SoCS: Vol

Linda’s challenge today for Stream of Conciousness Saturday is…

Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: “vol.” Find a word with “vol” in it, and use it in your post. Have fun!

My first thought was ‘volvo’, I don’t know anything about them. I’m not really into cars, especially not newer models. Then I thought of ‘volunteer’. I volunteer sometimes at our local Seamans Center (in Freeport, TX). I haven’t been able to lately. I’ve just been too busy. I don’t really understand that, since I have hardly been working.

Usually I work offshore. I’m gone for weeks at a time and then home for a while. When I’m home, I have to catch up with all the things I didn’t get to do while I was gone.

Since I haven’t been working, I figured I’d be able to get a lot done. It hasn’t worked out that way at all. I spend so much time looking for work! I also found a couple of part time jobs so that takes up even more of my time.

Oh well. I will continue to volunteer when I can. As a seafarer for most of my life, I appreciate how much any Seamans Center is worth to a sailor. Maybe not quite so much as in the old days, when we had to wait to go ashore and then go find a telephone office. We’d have to wait in line for hours to call home.

Now we have phones on board and some people even have cel phones so they can call home once the ship gets near enough to land. The Seamans centers still offer phones to call home. Now they also have internet access (a BIG plus).

It’s a friendly place in a strange port where you can go hang out and be comfortable.

Anyway, volunteer was only my first good thought. My next thought, and the one I really wanted to write about was voluntarism.

That is at least as important to me as volunteering. In a way they’re connected. I strongly believe that we should all follow the principle of voluntarism. I think it’s the best way to live together as a society. Everyone free to live the way they want, with no one else forcing them into a mold they don’t fit into. All doing the things they really want to do. The way I understand voluntarism is- living life through voluntary actions.

That means I am against the use of force. I agree with the Libertarian NAP (non-agression principle- which does allow for defense of self and others). I do not think any (responsible) human being has the right to control another as long as a person is not harming anyone. There are all kinds of arguments that can be thrown out there, like ‘what does it mean to be responsible?’, ‘what does it mean to harm someone?’. etc, etc, etc.

Serious libertarians spend hours debating such questions. I am just a libertarian ‘lite’. I want to live a peaceful, prosperous life. I want to live as a free human being. I want everyone else in the world to have the same ability.

So many people think it would never work. But it has worked in the past. If you look at the most prosperous, the most advanced societies on the planet you’ll find out that they also had the most liberty. Just compare North and South Korea for a good idea of what I’m talking about. People who are free to live as they chose can get very creative and they do mostly find ways to get along.

I was reading something just the other day about an ancient city. I think it was in Turkey somewhere. The article mentioned that it was, in fact, an anarchy. If this wasn’t a SoCS post, I would go and look it up (I will do that later and post on it). 😉

In the meantime, check out my sticky post at the top of my blog. Take the quiz and see where you stand on the idea.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Order

I was at work last week (finally!) and while taking a break I was watching the fish swimming around the ship. It was a beautiful calm clear day, one of the few like that I saw in the month I was offshore. It was entrancing watching the fish swim around.

They mostly moved together, it looked like some sort of order. Was there a boss fish leading them all around? If there was, I sure couldn’t tell which one it was. They all just seemed to be meandering around, then all of a sudden they would change direction. All together. Weird. Spontaneous order.

I know some people don’t believe in such a thing (especially when it comes to human society). I see it all the time.

There have actually been studies done on how fish school together like that. On birds too. 

The science behind it is pretty interesting, but I think just watching is cool. Too bad we seem to have lost the ability to just sit and observe nature. That’s one of the things I love the most about working at sea. I haven’t even been home a week and I’m already missing it.

Check out more on “order” from the Daily Post here.

F is for Freedom- #AtoZChallenge

F” is for FREEDOM! A particular passion of mine. I could go on and on about it (like this), but no one ever wants to listen. Here, on my blog, I can express myself. I can try to make a point and then remove myself from the ‘conversation’.

Maybe then, others will take a minute or two to think about what I am trying to communicate? Instead of talking to each other in person. Where each person almost always has a rebuttal in mind before the first person even gets finished speaking?

Maybe by just putting some of these thoughts out there, into the ether, someone might think ‘hey, that actually makes sense’, or ‘wow, what a thought’, or ‘maybe those nut job libertarian freaks really do have some good points’, or best of all they might start to think for themselves about why we are NOT allowed to live our lives with all the freedoms we OUGHT to have!

Here are a few of my favorite quotes (taken from google)…

I truly believe that with all my heart. I only wish others felt the same. 

And again, you can’t value freedom for yourself without granting the same to others. 

Why do so many people value ‘fitting in’, falsifying their own true selves to be ‘accepted’ by others? Be yourself! I decided a long time ago, I will not let others opinions affect the things I choose to do with my life! If people don’t like me the way I am, then the hell with them! There are over 7 BILLION people in this world, I’m sure to find at least a few who accept me and value me just the way I am. Those are the only ones for me to care about.

Sad, but true. For some reason, we have an overabundance of greedy, power-hungry bastards that ALWAYS manage to steal the power away from the people. We, the people managed to wrestle it away for a short time here in the US, but they’ve come back with a vengeance and stolen away almost ALL of our liberty again! Unless and until the populace starts caring again and demands their freedom, and takes it back- we will just keep on losing more and more each year until we’re basically just a slave state (again) and only ‘our leaders’ are free.

Believe it or not, but we’re pretty damn close to that state right now, today (and no, it’s not just because Trump got elected). The “deep state”, the powers behind the powers have been working behind the scenes for decades and they are sooooo close, so close they can taste it! Total control is within their grasp. We’re so far past Orwell’s 1984, it’s not even funny.

While we all just keep on ignoring the whole thing, telling ourselves we still live in the ‘land of the free and the home of the brave’. Repeat it enough and we’ll make ourselves really believe it’s true. Nope, that place is long gone!

Snowden tried his best to wake us up, even his revelations did nothing to wake up the majority of the people. They just don’t seem to care. Have they all been brainwashed? 12 years of government indoctrination has done the job the public schools were created to do? Dumb us down and turn us all into ‘cogs in the great machine‘, just indistinguishable tools to create the wealth so that others can siphon off most of it before we ever even see it?

EXACTLY! What’s the big deal? Why do so many people freak out when the idea of real freedom is brought up? They’ll bring up every imaginable excuse (no matter how ridiculous) to argue against it. Regardless of the fact that the most free societies in the history of mankind have been the most prosperous and gave the best possible lives to the most possible (considering the reality of the times they lived in).

This idea perfectly expresses the reason why the founders rebelled against Great Britain and formed the United States of America. The Declaration of Independence says it all:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.-Preamble to the Declaration of Independence

That basic principle is the foundation of our country. ALL people should be free to live their lives in whatever way they choose (as long as they don’t hurt anyone else). (No matter how hypocritical they were back then re: blacks, women, native americans). Why don’t even Americans hold to these principles anymore?

We are still living now on the proceeds of the freedom we used to have. I wonder how much longer can we last before our creeping statism (fascism, totalitarianism, globalism, corporatism, crony capitalism, socialism, etc) destroys whats left?

I agree (tho a clipper ship under full sail I’d count as a close second)! Take a quick look at some beautiful ships…

See what I mean? 🙂

More Questions From the Alien

I know most people find it absolutely inconceivable that we can exist without a government to run things. Personally, I just can’t understand that mind frame. I just don’t get it.

Why do so many people think they can’t figure out how to run their own lives without some far off ‘leader’ making all the important decisions for them? I mean it’s ridiculous right?

Here in the USA, ‘the most free country in the world’, our government saddles us with hundreds of thousands of ‘laws’. The Code of Federal Regulations had over 34,000 pages (and weighed 340 lbs) in 2011!!!

Our leaders force us to follow their directions in everything from deciding what we can do with our own bodies (can’t decide what to eat, drink, smoke, etc), to what we can do with ‘our’ property, to what we can do for a living (and how). Their interference is never-ending!

We have laws to: fine or imprison us for drinking raw milk, force us to drink fluoridated water, regulate the amount of water you can use to flush your toilet, force you to tie yourself up every time you get in your car (seatbelt), force you to use expensive and shorter lasting lightbulbs, fine or imprison you for collecting the rain water that falls on your property, throw you in prison for using a harmless plant (marijuana), force you to pay them (government) in order to start a business (extortion), force you to pay them in order to get a job (extortion), force you to support a corrupt and exceedingly expensive medical system (obamacare), allow ‘our leaders’ to get away with NOT following the ‘laws’ they FORCE the rest of us to follow!

And there are hundreds of thousands of others. 🙁

Yet, some people still believe that all this is somehow necessary. I will continue to ask WHY? Since it really is NOT necessary, no not at all! People existed in peaceful societies long before there was any such thing as ‘government’.

No, we do NOT need the government to ‘build roads’, ‘educate the children’, ‘catch the thieves/bad guys’, etc. People were perfectly capable of doing all those things (and everything else they needed to do) without any government.

I’ve been a libertarian ever since I understood what the word meant (nonaggression principle), and really since I was born. I never understood the need for ‘authority’ and have fought it all my life.

I KNOW I can run my life better than anyone else can. Yes, even tho I’ve made mistakes and will surely make more. I STILL know that no one else could’ve done better. Period! I understand that works the same for everybody on this planet (and everywhere else!).

It is simply impossible for anyone else to have all the knowledge that I do about my life (same for everybody else). Without perfect knowledge, there can be no perfect decisions. Since I have the MOST perfect knowledge, then my decision is the BEST one possible. Period.

Until there is some all knowing, all powerful, perfect being (some say there is- God- but that’s another issue I don’t want to get into now), then there is NO justification for letting ANYONE else control YOUR decisions about YOUR life. PERIOD!

The US Constitution tried to create a ‘proper’ government. One where the PEOPLE were sovereign, as they should be. The principles behind the Declaration of Independence and written in the Bill of Rights were a great start for a great country.

The first ever formed specifically and only to guarantee and protect the rights of the individual. Our founding fathers understood that those rights were inherent to every human being and did NOT come from any government.

Too bad we’ve decided to disregard all that stuff. We’ve decided to throw our heritage of freedom and individual liberty in the garbage and become like every other socialist country in the world (most of them failures in many ways). It’s just a matter of degree.

We used to understand the difference between individualism and statism. Not any more. We’re all statists now, everywhere around the world. We’re lucky we’re still living on what we were able to create when we were still fairly free and able to be creative. Those days are fading fast.

I liked how the little alien from my post the other day asked such great questions. Here it is again with some more to make you think…

Tuesday Meetups: Government Explained

I was at our weekly Tuesday Meetup of the Campaign for Liberty. Last week was one of the better ones we’ve had in a while. We watched a couple of pretty good videos. Here’s one…

We all got a good laugh out of it. I would love to see this thing played in every school in the country. We really need to do something to get people to think about this kind of stuff!

Personally, I’ve never understood why so many people think they need someone else to tell them how to live their lives. Or why so many people think that someone else actually has some sort of right to do it.

As a libertarian, I believe every person has the absolute right to live their own lives in the best way they can. The way they choose. They have the right to do anything they want, as long as they don’t hurt anybody else.

So far, no one has ever been able to give me a good reason for not having things that way. A lot of excuses, a lot of fears, a lot of “what-ifs”, but no reasons.

I’d really like to see someplace, even just one place in the world, try to form a society where people could live that way. The US tried. They came very close when they came up with the Declaration of Independence and Constitution. But they never truly followed it. If they had actually treated ALL people the way they said they should, we might actually have a free country today. Too bad they weren’t ready to go that far. 🙁

I do see a few people around the world trying. The Seasteaders, the Libertarian Party, the guy over in Europe who’s trying hard to create a really free country, even the Freedom Ship was originally intended to be a place where people could have real freedom (tho it seems to have mutated).

I’d love to be able to find somewhere like that to move to, so far they are all out of my reach financially at least. In the meantime, I keep on trying to find ways to make things better here, but it sure does get frustrating.

Videos like that help cheer me up, for a little while. 😉

A to Z: Politics

Today’s A to Z challenge post is: Politics. Yes, I can hear the groans already, but I hope at least a few of you will bear with me for a while.

I’m sure you know by now how passionate I am about freedom and individual liberty (check my tagline!). This leads me to also being passionate about politics.

Not because I like politicians or want to become one, or even because I’m interested in the behind the scenes action. No, not at all. The only reason I’m interested in politics is because it has insinuated itself into every little detail of our lives.

We have completely lost sight of the principles of individual liberty this country was founded on. We have forgotten what it means to be free!

Just for example, there are now hundreds of thousands of ‘laws’ on the books, most of them totally un-necessary (and unconstitutional). We started out with a fairly short and simple document. The US Constitution. That document (along with it’s amendments and the Declaration of Independence) is the basis of all law in this country. It was purposely written so that every one could understand it. It was NOT supposed to need a lawyer to interpret it!

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.- Declaration of Independence

*my emphasis with the bolding!

Somehow, those simple documents have grown into a system of ‘laws’ so overwhelmingly complex that not even the brightest lawyers can figure it out. There are so many ‘laws’  that it’s pretty much impossible for anyone to get through a day without breaking at least one!

Try reading the book 3 Felonies a Day by Harvey Silverglate (some other great books in that link too). It tells the story of how this situation came to be. How special interest groups manipulated the politicians to get benefits for themselves and the hell with everybody else. How when big benefits accrue to few, they’re justified in their hard work to pass these beneficial ‘laws’. The rest of us don’t bother to fight since it’s not really that big of a deal and it’s just so much work (if we’re even lucky enough to learn what’s going on before it’s already over). It hardly makes a difference to us, so why make the effort? This is how we wind up with millions of rules and regulations!

(Not to mention the Law of Unintended Consequences!)

I get so tired of people telling me ‘there ought to be a law’! Most likely, there already is! But even if there wasn’t, please tell me why we always need to use FORCE to solve every conceivable problem?

Do we really need a law to force kids to apply for government permission to sell lemonade in the front yard now? Do we really need a law to prevent people from collecting rainwater on their own property? Do we really need a law to prevent people from choosing their preferred method of relaxation? Do we really need a law to prevent people from gardening? Do we really need a law to prevent people from feeding the homeless?

OMG how the hell did we ever survive up til now?

All of those are (or recently were) against the law, right here in the ‘free’ country of the USA. Public interest law firm the Institute for Justice has been fighting to correct the injustice of enforcing these ridiculous ‘laws’. They’ve even managed to win a few cases. But it never ends, they just keep piling on more and more and more and more…

Do we really need all of these ‘laws’? Do we really need ANY of these ‘laws’?

Then WHY do we have them? What is preventing us from eliminating them?

It might be well hidden, but there are costs to each and every one of them! According to the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the cost of the regulatory burden was a staggering $1.88 TRILLION! And growing! In 2014!

That is just the cost of complying with the regulations- “in lost productivity and higher prices”. That does not take into account the other costs involved like the loss of choices, the loss of freedom, the loss of human spirit. I can’t even imagine what that would amount to in dollars. trillions? Quadrillions? Googles?Sexagintillions? Mega-multi-quadruple-googleplexes?

According to an article I read, the Federal Register was ‘only’ 2,620 pages long. By 2012 it was 78,961 pages, and since 1993 has been growing by an average of 286 pages per day! Read the article for more interesting statistics.

HOW did we get from a country where we declared “Give me Liberty or give me death!” to one with a (mostly useless) pile of rules and regulations standing taller than the Washington Monument? WHY are so very few people concerned about the insanely large government we have now and the almost total control they’re asserting over our lives? WHEN are people going to start thinking about the loss of freedom and individual liberty that’s happened just in our own lifetimes? WHAT is it going to take for people to stand up and take back their freedoms?

WHERE can lovers of liberty go if we can’t reverse this trend in America?

Sacrifice

Today’s prompt for Just Jot It January is: sacrifice.

3. the surrender or destruction of something prized or desirable for the sake of something considered as having a higher or more pressing claim.

For the sake of today’s post, I’ll use this definition, and this quote (some versions add “and lose both”).

I feel extremely isolated in that I agree completely with that quote. I seem to be 1 out of many millions. 🙁 Most people today seem totally willing to sacrifice ALL their freedoms (and mine too), in return for a (false) ‘promise’ of safety.

I can barely stand it; waiting in line for the TSA to grant me permission to travel. It’s all I can do to keep my mouth shut so I don’t lose that RIGHT forever. And the worse thing about it is, listening to the people around me in line making comments like “If you don’t have anything to hide, you don’t have anything to worry about”, or “I don’t care what they do as long as they keep me safe”, or “they’re only doing their jobs’.

Yeah, so were the NAZI’s!

We have given up SO many of our freedoms already, I can’t even begin to count! Just for a start, we have all the violations of the TSA, PATRIOT ACT, NSA spy programs, NDAA, etc. Restrictions of our rights to travel, to earn a living, to defend ourselves, what we can eat and drink and smoke, to choose how to take care of our own health, insane threats of fines and/or imprisonment dictating every single thing we do down to what kind of light bulbs and toilets we can have!

And yes, along with every other right listed in the Bill of Rights, even our right to speak freely has been violated (to all those who inform me how I would be imprisoned for what I say in North Korea or Iraq!).

I am NOT a North Korean or Iraqi! I was NOT brought up idolizing their dictators or ayatollahs as having the god-given right to run my life! I was raised as an American, one who believes whole-hearted in the ideals written down in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Those ideals that millions of Americans before me sacrificed everything up to and including their lives for. Things like individual liberty and freedom.

I can’t believe so many here are just forgetting all that, just throwing it all away, just giving it all up without any fight, without even a feeble protest. What the hell has happened to the American people that they put up with this? All I hear is how ‘times have changed’, ‘we have to go with the flow’, ‘the constitution was written 200 years ago’ and best answer yet- ‘you’re a real nut-job’!

All I have to say to that is: our founding fathers were RIGHT and  principles NEVER change, FREEDOM and individual liberty deserve all those sacrifices made in their name, ‘safety’ and ‘security’ do NOT, even if they were possible to achieve (which they’re not).