Saturday, June 22, 2002

I saw this silly list on BuzzFlash, (thanks to Samizdata for pointing it out) and it kind of ticked me off. It seems those BuzzFlash folks think that good things only happen when the government steals my money to make them happen. Anyway, here are their assertions and my responses. I have reordered their list in some places to group similar claims, and quotes from BuzzFlash are in bold.

If you don't like paying taxes . . .

- Don't drive on paved streets or highways.

We live on a private road, and I'd much rather pay a toll to use the highway than pay a coercive extraction like the gas tax. Hell, the gas tax, even though it is supposed to go only to road costs, is used like a cheap whore by the expensive whores in every legislature.

- Don't call 911.

I wouldn't bother. It takes them 40 minutes to get here.

- Don't flush your toilet.

Why not? We have a septic system.

- Don't bring your garbage to the curb.

Our garbage service is a private company, for which we pay a fee. Most garbage services are private. And in any case, municipal trash service is fee-based, not tax supported.

- Don't fly in an airplane that uses air-traffic controllers.

I agree. Privatize them, and they'll be better and cheaper. And again, air traffic controllers are paid for through airport service fees that you pay with each ticket you buy, not general tax revenue.

- Don't use the court system.

Agreed. They are far too expensive, intrusive, and arbitrary. Use private mediation, and save yourself some aggravation.

- Don't call the police when you get robbed.

Agreed. Shoot the jerk yourself.

- Don't use the US Post Office. Send all your letters via FedEx or UPS.

Oh, that paragon of service, the Post Office. They don't even deliver here, but Fed Ex and UPS are forbidden from competing with them. Privatize it!

- Don't ask for a farm subsidy for not growing crops.

Never have, never will. Cut off all corporate welfare.

- Don't ask for a taxpayer subsidy to do business in a city or state.


- Don't buy a sports franchise and ask the taxpayers to build your stadium.


- Don't send your children to public schools.

I don't. They are going and will continue to go to private schools. So give me back the $8000 per kid that the state steals from me and spends to educate someone else's brats. I'll take care of mine, you take care of yours.

- Don't attend a state university.

Well, I did. But the fact that the state subsidizes a school does not mean that schooling will cease to exist without that subsidy.

- Don't expect a social security payment.

Oh, that's rich. They steal 12% of my income for "social security", squander it, and then get cranky if I complain. Well, I don't expect to receive a government pension. That's why I have private retirement funds. So go ahead, blow my social security taxes subsidizing nostril piercings for BuzzFlash readers. Just don't expect me to be thrilled about it.

- Don't let Medicare pay your bills if you are over 65 or disabled.

Ibid, but its 6% instead of 12%.

- Don't look for a government contract to bolster your defense industry business.

I won't.

- Don't look for a government.

I hope not to. Dealing with even rural county government is a nightmare. I much prefer our voluntary neighborhood associations.

- Don't look for a lucrative government consultant contract.

I won't. I don't want their filthy lucre, except in the form of a refund.

- Don't run for political office where your salary is paid for by the taxpayers.

- Don't run for an elected office, because the local, state and federal election commissions could be involved.
You couldn't afford me.

- Don't accept government research findings that subsidize research for your industry.

We don't any longer. Government research is becoming overtly politicized.

- Don't be an airlines and expect the government to bail you out.

- Don't be a car company and expect the government to bail you out.
- Don't be a steel company and expect the government to bail you out.
- Don't be a company that pollutes and expect the taxpayer to bail you out.
Agreed. Cut off all corporate welfare. Give the money back to the people it was stolen from.

- Don't climb to the top of the Washington Monument, which is maintained at taxpayer expense.

Privatize it. Then maybe it will get working air conditioning.

- Don't make use of police services.

- Don't be rescued by fire department paramedic team.

- Don't call the fire department.

- Don't expect the military to defend your country.

Why not? These are actually legitimate functions of government, and they certainly don't require so much of my money to do them. Besides, our fire department is almost all volunteers. They raise money by hosting pancake breakfasts, not by stealing from their citizens.

- Don't expect federal assistance if a natural disaster destroys your home or business.

What the hell is insurance for, anyway?

- Don't visit national parks or hike in national forests.

Agreed. Privatize them.

- Don't eat USDA inspected meat, cheese, eggs or produce.

Who cares about a USDA label? I buy what I buy because I trust the store or the brand, not because some adipose bureaucrat wrote a bunch of stupid rules.

- Don't take any medications tested and approved by the FDA.

Who cares if the FDA approves something? I read up on anything I need to take, I don't need the FDA. Besides, they refuse to certify many drugs. Let me make my own risk/benefit analysis. And while we're at it, stop requiring us to go to a physician for prescriptions. I know when I need professional attention, and when I just need a course of antibiotics. Hell, I legally buy all kinds of antibiotics and other drugs for treating our animals. Why do we make it harder to treat illness in humans?

- Don't drink, bath or otherwise use the water from municipal water systems.

We don't. We use a well.

- Don't look at or relay a weather report.

What crap. Weather reports are big business. They won't go away, even if the National Weather Service does.

- Don't look at a NASA generated picture.

Agreed. Privatize NASA, and maybe some actual progress might be made in space technology.

- Don't expect a unit of measure like a gallon of gas to be a full gallon.

So without government we wouldn't be able to measure time, temperature, pressure, weight, mass, energy, gravitational pull, electrical potential, computer storage, velocity, acceleration, ... What nonsense. Metrics are developed by the people who need them, and good metrics become standards. That does not require some tax-fed monstrosity like the federal government.

- Don't expect an elevator to work correctly or not fall.

Private enterprise provides all manner of things that work quite well, thank you. I don't need a government inspection sticker to tell me that a device is safe. I only need to know that the owner of that device would prefer not to be sued.

- Don't expect a red light to work.

Privatize the roads.

- Don't be the Minority Senate Leader Named Trent Lott and expect American taxpayers to subsidize the building of private industry cruiseliner ships in your home state.

Agreed. Abolish corporate welfare, and while we're at it, abolish Trent Lott's hair.

- Don't accept government money to help develop a product which you then personally patent or copyright and sell for your own profit.

Agreed. In fact, don't accept any government money no matter what the purpose.

- Don't use the services of a doctor who is licensed through the state.

What crap. Doctors are licenced by the state, but the AMA actually does the certification work. Most state "professional" licenses are actually granted based on work by private professional organizations, and serve only as an excuse to exclude people from a politically protected endeavor.

- Don't expect research into medical problems such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, aging, prostrate, menopause, etc.

What utter garbage! How much of the money that flows through the NIH is flat-out wasted on stupid studies that try to make guns or street violence into public health issues? And why is it that private companies keep producing real medical progress?

- Don't use the public library.

Privatize it.

- Don't go to a state university affiliated hospital.

Why not? They charge the same prices as a private hospital. It's the educational portion that is subsidized, not the hospital.

- Don't watch state college sports.

Why not? It's essentially the only way the schools earn money rather than steal it.

- Don't apply for government grants.

Agreed. Abolish corporate welfare.

- Don't use your state's Convention Centers.

Agreed. Abolish corporate welfare. And besides, private hotels are much nicer.

- Don't go to a state, city or municipal-run airport.

Agreed. Privatize them.

- Don't ask for rural electrification.

What, did we time warp back to 1933? Out here, if you want electricity you have to pay to get it. Currently, it runs about $15,000 per mile. Lots of people here live "off the grid".

- Don't ask for FEC regulations that protect us from crooked financial planners.

The FEC is the Federal Election Commission. It has clearly done nothing to protect us from crooked politicians. They are thinking of the SEC, which is remarkably inept. However, the free market has done a very good job punishing malfeaseance by companies like Enron and Anderson. Just look at their stock price. Open and honest accounting will occur if people buying stocks demand it, not through some idiot government agency.

- Don't ask to keep the airwaves free so your right-wing psycho radio talk show host can lie to you.

Huh? Aren't they open to left wing wackos as well? And besides, we didn't need the government to monitor bandwidth before the FCC came along, and radio worked just fine. Federal control of the airwaves is idiotic.

- Don't ask for a business loan from the small business administration.

- Don't ask to use the G.I. bill to go to college.

I won't.

- Don't allow Al Gore to sponsor legislation to turn a military computer network (DARPANet/ARPANet) into the public-accessed "Internet."

That is disingenuous. The technology that makes the internet possible was already growing and thriving before Al Gore butted in. His legislation just padded a few wallets at my expense.

- Don't drive a car that benefits from government safety regulations.

Agreed. And I dispute that many of them are "benefits".

- Don't use electricity generated by TVA or some government-owned and maintained dam or facility.

Privatize them.

- Don't use currency printed by the US Treasury.

I rarely do. I love electronic transactions, if only because it means I don't need to use government bills. We don't need the US Federal Reserve, and we don't need dollar bills to determine the worth of something.

If you disagree with that, then fine, the US Mint can be considered an essential funtion of government. It just doesn't need to consume so much of my money.

- Don't use a bank or credit union that insures your deposits through the FDIC.

Agreed. Taxpayer funded insurance is a moral hazard.

- Don't buy or build a house that requires the efforts of county deed offices or needs building permits and inspections.

Don't get me started on permits and inspections. To hell will all of them. I'd rather know who built it, not that it met the approval of some fat-assed county do-nothing.

- Don't get married, have children or die and expect the government to keep track of all the certificates.

What business is it of theirs, anyway?

- Don't expect the government to keep an eye on cemeteries, crematories and funeral homes so you won't get dug up and thrown in a swamp. And ask George Bush why he lied about his involvement with a company that did just that.

Failure to comply with a contract is actionable, whether you are buying the services of a cemetary, a car company, an author, or anything else. Screw the regulatory agencies, just sue the bastards. The only thing that government oversight does is supply evil people with a single point of payment if they want immunity from the consequences of their bad behavior.

- Don't go to a beach kept clean by the state.

Oh, those public beaches are so much cleaner and nicer than private clubs. Privatize!

- Don't use public transportation.

We don't have any. Privatize, and see the prices fall...

- Don't visit public museums.

Privatize them.

- Don't go hunting, fishing, or camping on government property.

Why the hell does the government have all this property? And the facilities, hunting prospects, etc. are a pale shadow of what is available in private clubs. Sell off all the land and buy Tom Daschle some shoes with lifts.
One more thing: Hunting licenses and fishing licenses make money for the government. Without coersion.

- Don't cross a bridge.

Huh? I didn't know that only governments could build bridges! I'd better tell my neighbors that portions of their driveways belong to the government.

Wait a minute, don't most bridges charge tolls, and don't those tolls actually provide money for the government? Without coersion?

On the other hand, I would prefer that they be privatized.

- Don't use truckstops or public restrooms.

Truckstops? Those are private endeavors. Public restrooms? Not on a bet.

Friday, June 21, 2002

Ever since The Atlantic hired Michael Kelly as editor, it has been getting better and better. Smart, timely articles. Smart, witty columnists like Hitchens and O'Rourke. Kind of the opposite of what is happening at Harper's.

This is a very interesting look at the odious Yassir Arafat. Excuse me, that should be Mohammed Abdel Rahman Abdel Raouf Arafat al Qudua al Husseini. Anyone who needs that many names must have a serious self-esteem problem.

In our area, we have tons of environmental activist types. By and large, most of them are harmless. Living like lunatics in a padded cell of their own making, their delusions harm no one but themselves. They may go on sorting their trash and leave the rest of us alone. However, there is another kind of enviro: the regulation wielding, property rights crushing, free market hating sandalista idealogue. You can recognize them by their ridiculous 60's dress, the 'Free Tibet' bumper stickers (oh, but don't ever criticize communism!), and the general air of pious ignorance that surrounds them.

For all of us who rightly despise their mendacious tactics, here is a welcome and bracing tonic.

One of the most well known global warming alarmists is Steven Schneider. Back in the 70's and early 80's he was one of the premier "global cooling" alarmists. He is also quite notorious for having said

"We have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we may have. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest." [Quoted in Jonathan Schell, "Our Fragile Earth," Discover, October 1989, p. 47.]

He was wrong then, he is wrong now. What goes around comes around. The Chicken Little sandalistas have been getting away with their lies for a long time, but I have to hope that the facts are going to deal them (and their pernicious, dishonest arguments) a good bitch-slapping on a regular basis.

Thursday, June 20, 2002

Found this magnificent snippet in Jay Nordlinger's column on NRO today:

Finally, you may know that Saudi Arabia’s King Fahd is in Geneva, to be medically cared for. There is a fine mosque there. He asked the city fathers for permission to build another one. They replied: Yes — when it is possible to build a church in Riyadh.
Helps one get through the day.
Well, this is welcome news. Next, I want to see a headline, "Turks take over Baghdad Peacekeeping". Soon.

Wednesday, June 19, 2002

Well, that was easy. Let's see if it actually works, now that the 3 year old is read-to, the 4 month old is fed and cuddled, and the animals are put to bed.