find the most oppressed people. Where you find the people most helped by government, you find the people who are least able to help themselves.

Our government, while better than most, is not immune to power. There are two sides to every coin. If you want a government that enforces you freedom, expect some enforcement. They are able to make the rules because they have the biggest guns. You want your government to make people to behave a certain way, expect that other people will want the government to make you behave a certain way. You want your government to take from some to give to others, expect that you will have something taken from you. If you live your life completely dependent on government, understand that they own you and can do with you what they wish. There is no such thing as something for nothing where our government is concerned. Every time a law is passed, you give up a little of your freedom. What’s worse, you give up a little of my freedom. Stop it.

Ferguson, Not Ferguson

In the aftermath of the riots in Ferguson, MO last week, I decided to write this week’s blog about a very small part of what is a very complex issue in race relations in America. I have seen a lot of posts from my black friends on Facebook decrying the behavior of the police toward the protesters, rioters, and black people in general, not only in Ferguson, but in the whole country. I have seen just as many if not more of my white friends post things in favor of the police and the actions they have taken to protect themselves and the town. In the interest of full disclosure, I am a typical middle aged white guy. In the vast majority of cases I am pro-law enforcement. I live in the suburbs, so I have had a very positive experience with police officers in my life. For these reasons I cannot comment on how black people and especially poor black people get treated by law enforcement as a whole. What I decided to concentrate on is how the government views white people and black people differently and what might be one cause of that. I try to keep my blogs to around 1000 words and trying to fully develop this topic would take thousands of pages, so I’m going to stick to the topic of voting patterns for the purposes of this article.

If an average person were to do nothing but watch the news they would probably be under the assumption that most black people are poor. That is actually not even close. If we round the numbers to make them pretty, about 25% of black people are poor, 65% are middle class and 10% are upper class. In contrast about 10% of white people are poor, 75% are middle class and 15% are upper class. I bring this up because the perception of police are probably varied by income scale to some degree. Rich black people probably have a much different experience with the police than do poor black people and the same could be said for white people. What people need to remember is that a police officer is not the authority. A police officer is a hammer in the toolbox of our elected officials. They get paid to enforce laws passed by other people, whom we elect. Our local, state and federal governments are the authority. There is a certain circular of logic that is taking place in poor areas that goes like this: poor black people have a negative view of the police, the police see this attitude and are more fearful when dealing with these people, causing a quicker than average violent response against them, that causes the poor black people to have a more negative view of the police. This cycle repeats indefinitely.

Here’s the problem, white people among these income brackets do not vote for the same people. Roughly half of white people vote democrat and half vote republican. Black people on the other hand vote 96% democrat regardless of income. I’m sure that those 4% that vote republican are the more wealthy ones, but they are not significant when it comes right down to it. Why does this matter? When politicians are trying to get elected, they spend their money where it will get the most votes. That is to say, they will spend time and money on people who may change their mind and vote for them. Generally, when it comes to political parties there are always 10-20% of the people that will vote right down the party lines no matter who is running. Politicians take these people for granted and court the other 80% to try to take them away from the other guy. The other guy ignores those 10-20% because it would be a waste of money and time to try to get them to vote for him. When you apply this logic to black voters, you begin to see a small part of what is happening. Democrats know that no matter who is running that 96% of all black people, rich or poor will vote for him/her regardless of what they say or do, and will keep voting for them election after election no matter what they have done, simply because they are a democrat running against a republican. Because of this fact two things happen, one, black people are taken for granted by the Democratic Party and two, black people and their concerns are completely ignored by the Republican Party.

Why does this matter? Well, over the years many laws that hurt black people more than white people have been passed by both parties. The democrats passed the welfare bills in the “war on poverty”, which have devastated the black family. The republicans started the “war on drugs”, which has had a much more devastating effect on black people than white people. Polls show that average black people support ideas like school choice and have a negative view of welfare. They have a high percentage of Christian population. These are all conservative republican ideals. You will never see a democrat vote for school choice because it would upset the teachers union, a group they must court to win. Since they don’t have to court black people, the union wins. A democrat will never curb the drug laws because they think, and probably correctly, that white voters would never go for that. They must court white voters, so white people win.

What about power in numbers? There is something to say about power in numbers. Black people do, in fact, have a seat at the Democratic Party table. The problem is that black people are viewed as a voting block instead of a varied group of people, and are as such relegated to the “kids table” if you will. They know that they need to keep you happy, but know that a little cake every once in a while will keep you where you need to be. Black people who stray are not treated kindly, see Clarence Thomas, Ben Carson, Thomas Sowell, Allen West, Herman Cain, etc… While democrats cater to hundreds of special interest groups and break them up into categories like, women, blacks, Latinos, unions, etc…, the republicans work differently and break up categories into broader things like Christians, libertarians, Tea party, etc… The difference is that when a black person asks a republican what they can do for black people the answer is usually that republican polices make it easier for a black person to do for themselves. This is a scary proposition when it comes to reforming welfare, social security and the other entitlement programs.

It is easy to understand why black people would be hesitant about voting for a party that ignores them and perpetuates the war on drugs. It is not so easy to understand why a black person would vote for a democrat, a party that takes them for granted, have kept them by design as a permanent underclass for the last 50 years. A party that was on the wrong side of the civil war, Jim Crow laws, segregation and even the civil rights movement. A party that after all these years of outright racism, has evolved into the more palatable yet equally dangerous benign racism of lowered expectations. Yes, the Republican Party ignores you, but if they believe what you believe, vote for them. Contrary to what democratic leaders tell you, they do not hate you, and they do not want to harm you. If the black people were as varied as white people in the voting booth you can bet that you would not be ignored by either party for very long. Like my grandfather used to say, “If you always do what you always did, you always get what you always got.” He was a wise man.