Archive for June, 2011

For equality, we must redistribute eyeballs fairly, my friends

by David McElroy

Madam Speaker, I rise today in support of H.R. 7035, the Federal Eyeball Inequality Act of 2020.

Our great nation was founded on the principles of liberty and equality. Without liberty, we can’t be equal. Without equality, we can’t have liberty. So when some Americans are treated unequally, it’s an assault on the liberty of each and every one of us. We have a sacred duty to those Founding Fathers who fought and bled for our freedom to bring equality to every American.

Some may say that we are free and we are equal, because we see freedom and we see equality everywhere. But do we? Sadly, not all of us see those things equally — because not all of us see equally well. It is to rectify this incredible injustice that I beg you to join me in using the full moral might of this government to bring equal sight to all. To do less than pass this legislation is to confess before all of us that you hate equality and that you hate liberty.

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Idiotic idea of the year: Turn email over to the U.S. Postal Service

by David McElroy

Some people are addicted to the idea that government-enforced monopolies are a good way to get things done. They’re idiots. I don’t any way to be polite. Some ideas don’t deserve to be taken seriously. They deserve to be ridiculed and treated with contempt.

John C. Dvorak is an idiot. I already knew that before today, but he cemented his place in the Idiot Hall of Fame with a column he wrote for PC Magazine last week. Dvorak — who we’ll call The Idiot for the remainder of this article — has been trolling the Internet for years by making absurd predictions and saying factually inaccurate things, but I suppose the magazine keeps him around because people know who he is and because he at least gets people to come click on the site to view ads. This time, though, he’s into territory that I wouldn’t expect the Onion to go.

The Idiot has proposed that our email system would be better off if we turned it over to the U.S. Postal Service. No, I’m not kidding. No, he doesn’t seem to be kidding. No, it’s not April Fool’s Day.

I’m not going to demolish The Idiot’s argument. I’m not going to even go over it point by point. I merely bring it up to point of that as long as we live in a system that allows other people to rule over us, we are at the mercy of idiots such as Dvorak. If enough people agree with The Idiot, we could have our email — run by various companies competing with each other — taken away and turned over to government-sponsored employees.

Only an idiot could think that’s a good idea.

Note: I have friends who work for the USPS. Some of them aren’t idiots. Some are quite bright. It’s the monopoly top-down system that’s the problem.

Appeals to ‘common sense’ are frequently excuses to avoid thinking

by David McElroy

It used to be common sense that black people were inferior to white people. It used to be common sense that man couldn’t build heavier-than-air machines that would fly. It used to be common sense that fireproof asbestos was a wonderful substance to build with. And it used to be common sense that a rocket couldn’t possibly operate in the vacuum of space.

We all recognize each of those as fallacies today, but they were the accepted conventional wisdom of their days. When are people going to learn that what they see as “common sense” is frequently just a sum total of the biases they’ve picked up along the way?

It’s frustrating to me that so many people have no patience for intellectual complexity and nuance. They’re so impatient (and fundamentally anti-intellectual, in some cases) that they can’t take the time and effort to understand something other than the conventional wisdom that they know — even if they complain about the status quo. They can’t see outside of a very small box.

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Who holds power in a society? Follow the money — to D.C., in our case

by David McElroy

It’s not difficult to know where power lies in a society. Just watch where the money accumulates. As the United States grew in the 19th century, the money was in New York City and the other major centers of commerce and industry. The Industrial Revolution was creating wealth like nothing that had ever been seen, and it was reflected in the places where the ideas originated and the work was being done.

As the country grew westward, there were pockets of opportunity and money created wherever people were doing interesting and exciting things to create something new. The Midwest became a center for agriculture and various types of industry. Bigger cities in the South started growing, including here in Birmingham, where it was called “the Pittsburgh of the South” because of it being a major center of steel production. California became home to the wealth of the new and growing entertainment industry. And Silicon Valley eventually boomed when it became the center of the high-tech world.

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Fly your freak flag: You’re not going to ruin your kids with ‘crazy’ genes

by David McElroy

I’ve been thinking a lot in the last six months about children. I don’t mean in the political sense of “Let’s do it for the children,” but in the real-world sense of what it means to raise happy and emotionally healthy children who can be entrusted with the future of the human race.

It was one simple idea that started me down this trail, but it’s led to places I didn’t expect. I was listening to a historian talk about the recent world financial crisis. He made a simple off-hand remark that companies such as banks are run with an eye on the next quarter of the year when they ought to be run with an eye on the next thousand years. He moved along to various other points, but I’m not sure I heard anything after that.

I was captivated by the question of how I would live the rest of my life if my eye were on 3011 instead of 2011. What plans would I make if I were making a plan for what my family might achieve over hundreds of years instead of what I might personally achieve over a life of mere decades?

This thought experiment led me to consider what would be necessary to build a family that had long-term objectives and values that some of them would choose to pursue. It was such a revolutionary thought that it changed everything about the way I plan things. I’m not so worried now about what I can achieve in my own life. I’m much more concerned with the question of how I can lay a foundation for future generations to build on. Suddenly, it feels less as though it’s about achieving things for my own ego and much more about leaving something that can have a chance of helping to change the world for the better.

If you’re thinking in terms of future generations building on a foundation, it suddenly becomes even more important what kind of offspring you have and how you raise them. Over the past six weeks or so, I’ve written a lot about changes I see coming in the world and how we can seize opportunities to change the world in a post-statist era. But right now, I just want to talk about the matter of children.

Three things have really focused my attention even further on what it means to raise the right kind of children. I could point to a number of different influences, but I’m going to specifically mention three things that weigh on my thoughts today and have led to me thinking about the issue heavily all weekend.

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Media bias: ‘They can state the facts while telling a lie’

by David McElroy

I roll my eyes at most charges of media bias. I used to be a journalist, so I recognize that a lot of complaints about bias and unfairness simply boil down to people not liking it that reporters don’t tell stories from whatever point of view they happen to agree with. But every now and then, serious examples of unfair journalism jump out at me.

Michael Strong sent me a story Friday in which the public radio show Marketplace talked about the idea of free economic zones existing inside countries that have draconian rules otherwise. (I’ve talked before about developments leading toward free cities, so take a look here, here and here if you haven’t seen them.) It was nice to see the idea of free economic zones at least be mentioned in a news story — because it’s frequently ignored — but I want to point out two things. Once you’ve read the story, tell me which parts stand out starkly as not fitting the rest.

First, there’s the headline, which isn’t supported in the story at all: “Separate and unequal economies in the Arab world.” Unless you live under a rock, it’s very, very clear what the headline writer is trying to imply. He’s trying to invoke the Jim Crow world of “separate but equal” when it comes to schools and public facilities in the United States. Although the story has nothing to do with that — and it’s a very dishonest characterization of the situation — the headline writer has clearly decided to express his disapproval by disdainfully making it clear that what’s going on is just as wrong as forcing black Americans to drink from different water fountains.

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Your healing can begin with Political Junkies Anonymous

by David McElroy

I’ve already done the hardest part. I’ve confessed that I was once a serious addict — a political junkie addicted to the highs of winning elections and helping my ideological bedfellows take over part of the world.

But as a recovering political prostitute, it’s time for me to try to help others make a break from their addictions, too. So I’m happy to announce the founding of Political Junkies Anonymous.

If you’re a political junkie, you already know it in your heart — and you know you need help. You’ve found yourself caring more about elections than real life. You’ve made the mistake of thinking that it really mattered whether your favorite candidate won. Worst of all, you’ve taken buffoons such as Bill O’Reilly and Keith Olbermann seriously. Yes, my friends, you need help.

Here at Political Junkies Anonymous, you can meet with other political junkies who have come to understand that majoritarian political systems are just traps that let you compete with other groups to impose your will on everybody else. We can jointly admit that we love the drive for that power — and we can help each other as we seek to learn to leave other people alone to live their lives as they choose. The program has two levels — one for the casual abuser and another for the hardcore cases who’ve turned to political prostitution.

Like any good 12-step program, we have a system for you to work through. Take a look at our steps and see if you’re ready to admit you’re a junkie and begin breaking free:

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Not satire this time: In New Zealand, one model cries discrimination

by David McElroy

After Tuesday’s satire about ugly people suing for the right to become models, I got some evidence that my satire didn’t go far enough. In New Zealand, an ethnically Indian model has gotten a lot of publicity with her recent changes that she isn’t hired for enough jobs because she’s Indian. Redmond Weissenberger sent me a link to a piece done for the website of the Ludwig von Mises Institute just a few months ago. It’s well-worth a read to see how people are conditioned today to believe that the state’s rhetoric about equality means the realities of the marketplace don’t apply to them.

This is a good opportunity to mention that I’m a big fan of the Mises Institute. The organization is headquartered just a couple of hours down the road from me in Auburn, Ala. (As a University of Alabama alum, I’m not terribly happy with the group’s proximity to my school’s biggest rival, Auburn University, but I try not to hold that against them. Honest.)

Weissenberger is the director of the very new Mises Institute of Canada, which deserves your attention and support, too, especially if you’re in Canada. You can read blog posts from Weissenberger and others, too, for a Canadian perspective on freedom.

OMG! There’s Discrimination in the Modeling Industry!

 

Ugly people sue modeling industry alleging unlawful discrimination

by David McElroy

The fashion world and major modeling agencies were shaken today by news that the National Association for Ugly People (NAUP) has sued a wide group of designers, agencies and photographers, alleging that the defendants have engaged in a widespread conspiracy of illegal discrimination against less-attractive people.

“For too long, it’s been acceptable for pretty women and hunky men to be on the front covers of magazines and strutting down fashion runways,” said Fenster Beckworth, the executive director of NAUP. “Our members have been the invisible people of this world, cleaning their toilets, cooking their meals and running their cash registers. It’s time for ugly people to get their day in the limelight.”

Beckworth said because ugliness is a birth defect that many people have no control over, it is covered under the Americans With Disabilities Act and that discriminating on the basis of looks is flatly illegal.

Bertha Dalrymple, 36, of Wimington Heights, Tenn., is the lead plaintiff in the suit. (See photo provided by NAUP.) Beckworth said Dalrymple has tried unsuccessfully for more than 15 years to get modeling jobs, but she’s been turned down despite having high qualifications. Dalrymple took several years of modeling classes as a teen-ager and is a member of multiple professional organizations.

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‘All animals are equal, but [deaf] animals are more equal than others’

by David McElroy

I’m sympathetic to conditions of people who were born with disabilities or somehow become disabled during their lives, but I lose sympathy for those people when they try to use political power to force the rest of society to do what they want.

Unfortunately, more and more militant advocacy groups for disabled people are using the state to compel companies to do what they want. They’re getting away with it because most of the people who think it’s ridiculous have been shamed into being quiet — for fear of being criticized for lack of compassion.

Deaf activists filed a lawsuit against Netflix last week claiming that the movie rental company is violating the Americans with Disabilities Act because it doesn’t yet offer closed captioning for most of its movies. Netflix says it wants to offer more movies with closed captioning, but that there are technical issues standing in the way. The National Association for the Deaf says that’s not good enough.

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Start over here

When this site launched in 2011, it was intended as a way to find others who were sick of partisan politics and wanted to connect with like-minded people who were ready to go beyond politics and find ways of escaping. It has shifted focus in ways that reflect my own shifting thinking. I’m less interested in politics and more interested in looking at the things that make life worth living, such as love, creation, self-understanding and connecting with others. Every article I have posted since 2011 is still in my archives, but everything I write is a reflection of my current thinking. Sometimes I’m wrong — and that’s fine with me — and I don’t always end up agreeing with what I wrote five years ago. For now, you can still read what I wrote about the site’s purpose in 2011, but I should rewrite this. Read more.

Contact David

David likes email, but can’t reply to every message. I get a surprisingly large number of requests for relationship advice — seriously — but I rarely have the time to respond. (Sorry.) Besides, with my own romantic track record, maybe my advice isn’t worth taking. I’d like to find a wife one of these days, so maybe I should add an “application.”

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