Matthew Cooke Video


The above video is about 11 minutes long.

Why are good people so confused?  It seems to me that Matthew Cooke has positive intentions with this video.  He wants to unite the races against the elite. However, he puts forth tired rhetoric about the rich purposely keeping all of us poor.  He promotes ideas such as there being a class struggle and inequality and injustice are the same thing.  He also embraces Howard Zinn’s idea about a caste system that consists of poor blacks, poor whites, and the rich, which completely ignores the existence of a huge middle class made up of all races.

Cooke does make one point that I thought was interesting.  He believes that whites are confused by how the media is constantly focusing on police violence against blacks.  Cooke says that whites make assumptions due to this media focus.  He doesn’t explain what assumptions are made, but I can guess what he means from the train of thought he is putting forth.  He means that whites are making assumptions that blacks are bringing the police brutality on themselves.  The almost exclusive focus of the media on the brutality against blacks can give the impression that it isn’t happening to whites.   People that have a positive view of police could very well come to the conclusion that something these black people are doing is causing the police to react brutally.  I don’t know whether or not this would be a purposeful aim of media in portraying brutality mainly against blacks, but I do think that it could very well feed in to the Us versus Them mentality in racial relationships.

One good thing about Cooke, is that he is a big critic of the drug war.  If there wasn’t drug prohibition, there would not be near the opportunity for police to exercise brutality.







The Coming Crash

I noticed on my Facebook page that stocks are in trouble. The Dow dropped significantly upon open this morning. I read further to find that China’s stock market is crashing. A volatile future is being predicted. Back in 2008, I would have been following this stuff on the edge of my seat. I would have worried about what this meant for our country, my family, our future. While I’m interested, I don’t have the same sense of panic as 7 years ago. We suffered job losses and wage declines as a result of the last crash. We lived through it and we are fine. It could be that this time it is way worse. Fortunately for us, we are resourceful people and we will make due.  We don’t own gold, we don’t have a store of food, but we do have our wits, and that is pretty much where most of the country will be if we do suffer a horrific crash.

Institutionalized for Dementia

There is a little old lady that goes to our church who we also deliver food to.  She lived by herself and she has some dementia.  I don’t know how severe her dementia is, but whenever we delivered food to her, her apartment was always in good order, so she seemed like she was managing to me.  Last week, the state claimed that they were her guardian and locked her away in the memory wing of a long term care facility.  She is not permitted to leave.

She loves my kids, and I thought it would bring her cheer to see them, so we visited her this week.  She is not happy at all about being what she called “institutionalized.”  She was quite plain about wanting her freedom.  She was perfectly lucid when we visited.  I feel really bad for her.

I started asking the ladies at church what happened.  The first one told me that she was getting those fake checks in the mail and repeatedly going to the bank to try and cash them.  She had to walk across a busy street to get to the bank and sometimes she would go several times a day.  She would forget that she had been to the bank, and that the check was not cashable, so she would go back again.  All that told me was what I already knew, she has dementia.  I asked another lady what happened.  It turns out the building manager turned her into the state as not able to live on her own anymore.  The manager was concerned that she wasn’t eating well, that she wasn’t taking her medicines, and of course about her trips to the bank.   I was relieved that it wasn’t someone from our church.  The woman and I talked about how it was like being in prison for her, since she did have long periods of lucidity.  One of the other ladies started to lecture me that it was probably the best place for her because at least she wouldn’t end up hit by a car crossing the busy street to get to the bank.  I had the audacity to question whether it would be better to be free and get hit by a car than to be locked away for the rest of your life.  She was a little taken a back that I could contemplate that.

If it were me, I would want to be free.  Something is eventually going to kill me.  Better to be hit by a car or die from a improper dosing of medicine than to be locked away for the rest of my life.

Late to the Party

Becoming a Rush fan well after their peak is a bit like showing up at the tail end of a party.  People are glad to see you arrive, but they have already had their fun and they are ready to go home.  People still love Rush, but they aren’t into them the same way as they were when they first started listening to them.  I’m still in the honeymoon phase.

I’ve been listening to A Farewell to Kings & Hemispheres quite a bit.  I see what people are saying about Geddy Lee’s “witch-like shriek”.  I cringe at a few of his vocals, but overall I really dig his singing style.  He sings with so much passion and intensity.  I think Peart is an amazing lyricist.  So many other bands, that are great musically, have lyrics that are the same old thing over and over again, like love, betrayal, and loss.  I have always loved lyrics that told a story, and found very little in the rock genre I normally listen to offer much of that.  Peart’s lyrics are quite creative, comparatively, and I’m fascinated by them.

From A Farewell to Kings, I very much enjoy Xanadu.  The idea of this guy pursuing eternal life, finding it, and then finding it to be a living hell, I thought was genius. I wondered about the inspiration, and soon found, through the magic of Google, that there was a famous poem called Kubla Khan that inspired it.  I wondered, what kind of education did this Peart have that he would know about such a thing?  He didn’t know about it.  He originally intended to write a song based on Citizen Kane.  He digressed based on researching the opening lines of the movie which quoted part of the Kubla Khan poem.  I was surprised to find out that he was never happy with the lyrics, when here I think the song is pure brilliance.

On Hemispheres, Cygnus X-1 Book II has captured my imagination.  I think the story has some holes, but the last stanza is so beautiful, in my eyes, that I can’t get over it.

We can walk our road together
If our goals are all the same
We can run alone and free
If we pursue a different aim
Let the truth of love be lighted
Let the love of truth shine clear
Armed with sense and liberty
With the heart and mind united in a single

Collective Judgement

“I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just.”  Thomas Jefferson

This is the saying that my daughter’s composition book used for the student to write about.  It ultimately led to me deciding to go with a different curriculum for writing.  First of all, they didn’t put it in context, so she had to research to see what the country was doing to make Jefferson tremble.  I didn’t mind that so much, as it was a great exercise to understand that you must take sayings in the context they were written.  Then we get to what they want her to write.  They want three praises of the author, and they want her to write about how the statement is correct and illustrate why it is correct.  I thought she was too young to just make a case for TJ’s statement.  We talked at length about how it could be true in one sense, but false in another, before I finally felt comfortable with her doing the work required of her.  It was actually a great conversation, that I enjoyed.  However, what I need from a writing program is for her to learn to write, not a platform to discuss philosophy.

In context, the statement is about slavery.  Jefferson believes that continuing to hold slaves is going to bring God’s judgement on the nation.  In my last post, I was critical of Rabbi Jonathan Cahn for similar concerns.  Cahn went as far as to say that America would go to hell if it continued to ignore and do the opposite of God’s laws.   I didn’t think he meant it in the casual sense that things were going to turn out really poorly.  I took it as God would act in wrath against us.

Now I do believe that God designed the world, and in that design, that there are natural consequences that are reaped for any given action.  That the government of the nation permitted slavery from the onset would have consequences that reached beyond the immediate subjugation of men.  It led to secession, the subsequent invasion of the seceding states, and a horrible war.  Was Thomas Jefferson then right about God’s judgement?  I cannot truly know the mind of God, but I can observe history.   Despite the devastating war between the states, the nation became the most prosperous nation on earth.  The nation faced consequences for legal slavery, this seems true.  However, it did not face the same devastating consequences of being invaded and dispersed as happened to the Israelites.

Will we face consequences for the misdeeds of our government?  Of course.  Is it the judgement of God?  Not in the way I understand how we are going to be judged, as we are to be judged according to what each one of us had done during our life on earth.

Christian Collectivism

God’s Warning to America

I couldn’t get this video to embed, so I just linked it above.  It is like 9 minutes long, with over 10 million views.  I saw it on Facebook and the message is collective.  Rabbi Jonathan Cahn, a Messianic Jewish Rabbi, fears for America because of the Supreme Court decision on Gay Marriage. He goes on and on about how the US was founded for the glory of God.  George Washington swore on a bible during his inauguration, the day concluded with the first government dedicating the nations future to God, and talk of the Puritans, etc. Cahn continues on to talk about how God removed his favor from the Israelites when they turned away from them, and they thus faced his judgement.  America is making the same mistake, according to him, and our land will face Gods judgement as a result.  But, wait a minute here.  Is not Christ going to judge each one of us as an individual, after death?  2 Corinthians 5:20 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.

He is upset that we have driven God out of our culture, our public square, out of our government.  Who is we?  God is very much part of my culture, my day to day actions, and I look to Christ as my righteous King.   I can’t control what the heck everyone else is doing.

He lays abortion at the feet of all of us.  There is nothing I can do about abortion.  Voting is not going to stop it.  We had a Republican president & Congress and yet we still have legal abortion.  That is ridiculous to blame “we” for the mass of children aborted.  The people performing and getting abortions are to blame for it, not the absurd collective “we”.

Then he gets to the Supreme Court legalizing same sex marriage.  He thinks the court is trying to overturn the word of God.  Did not God give us free will?  Since free will is a gift from God, then what right do we have to make laws that restrict the free will of others, when it does not violate our rights?  Cripes, we shouldn’t be going to government to define marriage in the first place. Marriage belongs in the church, not the courthouse.  So, per Cahn, God is going to judge not only the Justices, but the entire nation because same sex marriage is legal.  Again, individual judgement and it is ridiculous to blame all of us when we have no control over what our government does.

He goes on to declare that our God is not Baal, our God is not Moloch, our God is not Government, and on and on.  We will not bow down to any of these, but we will bow down to the Lord our God.  Some trust in Wall Street, some trust in princes, some trust in Supreme Courts, some trust in governments, etc. but we will trust in the Lord our God.  Only if America does this, we will not go to hell. And here we are again.  Salvation is individual.  An entire nation is not going to go to hell.  I’m sorry this gentleman is stuck in the collective mindset.  He is a great speaker.  I wish he would look at what he is actually saying.  Yes, we should put not our trust in princes.  Yes, we should put our trust in the Lord our God.  If we trust the Lord our God, then we have to say “He’s got this.”  Live our lives in devotion to Him and love others and our enemies, and rest assured that He has everything under control.

If we are not to put our trust in princes, if we are not to bend our knee and worship government, then why would we be going to keep looking to have government (corrupt to the core) to lead a nation to glorify God?

The Importance of Language and Thought

In the Liberty Classroom lecture titled What a Piece of Work is Man, Casey makes the point that language and the capacity for embracing ideas led not only to social cooperation at a level not seen in any other part of the animal kingdom, but also to large scale warfare.  It isn’t that man is inherently violent, it is that he can communicate, embrace ideas, and act in concert with other humans based on those ideas.

I’m currently reading For Causes & Comrades: Why Men Fought in the Civil War by James M. McPherson. The author went through about 25,000 letters from Civil War soldiers to attempt an understanding at their motivations for fighting.  Practically none of them were fighting because they were brutes.  Many noted how the men that were bullies at home, tended to be the most fearful of soldiers.  The bravest tended to be the men who had the most ideological motives. There was also social pressure the soldiers put on one another, basically being that a real man doesn’t shirk his duty in battle.  However, it seems to me that even that was based in the ideological notion of going to battle out of devotion to a nation.  Of course the motivations are mixed and complex, but overall, you can see that to risk one’s life in battle comes from devotion to various ideas.

To gain peace and harmony, the ideas people embrace need to reflect a devotion to peace.  This is why promoting liberty is so important.  It is important to help people gain an understanding of how cooperation leads to peace while coercion leads to violence and wars.  It is also important that we look upon all mankind as neither inferior or superior to one another.  For instance there is a current line of thought going around that “You can’t trust the Iranians.”  Like there is something inherently wrong with Iranians.  You may not be able to trust them, but it isn’t because they are Iranian.  You can’t even trust your own government, so of course it is logical that you wouldn’t trust the Iranian government either.  It is naive to believe that your government is going to protect you from them and that they are some how different than you, that leads to the us versus them mentality that perpetuates the division of mankind.

I realize people will think me naive to suppose that we can get along by changing the way people think.  It is true that as long as some people believe that violence is the way to accomplish their goals, that the rest of us are at risk of being victims of violence.  The way I see it, that is just a risk of life, that you might become someone’s victim.  In my opinion, people that act peacefully are far less likely to become victims than those who are belligerent.  Live by the sword, die by the sword.  You are going to die at some point anyway, be it disease, accident or violence.  Wouldn’t we rather strive to live in peace during our time on earth than trying to convert others at gunpoint, thus continuing the cycle of violence?



Why Blog?

There are so many blogs out there.  People have limited time to read.  Only so many are going to actually become popular with regular readers.  Competition, don’t you know.  Which, of course, being a libertarian, I’m all in favor of competition.

Some people make money from their blog.  Obviously, you need to have readers in order to make money.  Advertisers are willing to pay you if your blog is getting a large number of views.  I have a friend that regularly makes money on her blog, but she blogs about all things centered around children.  She doesn’t blog about ideas that appeal to only a small niche.  Libertarianism is a small niche.

I didn’t start my blog with the idea I was going to make money.  I started it because I like to write.  Previously, I had been getting my writing fix in by debating people on-line.  After a number of years, I realized that on-line debating was not compatible with the life I want to and need to lead right now.  I debated in what I will call hostile territory.   If you were not able to stick around for the debate as it unfolded, the tide would turn against you with so many people chiming in against you with ridiculous posts, that it was very hard to come back to it and address all that had been leveled at you.  Because of this, I liked to debate when I had some time to stick around and argue as points were presented.  I liked it so much, I often found myself spending way too much time on it, and other things that I needed to do suffered as a result.  Earlier this year, I decided I needed to take a break because of my tendency to get sucked into debates and procrastinate on the responsibilities that needed my attention.

After I ceased on-line debate, I spent a little time blogging for my friend who makes money on her blog.  While she paid me, it just wasn’t as fun or fulfilling as writing about things I personally care about.  And I do care about liberty, very much.  I decided to spend my time learning more about the cause, with the aid of my new smart phone.  I began listening to Tom Woods podcasts, and he kept urging people to start a blog and then promised free publicity.  I bit.

I realized from the beginning that it would be difficult, if not impossible, to get a big enough following to gain advertisers.  I also realized it was going to be difficult for me to gain any regular followers.  I’m a little guarded in real life about saying stuff with which people disagree, so I am not about to run to all my in real life statist friends and tell them to come check out my blog.  Therefore, I am self limiting my audience.  I’m cool with that for now.  My liked minded internet friends?  I doubt they are going to regularly read me either, because it is much more interesting to follow a good debate than it is to read someone writing personal thoughts.

I am used to feedback, from all my on-line debating days.  It is taking some getting used to writing without feedback.  I had a few comments, and I am way too appreciative of those.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.

So.  Here I am.  I get that I probably am not going to have dedicated followers.  That is OK.  I was aware that was most likely going to be the case, though I would be incredibly happy if people did follow me.  At the risk of exposing myself as a complete dork, my motto toward blogging comes from this line from Rush’s song Anthem:

Yet it was for me not you
I came to write this song

Basically, I’m writing this blog for my own benefit.  It is a place to let out all the libertarian thoughts that roll around in my head.  It is a place to let loose comments that my in real life friends will just not get.  It is a place to practice arguments and lines of thoughts for some day in the future.  Some day in the future I hope to either have more time on my hands, or more self discipline so that I may resume on-line debate.


Do We Owe a Debt to the State?

Do we owe a debt to the state?  That is the question that came to my mind when I was listening to one of Gerard Casey’s lectures, Gardens of Eden.   Frequently, people are told they should not object to paying taxes because of all the state does for us.  It is said that we wouldn’t be in the position we are today without the state.  I don’t think it is a valid argument for an obligation to pay taxes, because the state does a multitude of things with which I disagree and I would not pay but for coercion. However, Casey makes the point that governments arose with the transition of villages, to chiefdoms, to cities.  In essence, government and civilization have been intertwined from the beginning.

Today a thought of horror entered my mind as I contemplated civilization.  I found myself blogging yesterday that I felt a debt of gratitude for all the things our predecessors had done and gone through to bring to us the world of abundance in which we now live.   If I feel that I am indebted to the hunter gatherers for leaving a life of relative freedom for the stability of food supply in agriculture, then should I also feel gratitude toward the early chiefs  and rulers that were part of advancing civilization.  Yikes.  I can hardly feel positive emotions for a ruling class.  Yet there it is, part of the history that brought us to where we are today.

States and governments are a big part of history, and just because they exist and have existed, doesn’t make them the correct way for humans to get along.  On a personal level, you often have to make mistakes to figure out the correct way to do something.  Why wouldn’t it be that way on a societal level also?  Most of the world has rejected the divine right of kings in favor of representative governments, because of the oppression and tyranny of which the kings were guilty.  What we are witnessing in our time is that limited, representative government does not stay that way.  Our supposedly limited government has more codes than anyone can reasonably keep track, pursues people for victimless crimes, and wages wars without declaring them. If we were somehow able to diminish government to a constitutional level, what would keep it limited this time? If there was opportunity to change, would we try limited government again, or would we try something different, like competing non-territorial governments or no state at all?

In conclusion, I don’t feel a debt to the statists that ruled through-out history. That humans experienced the greatest advancements when there was the most freedom, makes me think those statists were holding humankind back, and that is nothing to look back upon with gratitude.


The Agricultural Revolution

I have read people who think the agricultural revolution was somewhat of a curse.  For instance, they think the earth would be better off if we, humans, were reduced to hunter/gatherers. We wouldn’t be exploiting the earths resources if we just took from nature that which we needed for subsistence. Others, think our social/family relations would be improved if we treated our babies as hunter/gatherers did, constantly carrying our babies and maintaining a long term nursing relationship.  Some like the idea of no or minimal possessions that come with the hunter/gatherer way of life.  They think humans materialistic ways lead to conflict and disharmony.

I’ve started listening to a Liberty Classroom course, The History of Political Thought.  I’m going to begin blogging about some of what is discussed.

The first lecture by Gerard Casey was about the beginnings of human history.  He mentioned that some thought the agricultural revolution could have been a necessary adaptation.  He also mentioned that it did not significantly raise the standard of living since there was a corresponding population increase.  He said that the standard of living from then until the 18th century was virtually unchanged.

I think about that a lot, how our western standard of living is so dramatically better than that of our ancestors, or that of third world countries.  I marvel at it.

While I think it is a very worthwhile pursuit to understand where we came from, and even take some ideas from early man, I don’t get the nostalgia for it.  For instance, I think carrying your babies and long nursing relationships are terrific, but even better if you aren’t living hand to mouth.  I think eating whole foods and eschewing processed foods makes great sense for your health, but that I can go to the store and buy these things and don’t have to spend every waking moment trying to find nutrition is a huge boon!

Part of me does feels sorry for the people that traded a life of the freedom of being a hunter/gatherer for the stationary life of agriculture with little material comfort gain.   I feel indebted to those people for the all the things we have today as a result of that change.  I’m happy for all the luxuries and time saving devices that enhance my life, that I don’t think could have occurred without a stationary society.