Free State Project

I remember reading about the Free State Project sometime last year. It’s an interesting experiment, where the goal is to get 20,000 people to relocate to a single state, where they then hope to influence the local government to maintain a bastion of liberty. The proposal seems sound.

In the last month, the project has reached the all-important plateau of 5000 members, which resulted in the choice of a state for the project. The selection? New Hampshire was the winner. By 2006, the FSF project hopes to have 20,000 people signed up, and within 5 years of that date, for those 20,000 to have relocated to New Hampshire where they hope to exert their influence on the state government.

Thus far, New Hampshire seems a good choice, and the governor of the state has even chimed in to become a friend of the project. In a state where the motto is Live Free or Die, it seems that the project may be destined for success.

Take Off Time or Taxes?

For those of you tired of working already, you might want to skip this piece. It won’t make you feel much better about it.

You see, it turns out that Friday was Take Back Your Time Day. The idea was to take off Friday in a show of solidarity to show that we need to, well, take more time off. Apparently Friday marked the day where we Americans have worked as much as some people in Western Europe will work all year.

Of course, the site doesn’t seem to mention that perhaps we have a higher standard of living, or can pay our bills or what other changes might be a reward for working as much as we apparently do. That could be because there really aren’t any advantages. Or it could be because we like to work as much as we do.

Personally, I’m much more concerned that we have to pay so much money in taxes. If we didn’t lose such a large percentage of our income to taxes, perhaps we’d be able to work less and maintain the same standard of living. Harry Browne, the Libertarian presidential candidate in 1996 and 2000, put together a nice essay about the subject this past April 15th. Perhaps instead of worrying what they’re doing across the pond (as they say), we should worry about fixing things here. Then let them do the worrying for us while we enjoy the results of our labors.

Cuba or Bust

For 40 years or so, with the exception of a five-year gap in the late 70s/early 80s, American citizens haven’t been allowed to travel to Cuba. It’s not bad enough that the government takes our money and spends it with abandon. They have to make up rules that govern our choices, too. And if we don’t play along? We get fined.

Apparently the Cuba travel ban holds an average penalty of $7500. For going on vacation. Who in their right mind thinks that this is a good idea? Even if you don’t want people to travel to someplace you don’t like, you’re expecting to engender the support of the people with threats like this?

Now I realize that the current government didn’t put the ban in place. But our president has every intention of trying to keep it. He’s even threatened to veto the decision to end the ban if it should come across his desk.

At least there are finally some light bulbs coming on somewhere in Washington, as today the senate has voted to stop funding the program. I know, that sounds backwards. Remember we’re talking about the government of the United States here. Everything is backwards.

See, the current plan requires funding to make sure no one travels to Cuba. So the senate votes to stop providing funding, which in turn ends the program, because they don’t have any money to make it work! Only in Washington.

Right to Stupidity

This week apparently saw someone ride the falls at Niagara. No barrel, no safety devices. Just man against nature. Maybe that’s the trick. All these people in barrels get thrown all over the place and are eventually pummelled to death. This guy apparently didn’t have any problems, and is even shown walking away from the falls under his own power (he’s also under a towel).

In any case, this is monumentally stupid. Even for Super Dave Osborne, this borders on insanity. But I don’t really have a problem with that. If you want to ride the falls at Niagara, go for it. I’ve been there. Those are some big falls. But hey – if you have nothing better to do, it’s okay by me.

What I don’t understand is why this guy was taken into custody. He may be fined for his actions. For performing an “unlicensed stunt” (as I’ve seen one account mention)? For being a moron? For having nothing better to do one afternoon? This I don’t get. If this guy generates all sorts of copycats – who cares? If someone is dense enough to ride the falls at Niagara, I say let them do it.

Why is the government trying to enforce this sort of thing? I think we ought to encourage the common sense-challenged to undertake more such opportunities. Don’t we live in a country where you should be free to be as stupid as you want to be, without fear of repercussion? When the government steps in to keep you from doing something stupid, it’s just not right.

Update: Apparently the guy was trying to commit suicide. Which makes it bad for him that he didn’t succeed. But my point is the same. Even more so – do you think that being reminded of his inability to do it correctly by being fined for it will really help his state of mind?

None of the Above

I remember watching Brewster’s Millions (the Richard Pryor version) for the first time way back when. Probably in the mid-80s. Geez. That makes it nearly 20 years ago. Still, it was a fun movie. I think that, even then, I was most impressed by his run for office.

Perhaps not the run itself. Maybe it was the point he made about why exactly someone (his competition) would spend millions of dollars to land a job that paid only a few thousand? In the movie, it was because they were certain to steal it back, with interest. Does that happen in our society today? Perhaps.

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Political Affiliation

I probably most closely align myself with the Libertarian point of view. I’m not always sure if I agree with the Libertarian Party point of view, but I would definitely consider myself a Libertarian at heart. I recently read a book about this very topic. It gets a little long-winded, but starts off pretty well and gives you some idea of what this could mean if it was actually pursued by anyone.

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Too Much Regulation

If you live in the US, do you realize just how many regulations govern day-to-day tasks in our country? Sure, you’ve heard about the Patriot Act. You’ve read the complaints about how it infringes upon the right of legitimate citizens to receive a certain amount of protection from the government.

You may even have read about how librarians nationwide are taking their own steps to insure the privacy of people who borrow books. Does it seem at all ridiculous to you that librarians have to shred their records every week, just to keep the government’s nose from poking into yet another space where it doesn’t belong?

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Socialized Security

In the early 80s, three Texas counties opted out of the federal social security program. This does not mean that these counties stopped providing retirement benefits – in fact, the program apparently supplies not only retirement benefits at four times the rate of social security, but the program pays the premium on life and disability insurance as well.

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Constitutional Prayer

Earlier this month, an article popped onto my radar about a Wiccan in Great Falls, SC who is suing the city for beginning their meetings with a prayer. Interestingly enough, she is apparently only after the change of “Jesus Christ” to “Our Heavenly Father” or something similar. Definitely a reasonable sort it would seem. Of course if she wins, someone else will come along and want to change “Our Heavenly Father” to “Oh Great Deity of the Strip Mall” or something equally inane.

I don’t mind Wiccans or Satanists or even Atheists. That’s not my job. But there comes a point when you have to say that enough is enough. It seems pretty simple to me. You don’t like it, leave. Cover your ears. Get a drink. Buy some Doritos. If I attend the international sheepherders convention and talk breaks out about the big dance and which sheep you’re taking as your date, I’m going to find something else to do for a few minutes.

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