Banning TikTok, Australian News, & Soviet China (32m) – Episode 342

Episode 342 has Skyler giving his commentary on the following topics: The Trump Administration’s threat to ban social media app TikTok, where that draconian authority comes from (the obviously unconstitutional IEEPA) and Microsoft’s plan to purchase it; Australia requiring companies Google and Facebook to pay licensing fees for sharing news headlines from Australian news sources; and China blocking Hong Kong citizens from leaving with a British overseas passport.

Listen to Episode 342 (32m, mp3, 64kbps)

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Government Should Follow Rules Too

People seem confused about what role — if any — government plays in our lives. This misunderstanding causes problems.

Government was never intended to be the master, but the servant. Your servant doesn’t tell you what you are allowed to do, nor punish you for not obeying him. The servant isn’t allowed to do things in secret with the master’s money, nor to keep any job-related secrets from the master. Your servant is accountable to you; never the other way around.

If someone takes a government job, they either accept their subservient position in society, or they can take a job — without such strings attached — in the productive sector. Forgetting their place should result in immediate unemployment with no chance of ever holding another government job.

Government wrongly claims to have the right to track everyone, spy on everything we do, collect all our information, and punish us for doing things we have the natural human right to do, but which government forbids. Nothing can trump natural human rights, not even the opinions of the vocal majority legislated and enforced by government employees.

Police across New Mexico object to a requirement to wear body cameras, which help them be held accountable to their bosses — the people of the community. If they can’t do their job under this condition, they are free to find other jobs. No one is forcing them to be police.

Locally, people are begging government for permission to re-open their restaurants, when government never had the legitimate authority to shut businesses in the first place. This illustrates the danger of allowing the servant to require business licenses. It’s none of their business who opens what kind of business, and nothing can make it their business. Not even if “this is how we’ve always done it,” which isn’t true anyway.

Local government is even pretending it should have the power to dictate whether someone will be allowed to use their own property as a subdivision.

This is crazy!

If we are to continue to fund government and give it our occasional obedience there must be rules for it to follow. Since the Constitution has been ignored for the past century and a half or so, what do you suggest be tried next?

Those who want to keep political government around are the ones responsible for keeping it out of the lives of everyone else. If you won’t rein in your troublesome servant, his misbehavior is on your head.

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Progressive Policies Keep Failing

I laughed when I saw The Washington Post headline: “Minneapolis had progressive policies, but its economy still left black families behind.”

The media are so clueless. Instead of “but,” the headline should have said, “therefore,” or “so, obviously.”

Of course, progressive policies failed! They almost always do.

“If you wanted a poster child for the progressive movement, it would be Minneapolis,” says Republican Minnesota Senate candidate Jason Lewis in my new video. “This is the same city council that voted to abolish the police department.”

The council, which has no Republicans, spends taxpayer money on most every progressive idea.

They brag that they recycle most everything. They have a plan to stop climate change. They tell landlords to whom they must rent. They will force employers to pay every worker $15 an hour. They even tell supermarkets what cereal they must sell.

Despite such policies, meant to improve life for minorities and the poor, the Minneapolis income gap between whites and blacks is the second highest in the country.

While that surprises the media, it’s no surprise to Lewis, who points out, “When you take away the incentive for work and savings and investment, you get less of it!”

Exactly. When government sends checks to people who don’t work, more people don’t work. Guarantees like a high minimum wage raise the cost of potential workers, so some never get hired. High taxes to fund progressives’ programs make it difficult for businesses to open in the first place.

Lewis says; ” I’ve been touring businesses that were burned. They did not mention global warming, recycling, or the environment one single time. You know what they say? Give me low taxes and give me public order.”

Lewis says Minnesota is now a “command and control economy….They’re not even shy about it. (Congresswoman) Ilhan Omar said we need to abolish capitalism!”

Not exactly. But Omar did call for “dismantling the whole system of oppression,” including America’s economic systems that, “prioritize profit.”

Lewis says she wants to create “equal poverty for everybody.”

No, I push back, “She thinks her ideas will lift everybody up.”

“Show us, Ilhan,” he responds. “Where has it worked? Everything that you’re proposing hasn’t worked!”

He’s right.

But Cam Gordon, a current Minneapolis councilman, tells me the city’s economic “disparities were caused by a long trail of historic racism.”

He tweeted: “Time to end capitalism as we know it.”

He says that would be good because “we could have more democratic control of our resources.” Cam Gordon is the kind of guy who gets elected in Minneapolis.

“Every alternative to capitalism brings stagnation and poverty,” I say to him.

Gordon answers, “I think we can take care of each other better.”

Lewis points out that before COVID-19, “the people gaining the most were at the bottom end of the wage scale. Women, Hispanics, African Americans were gaining the most. A rising tide truly lifts all boats.”

He’s right again. In the past 50 years, while progressives attacked profits, capitalism—the pursuit of profit—lifted more than a billion people out of extreme poverty.

When I point that out to Gordon, he simply ignores my point about fabulous progress around the world and says: “The problem with capitalism as we know it is this idea that we have to have constant growth….Capitalism got us the housing crisis right now and…climate change. It’s actually going to destroy the planet.”

Sigh.

His Green Party’s “community-based economics” would give the community control over private property. Seems to me like community-based economics is just another way to say socialism. That’s brought poverty and tyranny every time it’s been tried.

“When socialism fails,” says Lewis, “the apologists always say, ‘We just didn’t do it enough, just didn’t do it the right way.’ (But) it’s always failed.”

Sadly, today in America, the progressives are winning.

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The Dystopian Nightmare is Already Here

Based on what we are seeing right now at both the government and corporate level, it is clear that the 2020 “pLandemic” is being pushed as a strategy to exclude rebels and freethinkers from the market and to ostracize them from society altogether. It starts with demanding masks and temperature checks, but it will soon include mandatory vaccinations and biometrically encoded “COVID-passports” being required at both government and corporate checkpoints.

It doesn’t stop there, of course. We must also factor in the already pervasive surveillance state, perpetual smartphone tracking, and a “cashless” society as traditional currency becomes first unaccepted and soon after unavailable. Here we have all the necessary ingredients for a dystopian nightmare that will put its fictional counterparts to shame.

This isn’t some paranoid fantasy, either. These are all things that are either already happening or actively being supported as “solutions” to the supposed problem of non-conformists having the audacity to exist.

If we do not take action NOW (meaning today, this week, and this month—not next year), the Orwellian future I describe (or worse) will become our despotic reality before we even realize what has occurred. We need to do more than just talk about it or even engage in small acts of defiance and civil disobedience. We need to be actively preparing for life in a society that is aggressively working against us at every turn.

We need to organize our resources and build networks of trusted partners with whom we can trade and barter. Traditional means of obtaining goods like food, clothing, precious metals, guns and ammo, and many other necessities will soon be restricted only to those willing to surrender their bodily autonomy and self-ownership to the irrational and harmful demands of governments and their corporate enforcers.

The goal of the tyrants is to force us into submission through deprivation and isolation. Rather than resorting immediately to direct violence, they will use access to the market as a carrot to bribe people into compliance. Those who refuse to bend the knee will face a bleak future of scarcity and seclusion.

Those who survive will not be left alone indefinitely, however. Phase 2 will be far more violent. The state will seize children, confiscate property, and eventually kidnap and cage those who refuse to submit to the state’s demands. Those who continue to resist will be hunted down and executed. They won’t call it that, of course. They will claim that our sustained opposition caused them to “fear for their safety.”

This is why we need to make sure that we are well armed and ready—both physically and mentally—to defend ourselves against whoever may attempt to deprive us of our life, liberty, and property.  We must never forget that a central component of the radical left’s agenda is forcibly disarming individuals so they cannot defend themselves against tyranny.

How committed are you to protect yourself and your family from being muzzled, injected, tested, and tracked? How much hardship are you willing to endure to avoid the state’s toxins? Are you willing to use lethal force if necessary to defend the life and health of you and your family?

The time has come to make some very serious decisions about your future. Those who are willing to compromise their principles now—because “it’s just a mask”—will find it much easier to keep surrendering as the pressures and threats escalate.

I will close with the immortal words of Patrick Henry. “Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”

I have chosen my course. Have you chosen yours?

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Don’t Put Too Much Faith in the Experts

Between 2 million and 3 million Americans will die!

That was the prediction from “experts” at London’s Imperial College when COVID-19 began. They did also say if there was “social distancing of the whole population,” the death toll could be cut in half, but 1.1 million to 1.46 million Americans would still die by this summer.

Our actual death toll has been about one-tenth of that.

Nevertheless, Imperial College’s model was extremely influential.

Politicians issued stay-at-home orders. They said we must trust the “experts.”

“Follow the science. Listen to the experts. Do what they tell you,” said Joe Biden, laughing at what he considered an obvious truth.

But “there is no such thing as ‘the science!'” replies science reporter Matt Ridley in my new video about “expert” predictions. “Science consists of people disagreeing with each other!”

The lockdowns, he adds, were “quite dangerously wrong.”

Because Imperial’s model predicted that COVID-19 would overwhelm hospitals, patients were moved to nursing homes. The coronavirus then spread in nursing homes.

Ordering almost every worker to stay home led to an economic collapse that may have killed people, too.

“The main interventions that helped prevent people dying were stopping large gatherings, people washing their hands and wearing face masks, general social distancing—not forcing people to stay home,” says Ridley.

Even New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo now admits: “We all failed at that business. All the early national experts: ‘Here’s my projection model.’ They were all wrong.”

If he and other politicians had just done just a little research, then they would have known that Imperial College researchers repeatedly predict great disasters that don’t happen. Their model predicted 65,000 deaths from swine flu, 136,000 from mad cow disease, and 200 million from bird flu.

The real numbers were in the hundreds.

After such predictions were repeatedly wrong, why did politicians boss us around based on those same “experts” models?

“If you say something really pessimistic about how many people are going to die,” explains Ridley, “the media want to believe you. The politicians daren’t not believe you.”

This bias towards pessimism applies to fear of climate change, too.

Thirty-two years ago, climate “experts” said rising seas would “completely cover” the islands of the Maldives “in the next 30 years.” But now, 32 years later, the islands are not only still there, they’re doing better than ever. They’re even building new airports.

“Climate change is real,” says Ridley, “but it’s not happening nearly as fast as models predicted.”

Models repeatedly overpredict disaster because that’s “a very good way of attracting attention to your science and getting rewarded for it,” says Ridley.

One more example: For years, “experts” predicted an oil shortage. President Jimmy Carter warned, “The oil and natural gas we rely on for 75 percent of our energy are simply running out.” All the “experts” agreed.

But as the demand for oil grew, oil prices rose. That inspired entrepreneurs to invent new ways of getting more oil and gas out of the same rocks. They succeeded so well that America now has so much oil and gas that we sell some to other countries.

Ridley’s new book, How Innovation Works, shows how innovators prove “experts” wrong all the time.

He points out that the founder of Digital Equipment Corporation once said: “There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.”

Microsoft’s CEO confidently said: “There’s no chance the iPhone is going to get significant market share.”

New York Times columnist Paul Krugman wrote that because “most people have nothing to say to each other…the Internet’s impact on the economy (will be) no greater than the fax machine’s.”

Of course, not all experts are wrong. Useful experts do exist. I want a trained civil engineer to design any bridge I cross.

But Ridley points out: “There is no such thing as expertise on the future. It’s dangerous to rely too much on models (which lead politicians to) lock down society and destroy people’s livelihood. Danger lies both ways.”

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Firing and the Left

Firing a worker is usually a serious harm.  Sometimes it’s devastating.  But we can still wonder, “Is firing someone morally wrong – and if so, how morally wrong?”

If this puzzles you, ponder this: Ending a romantic relationship, too, is usually a serious harm.  Sometimes that, too, is devastating.  Yet few moderns attach much moral blame to someone who dumps their romantic partner.  Even if you’re married, we rarely claim anything like, “If you break up, your ex-partner will wallow in misery for years, so you have a moral obligation to stay.”  (Close family members might privately maintain otherwise if you have kids together, but even then…)

In my view, firing is morally comparable to ending a romantic relationship.  In the absence of a formal agreement to the contrary, both kinds of relationships are – and should be – “at will.”  Yes, informed observers might have some grounds to morally criticize the termination.  Ultimately, however, close relationships – whether professional or personal – are complicated, riddled with misunderstandings.  Hence, outsiders should not only affirm that people have a right to unilaterally break up; they should practice the virtue of the tolerance by remaining impartial in thought as well as in action.

To repeat, that’s my view.  The normal view, in contrast, is that romantic and professional relationships should be governed by diametrically opposed standards.  In matters of love, the heart wants what the heart wants.  On the job, in contrast, governments should protect workers from employer abuse.  And even if the law says otherwise, firing someone who’s performing their job adequately is morally suspect.

While this “normal view” is now widely-shared, it’s still closely associated with the left.  Back when “freedom of contract” had more appeal, the left strongly argued that employers’ “freedom to fire” was tantamount to “the freedom to oppress workers.”  Back in high school, my social science teachers often philosophized, “Sure, physical coercion is bad; but so is economic coercion.  If your employer can fire you whenever he likes, you’re not free.”  This outlook naturally inspired the left to advocate a wide range of employment regulations, especially anti-firing rules.  While most non-leftists also favor such regulation, the left has long been more intense about it.  Their attitude is more radical – and so are the regulations they seek.

Which makes sense.  If you earnestly believe that firing a worker is a kind of economic violence, you’re going to firmly support stringent legal scrutiny of this violence.

From this perspective, the rise of “cancel culture” is deeply surprising.  Over the last decade, many leftists have not just moderated their former stance against firing.  They have become enthusiastic advocates of firing people they dislike.  “He’s performing his job adequately, so you have no right to fire him” has strangely morphed into a right-wing view.  If you don’t believe me, just start making insensitive remarks about race, gender, and sexuality on social media and see how your career goes.  “I was perfectly civil at work; I only offended on my own time” is now a frail defense.  Even if your boss and co-workers adore you, plenty left-wing activists will still pressure them to sack you.

Again, I have no principled objection to firing workers for their political views.  Indeed, I’ve long defended the blacklist of Hollywood’s Communists; while I tolerate a wide range of opinion, totalitarians are beyond the pale.  While we have no right to jail them, they don’t belong in polite society.  But if, like most people, you embrace the view that firing a worker is “economic coercion,” the left’s newfound love of firing their enemies should disturb you.  Consider: Their revised stance amounts to something like, “Firing a worker who’s performing his job adequately is a form of violence.  And if anyone crosses us, we advocate – nay, demand! – that this violence be done.”

To be fair, many leftists have yet to revise their stance.  Perhaps because they’re afraid of experiencing economic violence at the hands of the many other leftists who have.

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