A Geek With Guns

Chronicling the depravities of the State.

Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

State Representative was Taxed, Didn’t Enjoy the Experience

without comments

Last week a Minnesota state representative got a taste of his own medicine didn’t seem to care for the taste all that much:

Police are investigating after a state representative reported being robbed at gunpoint on a St. Paul street Thursday night.

Rep. Dennis Smith, R-Maple Grove, was not injured in the robbery at Grand Avenue and Milton Street, police said.

“A gentleman approached me and he had a gun out, asked for my wallet and my phone and I agreed. And I was able to walk away safely,” Smith said Friday morning.

So Mr. Smith was taxed.

Honestly, I can’t bring myself to have many ill feelings towards the mugger. Whether intentionally or accidentally, the mugger found the one person who deserves to be mugged, another person who professionally mugs people. It’s kind of like inter-gang warfare. If gangs keep their violence to themselves I don’t care all that much.

Written by Christopher Burg

May 24th, 2017 at 10:00 am

Posted in Politics

Tagged with , ,

Old Man Yells at Cloud

without comments

Noam Chomsky calls himself an anarchist. He’s even loved by many socialist anarchists. While I have no problem admitting that Chomsky has written some brilliant things about the nature of power, he seems almost entirely ignorant about history. Consider his latest claim:

Noam Chomsky has argued the Republican Party is the most “dangerous organisation in human history” and the world has never seen an organisation more profoundly committed to destroying planet earth.

The eminent intellectual, who is famed for his radical views, said the Trump administration had shown total and utter disregard for the future of the planet and appeared dedicated to dismantling previous legacies to tackle climate change.

Noam might have a point if the Republican Party was competent.

Oh, and if organizations such as Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, Mao’s China, Pol Pot’s Cambodia, and other similarly horrible regimes didn’t paper our histories. Those regimes murdered millions whereas the Republican Party so far has been unable to come even close to matching those numbers. As for pollution, the Soviet Union showed even less regard for its environmental impact than the United States. Today, China still shows almost no regard for the amount of pollution it’s dumping into the environment.

This is what happens when you let your political bias color everything. Whatever goes against your beliefs become the most horrible things in the world. Anything that indicates those things aren’t the most horrible things in the world disappear down a memory hole.

Written by Christopher Burg

May 12th, 2017 at 10:30 am

Continuing to Debate Insanity

without comments

This article sums up my attitude towards Marxism succinctly:

Every Marxist government in history has been a repressive nightmare. Marxists — aside from the ones who defend the remaining Marxist regimes — consider this a strange coincidence that has no bearing on Marxist ideology. I recently pointed this out, in light of the resurgence of Marxist thought among some left-wing intellectual circles. In an essay in In These Times, Tyler Zimmer writes what he purports to be a response, but that in fact confirms my point for me.

The problem with Marxism, I argue, lies in its class-based model of economic rights. Liberalism believes in political rights for everybody, regardless of the content of their ideas. Marxists believe political rights belong only to those arguing on behalf of the oppressed — i.e., people who agree with Marxists.

There are still advocates for Nazism so I’m not at all surprised that there are still advocates for Marxism. Of course the advocates for Nazism are far more likely to own what they’re advocating. Seldom do I hear a Nazism advocate claim that Nazi Germany wasn’t real Nazism. Marxism advocates, on the other hand, seem to have a strong tendency to wash their hands of the terrible things Marxism has wrought upon people by claiming Marxist regimes weren’t real Marxism.

Unfortunately, the Marxists had better public relations people than the Nazis so we’re still left having to deal with widespread debates about their tried and failed philosophy.

Marxism advocates like to claim that Marxism is about establishing equality for everybody but they seem to believe that doing so can only be achieved by first making people unequal. Marxism, like Nazism (yes, I’m going to continue to compare the two since they only differ in minor details), divides people into groups. An individual’s group membership, which is arbitrarily decided by an all-powerful government, determines what privileges they enjoy. If an individual is lucky, they’re categorized into a group with significant privileges. If an individual is unlucky, they’re categorized into a group that gets hauled off to death camps.

The idea that some animals are more equal than others is the foundation upon which tyranny is built. Statism in any form creates at least two classes of animals: the rulers and the ruled. Classical liberalism at least attempts (although it always fails) to limit the inevitable damage by saying that the same privileges must be granted to every member of the ruled class. If, for example, free speech is granted to one member of the ruled class then it is granted to every other member. Marxism and Nazism are different in that they divide the ruled class into a bunch of subclasses. Members of the Communist or Nazi parties respectively may enjoy the privilege of free speech while members of the other subclasses may not.

This means that it’s far easier under Marxism and Nazism for the rulers to cement their power. If a group of individuals are criticizing the ruler’s actions they can be labeled counterrevolutionaries and effectively stripped of all privileges (including the privilege of living). Through this process the rulers can easily eliminate almost all challenges to their power. Without any challenges to their power the rulers can begin doing what every ruler ultimately does: expropriate wealth from the ruled.

Classical liberalism at least recognizes that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. By making it more difficult for the rulers to eliminate their opponents, classical liberalism adds speed bumps between rulers and absolute corruption. Marxism and Nazism, on the other hand, build a multilane highway between the two and the results are predictable.

Logical deduction shows that Marxism is unworkable if the end goal is anything other than establishing a tyrannical regime. History has shown that the deductive logic plays out in reality. Yet we’re still debating this insanity.

Written by Christopher Burg

May 10th, 2017 at 11:00 am

Bye, Felicia

without comments

Last night it was announced that James Comey has been terminated:

WASHINGTON — President Trump on Tuesday fired the director of the F.B.I., James B. Comey, abruptly terminating the top official leading a criminal investigation into whether Mr. Trump’s advisers colluded with the Russian government to steer the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.

The stunning development in Mr. Trump’s presidency raised the specter of political interference by a sitting president into an existing investigation by the nation’s leading law enforcement agency. It immediately ignited Democratic calls for a special counsel to lead the Russia inquiry.

Mr. Trump explained the firing by citing Mr. Comey’s handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server, even though the president was widely seen to have benefited politically from that inquiry and had once praised Mr. Comey for his “guts” in his pursuit of Mrs. Clinton during the campaign.

Frankly, I don’t care why Comey was fired. His insistence on pushing for laws to prohibit effective cryptography made him persona non grata in my book.

With that said, I think this is a good lesson for people working within the State. My theory (which is entirely based on gut feeling) of why Comey reopened the investigation into Clinton’s private e-mail server is that he was trying to play both sides against the middle. He knew that whoever his new boss was would have the power to terminate him. That being the case, he opened the investigation in the hopes that it would appease Trump if he won but also didn’t perform a thorough investigation in the hopes of appeasing Clinton if she won. Trump won and Comey appeared to be secure in his job, especially since so many people believed that his investigation is what cost Clinton the election (even though it wasn’t). Now he’s gone because he’s no longer useful.

That’s the lesson, employees of the State enjoy their employment only for as long as they’re deemed useful to the politicians in charge. As soon as they cease being seen as useful they find their jobs at risk.

I think this will also be the gift that keeps on giving. Many Democrat supporting news organizations held Comey personally responsible for Clinton’s loss. They wanted his head, which they now have. But it was Trump who delivered his head to them so now they have to pretend to be outraged by the fact that Trump fired Comey. I’m looking forward to sipping tea as I witness all of those publications perform a 180 degree turn and start screaming about how unfair it was of Trump to fire Comey.

Written by Christopher Burg

May 10th, 2017 at 10:30 am

Posted in Politics

Tagged with ,

The Battle of St. Paul

without comments

Apparently there was a Trump rally in St. Paul over the weekend. I hadn’t heard about it beforehand and only learned about it because two groups, the alt-right and antifa, showed up uninvited. Some might be surprised to hear that the alt-right wasn’t invited since it helped Trump get elected but now that the group is no longer necessary it has been discarded. This is the way of political parties. They welcome everybody because they need the numbers to get elected but afterwards they’re quick to abandon the useful idiots who prove to be more trouble than they’re worth.

While a dozen or so Trump supporters sat inside of the Minnesota Capitol, the two uninvited groups were having another one of their “battles” outside:

A group of about 50 people carrying flags and at least one sign urging “Deplorables and Alt-Right Unite” tried to enter the Capitol for the rally — to which they were not invited — but were blocked by 200 or so counterprotesters, who linked arms on the Capitol steps. The alt-right is an offshoot of conservatism that embraces elements of white nationalism and populism.

The two sides shouted chants at each other, including “Any time, any place, punch a Nazi in the face” from one side and “Build a wall, deport them all” from the other. Troopers from the Minnesota State Patrol, which provides security at the Capitol, formed a barrier of officers to keep the groups separated.

Had the Minnesota State Patrol not been physically separating the two groups it’s possible that they would have started aggressively LARPing again. But since the police were present the two groups just stood on the Capitol steps and impotently shouted at each other. And when you think about it, two groups impotently shouting at each other sums up American politics quite succinctly.

Written by Christopher Burg

May 8th, 2017 at 10:30 am

Government Introduces Instability

without comments

Now that the Republican Party is in power it’s working to repeal Obamacare… and replace it with Trumpcare or whatever they’re going to call it. How will Trumpcare differ from Obamacare? If I take the claims being made by my friends who support the Democrat Party at face value, Trumpcare will basically make acquiring health insurance impossible for everybody. Truth be told, they’re not offering any specifics and neither are my friends who support the Republican Party when asked what Trumpcare will bring to the table.

Will healthcare coverage providers be allowed to deny customers coverage based on preexisting conditions? Will employers still be required to add contraceptive coverage to their insurance plans? Will everybody still be required under penalty of a fine to purchase healthcare coverage? These are the questions that people are asking but they’re the wrong questions.

The important question to ask is, why should healthcare coverage change every time the ruling party changes?

One of the biggest problems with involving the State in the healthcare market is that doing so adds a great deal of uncertainty. The greater the State’s involvement the greater the uncertainty becomes. All of the questions I mentioned above are being asked because the Affordable Care Act created rules regulating those aspects of healthcare and now those rules may change.

Herein lies the problem with involving the government in healthcare (or anything else), rules change arbitrarily and at unpredictable intervals. The Affordable Care Act was an initiative pushed primarily by the Democrat Party. Since the Democrat Party is the rival of the Republican Party and rivals must always work to undermine each other’s efforts, now that the Republicans are in power they’re repealing the Affordable Care Act and replacing it with something that will carry their name. When the Democrats return to power they will then repeal the Republican’s healthcare law and replace it with something else. On and on this cycle will go.

Unpredictability makes longterm planning infeasible. How can you create a plan for the future when you have no idea what you will be required or prohibited from doing in a year’s time? All of the time and money spent by healthcare coverage providers to bring themselves into compliance with the Affordable Care Cat may be rendered worthless under Trumpcare. That means all of the efforts previously made will likely have to be made again. I’m sure you can see how this constant cycle of doing the same thing over again adds costs to the healthcare market, especially since the effort is primarily being done by expensive lawyers.

It doesn’t matter what Trumpcare will mandate or prohibit because it will be undone as soon as the other part comes into power again. This is the real problem. It’s also the problem that ends up being ignored because people are more concerned about their political affiliation than working to improve the situation.

Written by Christopher Burg

May 5th, 2017 at 10:30 am

Meaningless Words

without comments

Anybody who has read corporate marketing material or a corporate apology letter knows that it’s quite easy to put a bunch of words onto a piece of paper without having written anything meaningful. Corporations don’t have a monopoly on this skill either. Surpassing even the largest corporate marketing department are politicians. Politicians are the uncontested champions of meaningless words:

Without language, there is no accountability, no standard of truth. If Trump never says anything concrete, he never has to do anything concrete. If Trump never makes a statement of commitment, Trump supporters never have to confront what they really voted for. If his promises are vague to the point of opacity, Trump cannot be criticised for breaking them. If every sloppy lie (ie: “Just found out that Obama had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower … This is McCarthyism!”) can be explained away as a “generality” or “just a joke” because of “quotes”, then he can literally say anything with impunity. Trump can rend immigrant families in the name of “heart”, destroy healthcare in the name of “life”, purge minority voters in the name of “justice”, and roll back women’s autonomy in the name of “freedom”. The constitution? Probably sarcastic. There are “quotes” all over that thing!

Setting aside the author’s obvious bias, this is a skill that almost every politician has. It’s more obvious when Trump does it because he’s a far less skilled orator than his predecessor. But if you hand me a speech or letter by any politician I’ll probably be able to read the entire thing without finding a single concrete commitment. As the author points out, if politicians don’t say anything concrete then there’s nothing to hold them accountable for.

Language is a tool for transferring information from one person to another. Somebody who is competent with language can transfer information effectively. So politicians must be very incompetent when it comes to language, right? Not necessarily. When politicians speak meaningless words they’re transferring very important information, namely that they are unwilling to commit themselves to anything. However, transference is a two step process. The information must be transmitted and received. Corporations and politicians like to use meaningless words because they can’t be held to anything and because the receivers have a strong tendency to put whatever meaning they want on those words. Trump supporters, for example, will attach positive concrete meaning to his meaningless words whereas his detractors will attach negative concrete meaning.

The reason so many people can get away with using meaningless language is because the receivers, your average Jane and Joe, aren’t competent enough with language to recognize it. Instead of recognizing that the words are meaningless and calling the transmitter out, most people attach whatever they want to meaningless words to reinforce their bias. I don’t blame Trump or Obama or any other politician for making meaningless statements. I blame the people for having such a lack of interest in pursuing knowledge that they allow themselves to be susceptible to this nonsense.

Written by Christopher Burg

May 2nd, 2017 at 11:00 am

The Enemy of Your Enemy isn’t Necessarily Your Friend

with one comment

The enemy of my enemy is my friend is a popular sentiment. Hell, a great deal of the United States’ foreign policy is built on that sentiment. But is it always true?

Here in the United States we’re in the midsts of a political class. Communists have been working, and have been greatly successful, at gaining control over academia. While their political opponents have been trying to push them back they have met with little success. So we now exist in a country where college campuses have a tendency to lean heavily to the left. Now, seemingly out of nowhere, a new group has promised to take care of this communist menace. This group, as you’ve probably guessed, is the alt-right.

While the alt-right is still pushing socialism, it’s pushing a “lighter” form of socialism. This has lead a lot of libertarians and conservatives to side with the alt-right on the grounds that the enemy of their enemy is their friend. Mind you, this is nothing new for libertarians and conservatives. A lot of them sided with the Republican Party for the same reason (just look at the political history of Lew Rockwell, Murray Rothbard, and company). This is also nothing new for history.

During the early 1900’s communists were making a lot of headway in Europe. Several European countries fell to communist revolutions and their neighbors were desperate to find a way to ensure the same thing didn’t happen to them. That solution came in the form of a “lighter” form of socialism; fascism. Fascists were able to gain power in several European countries by exploiting both the government and peoples’ fear of communism. While many disagreed ideologically with fascism they also believed that it was a preferable alternative to communism. The enemy of their enemy had to be their friend, right?

I think most of us are well enough versed in history to know how that turned out. While people were dying left and right in countries that fell to communism, people were also dying left in right in countries that fell to fascism. While the fascists were successful at defeating the communists they were no better.

As we watch the alt-right and communists “fight” (really live-action role-play) remember that the enemy of your enemy is not necessarily your friend. The alt-right is offering a solution to the communist problem and the antifa is offering a solution to the alt-right problem but is either actually better than the other? I think history has shown that “lighter” socialism ends up being just as destructive as “full” socialism, which shouldn’t be surprising since both fascism and communism are authoritarian and pragmatic in nature.

Written by Christopher Burg

April 24th, 2017 at 10:30 am

You’re Property

without comments

Tax seasons has once again come and gone. Now that everybody has filed their papers that will hopefully appease the State enough that it won’t send men with guns to your doorstep, I think it’s time to reflect on just what the income tax means. Simply put, the existence of the income tax means that you’re property:

The great essayist Frank Chodorov once described the income tax as the root of all evil. His target was not the tax itself, but the principle behind it. Since its implementation in 1913, he wrote, “The government says to the citizen: ‘Your earnings are not exclusively your own; we have a claim on them, and our claim precedes yours; we will allow you to keep some of it, because we recognize your need, not your right; but whatever we grant you for yourself is for us to decide.”

The income tax, like so many other government evils, seemed innocent enough when it was first proposed. It wasn’t going to be used to soak the poor or middle class. Heck, it wasn’t even going to be used to soak the wealthy. It was only going to be used to take an infinitesimal percentage of the income of the wealthiest Americans. Fast forward 104 years and we’re all being soaked.

Precedence is something I like to point out periodically. The government likes to grant itself seemingly innocent powers. Often these grants of power are even celebrated by the masses. But as time goes on the seemingly innocent grants of power are used as justification for overtly sinister grants of power. The income tax is the perfect example. Although it started as a tax that only targeted the rich, it established the precedence that the State has first claim to income. That precedence was used to expand the income tax until it applied to everybody’s income. Now even the poor get a percentage of their income skimmed off of the top by Uncle Sam.

The income tax may have been one of the most egregious grants of power because it established the precedence that individuals, not just the products they make or trade, are government property.

Written by Christopher Burg

April 20th, 2017 at 10:30 am

Revolution on the Horizon in Venezuela

without comments

The people of Venezuela are starving, the nation’s currency is in free fall, and the government is arresting anybody who expresses displeasure with the situation on charges of sabotage. In other words, Venezuela is experiencing late stage socialism. As with most failing socialist (a redundant term, I know) governments, the government of Venezuela is trying to maintain its grip through terror. But terror only works when people have something to lose. When faced with the prospects of complying and starving to death or fighting and possibly surviving, people will often choose the latter.

Maduro, Venezuela’s dictator, is seeing the writing on the wall. The people are angry with him and his policies and look to be gearing up for a revolution. In response, he has begun arming his loyalists:

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said he will expand the number of civilians involved in armed militias, providing guns to as many as 400,000 loyalists.

The announcement came as Maduro’s opponents are gearing up for what they pledge will be the largest rally yet to press for elections and a host of other demands Wednesday.

History shows that late stage socialism has two possible outcomes. The first is that somebody like Gorbachev obtains power and implements policies that allow a peaceful transition away from socialism. Maduro doesn’t appear to be a Gorvachev so Venezuela will likely experience the second possible outcome, civil war. I hope that Maduro sees the hopelessness of his situation and abdicates power but I’m guessing this mess will only end with blood.

Written by Christopher Burg

April 19th, 2017 at 10:30 am