Reorganization, Commitment to Freedom, Rights vs. Wants (19m) – Episode 263

Episode 263 has Skyler giving his commentary on the following topics: the new title of the podcast and some reorganization; two new podcasts he’d like to start recording; an essay he wrote in June of 2008 on gauging your commitment to freedom; an essay he wrote in October of 2008 on the concept of rights, and confusing them with wants; and more.

Listen to Episode 263 (19m, mp3, 64kbps)

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On Income Inequality II

Those who fight for economic egalitarianism and against income inequality are attempting to do the impossible by government force. Not only do they want income levels coercively flattened, but they also hope that more and more of their fellow human beings will share their ideals. In essence, they hope to build a race of “New Men” and “New Women” and they aren’t opposed to using state violence to do it. Are these aspirations any different than Communism’s or Fascism’s “New Man” campaigns? What about Nazi Germany’s campaigns for racial hygiene? Distinctions without a difference, perhaps? While they may have slightly different ends, their means of choice are likewise predicated on the belief that government may be used to threaten or attack those who prefer to live their lives and use their property in their own chosen, peaceful ways. Think about it. And that’s today’s two cents.

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Wilson’s Dan Wesson Revolver

Justice is something you won’t find associated with government.

“Wilson” was accused by a guy he knew of being involved with the guy’s wife. The guy came to Wilson’s house carrying a shotgun and yelling threats. Wilson met him at the door with his revolver held down at his side. A nice Dan Wesson revolver that he really liked. Seeing Wilson’s gun, the other guy decided to just yell at him for a bit, then walked back to his vehicle. But as he left he fired a shot from his shotgun into the air.

Someone, either the shooter himself or a “concerned neighbor”, soon called the cops about the “shot fired”.

An hour or so later, the cops showed up at Wilson’s door, arrested him and stole his revolver. They didn’t care about the fact that Wilson wasn’t the one who fired the shot– they didn’t want to hear it. They never checked up on the other guy. They had “the perp”.

Fortunately for Wilson, the jury didn’t buy it. They found him not guilty.

So Wilson asked for the return of his revolver. He was told he would have to file paperwork to get it back. He jumped through all their flaming hoops, and waited. And waited. And kept asking. And waiting.

A year or more later he was finally told his gun had “disappeared”, so “too bad”. He was told there was nothing he could do. The state wasn’t responsible for replacing (or paying for) the revolver.

Wilson was pretty sure who had taken his firearm. The prosecuting attorney had made comments which suggested he liked the gun and wanted one like it. Sure, this is circumstantial, but obviously the guy was crooked or he wouldn’t have been a prosecuting attorney in the first place. Later he became the district attorney (or something like that over that whole quarter of the state). I still remember the guy’s name because of the hatred Wilson felt– and expressed– for him. I shared his opinion.

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Abstract Fear

Nobody asked but …

 … the only thing we have to fear is… [abstract fear, fear that I inform you that you must have …] fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.

The above, slightly altered, admonishment, is from the opening of the first Inaugural Address of a POTUS — namely Franklin Delano Roosevelt.  The bracketed insertions are mine, to clarify what I think FDR meant in his first official talk to the nation he thought he owned.

On a recent episode of Chicago PD, a gang territory overlord bragged that he controlled that neighborhood by taking the dwellers’ souls.  I believe that POTUS’es and other politicians proceed by the same principle.  Souls are stolen by fostering fear.  For instance, what was so great about the “Great Depression?”  Politicians use words, abstractions which are intended to cast us into the abyss.  What, really, makes up the “War on Terror?”  What, in fact, is “fake news” other than a false label, wielded by the current POTUS to trick you into believing his lies.

Just because there are deceivers in the media, this does not attest to the veracity of the greater deceivers.

— Kilgore Forelle

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Face Up To Being Screwed Over (Do It For Your Kids)

No one likes being screwed over. But the only thing worse than being screwed over is the fear of being screwed over.

If you’re overly afraid of being screwed over at work, you won’t take the chance that will get you the responsibilities that will make you come alive.

If you’re overly afraid of being screwed over in love, you won’t take the chance to be vulnerable with the people you’re attracted to – and you’ll find yourself alone.

But you know what’s the worst thing of all?

If you’re overly afraid of being screwed over, you might go through your whole life without experiencing (or at least acknowledging) being screwed over. And one day, when someone screws over your kids (or anyone else you love), you won’t have the experience to help them.

Don’t you want to be able to tell your kids about your travels, your jobs, your friends, your dates, your sports? You have to accrue a whole bunch of experiences like these to be a really adequate guide for the next generation. One of those experiences should be the experience of being hated, despised, attacked, undermined, hurt, betrayed, etc.

Suffering doesn’t have much going for it, but it is (like all experiences) a teacher. If you’re unwilling and afraid to submit to it, you won’t learn. But if you go boldly into the fray of life – accepting the possibility that you’ll be screwed over – you’ll *at the very least* learn something valuable about suffering.

It can make the prospect of being screwed over far less terrifying to know that some great good can come of it. Face up to being screwed over, and do it for the children – even if you don’t have any yet.

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The Historian and His Times

Historians are often rightly accused of carrying contemporary ideas and values back into the past and using them inappropriately to evaluate actors and institutions of bygone days. The presumption in this accusation is that historians know a lot about their own times and relatively little about former times. But such need not be the case.

I remember reading long ago a collection of essays by the distinguished political and intellectual historian of 16th and 17th century Britain J. H. Hexter. In the book’s introduction, Hexter notes how much he is at home in those remote times and how relatively ignorant and unaware he is of the times in which he was living. He simply had devoted much more time and effort to the long ago and far away than he had to informing himself about his own times and circumstances.

I often feel the same way, especially in regard to popular culture. When I hear people refer to contemporary actors, entertainers, and athletes, I often say to myself, Who are these people? Even more so for “celebrities,” people who have done nothing, but are famous for being famous. I’m pretty sure I know more about Grover Cleveland and his presidential administrations than I know about Donald Trump and his. And I have no doubt that I know more about the U.S. economy of the period 1865-1950 than I know about the current U.S. economy.

One really can live in the past. Indeed, it’s what historians are supposed to do.

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