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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Sticks And Stones

We all know the difference between sticks and stones and words.  Or at least we all should.  A Milwaukee man said two words on a bus and got slapped with a $500 fine.  What are swear words?  Why are they offensive?  Who are they offensive to?  Whose quality of life goes down when they hear a word?

What are words?  Words are letters arranged in a way as to express a meaning.  Inherently words are neither good or bad, they simply are.  Words can only be bad or good if we assign that meaning to them.  We own the words, the words don't own us.  Words aren't dangerous.  Censorship of certain words isn't meant to prevent certain words from being said, it's to prevent certain ideas from being expressed.

In a supposedly free society, why are certain words taboo?  The Bible, a book many tout as holy and infallible, uses "damn" and "hell."  Yet when used in other settings, those two words can be offensive.  The definition of "sex" is the same as the definition of "fuck," and yet one is taboo.  According to some sites, the three most offensive swear words, in order of decreasing severity are: cunt, motherfucker, and fuck.

We've discussed "fuck."  In meaning, it is as harmless as the word "sex."  I don't understand why "motherfucker" has such a negative stigma attached to it, I mean, all fathers in heterosexual relationships are motherfuckers, and more than likely proud of the fact.  Cunt means the vagina, and only those who are intimidated or incapable of respecting women would consider that word offensive.  Life springs forth from the vagina.  Ok, maybe it doesn't spring as much as it squeezes out in a bloody mess, but you get the idea.

Examining these words one wouldn't think they were offensive at all, and in reality they are not offensive.  People mistakenly believe these words are offensive because of superstition.  Profane means something outside the church.  By that definition child molestation is not considered profane, as long as it occurs within the church.  If these words don't differ at the base level from accepted terms, how could they possibly harm anyone's quality of life?  Words are words.  If someone calls you a name, it doesn't make it true.  Superstition grants power to certain words which on their own are harmless.  Superstition has no place in our society.

Just as people used to stop dead in their tracks if a black cat crossed their path, some people to this day turn white at the mention of one word.  If you break a mirror you will not have bad luck for seven years.  If you say fuck in a group of people, those people aren't going to turn into homicidal maniacs.  Grow up people.

Do you realize that as a culture we burned people we thought were witches?  We did that because of superstition.  Luckily we learned how terribly we were mistaken.  How many people died for that superstition?

As for the undercover officers on the bus, the word police and thought police, I have a message for you: motherfuckers fuck cunts, it's just what they do.  Don't use my tax dollars to stick the proverbial soap into the mouths of citizens.  Instead, take the money you've wasted on undercover thought cops and buy some copies of the Bill of Rights.  Pay close attention to Amendment I.

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never fucking hurt me.

© 2010 Nate Phillipps

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Government Takeover of Free Speech

With the Federal Communication Commission's latest decision with regard to the internet and the rights of the internet providers, our government is one step closer to gaining total control of the internet and our free speech.  This new ruling restrains existing internet providers from competing with others.  The FCC did say that they will allow internet providers to "reasonably manage their networks."  That may sound good, but with the government, when is anything reasonable?

This decision also mandates that the network management policies of broadband internet providers be made public.  No longer will individuality be tolerated.  No longer will success be allowed to flower in absence of weeds.  Now the government will swoop in and mandate that your business publishes its success tactics and chains you with non-competition legislation.

With the Patriot Act the government already gave itself the power to listen to our phone conversations, our internet posts, and whatever else they can manage to strain their ears to hear.  No longer do policemen need to obtain a search warrant; they can now enter and search based solely on probable cause.  Our lives are falling more and more in the overreaching view of the government.  The next big hurdle for them to overcome is the internet.

Saddling the internet with regulations under the guise of protecting consumers will ultimately allow the government to digitally enter our homes to keep tabs on us.  In the end, this will lead to a situation similar to the Chinese censorship of the internet.  For those who say it won't happen here, or that it can't happen here, the government already censors radio and television.  They can already prevent anyone from flying, simply by placing their name on the No Fly List, and to do so, they do not need proof or a reason, and their say is final.

By stripping us of our voices, they will soon be able to regulate unopposed.  Once it's illegal to disagree with the government it will be too late.  The internet is one of the last places free speech is allowed, and that soon will be gone.  The government is working hard to silence your tongue.  Just remember you can't voice your opinion when you're in a body bag.  This is an attack on our rights and on our lives.  Are we going to sit back and take it?

Monday, December 13, 2010

Clouds Hanging Overhead

Have you seen the Microsoft commercials where everyone goes to "the cloud?" Ever wonder what cloud they are talking about? There are some who say cloud computing is the next big technological breakthrough, but there is a darker truth lurking within the cloud.

To simplify the concept of cloud computing, it is best to think of an apartment building. In an apartment building, you rent the space you are living in, but you don't own the building. Cloud computing is similar, whereas your computer would be more of an access point than a work horse. Your computer would allow you access to a virtual server, which would be able to run all your applications and programs. If you have ever used remote access to log into another computer from your laptop, you should be fairly familiar with cloud computing. Basically, your computer would be the gateway to the unlimited resources of the cloud.

The cloud would provide all the memory, RAM, data storage, etc. that you would ever need. The upside is that you wouldn't have to buy expensive equipment but you'd still be able to run the most memory-intensive programs. You would also be able to log into your account at anytime and anywhere in the world.  If you use Hotmail or Yahoo, this is the basic concept behind their web-based email.  You would pay per use and not be subject to high traffic rates.  So what are the cons?

Cloud computing may be the next big threat to individualism.  Since your computer would only be a portal, your data would be stored in the cloud.  A company would store your data for you, and they would allow you to access it at any time.  Could the cloud ever claim ownership, like Google did with their Google Chrome User Agreement?

Microsoft already launched their Azure platform, which is a cloud-based operating system.  Cloud computing may soon be everywhere.  I am all for innovation, but it seems that with every new technological breakthrough comes ten different ways to infringe upon our privacy, individualism, and rights.

Stay smart.  Stay informed.

© 2010 Nate Phillipps

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Daylight Saving Time

Most of the world's population fell back (or will be falling back) soon to accommodate daylight saving time. Despite practicing DST for a century, give or take, some don't understand it, some are enraged by it, and some simply don't care.


In 1907, William Willett wrote an article titled, "The Waste of Daylight," in which he outlined the downfalls of the standard time and the benefits of shifting the clock to allow for more daylight during the 'day.'  The United States implemented DST in 1918 as part of the war effort.  Between WWI and WWII, DST ceased to exist.  Since the end of WWII, however, DST has been with most of us in the US in some form or another.

The reasons for supporting DST vary, as does the information to back up those claims.  Touted mostly as an energy-saver, the option to observe DST is left up to the states.  Today, 49 of the states observe Daylight Saving Time (the only state that does not observe it is Arizona).  For more information on the controversial past of DST, be sure to check out this site.

Who really cares if we are running an hour ahead or behind?  I mean, it's easy to change a clock, right?  The ease of moving the hands on a clock is not the primary concern of those opposed to Daylight Saving Time, as illustrated by a journal entry from 1947, "At the back of the Daylight Saving scheme I detect the bony, blue-fingered hand of Puritanism, eager to push people into bed earlier, and get them up earlier, to make them healthy, wealthy and wise in spite of themselves."  I understand the need to have a consistent method for telling time, but it seems that the government is constantly changing the dates for DST, which lends an air of doubt to the whole practice.

Daylight Saving Time is one of those things that may have been useful back in the day, but more and more people work odd hours, and with our technology and 24 hour stores, doing things after the sun sets is no longer as problematic as it once may have been.  I don't want the government telling me when to go to bed, or when to rise.  Can't we pick one time and stick with it?

© 2010 Nate Phillipps

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The New Slavery of America

The thirteenth amendment states, “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as punishment for a crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist in the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.” While the stereotypical slavery of plantations and railroads ended with the passage of this amendment in 1865, another form of slavery was introduced by Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1935.

The form of slavery introduced by FDR is technically called involuntary servitude. Involuntary servitude is when a person labors against their will to benefit another, under some form of coercion. By law, I am mandated to pay into the Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance program, commonly known as Social Security. A portion of every paycheck goes towards Social Security. Every paycheck, some elderly person receives 6.20% of my earnings. In 1965, Lyndon B. Johnson added Medicare to FDR’s Social Security program. By law, I am mandated to pay into Medicare. Every paycheck, 1.45% of my earnings go to a sick, elderly person.

Social Security does not benefit me, nor does Medicare. Both of those programs benefit others. I work for money, and part of that money is stolen from me and given to people who didn’t plan for their retirement. What part of the Constitution gives the government the power to plan for all of our retirements? Lazy, leecher-like greed and a sense of entitlement is the only justification for Social Security and Medicare. In 2009, the United States government made $121 billion dollars from Social Security, and that’s after they made all the payments to the recipients.

You would think with a surplus of that much money we would see a break on our taxes, or a reduced deficit. What does the government need $121 billion for? Maybe the government wants to buy up car companies, banks, and other private businesses? What if we don’t want Social Security or Medicare benefits? You can opt-out of receiving benefits, but you’ll still have to pay into the programs. After all, a tax is a tax.

If we do not pay taxes, the IRS gets upset and we get in trouble, possibly fined or jailed or both. How’s that for coercion?

Social Security isn’t our money, it’s my money and it’s your money being used for others. In 2017 Social Security will start running on a deficit, and will continue downward after that. I won’t be retired by 2017. It is incredibly probable that I will never see a dime from Social Security, and yet I am forced to pay for the program. If people want to retire, they should start their own savings account. The government has no business enslaving all of us to pay for others. I am my only responsibility.

© 2010 Nate Phillipps

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Light Bulbs And War

"There is no such thing as collective or racial achievement.  There are only individual minds and individual achievements - and a culture is not the anonymous product of undifferentiated masses, but the sum of the intellectual achievements of individual men," Ayn Rand (The Virture of Selfishness, 148).

Ayn Rand makes a very strong statement about collective achievements not existing, but is something that requires a group of people a collective achievement or an individual achievement?  Is war a collective achievement?

War is not a collective achievement; war is the sum of the individual achievements of individual men.  To win a war, one must have individuals fighting on the ground, individuals relaying messages and information, and individuals planning out the attacks and defenses.  All of these individuals are fighting to protect their individual rights and individual lives.  Individuals can join forces against a common enemey, but that does not make them a collective and it does not make them sacrifice their individuality.

What about the founding of the United States of America?  A group of citizens banded together to create their own country and overthrow the tyranny of Great Britain, surely that must be a collective acheivement.  Great Britain oppressed the individual, all individuals, and the individuals stood up against that oppression.

The Constitution does not form a collecive; the Constitution is an agreement between individuals with similar moral values.  Ayn Rand states, "Individualism holds that a civilized society, or any form of association, cooperation or peaceful coexistence among men, can be achieved only on the basis of the recognition of individual rights - and that a group, as such, has no rights other than the individual rights of its members" (150).  Without individual rights, there would be no United States, there would be no Constitution.  Communism and socialism aim to promote and sustain the common good through collective achievements.  If your neighbor slacks off at work and you break your bakc, you will get a raise but so will your neighbor.  A collective achievement would reward everyone equally, even though not everyone contributed equally.  If the United States' military wins a war, we all get to be on the winning side, but not everyone receives a medal.

Let's scale things down a bit and examine the light bulb.  Is the light bulb a collective achievement?  Edison did not invent the light bulb on his own, he had people helping him.  Unfortunately, we are going to have to simplify the story of the invention of the light bulb because Edison did not invent the first light bulb, but he did invent the first practical light bulb.  Is Edison's invention a collective achievement if others helped him?  Is my blog post a collective achievement?  I did not invent or manufacture the computer I am typing on, I did not invent the internet nor do I maintain any servers, and yet not many people would argue that this blog post is my individual achievement.

The light bulb is the individual achievement of Edison, but it is also the individual achievement of the rest of his team.  Edison paid his team, and each one of his team members can be proud of their individual achievement.  The success of the light bulb depended on the talents of several individuals, individuals that cooperated under the banner of a dream that was shared, but also a dream that belonged to the individuals, not the group.

Your American dream may not match my American dream, and yet we both have an American dream.  As individuals, we are free to pursue our own dreams to better ourselves.  Often these pursuits lead to the betterment of our way of life, but the goal is not to better the lives of everyone, but to better the life of ourselves, whether it be through a monetary betterment (through product/service sales) or a convenience betterment (a letter opener instead of using your fingers).  People may think they are acting to realize a collective achievement, but they are really acting to realize their own individual achievement.  A sniper shoots an enemy combatant to save the lives of the rest of his unit, but the reason he wants to save their lives is because his life may depend on the individuals in his unit being able to do their jobs.

The reason collective achievements do not exist is because individuals act for selfish reasons and individuals should act for selfish reasons.  Edison did not invent the first practical light bulb to make his team rich, but he was willing to pay the individuals for their worthy contributions.  In war it is individuals fighting individuals; it is no different than Edison and his ligh bulb.  The general enlists the infantry to help him realize his goal and he rewards them accordingly.  The individuals are fighting for their own selfish reasons; maybe they want money, maybe they want to defend their individual freedoms, or maybe they enjoy killing.  Whatever the reason, they are there because they want to be there.  If they did not want to participate, they would find a way to dodge service or dodge the draft.

Collective achievements do not exist because the common good does not exist.  The individual good does exist and therefore only individual achievements can exist.  Anyone enlisting you to aid in a collective achievement is hoping to convince you to sacrifice your individual rights in order to achieve their individual goal.  The definition of collective achievement is the "anonymous product of undifferentiated masses."  Collective achievements are the same as slavery.

© 2010 Nate Phillipps

Saturday, September 11, 2010

9 Years Ago

This is for the 2,977 Americans who lost their lives on September 11, 2001.

On this day 9 years ago I was in high school.  In my first class of the day I heard one of my fellow classmates talking about a dumb pilot who crashed into a building.  It didn't sound serious.  My next class was social studies, and the teacher had a TV in the room and told us that instead of our regular lesson plan, we were going to watch the news.  It was then that I saw that it was no small plane that hit.  The first tower was smoking, and the news anchors were trying to figure out what happened.  As they were talking, a second plane came in a hit the other tower.  2,977 Americans were murdered that day.

The chaos, the rubble, people running through the streets.  The worst thing I've witnessed in my life is those towers collapsing.  Lives snuffed out in an instant.  I can't imagine what those people felt.  I cannot possibly know what it felt like to be at work, and suddenly have a plane hit the building.  Even if you survived the initial crash, trying to get out amidst the panic.  Would any of them been aware enough to realize the building was going to collapse upon them?  2,977 Americans.

19 terrorists died that day.  Those 19, and those who have since been killed, are not enough to make up for what they did that day.  I am glad we went after the terrorists, but I am not glad that we haven't followed through to the full extent.  Starting with Vietnam, we have been trying to fight politically correct wars.  The trouble with that is that there is no way to win a war with political correctness.  Innocent people will die, innocent people did die, including 2,977 Americans.

What determines innocence?  What determines guilt?  The hijackers are guilty of murder and terrorism.  The terrorists who planned and organized it are guilty.  And, those people that stood by and let terrorists thrive in their country are guilty.  If the terrorists are hiding in hospitals and mosques in hopes that our armed forces won't bomb them for fear of harming the 'innocent,' we should bomb the hell out of those places (only if we know terrorists are hiding in them).  Is that a bit harsh and cold?  Not only is it not as harsh as killing 2,977 Americans for no reason, but it is justified.

If the citizens of Afghanistan weren't aware how evil terrorists are and allowed them to stay in their country, they must be taught.  Every action has a reaction.  If you allow your country to foster terrorism, and that terrorism costs the lives of innocents, you are partly to blame.  The only people in the world who understand this principle are Americans.  Americans wanted no part of the repressive and evil nature of the King of England, so we took on the biggest army in the world.  You know what England learned?  They learned that the greatest power in the world is not how big your army is, but that the greatest power in the world is freedom.  A freedom which was taken from 2,977 Americans on September 11, 2001.

The people of the middle, after hearing the news of the attacks, were not appalled and they did not immediately try to purge their region of evil.  Some leaders condemned the attacks, but others said that America got what it deserved.  Some fired their weapons in the air to celebrate, and some danced in the streets.  Every human has the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  2,977 Americans were denied that right.

In order to make sure something this terrible never happens again on American soil, we have to show no mercy.  Political correctness is all about mercy and tolerance.  Political correctness is our modus operandi.  We don't need to bomb them until they can't be bombed anymore, we need to bomb them until they understand never to attack us again.  If you have any qualms about my stance, I encourage you to watch United 93 (2006, Paul Greengrass).  It is such a powerful film that I only watched it once, in theaters.  I own it, but I'm not sure I could handle watching it again.  It is the most emotional film I have ever seen.  People were sobbing in the theater, I was sobbing in the theater.  2,977 Americans weren't alive to sob in the theater.

I remember where I was, where were you when 2,977 Americans were murdered?  As Americans, as people, as humans, we cannot forget what happened on this day 9 years ago.  We must defend our unalienable rights.  We cannot allow evil to survive.  We must be strong.

© 2010 Nate Phillipps

Friday, September 10, 2010

And Justice For All

*The content of Faith Through Fear is intended for general information purposes only, and is not legal advice. Legal advice depends on the specific facts and circumstances of each individual's situation. Those seeking specific legal advice or assistance should contact an attorney.*



Does everybody have the same rights?  Sometimes it seems like certain people or groups have more rights than another.  We all have heard of habeas corpus, which protects us from unlawful detention.  Due process protects individuals from the government, at the state level and the federal level.  What about the rights of an offender versus the rights of a victim?

Did you know that as landowner you have a duty of care to all who are on your property?  Some states classify users into three different groups: trespasser, licensee, and invitee.  Without going into too much detail, a licensee or invitee is somebody that you are aware is using your property, whereas a trespasser is somebody who is using unbeknownst to you.  Furthermore, trespassers are split into two groups: an unanticipated trespasser, and an anticipated trespasser.  The group that receives the most protection is the invitee, then the licensee.  An anticipated trespasser has more protection than an unanticipated trespasser, but the amazing thing is, that the unanticipated trespasser still has rights under the law.

According to a law firm's blog, "A landowner does not owe a duty to trespassers to keep the premises in a safe condition. Rather, the landowner owes only a minimal duty to avoid willfully or wantonly injuring the trespasser."  They go on to say, "An anticipated trespasser is one who the landlord knows or has reason to anticipate would come onto the property. The landlord has a duty to protect anticipated trespassers from dangerous activities or hidden perils on the premises."  With the way that is worded, willful could be defined by any number of actions.  Also, another firm mentions that some states have gotten away from the classification of entrants and that, "some have adopted a rule that provides that an owner or occupier of land has a duty of reasonable care under all circumstances, and the status of the entrant is merely a relevant factor in determining whether the injury was foreseeable and the landowner negligent."  This firm further stipulates between discovered and undiscovered trespassers, "If a property owner discovers a trespasser on the property, he or she has a duty to use ordinary care to warn the trespasser or, to make safe, artificial conditions that the property owner knows involve a risk of death or serious bodily injury that the trespasser is not likely to discover," and goes on to say that a landowner owes no duty to undiscovered trespassers.

I'm sure many of you have heard the story of the high school student stealing lights off of the top of the high school when he fell through a skylight and sued the school.  The alleged case is Bodine v. Enterprise High School, but I could not find any proof of its existence.  I did find a news story about a burglar suing the homeowner who shot him, but no word on if it succeeded in a court of law.  However, across the pond, I did find a published news story about an 18 year old boy trespassing, falling off a roof, and successfully suing for £567,000.  As of 2003, they were trying to change the law to protect homeowners.

It depends on what country you live in, what state you live in, and how good of a lawyer the criminal can find, but ultimately most of the criminal-suing-the-victim stories are false.  However, that doesn't mean that a decent attorney won't find a loophole and throw you under the bus.  So remember, if you plan on shooting a trespasser, make sure you clearly state, in 2" high letters, "Trespassers will be shot."

*The content of Faith Through Fear is intended for general information purposes only, and is not legal advice. Legal advice depends on the specific facts and circumstances of each individual's situation. Those seeking specific legal advice or assistance should contact an attorney.*

© 2010 Nate Phillipps

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

So Sue Me

With the proliferation of lawsuits in recent years, it is difficult to imagine an issue one isn't able to sue over.  The frivolous lawsuit was not starting in 1994, but it was given a push from a rare occurrence to an everyday undertaking.  The lawsuit I am talking about is Liebeck v. McDonald's, where a woman successfully sued McDonald's because their coffee was served hot.  Today, we have warning labels on everything, from coffee cups and lids, to scissors.  The jury determined that Liebeck was only 20% at fault for the incident, and that McDonald's was 80% to blame.

Just like a trend or clothing fad, the act of engaging in frivolous lawsuits, against companies whose only fault is they sold their product to morons, caught on like wildfire.  When I was a kid, we got into the habit of saying, "So sue me," every time we did something our friends didn't like.  As a kid, I never really thought about why we were saying that, but now as an adult I understand.  What frightens me is that most adults don't understand, and continue to sue for ridiculous things.  Why are frivolous lawsuits so appealing?

Despite many people saying we are currently in the Information Age, I believe we are in the Entitlement Age.  With Social Security, amnesty for illegals, welfare, mandatory health care, affirmative action, bailouts and an array of other government sponsored benefits, it's easy to see why everybody has a sense of entitlement.  Nobody is willing to work for money, or to earn anything.  They expect to be given things based solely on the fact that they aren't earning anything.  Need is not something one can exchange for value.  Unfortunately most of the government and population have bought into entitlement 100%, after all, it's 'free' money.

Not everyone has bought in though.  I was sitting in on a trial in court, and it was a divorce proceeding, and the prosecuting was telling the judge that she was entitled to the defendant's financial records, going back as far as she liked, even before the marriage.  The judge was an older man and said, "I'm here to tell you that you are not entitled to those records."  So there are judges out there who still posses common sense, although I get the feeling that they are far and few between.

What can we do to stop the flow of frivolous lawsuits?  I would suggest encouraging your friends to use their brains and to remind them that when they order hot coffee that it usually comes hot.

© 2010 Nate Phillipps

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Take Responsibility, Take Control

A recent poll states that 60% of the population is fed up with congress.  Most people I've talked to have complained about the current direction of government.  What bothers me, and others like me, is that people are willing to complain and speak about what is wrong, but when asked what we can do to fix it, look like a deer in headlights.

The first thing we should do is vote for independent parties.  Every time.  In 2008 I pledged to never vote for a republican or democrat again.  I have stuck with it.  I voted yesterday in Minnesota's primary election, and voted a straight independent ticket.  The first thing people say to me when I tell them this is, "But you're throwing your vote away and giving it to the democrats."  I am not throwing my vote away.  My vote is mine to give.  No one party has a claim on it or a right to it.  If republicans and democrats do not represent my views, I would be doing a huge dishonor to my morals and values by giving them my vote.

What a lot of people don't understand is that the republicans and democrats have had control over the US government for over 200 years.  Sure, their names changed, but ultimately, these two parties have a monopoly on government.  They play themselves to the public as opponents on opposite ends of the spectrum, but that is not their true ideology.  Their one and only goal is to stay in power.  To accomplish that, they will work together.  In the 2008 election the republicans and democrats banded together to keep third parties out of the debates.  Anyone running for president has the right to participate in the debates, but they didn't let Bob Barr participate.

A recent article states that the Tea Party is winning in elections, but that they are costing republicans Senate seats.  This is the republican and democratic media teaming up against independent parties.  Republicans have no right to Senate seats.  Democrats have no right to Senate seats.  The only people who have a right to Senate seats are those we elect.

As citizens, we should be able to vote for whomever we choose.  Any candidate running for president should be on the ballot.  In 2008, the republicans and democrats joined hands once more to keep Bob Barr off of the ballot in five states.  Bob Barr was only on 45 state ballots.  I'm not endorsing Bob Barr, or saying he is the answer to all of our problems, I am pointing out how destructive the republicans and democrats are to our voting process and our freedom.

The second thing people say to me when I tell them that I vote for independents is, "An independent will never win."  That may or may not be true.  With our electoral college it is completely possible that no matter who we vote for as citizens, somebody else will be elected by the electors.  If everyone decided to vote independent, the electors may very well decided to put a democrat in office.  We won't know until it happens.  The primary reason for voting independent is to send a message to the republicans and democrats.  That message is, "You no longer represent America."

Can you imagine the uproar America would be in if the popular vote elected an independent, but the electors put in a democrat or republican?  Can you imagine the reaction of the republicans and democrats if they found out more and more votes were going to independents?  Do you think they might change their game-plan?  I am of the opinion that the republicans and democrats are too far gone to try and save.  I want America to open up their political system and let the citizens have more than two choices each election.

Competition is good.  Competition leads to progress, real, measurable progress.  Progress that doesn't raise taxes, progress that doesn't give handouts to the undeserving.  Politics is a none-competitive venture right now.  The health care vote passed.  I believe both parties wanted it passed, even though there was 'strong' republican opposition.  The only reason the republicans opposed it is so that the average American says, "Wow, the republicans opposed the health care bill.  I'll vote for them next election."  In reality, the republicans wanted the health care bill passed as much as the democrats did.  Why?  Because they want more power.  They don't have to worry about competitors, so they get bored and want more power.  They see themselves as kinds, gods even.

I did not vote for Obama, but we all elected him.  60% of us are upset with him, and yet he was elected.  I knew before the election that he was a socialist.  None of my friends believed me.  They do now.  As Americans, we need to take responsibility for this mess.  We elected him.  We have allowed them to take our freedoms away, we have allowed them to tax us, we have allowed them to rule us.  Our problem is not democrats.  Our problem is not republicans.  Our problem is democrats AND republicans.

Take responsibility.  Learn about candidates before going to the polls.  If you are tired of the direction our country has been going in since the Great Depression, vote independent, don't vote republican or democrat.  Republicans and democrats have taken us to where we are today, they will not save us.  Do you research, please be an informed voter.  If you are not informed, you are part of the problem.  Turn off CNN.  Turn off FOX.  They are both evil.  Think for yourself.  Vote independent.  Take responsibility.  Take control.

© 2010 Nate Phillipps

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Chicken Dinner

So... I almost got into a fight on Friday night, or really early Saturday morning, depending on how you look at it.  Just so you know, this was my first attempt at gambling.  I played blackjack with my brother and his girlfriend.  Armed with $20 in $1 chips, we sat down at a $3 table.  After watching for a bit, I started gambling.  The table was mostly full, and everyone was roughly my age or my brother's age.  We were all enjoying ourselves, laughing and joking.  Even our dealer, Toon, was great.

One of the players won on a $3 bet and said, "Winner winner, chicken dinner."  Toon replied, "You can't buy a chicken dinner with $3, maybe a chicken sandwich."  And that's how most of the night went.  Normally I'm not interested in gambling, but my brother enjoys it and I wanted to see what it was like.  It's not something I'd do often, but it can be enjoyable, if you're smart about it.  But this isn't a gambling blog, this is a political blog.

Near the end of the night, alright, around 4am, a guy came and sat down at the table.  He was drunk, a little older than me, and apparently full of bad luck that night.  He sat right next to me, on my right.  We were going along fine when he started saying, "What are you guys doing?! You stay on 12!  2 is the best card!"  He repeated this several times, much to the table's annoyance.  The next hand, I had 12 and the dealer had a 4 showing, which means odds are he has 14.  I hit.  This drove the guy nuts.  He was practically yelling, "You STAY on 12. If you stay on 12, everyone wins."

Unfortunately for him, I don't care if everybody wins.  I only care if I win.  The other players are not my opponents, at least not directly, but I receive no benefit from them winning if I lose.  My playing strategy for the night, and incedently for my life, was to play to win.  That strategy has no room for the consideration of other players.  With that said, I am not going to try and cheat them, or try to be mean to them, but I certainly will not play with the objective of them winning at my expense.  Would I like to see everybody win?  I don't measure myself by other people's wins and losses, so I don't really care.  We all sat down at that table knowing some might win and some might lose.

This guy just wasn't getting it, so I said, "You play how you want and we'll play how we want."

"Just listen to what I'm telling you..."

"I don't care," I said, cutting him off.

"No, just listen."

"I don't care," I repeated.

"Do you have an issue with me? Are we going to have a problem?" he asked angrily.

"No, it's $3 blackjack, I'm just here to have fun," I said firmly.

I thought he was going to ask me to step outside, but instead he shut up.  I later found out that at least two of the other people sitting at the table would have had my back, if things did end up out in the parking lot.  The guy kept mumbling, "Every fucking table," so apparently his 'tips' didn't go over so well at other tables either.

If I'm playing, I'm in it to win.  I am a good sport, but a fierce competitor.  Winning is my objective.  Winning is the objective of life.  How you measure that could by money, a family, friends, your job, or several other factors.  You cannot win at blackjack or life by putting other people first.  If I cared about the outcome of the other players, I would not have been able to take my $20 and turn it into $50, but I did.  I did it by hitting on 12, and now I can enjoy two chicken dinners, or ten chicken sandwiches.

© 2010 Nate Phillipps

The Rule Of Gold

I was asked, "Objectivsm is basically common sense. Why do you think so many people fail to use it, or understand it? Why is it not taught more? What would be the state of our country, if more people realized that their happiness is their obligation, and not mine?"

Objectivism is basically what it takes most people all their lives to figure out: that the only person you can rely on in life is yourself.  Being successful, or winning, feels good because it is right.  There is nothing to be ashamed of if you are better than someone else.  If you fail there is nothing to be ashamed of as long as you learned something.  People fail to use it, or understand it for several reasons; the first being that most people are lazy and stupid.  The second reason is that our public schools are run by the government, and the government desires citizens who are lazy and stupid.  If the population is lazy and stupid, then the government has free reign to tax, pass laws, etc.  No Child Left Behind was designed to make every child as dumb as the dumbest student.  The third reason is religion.  Christianity states, "Love your neighbor as you love yourself."  The Bahá'í Faith states, "Blessed is he who preferreth his brother before himself."  Judaism, "The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as one of your citizens; you shall love him as yourself."  Taoism, "Regard your neighbor's gain as your own gain, and your neighbor's loss as your own loss."  As you can see, the them of putting other people's interests before your own is a common theme in religion.

Some people claim that these religious edicts are alterations of the golden rule.  The golden rule is to treat others as you want to be treated.  Nowhere in there does it say put others before yourself.  Objectivism takes that one step further and brings in a component of value.  Only items or services that have a value for you are to be sought, and something of value will be given in exchange.  People who aren't fair or valuable need not be dealt with.  An object's value derives from within you.  A certain book may not be worth much to others, but it might be worth over $100 to me.  If you don't like the book, you are under no obligation to buy it.  This is where the government and religion take the counterpoint role to Objectivism.

According to the government and religion, poor people are the responsibility of the wealthy.  According to Objectivism, the poor are their own responsibility just as the wealthy are only responsible for themselves.  Now, if you receive a value from helping poor people, be it monetary or pride, then it is a noble cause.  To pass a law or preach a doctrine that if you don't help poor people you are the scum of society, is completely wrong.  Objectivism is about doing what you want for reasons that you understand.  Slavery is about doing what other people want for reasons you do not understand.  The government, the schools, and the religious institutions want slaves.  No, they're not going to break out the whips and chains.  They do not want physical slaves, they want mental slaves.  They want control of our brains, our thoughts, and our feelings.  This is why more people do not see the value of Objectivism.  From birth they are told to love others more than they love themselves, that being selfish is evil, and that if you trust in God, the government, or any authority figure, you need or want will be provided.

Entitlement is for the weak, the lazy, the uninformed, the selfless.  If everyone realized their happiness was their own responsibility, we would live in a completely different society.  All this would take is for everyone to realize that their actions lead to consequences.  These consequences could be good or bad, but every action leads to some other action.  If you steal, you might be arrested.  If you work hard, you may be rewarded.  If people took responsibility for their own lives, there would be less whining, and I would have to buy less Advil.  Under the current system, this will never happen.

Right now I work for money and you work for money.  However, we are not being paid money.  We are being paid with fancy pieces of paper that are backed by nothing other than the word of the goverment.  The government tells us, "These pieces of paper are worth something, we promise."  The truth is they are worth nothing.  Our money is not backed by gold, silver, bronze, stainless steel, aluminum, rubies, diamonds, or even sand.  Our money is backed by the word of our government.  The International Monetary Fund ensured that no other currency would be backed by gold, forcing countries wanting to join the IMF to sell their gold and silver.

If our government collapsed, everyone would be broke.  If our money was backed by gold, our money would still have a value even without the government, as we could trade our dollars in for gold, which we could use to trade for goods and services from anybody in the world.  If we were an objectivist nation, we would have currency backed by gold (or something else of value), we would not have government run programs (other than the military, the police, and the court system), we would have low taxes (more like a annual membership fee), we would be allowed to succeed on our own, and we would be responsible only for ourselves.  Sure there would still be lazy people, but they would not be in a position of power, they would be destitute.

We are a nation of non-earners.  Those who earn are forced to give their earnings to the government.  Non-earners receive money, from the government, for the sole reason that they earn nothing.  Objectivism does not reward anyone, rather, those who are earners earn rewards and those who are non-earners do not earn anything.  Objectivism's rule of gold is, "Those with value receive value, those without value receive no value."  Note that value is not defined.  Value is anything that the individual places worth upon.  It could be money, gold, pride, friendship, or any number of other items.

The first step to creating an Objectivist country is to understand that the only person you should love as yourself, is yourself.  Nobody else even comes close.

© 2010 Nate Phillipps

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Selfishness of Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu

Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu, better known as Mother Teresa, spent her life giving to the poor, which by most people's standards means that she is selfless.  However, that is not the case.  Mother Teresa was selfish and often put herself before others.

Mother Teresa got her selfish start when she left the Catholic convent to live on the streets and help the poor.  How is that selfish?  Nuns take three vows; poverty, chastity, and obedience.  Nuns are to live in a convent.  By leaving the convent to live on the streets, Mother Teresa was not being obedient to the Catholic Church, but was instead being obedient to her own free will.  She went out, against the will of the church, to do what she wanted to do, not what the church wanted.

That one act cannot possibly prove that someone as giving as Mother Teresa was selfish her whole life, can it?  Of course not.  However, the whole of Mother Teresa's philosophy was selfish.  She believed that poverty would bring people closer to Jesus, and she said, "Poverty is a wonderful gift because it gives us freedom."  Therefore, since her life goal was to be closer to Jesus, and to be poor and destitute, she was being selfish in pursuing those desires.  Remember, if she wants to be poor, then giving up her possessions is an act of selfishness.  If she wants to give herself to the poor, then that is an act of selfishness.  If she gives to the poor but doesn't want to, then that would be selfless.

Her selfishness does not stop there.  You know who Mother Teresa is.  I know who Mother Teresa is.  Most people have at least heard of her.  For someone portrayed as selfless, she sure is famous.  Only somebody who feels proud of themself would accept any fame, notoriety, or gratitude.  In 1979, Mother Teresa accepted the Nobel Peace Prize.  She donated the money to the poor, but she accepted the award.  I'm not saying she didn't earn it; she certainly worked harder to earn it than Al Gore or Barack Obama.  If she were truly working for God and others, she would not have accepted any award, but her life is full of awards.  Obviously she was proud of the work she was doing, she was proud of herself.  Being proud is one of the most selfish feelings a person can experience.

Mother Teresa's religious experience also proves how selfish she was.  Throughout her life she struggled with her faith.  Of her faith she said, "Where is my faith? Even deep down ... there is nothing but emptiness and darkness ... If there be God—please forgive me. When I try to raise my thoughts to Heaven, there is such convicting emptiness that those very thoughts return like sharp knives and hurt my very soul ... How painful is this unknown pain—I have no Faith."  She has always claimed to be doing God's work, but if she doubted God so much, what possessed her to follow through with her work?  Her desire to help the poor did not come from God, it came from her.  She wanted to help the poor, so she did.

People who embrace religion often embrace death without knowing it.  Most religions teach that all your rewards will be given to you in the afterlife, after you die.  By looking forward to heaven, you are looking forward to death.  If you are selfless, the greatest expression of having no self, is to be dead.  To be alive is selfish.  In the late years of her life, Mother Teresa was sickly.  During this time she chose to be treated in a state-of-the-art hospital in California, rather than one of her own clinics.  If she did not care about herself at all, she would not demand the best care possible.  However, she is selfish and did demand the best care possible, because she loved life.  Were she truly religious, she would look forward to death, especially after such a long life in the service of God.  Instead, we can see that her faith did not guide her, instead, her own will guided her through life.

Being selfish is a good thing.  I am not trying to degrade somebody who spent their life on their own terms, I am merely trying to make the distinction:  Mother Teresa was not an altruist helping the poor, Mother Teresa was a selfish person who made it her life goal to bring care to the poor.

© 2010 Nate Phillipps

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A Shade of Grey

The post title might make you think that I will be talking about a Tim Burton film, but alas, that is not the case.  That man uses more shades of grey in his films than anyone else I know.  Somebody who is a complete stranger to grey, is Ayn Rand.

If there is black and white, which stand for good and evil, and anything between is a shade of grey, then in regard to a specific issue, does Ayn Rand fall within the grey, even though she advocates only the presence of black and white?  I was asked, "It seems to me then that either Determinism or Chaos Theory can exist (the black and white). Either everything happens by chance or is pre-determined. Ayn Rand believes in free choice but denounces chance. Do you find that Ayn Rand falls in the gray here?"  First, we must define determinism and chaos theory.

Determinism is the belief that every event in life was influenced by past events.  So, you turned left one day instead of right and this morning your burnt your toast.  Pre-destination is the idea that some higher power has every aspect of our lives mapped out.  Chaos theory is that nothing in life is predictable because everything falls on a non-linear graph.  For the purposes of this blog, I am going to assume that by determinism, the person who asked the question meant pre-destination.

If the only factors we consider are pre-destination and chaos, then free choice would not even be on the chart.  Free choice is not the blending of pre-destination and chaos, free choice is its own entity.  Therefore, we must conclude that there are more than two beliefs of how life works.  Free choice would mean that our lives are shaped by our choices, which we make by engaging our brains, accumulating data, and making informed decisions.  So there are at least three different opinions.  How would these three combine to give us a shade of grey?

A shade of grey would be the belief that 1/3 of life is pre-destined, 1/3 of life is chaos, and 1/3 of life is due to our own choices.  However, that belief would never hold any water in any rational discussion, because we are merely trying to get the best of all three options.  All three options cannot be correct, which means two of the options (assuming of course that there are a maximum number of three options) are wrong.  Which one is right?  For the purposes of this blog, the rightness or wrongness is not an issue, and bringing that into this assessment would only complicate things.

Ayn Rand's argument about black, white and grey, is that people who generally believe in the grey claim there is no black or white.  She writes, in The Virtue of Selfishness, "If there is no black and white, there can be no gray - since gray is merely a mixture of the two."  Which only goes to show that Ayn Rand believes there is a black and white.  She says, "When a man has ascertained that one alternative is good and the other is evil, he has no justification for choosing a mixture."  Meaning, he has no justification for choosing grey.  If you know one thing is right and the other is wrong, you have no rationalization for picking something in the middle.

But what about an issue where the good and evil may not be easily discernible?  "If, in a complex moral issue, a man struggles to determine what is right, and fails or makes an honest error, he cannot be regarded as 'gray'; morally he is 'white.'  Errors of knowledge are not breeches of morality; no proper moral code can demand infallibility or omniscience," writes Rand.  This is not to say you won't be held accountable for your mistake, only that you are not violating your moral code if you do make a mistake, an honest mistake.  She also says that if you are actively refusing knowledge in such a dilemma, that you would be violating your moral code, and would be evil.

Knowledge is good.  Refusing knowledge is evil.  We accept the fact that there is good and there is evil.  Some people believe there is a mixture in the middle.  There are people who fall in the middle.  The difference comes into play in defining the middle.  Most people would say the middle is grey.  Ayn Rand says anything not good, is evil.  If you're in the middle, you are not good, so you must be evil.  To bring this back to the original question, of Ayn Rand embracing free choice but denouncing chance being a shade of grey does not make any logical sense, because life can't be chaos and free choice at the same time.  Ayn Rand embraces what she believes and anything she doesn't believe is considered evil.  Ayn Rand falls firmly within the construct of black and white because, based on her knowledge, she believes in free choice, not a variation of different alternatives.

© 2010 Nate Phillipps

Controlling The Competition

I have a Netflix subscription, and it is fantastic.  When I first got my subscription, I was able to get new-release DVDs in the mail the same day they came out on DVD.  Not anymore.

The studios (Warner, Fox, Universal) have all forced Netflix to sign an agreement withholding new release DVDs from Netflix for 28 days.  What happened after Neflix signed this deal?  Companies like DirecTV started airing commercials that blasted Netflix for their new-release waiting period and highlighted their ability to make new-release movies available on demand.  Apparently, this waiting period doesn't apply to video rental stores either.

Basically, there was an orchestrated effort to put chains on Netflix's ability to compete.  Who benefits?  Certainly not the customers.  Netflix's competitors benefit.  Do the studio's benefit?  It's hard to tell.  I personally will not buy any movie I have not seen first.  Competition is good.  A lack of competition only benefits those too lazy to compete.

© 2010 Nate Phillipps

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Subtlety of Censorship

The truth is that words matter.  We write things a certain way because it means something different than if we were to write it another way.  Luckily, in America we have the First Amendment, which is supposed to prohibit the government from making any law to infringe upon our freedom of speech.  Here is what it says, as our Founding Father's wrote it:  "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."  Unfortunately, here in America, Congress is breaking the law.

When did it start?  The first attempt was in 1798 by President Adams and the Alien And Sedition Acts.  This law didn't beat around the bush.  If you opposed any U.S. law or spoke out against the president or congress, you were to be jailed for up to two years.  This law was eventually allowed to expire.  Since then, congress has tried to strip us of our free speech.  Since then, they have succeeded.

Of course, these days it's all about the art of being subtle.  Do we think twice when we listen to the radio and hear the edited versions of songs?  Some of us even defend the censorship of music, saying that words like that shouldn't be listened to by children.  I say it's up to the parents to decide what their children listen to.  When we watch TV, well, any TV that isn't a premium cable channel, we think nothing of censorship.  Should inappropriate language, themes and situations be censored?  If you answered yes, who determines what is appropriate?

I'm all for not allowing children to watch R rated movies, or adult television shows, or listen to explicit songs.  But that is the responsibility of the parents, not the government.  We have rating upon rating on music, television, and film, but as far as I'm aware, there are no ratings on books.  An elementary school kid can go to the library and check out Mein Kampf.  Over the history of our country, many books been banned, and those have been overturned.  Other forms of media have not enjoyed the same amount of protection that books have enjoyed.

If all books are appropriate, why aren't all songs, TV shows, and videos?  Are those types of media more subversive than others?  Books are seen by many as 'pure.'  While music and videos have the negative stereotype of being for lazy people.  Because of this, the government managed to sink its teeth into these forms of media.  What if the government is after more than just media?

The government is after all free speech, no matter what form it takes or who utters it, publishes it, posts it, or records it.  The Patriot Act, signed into law by George Bush, changed the definition of terrorism to be so broad that this blog could be considered terrorism.  Section 802 of the US Patriot Act changes Section 2331 of Title 18 of the United States Code to read, "The term 'domestic terrorism' means activities that... appear to be intended— (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion."  Read more here.

Now, this blog is not intimidating anyone, and you could argue that it's not coercing anyone either.  Intimidation is a stretch, but my blog does fall under coercion.  According to Merriam-Webster, to coerce is to, "to compel to an act or choice."  Under the Patriot Act, I could be tried as a domestic terrorist.  How did this bill get passed?  How have any of the recent bills been passed?  The health care bill?  Prior to the health care vote, Nancy Pelosi said, "We have to pass the bill so you can find out what's in it."  The same was true with the Patriot Act.  Only one senator, Russ Feingold (D-WI), opposed it, based on, "[Attorney General Ashcroft] provided the text of the bill the following Wednesday, and urged Congress to enact it by the end of the week. That was plainly impossible."  He was the only politician to say he didn't have time to read it.  If he didn't have time to read it, did any of his colleagues?

The government preys on the citizens, using fear as their primary motivator.  After 9/11, they passed the Patriot Act to 'protect' us.  At least, that's what they claimed.  Upon further examination, they passed the Patriot Act to strip us of our freedoms, to infringe on the first and fourth amendments.  They used fear to exploit our faith.  Our faith that the primary job of the government is to protect its citizens from harm.  If there is one thing that history has taught me, it's that the only person I can count on to protect me is myself.  I have no faith in the government.  They will not censor this citizen.

© Nate Phillipps 2010

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Want VS Need

There are a lot of needy people living in our country, and in countries around the globe.  Have you seen that commercial for the new steam-vacuum?  Feel like you need it?  If not, the advertiser isn't doing their job.  We are bombarded with apparent needs all day long, whether it's on television, the radio, in a movie, or in conversation.  In a shocking play of words (much like the current trend of using 'free market' instead of 'capitalism') the media has replaced 'want' with the ever present 'need.'

What is need?  As boring as dictionary definitions are, Wikipedia states, "A need is something that is necessary for organisms to live a healthy life."  This may be the definition the government chooses to use in it's mission statement.  If using this broad definition, health care is a need, a low-fat diet is a need, government handouts are a need, a hybrid car is a need.  The list could go on and on.  I prefer to use Dictionary.com's definition of need, "A requirement."  So if a need is really a requirement, then what are the base requirements for life?

There are three basic needs for human life.  They are food, water, and shelter.  If you have food, water, and shelter, you will be able to survive.  The important thing to remember is that the amount of time you will be able to survive is not guaranteed, and it depends on much food and water you can find, and what sort of shelter you have.  Also, I am not taking into account any sort of disease that requires medication or treatment in order for you to live.  But if we look at the simplest aspect, if you have these three things, you should be able to live.  It probably won't be in comfort, but you will live.

That is where needs end, at least for those who do not have a disease or illness that requires treatment.  Everything else in life is made up of wants.  I want a bed to sleep in.  I want a car to drive.  I want to own a TV.  I want to eat a hamburger.  I do not need a bed to sleep in, I could sleep on the floor or on the ground.  I do not need a car, there are several other modes of transportation available to me.  I do not need a television and I do not need to eat a hamburger, there are several other foods that would sustain me.

So if we don't need all these fancy things, why do we use the word 'need' instead of 'want?'  We use it simply because the government and media want us to use it.  Need implies some sort of dependency, while want implies a self-reliance.  To break it down further, need is a weak word and want is a strong word.  The media and government would rather have weak citizens than strong citizens.  It is easier to control weak citizens.

Ads are designed to target this weakness and convince people that they need a new mattress, a new car, or a new vacuum.  You never hear one of those TV announcers say, "You don't need our product, your current vacuum will do the same thing, ours just looks better."  No, they set up a situation where they can prey upon any self-doubt you have, any weakness hiding in your mind.  If you don't buy their product, you will be outdated and laughed at by your friends, family and peers.  The same is true of the government.

If you don't support the health care bill, you are denying people who need your help.  Here's a secret, they don't need your help, they want your help.  But the government says that they need it, so you have to give it.  They have to use the term need, because usually the people who benefit from laws like that don't have anything of value to contribute or offer in exchange of the benefits they are receiving.  If I come upon a homeless person sitting on the side of the street with his hand out, I will never give him money.  If a homeless person wants to work for his money, then I would gladly hire him to mow my lawn, take out my trash, any number of things.

When you use the term need, you are, in essence, asking for something in exchange for nothing.  The problem is we can't just blame the media or the government, because we do it too, unconsciously.  We need to be just as vigilant with ourselves as we are with everybody else.  If you want something, say you want it, don't say you need it.  If you have food, water, and shelter, everything else is a want.  There is nothing to be ashamed of if you want something.  Want is a proud desire.  It is true that we are living with more than we need, but once you secure food, water, and shelter, life is no longer about need, life is all about want.

© Nate Phillipps 2010

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

No Left Turn On Red

*Note:  In this blog, I am referring to roundabouts meaning the circular traffic junctions, not the method used by politicians to compose arguments.*

There is absolutely no need for a red left-turn arrow.  We've all seen them.  You're waiting to make a left turn, and the green arrow turns to yellow, and then instead of giving you the "Left turn yield on green," it goes right to a red arrow.  So you sit and wait as there is no oncoming traffic for the next 3 minutes.  You seriously consider turning, but you know, deep down, that the second you do, a police officer will whip out and pull you over.

What started this train of thought, and why I'm writing about it in a political blog, is that I was bemoaning the red turn arrow to a coworker, and eventually we got on the topic of roundabouts.  He hates roundabouts, while I love them.  He said that roundabouts are communist/socialist because everybody else has to sacrifice so that one car can make a left turn.  I said that roundabouts where individualist because you were left to your own ability to make your turn.  Stoplights are more socialist than roundabouts.  You have to sit at a stoplight waiting for everybody else to go, while you wait for the government to change your light back to green.

OK, so Uncle Sam isn't sitting there with a switch to change the stoplights, but someone in the government had to figure out how to regulate that intersection, and install the device to change the lights.  At the micro-level, the government regulates our travel everyday with stoplights.  How do they get away with it?  Under the guise of public safety.  Now, I'm not trying to say there shouldn't be any rules of the road.  If that were the case, we'd have to go back to walking everywhere.

The problem with 4-way stops is that most people who happen upon a 4-way stop are too dumb to figure out what to do after they've stopped.  This gets exponentially more complicated with an increase in the number of lanes being forced to stop.  Since I paid attention in driver's ed, and since I don't drive a Prius (or another variety of small car), I know when to go, and if it's not my turn, well, my SUV clears the way pretty fast.  Naturally, the 4-way stop is the preferred system of the government.  They want to force everyone to be equal, so everybody should have to stop at the intersection before proceeding on with their journey.  Although if they had it completely their way, only white males would have to stop at a 4-way stop and the rest of the population would have a special bypass lane.

When the 4-way stop fails, the next step is to put in some very simple stoplights.  Theoretically, everyone is still equal, because on a long enough timeline, everyone will have an equal experience with catching a green light, or a red light.  But then you have people who think yellow is the same as green, so the government really can't allow that to happen, so then the stoplights become more complicated.  Soon they'll have lights on there that tell you when you can blow your nose.  The same is true of the auto industry.  They make cars that will tell you when you're falling asleep, when you're drifting out of your lane, and cars that will even stop for you.

Think of that.  A car that will stop when it senses an obstacle in your path.  Your first thought might be, "Well that sounds awesome."  But really think about it.  What if you're in a parking lot and somebody is trying to rob you?  You hop in your car, and they're right in front of you.  Normally you'd drive right through them, but now you can't, because your car won't let you.  It's that very simple difference, between safety and control.  It could be as simple as a red turn arrow that doesn't allow you to make a turn you deem to be safe, or it could be a car that takes your driving control out of your hands and leaves you a sitting duck for thugs.  Of course it's all marketed as the newest, coolest technology that will help make the world a safer place, but is a world controlled by the government a safer place?

I believe that a world run by individuals is the safest place, individuals who look out for their own interests first.  That's why I like to see a roundabout, because it feels like a small victory for the individual.  A roundabout, to me, is the government acknowledging that the best way to control that intersection is to leave it in the hands of the individuals.  No green lights allowing some to drive, no red lights forbidding others to drive, and most importantly, no red left turn signals.

© Nate Phillipps 2010

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Meeting Michele Bachmann

*Note:  This post is my personal opinion and is in no way sponsored or endorsed by Michele Bachmann or any political candidate.*

I met Michele Bachman, U.S. Congresswoman from Minnesota, this evening at a Boy Scout fundraising event.  As much as I hate to admit it, all I knew about her before today was that she says government over-regulation is at fault, not businesses; which was enough to know she had a decent head on her shoulders.

At the start of the event, I was directing traffic in the parking area, and I talked briefly with her driver as they drove in.  With over 500 people in attendance, most of whom wanting to speak with her, it was a bit tricky getting close enough to start a conversation.  Her entourage was very friendly, and I even got to take a picture with her.  The first thing I asked her was, "When can we vote for you for president."  She said, "Not this year."

We only exchanged a few sentences, but she briefly mentioned that the government has no right to impose fines on private businesses (BP), and agreed with me when I said they also didn't have a right to own private businesses (GM) and that I haven't seen any quarterly profit checks from them in my mailbox.  Then she excused herself and went to the next group.

After I got back, I looked up her voting record here.  There were a few of my coworkers who don't agree with her politics, but even so, for a U.S. Senator to come to a Boy Scout fundraiser and spend time with the people she represents is something most politicians don't do on any sort of basis.  If more politicians spent time with the people they are supposed to represent, I think our country would be much better off.

And as far as having any strong candidate in the 2012 presidential race, we'll just have to hope we have better choices than we did in 2008.

© Nate Phillipps 2010

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Right To Entitlement

This past weekend, my brothers, friends and I wanted to go play some mini-golf at Como Zoo in the cities.  It was a Sunday, and the place was packed.  We pulled into a parking lot, I was driving, and every space was full.  There were two cars in front of us, driving the horseshoe hoping a few cars would pull out so we'd have a place to park.  One car pulled out, and the lead car pulled in.  The car in front of us rounded the bend, and two families were getting into their cars, so that was spaces for them and us.

The first car pulled out, and the new lead car pulled into that space.  The second car pulled out, and I went to park in that space, when a lady ran to the middle of the parking space and stood there.  I inched forward and she held her hand up to me.  I honked my horn, and she pretended to ignore me.  I rolled down my window and I asked her what she thought she was doing.  She said, "I'm saving this spot for my friends who are on their way."

It was too hot outside and I was too tired from the weekend to get out and cause a scene, but in retrospect I should have, because as I drove on, I saw another open spot.  This open spot also already had a female inhabitant.  This female inhabitant was twice as rude as the first one, telling me, "I'm not moving child."  In an effort not to unleash my unholy rage at a children's zoo, I politely swore at her and drove on.  We had to park about a mile away, and walk back.  I settled for reporting them to security, even though they were probably long gone by the time security got to the parking lot.

This whole ordeal got me thinking about entitlement.  Am I entitled to those parking spaces?  Only if I can physically park my car in that spot before anyone else does.  When somebody cuts you off and steals your space you're mad, but at least they have a car and are using the parking space for its intended purpose.  So that lead me to ask, do those women have any right to those parking spaces?

If those two women were walking down the middle of a highway, they would be deemed a safety risk and the cops would be called.  Now, I'm all for everyone having the right to stand where they want, but seriously, is this middle school?  There's a line of cars waiting and you're going to stand in a parking lot and tell 20 people, who were able to bring their cars with them, that they can't park there?  Obviously these women feel a strong sense of entitlement, strong enough that they believe they don't need a car to 'reserve' a parking space.  On the grand scheme of things though, how high up are parking spaces?

My issue isn't so much the parking spaces.  OK, at the most I got some more exercise and maybe my blood pressure was elevated for five minutes due to anger.  My issue is their attitude, because you know they apply it to more than parking spaces.  What kind of society do you have to grow up in to believe that you are entitled to anything and everything?  The answer is ours.

It starts out, at the latest, in public schools.  These are the institutions teaching our children.  These institutions hand out trophies to the kids in last place, as well as the kids in first, because otherwise the kid in last place might feel bad.  These institutions change their entire curriculum to ensure that no child is left behind, no matter how slow a learner.  They actively and legally hold back the smart children.  And on top of that, there's all the propaganda that is taught in their regular classes.  Furthermore, there are parents out there who refuse to punish their children for bad behavior, saying they don't want to cause the child any discomfort.  In reality, they are just being lazy by not teaching their children that actions have consequences.  The consequence can be positive or negative, but every action has a consequence.

For example, had I kept driving towards the woman in the parking space, eventually she would have moved or I would have hit her.  In either instance I could be charged with assault with a deadly weapon, or some similar charge.  Every action has a consequence.

College is no better at doing away with a person's sense of entitlement.  Scholarships are given to those who need, not those who earned.  Scholarships are given to the teacher's pet, or the son of the mayor, not those who earned them.  If you can play football, or another popular sport, you may be given a free ride, even if you can't write your own name.

After graduation you enter the workforce.  This really doesn't do anything to curtail the sense of entitlement either.  If you know the CEO or president you don't have to be the most qualified candidate.  If the company is trying to fill it's affirmative action quota, you don't need to be the most qualified candidate.  Pretty soon you don't feel that you need to earn a raise or promotion, rather, they should give it to you because it's yours.  And as if that was not enough depravity, soon you are standing in parking spaces for no other reason than you deserve it, and those of us waiting with our cars don't.

© Nate Phillipps 2010

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Sodomizing America

One of the main principles this country was founded upon is freedom of speech.  Since then, the government has tried to find a way to silence all opposition.  In order to silence us, the government does not need to take our voices or our ideas; all they need to do is remove our system of communication.  If we have nowhere to communicate, we essentially have nothing to say.

President Obama is working on creating an 'internet kill switch' that he can use whenever he deems the internet to be a threat to national security.  Quoted as saying, "I will tolerate debate on war policy but I won't tolerate division," one can see where Obama stands on free speech.  As long as your speech matches Obama's speech, you are tolerated.  If you differ from Obama, then you are no longer tolerable.

The beauty of America is that no matter what your belief, you are allowed to state your belief, and pursue your belief (as long as you aren't harming anyone else).  What better example of freedom of speech is there than the internet?  I can communicate my ideas with people all over the country, and all over the world.  If Obama gets his kill switch, he will be able to stop the flow of communication, the flow of ideas.  Sure, we can live without the internet, but the internet has surpassed the Postal Service as the number one delivery method of messages.  An internet kill switch is the equivalent of shutting down the Post Office, or burning all the letters deposited in the mail box.

Obama isn't the only government official who wants to control the internet.  The FCC has started the process to classify the internet as a public utility, which would grant the government a monopoly on internet services, internet packages, and internet control.  The first sites to go will be sites like this one.  Eventually, any site that doesn't agree with the party line will be shut down.  The internet is the new printing press, and the government will do anything in its power to shut it down.

Another founding principle of America was the freedom from excessive taxes.  After spending an unprecedented amount of money on failed businesses and failed countries, Obama needed a way to quickly raise some money  What better way than taxes?  Of course, he doesn't want to come right out and say he's raising taxes.  Instead, Obama has tried to make us believe that he's raising taxes for our own good.  Cash for clunkers was a program that used your tax money and my tax money to buy vehicles for people who subscribed to the party line.  Have a gas guzzler that's responsible for global warming?  Trade it in and the taxpayers will buy you a nice 'green' car.

Or, how about health care?  Shouldn't everyone have health care?  Isn't free health care the American dream?  Who cares if it isn't, if you need it, the taxpayers will foot the bill.  We won't even see one benefit from the health care bill before we go broke from trying to afford it.  And as if the guilt trip from everyone's health isn't enough, we're also at war.  You don't want to be seen as unpatriotic do you?  Then you shouldn't question the government when they ask for more money.  When they demand more money.  When they forcefully take more money.

Owning the automotive industry, the banks, the health care industry, Wall Street and destroying the American spirit isn't enough for the government. It's just the beginning. Cap and trade, the internet, the oil industry, health and food, education are all sitting squarely in the government's sight. After that, they will more than likely go after mobile phones, newspapers, and books.

But it's not enough to stop there.  The government wants complete and total control.  Of the economic recovery of our country, President Obama said, "Recovery also requires countries not having an undue advantage."  Obama wants us to surrender our American values.  Our country was founded primarily on our belief that we have unalienable rights that nobody can take from us.  We believe that our country is the best country in the world.  We acknowledge we have problems, but we know that even with our problems, we are several times over a better country than any other on the planet.

Now Obama is trying to make us feel guilty for our success.  He wants everybody to be equal in terms of wealth, happiness, and status.  The equality America promises is the equality of being able to pursue what makes you happy.  There is no guarantee about being happy, or being successful.  There only the guarantee that you will be able to try.  Instead of letting people rely on their abilities, Obama wants to force everybody to perform at the level of the least able.  We have seen this before in the No Child Left Behind Act.  Look what it's done for our school system.  The government will not stop until we are all peons, serfs, servants and slaves.

They will be burning our freedom in piles.  In that sense there will be no difference between books, computers, cell phones, the American flag, and the Constitution; all will be ash in the streets of Washington.

© Nate Phillipps 2010

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Monopoly On Force

There are books and books of laws regulating how and when citizens are allowed to use force.  Usually it is only acceptable in defense of your life or to prevent immediate bodily harm.  What constitutes bodily harm and life?  Some would say that anything short of murdering you is not a threat to your life, others would say as long as they weren't going to murder you, or maim you, then it wasn't a threat to your life.

So what is your life?  Everybody's life is different, but everybody's life has at least one factor in common.  That factor is money.  If a thug mugs you in the street and takes all your money in your wallet, is he taking your life?  No, but he is taking part of your life and he is threatening your life.  How?  Well, you trade your time and skill for that money.  You use that money to buy food, pay for electricity, heat, and to pay your rent or mortgage.  Without that money, how are you going to eat, stay warm, sleep?  But it's only $20 you say.  It may have only been $20, but you worked for that $20, you used some of your life to earn that $20, and nobody has a right to that $20.  Nobody has a right to $1 of yours.

However, somebody thinks that they have a right to your $1, and to more.  That somebody is the government.  The government can legally steal your money through a process called taxation.  They tax us under penalty of wage garnishments, jail, and worse.  Simply put, they are legally forcing us to pay taxes.  I say legally forcing because somewhere along they way, they passed a law that said it's OK for them to tax us and to enforce it.  Now, I don't think all taxes are wrong.  OK, well, I think all taxes are wrong, but I do think we should have a flat tax.  Income tax, sales tax, gas tax, tobacco tax, alcohol tax, and more are all infringing on individual rights.

The difference between legal and illegal is so simple it's frightening.  The only thing that separates the two is the government's word.  If the government decrees that it is legal to come take your firstborn son, then it's legal.  Everytime I make this example, the first thing people say is, "Isn't that a bit ridiculous?  I mean, that would never happen here."  When it comes to the government, nothing is ridiculous.

After hurricane Katrina, the police (government) went around to law-abiding citizens, pointed automatic rifles at them, and demanded they surrender their firearms.  They beat up an old lady who had an unloaded handgun.  What recourse do citizens have when armed officers arrive, wearing bullet-proof vests, and demand you surrender your property?  Unless you're prepared for that sort of combat, or prepared to die, there's not much recourse.  It doesn't matter if you're pro-gun or anti-gun, the fact is that these people paid money for these guns, making them the property of the individual citizens.  The police of New Orleans confiscated the property of law-abiding citizens.  It's no different than if the government decided to confiscate everybody's cigarettes, everybody's SUVs, everybody's anything.

Remember, with eminent domain, the government can legally confiscate your land for the 'public good.'  Since the government makes the laws and controls the police and army, they have a monopoly on force.  The government can literally get away with anything it wants.  All it has to do is make it legal first.  Just look at the state-wide smoking bans in effect, and those to come.  They're even trying to regulate what you do in your own home, in terms of smoking, and even eating.  The government has banned trans-fat in New York City.  What's next?  Who's next?  I'm not saying you should panic, I'm saying you should be aware.  It's hard to believe a government of the people, by the people and for the people would seek to infringe upon us in this manner, but they can, will, and have.  It is important to vote, and not just vote, but being aware of the issues, and the candidates.  Use your mind, it's the one thing they can never take.

© Nate Phillipps 2010

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Cost Of Spending Money

There are those who say that debt is a choice. You choose to get a credit card. You choose to take out a loan. While this is mostly true, the other aspect we need to consider is how our society and economy are set up in a manner which fosters debt. A college degree is worth more now than it was 50 years ago. From birth, children are harped on about picking a college, a degree, etc.


Regardless of what school you go to, or what degree you receive, you should be aware of the huge gap between those potential employees who have a degree, and those who don't. Some companies won't even look at your resume if you don't have a degree. Even if you don't require additional education, even if you know everything there is to know about your field, in order to be marketable, you will need to get a degree.

I never thought twice about going to college, at least, not until I started going to college. After taking class after class where I learned absolutely nothing, and taking out a loan equivalent to a mortgage on a house, I toyed around with the idea of not finishing college and putting myself directly into the workforce. If you look at the options, there really is no option at all. Unless you want to spend your life working at McDonald's or Walmart, you will need to get a degree. I'm not saying anything bad about McDonald's or Walmart, and if those are your aspirations, great! But if you aspire to more than that, you will have to get a degree.

Society mandates a degree. The government offers to loan you money, your parents' money. So you take out a loan, earn your degree, and then at the end of it all, you are left with an 8 1/2 by 11 sheet of paper and an enormous amount of debt. Well, that's no problem because now you can get a high paying job. Except now the economy is in the tank, and nobody's hiring, or if they are, you're earning so little, that you might as well be working frying burgers.

When confronted with a poor economy and bleak financial outlook, companies generally use one of two options. The first option, they fire all nonessential staff and try to retain as many experienced employees as possible. They will not hire anybody else until either the economy turns around, or until it is absolutely necessary. The second option consists of firing all top-level, experienced employees, and hiring the fresh-out-of-college people. They can pay these people peanuts while abusing them because they don't know their workplace rights. If one of them wises up, they simply fire him and hire another college graduate. The second option substitutes cheap labor for experienced labor. Which one do you think saves money in the long run?

So even if you're hired right out of college, your salary is so low you can't possibly make the minimum payments on your student loans. What do you do? You try to get a longer forbearance and restructure your loan repayments. Basically all this does is increase the amount of money you will be paying Uncle Sam, and extends the period you are in debt to the government. The sad part of this is that you basically have no choice. For fear of not landing a high paying job, you are pretty much forced to attend college, and unless your family is wealthy, you will have to take out a loan. When you graduate, you are left with a heap of debt, and no job (and limited job opportunities, because you are now too experienced for a job at McDonald's, but not experienced enough for a job in your field).

College isn't the only money-earning scam of our society and government. Perhaps the biggest scam is what we call 'credit.' Credit was illustrated in the college example with student loans, but to really understand this scam, we need to take a look at credit cards. Who do credit card companies target? They target college kids, and offer them a free pizza in exchange for signing up for a high interest card. It makes sense, they've already taken out a sizable loan, and don't have much spending money. What better way to market yourself as offering 'free' money?

The only drawback is there is no such thing as free money. Somebody somewhere owns that money, and they will charge you an exorbitant amount in exchange for you using their money. Credit card companies, it should come as no surprise, are structured in a way to encourage people having long-term debt, or sustained debt. If you pay off your balance immediately, the credit card company doesn't make any money. If it takes you years to pay off your balance, they make money hand over fist from your interest rate. Credit cards, and student loans, are designed to saddle you with debt for most of your life. Sure, they market themselves as being sensitive to the public good, and being sensitive to the needs of small businesses and individuals, but that's just a marketing ploy. If they cared about anything other than leeching off of people, their companies wouldn't exist.

We can't simply blame the credit card companies and be done with this. The problem isn't with the credit card companies; they're merely taking advantage of the situation, or at least, that's how they started out. Now they may be out to stick it to the consumer. Although, ever since our currency was taken off of the gold standard, we really haven't been consumers. Our purchasing power has decreased to an all-time low. There used to be a time when if we didn't want to buy a GM vehicle, we would buy another brand, and if GM didn't offer something we wanted to buy, they would go out of business. Not anymore. Now if they don't produce something we want to buy, the government will buy all of it, using our tax dollars.

Actually, if you do your research, the government doesn't technically use our tax dollars, they use the Federal Reserve, which is an even bigger scam than credit. The best way to get acquainted with the Federal Reserve is to check out, Dishonest Money: Financing The Road To Ruin, by Joseph Plummer (2009). Basically, how banks, and the Federal Reserve, operate is that they loan out money that they don't have. They can do this because the government pinky swore that they would cover their irresponsible lending habits with the Federal Reserve. Joseph Plummer estimates they have enough money in their reserves to cover 1% of all outstanding loans. 1%.

Let's say I get a credit card with a $1,000 limit. I have $100 in my savings account. Even I would have 10%. The reason this is such a great racket, is that the government, and banks, can loan out money they don't have, and collect interest payments on that money that doesn't exist anywhere. The reason we went off of the gold standard is because the government can make more money if they don't have to back up our currency with anything more than their word. The government operates with the same modus operandi as the credit card companies, only, as with all things government, it is on a larger scale and comes with an astronomical price tag. And with all things government, who is left holding the bill but the citizens.

It isn't until you start looking at it that you realize what a scam it is, and what it ultimately costs to spend money you don't have.

© Nate Phillipps 2010

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Problem With Capitalism

Wherever I happen to be, I advocate capitalism.  The liberals, and conservatives, forced a negative stigma on capitalism.  When we are in a recession it is capitalism's fault, not over-regulation.  When a company fails, it is capitalism's fault, not their poor business practices.  It's no wonder that when I speak pro-capitalism, the response is invariably, "The problem with capitalism is..."

...it doesn't take into account minorities.
Capitalism takes into account everybody.  Under capitalism, everybody would have an equal opportunity for success.  Communism and socialism try to do away with class, race and status by employing a No Child Left Behind policy.  Communism and socialism set the economic standard as the poorest citizen, and then aspire to drive everybody to that level of poverty.  Communism and socialism use pity as their measuring stick.  Capitalism uses ability as its measuring stick.

Nobody was created equal, at least, not in the sense the government would have you believe.  My talents are different than your talents.  I look different than you, I act different than you.  You and I are not the same.  I enjoy different activities than you.  We don't make the same amount of money.  What communism and socialism aim to do is to make everybody equal in the sense that we all make the same amount of money, all have the same number of cars, all have the same number of kids, all have the same job, and so on.  The government believes that we are all entitled to happiness and success.  That is not the American dream, and we don't have to look further than our own country to see the failings of this mentality.

When you have an economic system that 'takes minorities into account,' you end up with racism under the guise of affirmative action.  Affirmative action breeds racism because it is racism.  Affirmative action mandates that companies look no further than skin color when selecting their employees.  Companies should only hire those most qualified for the job.  They should not hire the blackest applicant, or the whitest applicant.  They should hire the most-able applicant.  Giving somebody handouts because of their skin color only encourages laziness and a sense of entitlement.  You are entitled to what you can earn, nothing more.  The concept of earning has been systematically dilluted with this concept of entitlement.  Now we don't have to earn rewards, we are entitled to rewards.  This mentality is being taught in our schools; you are rewarded for your faults and are told to hide your attributes.

I don't remember a time when a report came out that said America was on top in terms of world education.  The No Child Left Behind act effectively hindered smart children by forcing them to advance at the same pace as the slowest children.  When I was a kid, I read every book I could get my hands on.  I don't remember the last time I saw anybody under the age of 40 reading a book.  It amazes me how uneducated people as a whole are.  It's not just that they are uneducated, it's that they don't even care to be educated.  Part of this is the fault of our education system, part of it is the standards our society fosters, and part of it is the fault of those individuals who do not value knowledge.

In a truly capitalistic economy, there will be classes, there will be poor and there will be wealthy.  The difference is that under capitalism, everybody has equal opportunity according to their ability, whereas under communism and socialism, everybody has a hindrance applied so that their ability matches those least-able.  It's the pursuit of happiness we have a right to; we don't have a right to happiness.

...people who are greedy will continue to exploit the system and keep others down.
The first thing to remember is that currently, America is not a capitalist country.  America has never been a truly capitalist country.  Greed is not a bad thing, in the sense that you want to earn as much money as possible for your labor.  In capitalism, corporations who employed evil practices (blackmail, bullying, shady accounting, etc.) would not be able to sustain themselves.  We need to examine this on a more practical level.

Let's say you have a group 5 friends.  Let's say that one of your friends is manipulative, bullying, and cheats, and you and your other four friends can't stand him because he takes advantage of you.  We are going to examine two scenarios.  The first scenario will be under our current government/economy here in America.  To top off this evil friend's behavior, let's say that your mom absolutely adores him (either because she approves of his methods, or maybe because he is bribing her).  Now, you and your friends can't stand him, and want to tell him to leave you guys alone.  Before you are able to do that, your mom sits down and has a talk with you about how you should give him another chance, and that he's really a nice guy, if you could just see past his faults.  She also says that if you don't get along with him, she will decrease your allowance, ground you, or take away some other 'privilege.'  After the talk, you make the effort to get along with him because you love and trust your mom.  Or, maybe she doesn't talk to you before.  Maybe you and your friends tell this bully to go live his own life.  Then he goes and talks to your mom and tells her that you have been treating him unfairly, so ultimately you are pressured into apologizing to him and giving him a second chance.

Under capitalism, you and your group of friends tell this cheater to leave you alone.  Your mom doesn't say anything, regardless of how she feels, because she knows that you are an individual and can make your own choices and decisions.  Or, she is still being bribed and tells you to give him another chance, but you aren't under any pressure from her because she doesn't hold any power over you (your allowance cannot be lowered because it is directly in proportion to your skill at executing your tasks, you can't be grounded because she has no right to your life, and she can't take away any privilege because that would be theft).

What happens to the bully?  He ends up with no friends and nobody to bribe.

In order to be truly capitalist, there would have to be a drastic change in the mentality of our country, but I have a feeling that if we quit socialism cold-turkey and went to capitalism, that a majority of people would catch on pretty quick.  In capitalism you don't get rewarded for failing, you get rewarded for achieving.

So what is the true problem with capitalism for its opponents?

The problem with capitalism is that the only person you can rely on is yourself.  And that is a frightening thing for those who loath themselves, are fearful of their abilities, and embrace death.  For those of us who are confident, able, and embracers of life, all we need are ourselves and the freedom to achieve.

© Nate Phillipps 2010