Mixed Bag

I have been working my ass off this week, and I haven't been able to bloviate on any of the week's happenings. So, here is a grab bag of bullshit.
1. President Bush injected a bit of common sense into the immigration debate by pointing out that deporting 11 million people is unrealistic. The bottom line is that they are here to stay and more will be coming. This is a good thing. America should be an open country where people are free to come, work, live their lives, or what have you. I applaud the President for being right on this. But don't worry, I'll be criticizing that fuckhead before this article is done.
2. President Bush is a fuckhead for calling for measures to go after price gougers on oil and spouting off a bunch of liberal claptrap about "oil addiction." Reagan is spinning in his grave.
I expect to differ with Republicans on social issues but not on economic issues esp. when it comes to energy. Bush has sold out. And why? To deflect criticism from Operation Clusterfuck over there in Iraq. There's your reason for high gas prices. Yet, the President has negated a potentially damaging argument against the war by turning his guns on our own addiction to oil. It was a shrewd political maneuver which the Left can't really overcome since it is their argument.
Expect more of these shenanigans as the election comes near.
3. I had a co-worker say he will join the counter-protest this Monday as Mexcians take to the streets to protest proposals meant to deport them or keep others from coming here. I could have taken him seriously to task for being such a shithead on this issue, but I have decided to follow what I call the Time and Place Rule.
Like it or not, politics and religion are sensitive topics. Ironically, they are the chief ones in which I am involved. OTOH, I don't want all my conversations with either friends or coworkers to end up being a debate about tyranny or the fossil record. I like to debate, but I also like to talk about the weather, tell dirty jokes, and flirt with the chicks. It's hard to do all this while pontificating on all my issues at the risk of being boorish. So, I relegate my speechmaking to my blog here, letters to the editor, and whatever public speaking opportunities may present themselves.
The Time and Place Rule means I have to listen to a lot of stupid shit and keep my mouth closed. Believe me, the things I hear people say are just utterly moronic. Just the other day, the new guy at work says he couldn't understand why they didn't raise the cigarette tax here in SC. He said it was a "no-brainer." It's hard for me to let such sweet fat pitches glide across the plate without swinging at them. But that's what I do because it is neither the TIME or the PLACE.
4. The Celebrate Freedom Festival folks have elected to move their shindig to another location other than Camden. I am neither pleased nor displeased with this. I like airplanes and want to fly them if I ever get the time and money. But I did side with some local residents over the noise debate which is essentially a property rights issue. The organizers didn't mention it, but I think that debate played a major part in their decision to pull up stakes.
5. There has been some debate over whether or not a botched lethal injection is cruel and unusual punishment making it unconstitutional. Now, I'm not fond of the death penalty, but it isn't because I am sympathetic to murderers who I think should have their balls cut off before being lethally injected. My opposition to the death penalty comes from the fact that innocent people have been acquitted while doing time on death row. The death penalty is just in principle but often unjust in practice. With that said, these death penalty opponents make a stupid argument. C-mon folks, do you really care if some rapist murder child molester scumbag might be conscious enough to feel his heart give out while on the gurney? I know I don't.
The fact is that many murderers meet a fate that is kinder than the ones they perpetrated upon their victims. I remember one case from almost two decades ago where some sicko killed a lady by forcing Drano down her throat. I'd rather be shot or hung by the neck than forced to drink Drano. So, do I care if murderers suffer? No. But with that said, I'd rather see that guy languish in prison than see an innocent man executed while the real killer goes free.
6. The State called for laws and regulations to curb what I call "white trash finance." These are those payday advance places, title loan outlets, and finance companies that basically exploit ignorant working people's fundamental stupidity in all things monetary. And naturally, I oppose any such proposals. The editors at The State are some really stupid fuckers, and I will take some time this weekend on sending them some education on this matter.
7. The NFL should consider abolishing the draft and let college players elect to play for who they want to play for. Besides, it is all a crapshoot.

Gas Prices

Gas prices are going back up which is no surprise. The other thing which is no surprise is that people are screaming over the fact that oil companies are actually making money. The horrors!!
Prices are determined by the interplay between supply and demand. The current high gas prices have been created primarily by a possible war with Iran in addition to the real war in Iraq. Secondarily, domestic drilling and refining of petroleum in the USA has been curtailed by the environmental movement in addition to those who have a "not in my backyard" mindset. Ultimately, the high price of gas lies with government and its actions.
One of the ironies is how those on the Left who decried cheap gas and lobbied for an increase in the gas tax are now crying about the high gas prices which only supports my belief that the Greens are really Reds. They care less about the environment than they do about wrecking capitalism.
The shitheads are now going after "price gougers" and greedy capitalists. In effect, they are calling for price controls which were tried with disastrous consequences under the Nixon administration back in the 1970's. Bad ideas like this never die. They get recycled at a later time when amnesia has set in.
The reality is that gasoline is not a human right. If you don't like high gas prices, you are free to pursue opportunities in petroleum or resort to a more fuel efficient vehicle. Eventually, prices will go down as market players work to take advantage of those high prices while consumers conserve. We see that the pricing mechanism is the best way to deal with the problem of this scarcity and provides the incentives to get things done.
In the meantime, I have to watch the economic illiterates piss and moan against something that is as elemental as gravity. It amazes me how stupid the public is, and how easily they are manipulated by the politicians into agreeing to things that make no fucking sense whatsoever. Telling oil companies that they don't have a right to make money is the same as stealing it. Legislation to end profitmaking would be a direct assault on the progress made during the Industrial Revolution. Clearly, this is not in our best interest. But you better believe these communist fucknuts will give it a try.

Property Taxes

Property taxes have been a big debate in the SC General Assembly this year, and I can tell you how it will end. There will be a modest decrease in property taxes with a modest increase in the sales tax. Later, those property taxes will be increased. I could be wrong on the details, but if you're a SC taxpayer, I can tell you that you will find your anal sphincter widened at some point in the future to accomodate an even larger tax phallus and a lame promise of a complementary reacharound.
The best way to reform the property tax is to abolish it. Property taxes are inherently unjust because they actually take away a fundamental human right--the right to property. Decide not to pay these taxes and see what happens. You will find that your home isn't your castle at all.
The stalemate in the General Assembly comes from two factors:
1. The property owners of SC (who vote) are pissed off about property taxes.
2. There seems to be no other group that can be soaked to offset cutting these property taxes.
The only logical solution would be a cut in programs and education. This won't happen. That's because the same people who are tired of paying taxes would be aghast to give up public education and other government goodies and turn to the free market to fulfill their needs. (Yes, the public is really this stupid.)
It will be interesting to see how this gets resolved, but I think my prediction in my intro will come true. The key to being a successful politician is to make promises you can't keep and then overcoming the inevitable disappointment by making more empty promises. It's not that hard when you realize how stupid the voting public is.

Illegal Immigration and Bigotry

I can't help when I read or watch CNN concerning the current illegal immigration controversy and noticing how so much of the opposition to illegal immigrants is nothing more than concealed prejudice. Like it or not, a lot of white folks don't really want these "beaners" in their communities.
This shit bothers me because I lived with a Mexican for a year, and he was the nicest, hardest working fellow I have ever known. In addition, I have met many others who simply wanted to work and live. They are an asset to our country, and I don't care if they got here legally or illegally.
Much of the arguments against these people are based on faulty reasoning and ignorance of the basics of economics. I agree that giving these people welfare from the state coffers is wrong, but the reason this is so is because of the flaws of welfare not the fact that Mexicans receive it. Even if there were no immigrants, these programs are fucking stupid purely on the basis of principle.
Economically, history shows that immigration is shown to be a net positive. Immigrants improve the economy by providing necessary labor. They are also customers who want to buy our goods and services. Yet here are some of the stupid things I here from opponents:
1. These people are importing poverty.
This is blatantly retarded. Did the Irish bring their poverty here? How about the Italians? Does Florida import poverty when someone like me leaves South Carolina to go down there and work? Do Indian doctors import their poverty here?
This is based on the zero sum thinking that our economy is a pie, and your slice of the pie automatically gets smaller if these immigrants get some of it. But if this were true, the most populous countries on earth should be steadily getting poorer. Instead, they are getting richer. India and China are the fastest growing economies in the world today primarily because of their populations. They are a rich market of consumers and workers.
It amazes me how many right wing folks have embraced this zero sum thinking which comes from Marxist dogma. But they don't care where it came from so long as it can be used to justify their racism.
2. These people are sending "our" money home to their countries of origin.
Jose comes here, busts his ass, and sends half his paycheck home to support his mother in Mexico. I don't have a problem with this because it is Jose's money. He earned the money, so why shouldn't he be able to send it where he wants? Yet, some ignorant white fuck somewhere will argue that his money still belongs to our country. How did we get to this kind of stupidity?
Here's a newsflash. If you earned the money, it belongs to YOU. Not to anyone else. To say otherwise is to endorse slavery. Should my state get upset if Joe Schmo sends money back to Jersey? No. In fact, there would be an uproar if anyone even tried to stop Joe from spending his money the way he sees fit. Yet, change his name to Jose, and people will claim that he is doing something wrong for trying to help out his family back home in Mexico. What is Jose supposed to do? Jose is supposed to spend his money here because it really isn't his money but our money. We're just letting him borrow it for a little while. I call this theft, and Jose isn't the thief.
3. Mexicans hurt American workers.
Without a doubt, an increased supply of labor drives down the price of that labor. This is the law of supply and demand. To this extent, American workers are "hurt." What isn't told is how the American consumer benefits from lower prices on the goods and services he or she decides to purchase. Though American workers might make less, they are more likely to be able to afford a home because it was built with cheap immigrant labor. In addition, this will spur Americans to offer more as employees.
In a free market, you have to work. This is the way it is. You can't get something for nothing. But as we see, it is the Mexicans who work hard (though they are called lazy and worthless) while Americans expect to get paid top dollar for doing nothing. These lazy worthless fuckers want the government to protect them from having to sweat and offer something. This is pure communist claptrap, and it makes me want to puke.
The beauty of the free market is that it punishes the lazy and the stupid. Socialism does the opposite by rewarding these things. If you need evidence of this, look no farther than France. Ironically, even their immigrants now refuse to work but expect a job and a comprehensive social safety net to be "rights" which cannot be taken away because they may have a problem such as an inability to get out of the bed three mornings out of the week.
Work is not a curse. Work is fun. It is fun to learn new things and be productive. It instills pride. Yet, there are many in the US who don't share these beliefs and values and insist that they be subsidized and protected in their laziness. It is no wonder I can't get what I ordered at Burger King. Those people can't be bothered to get the order right. Yet, they deserve $12 to $15 an hour for fucking up those orders. It's nice to know that we will have an ample supply of government workers and inept bureaucrats from this pool of worthless fucks.
Immigration is a triumph of the free market. The fact that much of it is illegal comes from the universal truth that if you eliminate a free market a black market will emerge. The bigots may scream and cry about this, but the market always wins. INS looks the other way on this shit now. I can go round up a dozen or more illegals right now, but the authorities don't care. Hell, the government has even made it possible for illegals to pay taxes even though they don't have citizenship or a green card and are here in violation of the law. I think this is a beautiful thing.
Americans may say they hate illegal immigration, but they are voting with their dollars. And that vote says that immigrants are welcome here. We want to hire them, and we want to sell them goods and services. They have enriched us already in many ways, and the only drawbacks (welfare and organized crime) come primarily from shitheaded policies such as socialism and the war on drugs that are only incidentally related to immigrants.
So, what should the US do about this? That's simple. Open the borders. Let them come. Let them work. Let them live and breathe and enjoy the freedom. Liberty is a good thing, and don't let the Nazis in our society tell you differently.

Geese and Golden Eggs

Once upon a time, there was a farmer and his wife who happened upon a goose who would lay a golden egg each day. This egg was enough to satisfy the needs of the farmer and his wife for that day. The goose would lay an egg each day for the farmer and his wife, and the couple was very happy because this wonderful bird provided for them each and every day.
But as with all good stories, you know the farmer and his wife wasn't happy with this arrangement. They became greedy and wanted more. So, they tried to get the goose to lay an extra egg each day. First, they tried feeding it. This did not work. Then, they tried starving it and abusing it. But it was all to no avail. The goose kept on laying that one egg per day. In frustration, the farmer and his wife took a butcher knife to the goose and sliced it open in an attempt to get all the golden eggs at one time. But there were no eggs inside just goose guts. Their good fortune now ended, the farmer and his wife returned to their life of toil.
What is the moral of this story? That should be pretty fucking simple. If you are lucky enough to get such a goose, don't cut the fucker open. Be content with what it gives.
I cannot tell you how many times I have seen people do the same stupidity as the farmer and his wife. For instance, every single one of the managers I have known in all my jobs insisted on taking their stellar performers and working them into the ground, mistreating them, or what have you. Then they act surprised when those good people elect to leave and why all the rest of their remainining workers are shitbags. Sad to say, good performance is more often punished than rewarded.
I don't know why things are this way or why this phenomenon is so universal. And yes, I have been the unfortunate goose more times than I count. I haven't had a boss yet who did not get greedy and try to take more than I could ever give. I think I give value for the dollar, and I never promise to deliver what I am unable to do. But inevitably, gratitude leads to greed which leads to ingratitude and ultimately, betrayal. A good employee is more likely to be fired than a bad employee especially if the manager likes to personalize the situation as many do.
I honestly don't have a solution for this problem. I don't want to be a shitbag employee, but I also don't want to be cut open for the sake of shit I simply can't deliver on. Why can't my golden egg be enough especially when that is all I have?

The Cigarette Tax Revisited

The State published an edited version of my letter opposing an increase in the cigarette tax here in SC. I also read that the tax hike was defeated. It is a small victory but still sweet.
I wrote another letter to The State which I really doubt will be published since this issue is now dead. I hate to let such bloviating go to waste, so I will publish it here:
Dear editor,

I was disappointed to read the State's editorial
supporting an increase in the cigarette tax. I oppose
such an increase both on the basis of principle as
well as a practical matter.

Without a doubt, people engage in behaviors that are
self-destructive. I think smoking would definitely
qualify as one of those behaviors. But should society
or the government go around policing people's
lifestyle choices? Where does this logic lead? Should
we tax Big Macs or Cokes?

The price of freedom is that we let people suffer the
consequences of their choices. This may seem "cruel,"
but I don't go around forcing people to smoke, do
drugs, drink, or whatever else they choose to do. Why
is it anyone's business what people decided to put
into their bodies? And who are they hurting besides

The State justifies increasing the cigarette tax
because it will supposedly decrease teen smoking.
Well, why stop there? Why not outlaw tobacco entirely?
If saving children's lives is so important, why not
send out SLED agents to torch tobacco fields,
confiscate tobacco products, and imprison those who
cultivate or sell tobacco? I suspect such measures
will be about as successful as the experiment with
Prohibition or the current war on drugs.

This issue is not about protecting lives but about
enriching the state government by increasing taxes
without raising the public's ire. Cigarettes are a
favorite target because it automatically brings the
support of those who despise smoking while alienating
and demonizing those who do smoke. It is cynicism of
the most nauseating sort.

By declaring support for a cigarette tax increase, the
State newspaper has declared itself to be anti-liberty
and pro-government. But since any tyranny can be
justified for the sake of the public health, why not
sponsor legislation requiring that all newspapers run
public service announcements against teen smoking on
the front page? Surely, we can't let the principle of
freedom of the press stand in the way of saving lives.
Since when is freedom more important than the health
and welfare of our children?

The State is anti-liberty and without principle in
this matter.

Charles Broadway


I encounter certain arguments against my libertarian position, and these arguments come from those quarters that I will call "conservative" though that term has pretty much been stripped of its meaning thanks to Republicans and the Bush administration who resemble the Democratic Party more and more.
My position is that of the minarchist. I believe that what America needs is a minimalist government that functions solely to repulse foreign threats and preserve freedom internally from criminals and terrorist elements. The reason I am not an anarcho-capitalist is because I truly believe that anarchy gives the criminals and the statists the opportunity to pursue their agenda. One only has to look at the demise of the Etruscan civilization as the Romans conquered it or see how the Taliban came to power in Afghanistan in the anarchy following the Soviet withdrawal.
"Anarchy" is given a bad name, but it never really exists. Whenever you get a group of people together, rules and leaders always emerge. Even in the aftermath of the mutiny on the Bounty, the mutineers followed Fletcher Christian. Even criminals will form gangs with rules, a hierarchy, or what have you. This is all empirical observation. Whenever anarcho-capitalists argue for anarchy, they really undercut their position when they say that the free market can provide courts and law enforcement. I call this government.
The reason anarcho-capitalists argue for anarchy is because they seek purity in their argument. They wish to remain 100% in their viewpoint. The problem with this is that it does not take into account the reality that we all see, and that reality is that people are prone to be tyrants. Nietzsche called it the will to power.
Everyone wants to be free. This is a given. The Afghans wanted to be free of the Taliban. The Iraqis wanted to be free of Saddam Hussein. But if you think Sunnis want Shiites to be free and vice versa, think again. People want freedom for themselves but not for anyone else. And this is why tyranny exists and will always exist either as potential or as reality.
Essentially, all justice boils down to the Golden Rule which says, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." In this rule, we see egoism ("do unto you") and respect for others. In other words, if you play nice, I'll play nice. If we all play nice, then we'll get along, and society will flourish. In fact, this is the only way it can or ever will. This is why we see the Golden Rule in both the Christian West as well as under Confucius in China. It's not a religious thing so much as common sense. And from this rule we see that the rights we extend to others are the same rights we wish returned to us--the rights to life, liberty, and property.
But stupidity exists, and I suspect it always will. As such, there will always be a need for police and the military. Whether this is a product of private contract or what have you is really superfluous. Liberty is preserved by force. Period. This will never change.
What the anarchists are getting at is another truth. Power corrupts. They believe that by eliminating force they will eliminate tyranny. But this will never be. The American experiment of limited power has worked reasonably well all things considered, but there are still glaring failures.
The purpose of government is to secure liberty. Unfortunately, governments can and often do go bad and become tyrannies. In this, we see two poles emerge. The first is absolute freedom. The second is absolute tyranny. Neither one can survive for long. And to borrow from Aristotle, good government is the mean between these two extremes.
Liberty has and always will rely upon good governance and the extent of what this government does will depend upon the amount of respect citizens accord one another. The biggest reason Saddam Hussein was able to rule Iraq was because the people there did not believe in freedom. Like it or not, Hussein was a moderate. Much of the Sunnis and the Shiites would like nothing more than to wipe the other one out of existence which even Saddam would not do. Either tyranny or civil war will emerge, and these people will get exactly what is coming to them, and the US will get exactly what it is coming to us for sticking our noses in their business.
Enlightened people will get an enlightened government. Stupid people get a stupid government. And it doesn't take a rocket scientists to understand the Golden Rule. Most people learn it in kindergarten. They just forget it by the time they get to adulthood.
You can tell the true libertarian because he truly respects your right to be free, but he will kick your fucking ass if you don't return the same respect. A libertarian is a nice person but also a scary person. He is a combination of both force and restraint. He is proud and humble. And if this seems like a contradiction to you, that is because you have forgotten the Golden Rule. As a libertarian, I don't believe in starting shit, but I do believe in finishing it. I won't fuck with you, but if you fuck with me, I will make you regret it. This was the attitude of the early Americans and the pioneers of the West. Don't tread on me.
What is wrong with people is that they either go one of two ways. They either become pacified to the point of becoming victims. Or they become so militant that they become tyrants themselves. But Aristotle's dictum holds true. Virtue lies in the mean. To be the true man of liberty, you give respect for the rights of others, but you also demand respect for yourself.
In my version of libertopia, the government would enforce only the most elementary of laws. This would involve only those things where others are harmed--assault, theft, kidnapping, murder, etc. But these laws would be enforced with vigor. This minimalist government would walk softely but carry one hell of a stick.
Will such a government ever come to pass? Probably not. But I will fight to see that our present government comes as close to it as possible. And as far as allies go, I will join with anyone with which I share the common aim of limiting the scope and reach of our present government whether it is an anarchist or merely a member of NORML.
The market anarchist will argue that by using force and coercion, I am actually advocating tyranny even with minarchy. I agree. Government is an evil, but it is a necessary evil. I'd love to live in a world without guns, violence, war, crime, or Oprah Winfrey. But these things are a permanent part of life. To think otherwise is to be utopian. If anarchy worked, we would have it already.
The problem with reality is that it presents limitations. This is why people try to deny it. For instance, I like to think I have a 25 or 26 hour day when I don't. I routinely bite off more than I can chew and end each day with something left undone. But this doesn't mean that I'm going to stay in bed and admit defeat on these things claiming that I can't get anything done. I do what I can and accept the limits. I don't always hit what I aim at, but I get closer each day.
The same thing applies with government. We'll never be free of this tyranny. But we can get closer each day. I'm all for pushing the limits even if I can't eliminate them.

"Family" is a Synonym for Tyranny

I can't think about or watch an episode of The Sopranos without thinking of the concept of "family."
Tony Soprano and Co. are a family. This means they will look after you. This may include breaking your fucking head, but hey, that's what family is all about. Capiche?
The only difference between the Sopranos and your typical American family is that the typical American family doesn't threaten to whack you if you fail to conform. But they have other sanctions they employ which amounts to talking a lot of shit about you or nagging you to death.
When it comes to people, there seem to be two options--
A. Loneliness
B. Aggravation
Being alone sucks, but the upside is that no one is around to bother you. But the only cure for loneliness is company which means dealing with aggravation.
Aggravation comes from the desire to control others. This could be your desire to control others or their desire to control you. But either way, that's where the frustration comes in. And the closer you get to certain people, the more control (and aggravation) you experience. That's why every married man I meet tells me that it is tough.
I hate to be controlled. I hate when people try to exert force over me or influence me to conform. I hate to be nagged. And I definitely don't want to be told how to live my life. Now, friends and coworkers usually respect these "rules" of mine but not family. Your family members think they have a right to govern you, your beliefs, and your behavior. They force their values upon you until you either obey, or you lash out.
I can't stand this shit. I especially can't stand it when I get lectured to about reading and thinking too much by a bunch of shitheaded illiterate clusterfucks. I also can't stand getting a fucking lecture about my personality and all my "deficiencies." And believe me, nothing makes me want to punch out someone's grill more than when a family member who I tolerate with all their bullshit hangups and failings without a word of criticism decides to issue some judgment about me usually about a problem they have but which they have projected onto me.
Family is a tool of tyranny. We can thank former Vice President Dan Quayle for highlighting this relationship with his "family values" rhetoric from long ago. But a family is merely another term for the Collective. Or as the Borg would put it, "Prepare to be assimilated. Resistance is futile."
I don't want to be controlled. I don't want to be told what to do. And I don't want advice unless I ask for it. Conversely, I'm not interested in policing other family members. I genuinely honestly don't give a fuck about what a relative may do. Their lives are their own. But none of them ever extends the same courtesy to me.
This principle is most clearly highlighted in the marriage relationship. Despite the high rate of infidelity which is virtually ubiquitous, irreconcilable differences is the primary reason cited in divorce. Why is this? Because a marriage is a constant powerplay with someone trying to wring conformity from them. Wives nag husbands, and husbands beat wives. . .er, argue back.
People will tell you that what you need in a marriage is compatibility and compromise. Both of these are closely related to conformity. Basically, if you want to be happy in a marriage, just shut your fucking mouth and do what you're told. Pardon me if I'm not particularly eager to jump into this shit.
I am not interested in running someone else's life, and you better believe I am not interested in having someone run my life for me. That is really the genesis of all conflict. The nagging wife, the bitch mother-in-law, the bastard father, and the nagging mother are all archetypes in society. They are fodder for endless comedy, and it is because they are so recognizable.
I don't want to be in a family anymore, and this is because family members think they have a license to rule over you. The best relationship is friendship. I have had friends who have been more brother to me than any sibling I could ever have. They were there for me without judging me or telling me what to do. I respected their autonomy, and they respected mine.
Is loneliness the price of being an individualist? I don't think so. I make friends everywhere I go. And I have encountered quite a few laidback females who were like me. They just wanted to be friends, have a good time, and maintain their own lives. Like me, they believed in freedom as a lifestyle, and they were a bit quirky. But I must admit to being a dumbass and letting them go by while wasting my time on the more autocratic females.
The loneliness/aggravation thing was a bit of an epiphany for me, but it makes sense. The answer is to apply my wider belief in freedom to the more personal areas of my life. I find I get along much better with people because I don't go around telling them what to do. And I also don't hesitate to let people know that I expect the same courtesy in return. Live and let live.

The Truth About Dave Chappelle

Is Dave Chappelle insane? The short answer is no. Here's the long answer.
For most people, all they see is the $50 million. I must admit that this is all I see, but Chappelle had opportunities to sell out long ago. It isn't about money but artistic direction. Since reading interviews with the man and such, I've gotten an idea as to why he pulled his disappearing act, and why he is reluctant to return and fulfill the commitment he made to Comedy Central to do a third season of his show.
To understand Chappelle, you must understand why he is so funny. The secret to his success is racial humor. Like it or not, the man got to where he was by doing what all white people recognize as "nigger jokes." Prior black comedians like Richard Pryor, Eddie Murphy, the Wayans clan, and Chris Rock have all edged into this territory, but none embraced it as much as Chappelle did. Dave Chappelle got popular by using the stereotypes of his own race as fodder for his comedy. The same show done by a white comedian would have resulted in a large outcry by both the black and the general community as being racist and probably would have been pulled by the network.
Chappelle's comedy has primarily appealled to white people while making black people a bit uneasy. Though they can make such jokes amongst themselves, they are justifiably concerned when it is disseminated for white consumption. Dave Chappelle makes black people look bad. He can't tell you this because this would require a public repudiation of his work. So, he is caught in a bit of a dilemma. I base this upon Dave's claim that he got to thinking about all of this when he saw a white cameraman laughing a bit too hard at the material Dave was doing.
The reality is that a Ku Klux Klan member would have little trouble watching some of Dave's material and getting a laugh from it. From beginning to end, black people are portrayed on Chappelle's Show as being criminals and drug addicts. His two most popular sketches involve a drugged up black celebrity (Rick James) and a crackhead (Tyrone Biggums.) Lesser characters like Tron also continue the stereotypes.
So, where does this leave Dave Chappelle? Here are his two options:
1. Collect the $50 million and keep doing his song and dance for the man which made him so popular.
2. Collect the $50 million and change his act which would mean not being funny anymore.
Dave is in a bit of a fucked up situation. It wasn't a problem when he was a relative nobody in the world of comedy. Now, he is in a situation that even I don't envy. Sad to say, much black entertainment that goes mainstream ends up being a bit of the Steppin Fetchit routine. Old shows like Good Times and The Jeffersons went this route as black people began to make cariacatures of themselves. If you want to know why JJ's dad disappeared and JJ became the focus of GT, now you know. It was the return of the minstrel show.
Much of this stuff could be hurdled if black people could get beyond racial collectivist thinking. But they can't. It was never Chappelle's intention to be so popular among white people by appealling to their sense of racial stereotypes much as it is not Jeff Foxworthy's attempt to appeal to Yankees' sense of Southern stereotypes. It just ended up that way.
I don't have a solution to Dave's imbroglio. I can see where the man needs time to think all this through, but people never give you time to reflect and get your mind right. I know this myself. What I can say is that you should never ridicule anyone or anything without having some sense of a personal philosophy to go by. This is what the creators of South Park have. Much of their worldview reflects my own which is largely libertarian and skeptical. Since they have this worked out, they do not run into the same self-doubts that Chappelle runs into. Plus, they aren't a one trick pony like Chappelle is. They skewer everyone including themselves. Chappelle is pigeonholed as merely a black comedian doing the race thing. I don't see him ever doing jokes about Muslims, the Iraq mess, North Korea, Jesus, or what have you.
I think Dave will get his mind right, but he will no doubt disappoint someone in the process. Welcome to fame, my man. It is a real bitch.

Cigarette Taxes

I fired this off to The State over the weekend, and I am failry certain it will never be published. I share it here for your edification:
Dear editor,

The State recently published an opinion piece by Dr.
Oscar Lovelace calling for a cigarette tax increase.
In addition, such a proposal is being considered in
the General Assembly.

Now, I'm not a smoker and do not intend to ever smoke.
In fact, I think it is a disgusting habit that people
would be better off to leave alone. But unlike Dr.
Lovelace and his ilk, I don't make it my business to
police the lifestyle decisions of other people. If
they want to smoke and suffer the consequences, then
so be it.

Essentially, the tobacco fascists operate on two
assumptions. The first is that the state has a duty to
police these activities for the sake of people's "own
good." This paternalism is simply nauseating. I
suggest we put a tax on busybodies to curb their
inability to mind their own damn business. I think
this would be good for everyone.

The second assumption is that these taxes would be a
financial boon for the state. At this point, I am
unable to keep my lunch down, and I have vomited all
over my keyboard. It would be preferrable to see this
state go bankrupt than to soak its citizens as
punishment for actions that the state deems "immoral"
or "unhealthy." It is truly amazing how these fascists
can justify such blatant theft.

The reality is that government has actually subsidized
tobacco farming, profited from it already from taxes,
and were awarded large settlements from lawsuits
against tobacco companies which were supposed to go
towards curbing smoking among young people but were
instead funneled towards other government projects.
Now, they want more money. The bad habit here isn't
smoking but the insatiable greed of politicians who
come up with innovative ways to soak the public for
every penny they can get.

I'm not fond of smoking, but I believe in a person's
right to do as they please as long as it doesn't hurt
other people. Raising the cigarette tax is simply a
way to punish people for exercising their freedom of
choice and rewarding politicians for being the leeches
they are.

The Unraveling of the Bush Administration

It's hard to believe how badly things have gone since 9/11. Here's the short list:
1. Osama bin Laden is still free.
2. Human rights abuses at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo.
3. A brewing and costly civil war in Iraq.
4. Evidence that the administration lied about Iraqi WMD's and links to al Qaeda.
5. Testimony from Scooter Libby that he was authorized by the President himself to leak Valerie Plame's identity as a CIA agent.
6. Evidence of illegal wiretapping on US citizens.
7. Hurricane Katrina and the aftermath in the Big Easy.
The bottom line is that George Bush is a liar. If he isn't a liar, then he's a fucking idiot. What other options are there? And I am fairly confident that this shit is merely the tip of the iceberg.
This administration is a complete fucking joke now. I find it amazing how Bush used the tragedy of 9/11 to basically follow a policy of clusterfuck ever since. The only thing he almost got right was almost nabbing Osama bin Laden. But he let that get away from him and focused almost exclusively on Saddam Hussein, a man who was no threat at all. He started a war that has now killed as many Americans as died on 9/11, wounded countless others, made us look like shitheads to the rest of the world, and mired us in a situation for which there is no solution except withdrawal. And I will go on to say what no one else is willing to say, but we all know. The soldiers who have died in Iraq died in vain. They have died to accomplish nothing. This isn't their fault. It is the fault of their civilian leaders who put them in that shithole and giving them a mission that can only be win pyrrhically by killing just about every fuckhead over there.
The truth of this government is that they used the 9/11 tragedy to dupe the American people into supporting a policy that was not in our country's interests. And when that was not enough, they simply lied. Now, Vermont Democrats have called for Bush's impeachment. I could give a shit about these leftist fucknuts, but they are right on this shit. Bush needs to go. The sad thing is that he'll be replaced by some other shithead. But at this point, America is desperately searching for a lesser evil. Who it will be I don't know. But I seriously doubt that Americans will tolerate two more years of this bullshit.

DVD- V for Vendetta

I finally got around to seeing V for Vendetta last night, and I was not disappointed. This is an outstanding movie.
I don't know if the folks behind this flick are libertarians, but they certainly aren't religious conservatives. V for Vendetta is thrilling and relentless as the masked hero enacts his revenge upon the government that terrorizes its people and malformed him. And what the movie gets right is that it is fear that the statists use to keep people in line both the threat of violence but also simple paranoia about things like terrorists and bird flu and what have you.
There aren't too many libertarian themed movies out there. The last one I saw was Serenity. But these flicks have delivered for me. Put against the backdrop of today, and we see their truth.
Definitely get the DVD.

The Aesthetics of Personal Relationships

My family hates me. This is something I have known for a long time but have never been willing to admit. They really can't stand having me around.
Morally, there's nothing wrong with me. It is not an issue of ethics but aesthetics. I am the oddball of the family, and they simply don't want to be around me. Consequently, I feel alienated around the people who say they love me while I am embraced enthusiastically by a lot of people who get to know me who are actually strangers. This is a bit perplexing.
Like it or not, there's no accounting for taste. For instance, I hate the TV show, Family Guy. I simply can't stand that turd of a program. But I have met quite a lot of people who like it and are very enthusiastic about it. I don't understand the appeal nor does it matter. There is simply no accounting for taste. People like what they like. There are no universal standards of what is funny or beautiful.
This same principle applies to personal relationships. People hate me for the very same reasons that other people like me. Should I feel bad when somebody doesn't like me? No. There's nothing wrong with me. I don't hurt people or take advantage of them. I am simply who I am. Some people like me the way I am. Other people don't.
I must also admit that there are people out there I don't like. But I do have a high tolerance over this stuff. I make a lot of effort to get along with people. I put up with a lot of shit. Consequently, a lot of quirky people come into my life. And the weird thing is that I end up liking them. Other people I don't like and probably never will.
My thesis is this. You shouldn't condemn people simply because of a matter of taste. As long as people don't hurt me or try to run my life for me, I'm cool with them. I may not find them appealling, but I'm not going to allow my personal prejudices determine how I am going to treat that person. I have seen too often where people were marginalized or even fired because of nothing more than a personality clash. This is stupid. What is even stupider is when people use these aesthetic criteria to determine someone's worth as an employee. Or to put it another way, I hate Family Guy, but if I were in charge at Fox, I would still keep broadcasting it because it is a moneymaker. The same should apply to people.
This also ties in with my dislike of Oprah Winfrey. People can't understand my almost pathological hatred for that bitch, and I have been unable to really describe my reasons for this hatred. That's because as a person she really is pretty decent. I just don't like her. It's just my taste. She and I would not get along.
As for the people in my life, I genuinely like a lot of people. The people I don't like are a minority. Where I work at, there is only one person I really would say that I don't like, but we still worked well together. He just isn't a person I would go to a ballgame with. But I wouldn't hesitate to promote him if I were his boss.
This brings me full circle to my family. Basically, I love my family (extended and all), and I like them. I like being around them. They just don't like being around me. I don't know why this is. I am reminded of that verse from the Bible about a prophet not being without honor except in his hometown and among his family. I have lived long enough to know that your worst enemies are your own family members.
I have decided to no longer "inflict" myself on my family. It's not my fault that they don't like me. I can't change this. I am who I am, and if they don't like me this way, that's tough shit. I'm not changing. And I'm instituting a new personal rule as well. Like those who like me back. Life is too short to go around trying to appeal to people who don't give a damn about you or for you while overlooking the ones who like you for who you are.

Issues of Trust

I am an amateur student of economics, and it doesn't take long to realize in studying that field how much trust plays a part in economic exchange. Employers trust employees to do the job. Consumers trust restaurants and manufacturers to provide products that will not kill them. Banks and other lending institutions consult your credit score to see how risky you are.
In the personal arena, trust is also a big issue. Friends trust friends. Spouses trust their significant others not to cheat on them or take their money. If you're not a trusting person, it can be pretty lonely.
Like it or not, there's very little you can do without putting some sort of trust in other people and institutions. I think this may explain the concept of branding. People will pay more for the brand name over some more generic product because they know what they are getting. This is why folks will eat at McDonald's over a local place. You know what you're getting at Mickey D's.
For me, I'm willing to enter into economic exchanges because it beats the alternative. Besides, I find most businesses realize that it is in their long term interest not to fuck over their customers. But I take a different tack when it comes to my personal relationships. Because I have been fucked over by friends, girlfriends, and family, I tend to not want to trust anyone. This doesn't mean that I don't have people in my life. I've just learned to be very selective when it comes to them.
50% of all marriages end in divorce. That's a high number. Plus, the half that remain married are probably miserable but stay together out of tradition. In addition, it is reported that 60% of married men and 40% of married women cheat on their spouses. These numbers are based on what these folks are willing to confess to. The reality is that these numbers are much higher. Conservative estimates are that 80% of all marriages will experience infidelity at some point.
These numbers are the primary reason why I don't ever want to be married. Monogamy is a myth, and love is bullshit. Like it or not, screwing around is the norm while fidelity is the exception. If I ever doubt this, I simply look no further than the married people I work with and how many of them cheat on their spouses or have cheated on them. Sad to say, very few are faithful.
This is some cynical shit, but as I say, it is what it is. I generally trust a woman not to spit in my food at the restaurant where she works, but I can't trust her not to fuck the Eduardo, the assistant manager. Why is this? Basically, you can trust people to pursue their self-interest. It isn't that people are evil so much as interested only in themselves. I've never met an unfaithful person who did it because they wanted to hurt their spouse. They just wanted to fulfill their passion. The same thing applies to people who steal to use drugs.
Human beings are scoundrels, and I include myself in this group. Now, I don't go around fucking over people because I never considered this to be a smart move. I think it pays to be honest and responsible. Other people aren't as forward looking as myself. I've always believed in the dictum that you don't shit where you eat. As a consequence, I look out for the people who look out for me. I don't rob from my employer. And I don't cheat on girlfriends.
But I have also learned to never put myself in a situation where I can be taken advantage of. This is why I will never marry. Odds are you are are going to be a loser on that deal. I also don't lend money to friends. You'll never see that shit again. But beyond that, you're going to get fucked sooner or later. Consequently, whenever a person or business tries to gank me, I go after them. This isn't a revenge thing so much as looking out for my interests. If you let people fuck you over, they will do it again and again. This is why I rail against the government and never hesitate to call a customer service line over something I don't like. In short, I am an asshole. But this is what it takes.
In terms of my personal relationships, I am friendly enough, but I carry a hard edge to me now. This isn't my observation but something other people tell me. They say things like "you're intimidating" or "you never smile." This isn't exactly true since I clown around a lot, tell a lot of jokes, and basically make up bullshit about a lot of personal vices I don't have. I don't gamble, drink, or do anything else that is fun. But it is more fun to say I do these things. Yet, people keep telling me that I am scary to be around.
I don't go around threatening people. But I don't let people walk all over me. That is what people figure out about me. I believe in treating people a certain way, but I also insist that they treat me a certain way as well. You teach people how you want to be treated. This doesn't mean being a dickhead because those same people will be a dickhead to you. This doesn't mean being cruel to people. I'm not into that shit. But it means having respect for yourself. It really is true that you can't love other people if you don't love yourself.
I think if you have your mind right on this shit, you will attract the right kinds of people to you while repelling others. For instance, Wal-Mart doesn't attract the litigious because they have always refused out of court settlements as a matter of principle. Consequently, no one wants to sue them. If you're a slacker as a boss, you will attract slack employees. If you're an honest employer, you will attract honest employees. But if you're a shyster, you will attract shysty people.
For me, I have always been an altruist. Consequently, I have always attracted parasites. Since changing my mindset on that, those people are no longer in my life. I have even put it to the test by getting in touch with some old parasites who now want nothing to do with me anymore. It really does work.
That's the secret to it all. You shouldn't become a hermit or a tyrant. Just treat people the way you want to be treated and expect the same in return.

The Immigration Debate

I can't turn on CNN these days witout hearing a bunch of claptrap about Mexcian immigration and illegal aliens. My take on this is pretty simple:
1. Open the borders.
2. Eliminate social programs.
Immigrants don't take work from other people without also creating work. This country has been corrupted with the zero sum thinking of Karl Marx that holds that if someone gets a piece of the pie, you get none. This simply isn't true, but economic illiteracy is the norm in the USA.
The other factor behind all this xenophobia is bigotry. I hear arguments about "cultural impacts." This is code for "these wetbacks are freaking me out with their brown skin and different language." These people aren't fooling me. The same shit used to be said about Italian and Irish immigrants. It is so fucking sad to see how those two groups have "corrupted" American culture with their influence.
Immigration is a strength for our society. Immigrants provide labor, and they create jobs. Most of them simply want the same things we want--to work, raise a family, and maybe get a TiVo. What's wrong with this?
Finally, I kept hearing how these people end up on welfare. This is true to some extent. Mexicans will take handouts. But the answer to this is not to close the border (a pure folly) but to eliminate these programs which are harmful and stupid no matter who the money goes to. In addition, I hear people decry how a lot of these folks send much of their income back home to Mexico. What is wrong with this? It is their money!! They made it. You might as well apply the same logic to American tourists who go abroad and outlaw cruise ships and other such travel. I don't even know where to begin in tackling this steaming heap of ignorance.
If these folks are willing to work, let them come.