November 21, 2014

Quote of the Week

Perhaps Emperor Obama has an effective plan. It's not a Constitutional plan, and it's not really even an American plan -- but it could be a strong plan for tyranny, based on new imported demography.

As we have seen, the Founders worried greatly about Caesarism, and they did their best to safeguard against it. But back in the 18th century, they couldn't be expected to foresee every possible subversion of their new Republic. Today, in the 21st century, it's our job to assess the new threat to our Constitution, and to make a new strategy to preserve and defend it.

- Breitbart columnist "Virgil" in A Republic, If We Can Keep It: The Founders vs. 'Emperor Obama'

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:40 PM | Comments (0)

November 4, 2014

Electronic Voting! Yaay!

Electronic cryptography has come a long way, and is being used by several companies to implement online balloting systems. One such provider, Helios Voting, has an FAQ page discussing some of the finer points of election administration. And then discusses the competitive landscape:

Is Helios the only system that provides this level of verifiability?
No, there are other systems. Scantegrity and Punchscan provide true verifiability in paper-based voting systems. We like those systems, and we like the people behind those systems. VoteHere, a company that has since folded, was a pioneer in this area, too. The Helios System packs a number of innovations focused on enabling true verifiability for online elections to help everyone get a taste if this groundbreaking technology. But we are not the only game in town.

And then, almost as if they were reading my mind, they answer the question: Should we start using Helios for public-office elections? Maybe US President 2016?

No, you should not. Online elections are appropriate when one does not expect a large attempt at defrauding or coercing voters. For some elections, notably US Federal and State elections, the stakes are too high, and we recommend against capturing votes over the Internet. This has nothing to do with Helios itself: we just don’t trust that people’s home computers are secure enough to withstand significant attacks.

If you’d like to use a truly verifiable voting system for your public-office election, we recommend an in-person election. Helios could be adapted to the in-person, precinct voting setting, but we have not done this work yet, and we intend to focus on online elections first.

Refreshing! So, a leading edge online voting company says that "a truly verifiable voting system" is best achieved with an "in-person election." Dang, if only!

Posted by JohnGalt at 12:05 PM | Comments (14)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

You heard it here first: "Colorado Looking Good?"

http://minx.cc:1080/?post=352922

Enjoy the comments.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at November 4, 2014 3:41 PM
But johngalt thinks:

This was my favorite comment:

I won't stop worrying about the fraud from Boulder and Denver till the #s are announced. I was so hopeful in '12, I had never seen so many R signs and bumper stickers but the cheat districts cranked out so many votes that the higher GOP #s in honest counties were overwhelmed.

And as I linked in a comment yesterday, there's reason to suspect the same thing today in the CO governor's race. (Even dagny is suspicious, and she is the model of non-tin-foil-hattery.)

Posted by: johngalt at November 5, 2014 11:37 AM
But jk thinks:

When I woke up to "it's tight but they're still counting in Denver and Boulder Counties" I got a sinking feeling. I'll take Reynolds wrap, glossy-side out in a 8-1/8, but that's how LBJ did it. "His" counties counted last -- how many do you need?

If it's a five digit lead at the end, I will withdraw, but after big changes facilitating fraud, losing a close one hurts.

Posted by: jk at November 5, 2014 11:59 AM
But johngalt thinks:

On the other hand, Bob proved to be a crappy candidate. Cory was likeable and telegenic and talked about fresh ideas. Bob did none of those things. (Gessler would have, though.)

Bob earned 40-some thousand votes fewer than Cory.
Udall earne 50-some thousand votes fewer than Hick.

Even if the D's did "steal" the election with ballot stuffing, they only had the opportunity because R's gave them a weak opponent. The other races were won by R's with margins comparable to Gardner's.

Plus - I did some egghead comparisons of early vote returns to final vote totals. I'll spare the details here but I didn't find anything overtly fishy.

Posted by: johngalt at November 5, 2014 12:23 PM
But jk thinks:

Agreed an all parts. There's a 20K spread as I type -- I'd call that a real loss.

I mention in my gloating post that I received an apology from a libertario delenda est friend. I don't want to pile on but need to tell him that I need him more in the primary. Of course, he's way too cool to be a Republican... Hrrmph.

Posted by: jk at November 5, 2014 1:01 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Try to sell him on being a secret agent Libertarian, behind enemy Republican lines. Perhaps, like Susana Martinez (another big win last night) he'll find it wasn't what he thought it was.

Posted by: johngalt at November 5, 2014 1:51 PM

Election Day!

There was one more ballot return count from the SoS office this morning. The next count will be the final one, and will be proceeded by the actual vote tally, so only eggheads like me will even care.

Turnout%2014%20general%20graph%2011-04.jpg


While a far cry from the heady day of October 24, when the R-D differential was 12 points, we're still looking at 7.3 points at the moment - 5 points better than in 2012. And another ray of optimism for Republicans, or everyone who's opposed to redistributionist, authoritarian Progressive Democrats, is that this election has seen significantly fewer young voters and significantly more "seasoned" ones.

CPP%2014%20turnout%20by%20age.jpg

UPDATE: RNC Chief of Staff Mike Shields talks about Colorado early voters:

"Our work has been focused on getting these voters to the polls early or to vote absentee if possible, so that we build up our vote totals ahead of Election Day and cut into the Democrats' traditional early vote advantage," Shields added. "While we're turning out low propensity voters, our data tell us that Democrats have actually been turning out voters who would vote regardless."
Posted by JohnGalt at 11:38 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

"...so only eggheads like me will even care." Unless the Democrats capitalize on their 30% chance to re-elect Udall, when many may be interested in how many votes came in at the last minute. And in what counties. *cough* Boulder *cough*

Posted by: johngalt at November 4, 2014 5:29 PM

November 3, 2014

Colorado Early Vote: Election Day Eve

Turnout%2014%20general%20graph%2011-03.jpg

Some analysis here, including more pretty graphs.

The Unaffiliated sentiment is the biggest factor. It looks like we'll soon know whether or not there's a War on Womyn. *

* It can't be called a war on all women anymore, now that our president has told us that "we" don't want moms to stay at home and raise families. Or at least, not a war on those women by Republicans.

"Sometimes, someone, usually mom, leaves the workplace to stay home with the kids, which then leaves her earning a lower wage for the rest of her life as a result. And that's not a choice we want Americans to make."

Video at the link.

Posted by JohnGalt at 12:45 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

In a radio news interview today, Quinnipiac polling spokesman [somebody] Malloy estimated that unaffiliateds are breaking for OOH-dull, 43/36 percent. Applying those weightings to the early U vote through today results in a Gardner win, 49.9% to 43.6% for Uterus.

Posted by: johngalt at November 3, 2014 4:26 PM

October 31, 2014

Electoral Calculus

Between Wednesday and today, 244,245 more ballots were returned by Colorado voters.
68,557 were unaffiliated with a party
76,542 were registered Democratic
96,427 were registered Republican

The derivative of the R-D margin, which I had projected at -1% per reporting interval, slipped to just -0.3%. The second derivative, i.e. the "momentum" of the Republican vs. the Democratic "ground game" is therefore positive at this point.

Turnout%2014%20general%20graph%2010-31.jpg

Posted by JohnGalt at 12:14 PM | Comments (3)
But dagny thinks:

I dunno JG, it sounds a little like calling a reduction in the rate of increase of spending a, "spending cut."

Posted by: dagny at October 31, 2014 1:30 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Awesome!

Okay, you remember the rate equation story problems we used to work in school? "How long does it take for the barrel to fill up" and "will it be full before the polls close at 7 pm on November 4?" If the rate doesn't look fast enough to fill the barrel by then, that's a good thing. If that rate then SLOWS even MORE, that's even better.

Posted by: johngalt at October 31, 2014 1:45 PM
But jk thinks:

'course I went before Common Core™, but we never had a nefarious union thug standing over said barrel with a large bucket of water and a fire hose. Kinda changes things...

Posted by: jk at October 31, 2014 3:58 PM

October 29, 2014

Wave Propagation 2

Latest chart:

Turnout%2014%20general%20graph%2010-29.jpg

Did somebody say differentials?

The d(R-D)/dT values are 0.7%, -3.2%, -0.1%, -1.7% and -1.0% over the six data points. Extrapolated curve uses the most recent slope, -1.0% per interval.

Posted by JohnGalt at 12:20 PM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

Thanks, feeling a little better. Plus Rasmussen has Cory Gardner above 50% for the first time ever.

I remain worried about the vaunted Democrat turnout/fraud machine. That -- as much as math -- has me looking at the slopes.

Posted by: jk at October 29, 2014 1:02 PM
But johngalt thinks:

You mean, like "Republican" poll watchers in "Democrat County Clerk Hillary Hall's" * Boulder County Clerk's Office actually being Democrats? And not objecting when ballots with obviously non-matching signatures are counted anyway? That kind of "turnout" and "fraud?"

* In protest of the Boulder Daily Camera describing state election officials as "member[s] of Republican Secretary of State Scott Gessler's staff."

Note the call to Boulder County Republicans to go to poll watcher training this Saturday morning and to volunteer in the clerk's office next Mon, Tues or Wed. Alert your righty BoCo friends.

Posted by: johngalt at October 29, 2014 2:25 PM

October 28, 2014

Wave Propagation

Colorado election return data update from Monday, 10/27:

Republicans down 1 point to 43%.
Democrats steady at 32%.

Margin closer by 1 point at 11%.

(Unaffiliateds up one from 23% to 24%.) So really, I would call this "unchanged."

Turnout%2014%20general%20graph%2010-27.jpg

Back story here.

UPDATE: The graph appears to show a slight rise in the D turnout so I extended the percentages to the first decimal place. Democrat turnout is up, 0.7%. Republicans down 1.0 and U's up 0.3%.

Posted by JohnGalt at 12:06 PM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

We are completely screwed. Well, it was fun.

Posted by: jk at October 28, 2014 1:10 PM
But johngalt thinks:
But johngalt thinks:

The wild card? Denver and Boulder unaffiliateds.

http://completecolorado.com/pagetwo/2014/10/27/2014-midterm-all-mail-voting-spikes-early-turnout-compared-to-2010/

Posted by: johngalt at October 28, 2014 3:05 PM

October 24, 2014

Catch a wave...

and you're sittin' on top of the world!

I just commented on The Three Sources Platform? post that, in Colorado's 2012 general election, less than 1 percent of the ballots returned were by registered Libertarians or American Constitution Party members. That doesn't seem like much until one considers that the turnout amongst registered Democrats was 35% and Republicans 37%, with Unaffiliateds making up 28% of the vote. The narrow 2-point margin between the parties whose candidates might actually win can easily be swamped by an unequal split amongst U's, and the minor party votes may or may not make a difference in any individual race. (Usually, it should be noted, not.)

The 2012 election results were mixed, with Democrats and Republicans winning about equally, Democrats having a slight edge in both legislative houses. So the question now becomes, what does 2014 look like? We won't know for sure until election weeks come to an end on November 4th but because of the Secretary of State's practice that I highlighted last week, early voting returns tabulated by party affiliation are available to the public and are updated Monday, Wednesday and Friday of each week. So how do they look? Not good for Democrats.

Republicans are up 7 points to 44%.

Democrats are down 3 to 32%.

The margin is therefore up from 2% to 12%. (That's plus 10 points, boys and girls.)

(Unaffiliateds are down too, from 28% to 23%)

And this breakdown has been fairly consistent since the first of four data dumps, starting last Friday, as shown in the graph below.

Turnout%2014%20general%20graph%2010-24.jpg

Keep up the good ground game, GOP!

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:50 PM | Comments (8)
But johngalt thinks:

Editor's note: Important text has been emphasized for the reader's convenience. (I would have added color and flashing arrows too, but I'm not that good with HTML.)

Posted by: johngalt at October 24, 2014 5:12 PM
But jk thinks:

Thanks for speaking slowly and using very small words. It is appreciated.

Posted by: jk at October 24, 2014 5:45 PM
But dagny thinks:

Because so many Democrat operatives that might work on that, "prevent defense," read Three Sources to keep up to speed???

Posted by: dagny at October 24, 2014 6:04 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Alright you Grinches, if I am left to be encouraged by this in solitude then so be it. I pledge to keep graphing each new set of data and we can all watch for the vaunted Udall ground-game ballot dump whenever it may come about, together.

Posted by: johngalt at October 24, 2014 6:17 PM
But jk thinks:

It's a tough room, man, I may have mentioned that before.

Posted by: jk at October 24, 2014 6:41 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Still not as tough as FB. Man, it got brutal over there. I had to say I was w, wr, wro, uh, not right enough this week.

Posted by: johngalt at October 24, 2014 6:50 PM

October 1, 2014

On lawful elections

Chess Champion Garry Kasparov says ISIS is a diversion for the world to focus on. And while he doesn't suggest a specific creator of that diversion he does name who stands to benefit from it: Vladimir Putin, whom he calls the world's "biggest threat to global unrest."

Kasparov, who once expressed interest in running in the 2008 presidential race and who has in recent years become an anti-Putin activist, avoided the question of whether or not he would seek public office. Instead his response was a sobering one: "We should forget about power in Russia changing hands throughout the election process. I'm afraid it will be not a very lawful process and it may eventually end up with the collapse of the country."

Lawful, shmawful.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:38 PM | Comments (0)

May 6, 2014

Below the surface of the Nigerian schoolgirl kidnappings

The natural reaction to news of an Islamist terror group kidnapping schoolgirls and threatening to sell them into slavery is outrage, but my perspective has been improved after reading this NBC News article on Boko Haram. Translation: "Western education is a sin."

The synopsis is that Nigeria is "Africa's largest country, where 170 million people are divided evenly between Christians in the south and Muslims in the north." After initial arrangements for the national presidency to be held, alternately, by a Christian and then a Muslim, the current Christian president - and I admit I'm ascribing motive here - used national oil revenues to unify the country around western ways and, in the process, achieve majority rule and marginalize the political power of the Muslims, at least so far as their "religious values" being imposed upon the government. So the extremist Muslims reacted, predictably, with terror attacks.

Given all of this I then wondered, were the kidnapped girls Muslim or Christian. They were taken from a school in the northeast so, presumably, Muslim. So the moderate Muslims are now faced with a choice between western-style prosperity and industrialization or, Sharia Law. You know what I hope they choose. And you may also suspect what the "equal but miserable" crowd wishes.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:23 PM | Comments (0)

December 30, 2013

The Great Game of Government

December 2009 were heady days for those intent on reining in the "abuses" of "big business." Just ten days prior to the midnight passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act by a straight party line vote of Democrat US Senators, Springfield, MO CEO Jack Stack started a blog page with a topic of 'Open the Books.'

Why would business owners want to open the books to their employees?

Because doing so has the power to change the way the company operates and to change the way employees think about their work. Let me quote former Representative Richard Gephardt, whom I introduced to open-book management and who has dedicated much of his time since leaving office to spreading the word: Open-book management, Mr. Gephardt wrote in his book, "An Even Better Place," represents "an overall approach to corporate governance that treats the employees like co-owners of the business who have to make sacrifices and take on the burdens that any owner assumes."

The idea is to get employees to start approaching their jobs as if they owned the place, which in fact they might.

This may or may not be a great idea for corporations, which must compete with other corporations in a marginally free market. But it sounds to me like a fantastic idea for government.

It's also a great idea according to Chicago's Adam Andrzejewski, who has invested considerable time and money on a project called Open the Books...

which allows users to see spending figures in their areas across multiple levels of government, going back 12 years in some cases. Shining light on such data is the means, but the primary goal of the site and app is to put pressure on governments to reduce wasteful spending, and it's already been downloaded more than 5,000 times in the Google Play store. It's also available in the Apple app store.

"There are no easy conversations in America anymore about spending and debt," Andrzejewski told me, "So everyday people have to start holding local officials accountable."

It is here that I learned that over three thousand Illinois government employees have higher salaries than the state's governor. And on the openthebooks.com page where I ran a search to discover how many federal employees earn over $300,000 per year (and that those at the top of the list all work for the VA or VHA.) In another search I found the names and addresses of Colorado farmers receiving multiple hundreds of thousands of dollars per year in "supplemental farm income" from the federal government!

Our goal was to teach our employees to think and act like owners. We started by trying to improve their financial literacy by turning topics like accounting into a game. We played this game with real money, however, and the game’s pieces were each and every employee’s quality of life. We called it The Great Game of Business.

Visit openthebooks.com. Run some searches. Make a donation. Share results on Facebook. Let's help Adam spread The Great Game of Government, and turn as many as possible of the current winners into the losers they really are.

HT: Last evening's John Stossel show.

UPDATE: [jk here, don't blame jg of I booger this up] Here is a widget (works for me in Chrome but not IE, your mileage may vary...):

Posted by JohnGalt at 4:07 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

Nice job on the widget! Here's a fun test for everyone: Under Federal click "checkbook" then "zip code" and "farm subsidies" then pick a modest radius and enter your zip code. Find out how many of your neighbors are pulling down 20, 50, $60k per year or more in "Supplemental Assistance Program" or "Biomass Crop Assistance" or "Emergency Assistance Livestock; Honeybee; Fish."

Posted by: johngalt at January 1, 2014 12:41 PM
But johngalt thinks:

"Direct Payments" is another fun category. The major recipient in my area seems to be housing projects and, Pell Grants. Notably $3.7M from the Education Department in 2010 for Park College in zip code 80229, 2nd Congressional District, a "profit organization", which was paid from, hmmm, the "Appalachian Regional Commission" Program Source? Way to go Representative Polis!! Bacon, bacon, bacon!

This reminds me of the Pell Grants to an Illinois cosmetology college with annual tuition of $20k.

Posted by: johngalt at January 1, 2014 12:48 PM

December 4, 2013

Pendulum Swings Right in Partisan Divide

ISSpoll120413_gif.gif

From the IBD Editorial Dems Are The Out-of-Touch Extremists

The only reason Obama and his fellow Democrats aren't constantly tagged as extreme is because the press is so far left that it treats them as reasonable centrists. Meanwhile, by skewing the polls, the increasingly radicalized Democratic Party manages to make the country appear more liberal than it really is.

I would say "more socialist" instead of more liberal. I still believe Americans are quite liberal in the classical sense, i.e. individual liberty.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:21 PM | Comments (0)

November 21, 2013

Silver Linings Thursday

It seems to me that there is a silver lining to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's (Fascist-NV) rule change to eliminate any semblance of a filibuster process and make the Senate's advise and consent function a purely democratic process, subject to the same transient passions as any other majority-rule institution. "Cooling saucer" be damned.

On the bright side, there may no longer be any practical use for the once powerful RINO politician. After all, not a single Republican vote will be required to impose the Democrats' will upon the once Constitutionally protected American citizen.

Posted by JohnGalt at 4:07 PM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

There will be many silver linings. But that is a bug not a feature. The American government lurched one giant step toward majoritarianism today and that is bad. The good guys and liberty derived benefits from the 17th Amendment as well; I'll not celebrate it.

It has driven me to agree with Senator McCain: (h/t @JoshMBlackman) "I wish Robert Byrd had been on the floor here today. To see the travesty seen on a party line vote."

Richard Russell, Byrd -- we needed an "old lion" today and there were none.

Posted by: jk at November 21, 2013 5:15 PM
But johngalt thinks:

"Gallows humor" to be sure.

Byrd? He was just another old white dude. It was "so, so very obvious" that the Senate was becoming "obsolete."

It will get worse before it gets better, liberty lovers. But when it gets better it will be much, much so.

Posted by: johngalt at November 21, 2013 5:33 PM
But jk thinks:

I got yer drift. My twitter feed is full of folks anxiously awaiting majority GOP rule in a year or three. Like a whole Banana Cream Pie for dinner, it might be fun for a while . . .

Posted by: jk at November 21, 2013 5:57 PM

October 7, 2013

Steyn: That Which Shall Not Be Discussed

John Stossel took a peek into Nancy Pelosi's "bare" cupboard last night to see if she was correct in saying there is nothing left to cut. Brilliantly, he placed Social Security, Medicare and military spending on top of the cupboard since "those are so big they don't even fit in the cupboard." Mark Steyn takes on the same issue today saying, Too Much of the Federal Government Can't Be Shut Down.

"Mandatory spending" (Social Security, Medicare et al.) is authorized in perpetuity -- or, at any rate, until total societal collapse. If you throw in the interest payments on the debt, that means two-thirds of the federal budget is beyond the control of Congress' so-called federal budget process.

That's why you're reading government "shutdown" stories about the PandaCam at the Washington Zoo and the First Lady's ghost-Tweeters being furloughed.

He segues from there to what passes for a spending prioritization process in the capitol of our national, nee federal, government.

Pace Sen. Reid, Republican proposals to allocate spending through targeted, mere multi-billion-dollar appropriations is not only not "irresponsible" but, in fact, a vast improvement over the "continuing resolution": To modify Lord Acton, power corrupts, but continuing power corrupts continually.

America has no budget process. That's why it's the brokest nation in history. So a budgeting process that can't control the budget in a legislature that can't legislate leads to a government shutdown that shuts down open areas of grassland and the unmanned boat launch on the Bighorn River in Montana.

I've been Tweeting and Facebooking that we're witnessing day whatever-it-is of "Essential Government." In reality, what's still steaming ahead full is well beyond what is essential.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:51 PM | Comments (1)
But nanobrewer thinks:

How's about we put all the mandatory items in Al Gore's lockbox?

Posted by: nanobrewer at October 8, 2013 12:21 AM

September 11, 2013

Headline of the Day

"TOTAL RECALL"

A perfect headline by Colorado's Complete Colorado linking to this Colorado Peak Politics article:

In a historic recall election Senate President John Morse was booted from office, capping the end of a long and passionate fight over gun rights in Colorado. It marks a wake-up call for Colorado Democrats, who are suddenly coming to the realization that they're not invincible after all.

In a legislative session this spring dubbed "one of the most liberal ever" by the Durango Herald's Joe Hanel, Democrats sprinted to the left on gun control, and virtually every other policy in the left-wing agenda.

The Morse recall results are a swift kick in their proverbial nuts. A reminder to legislators that getting elected office doesn't give you a free pass to do whatever your progressive paymasters demand of you.

A hearty congratulations to my compatriots to the south. It wasn't my fight but I cheered loudly and rooted you on.

Oh and by the way, the headline says "total" recall, alluding to the other senator facing a no-confidence vote, Pueblo Democrat Angela Giron. She's toast too, by a 20-point margin.

Posted by JohnGalt at 1:17 AM | Comments (4)
But johngalt thinks:

One very popular symbol of the TEA Party and the liberty movement in general is the Gadsden flag, recognizable for its "Don't Tread On Me" motto. It bears the likeness of a rattlesnake.

During hearings in the most recent Colorado legislative session, those of us who endorse that banner gave the legislative majority "the rattle." Yesterday we gave it "the fangs."

Posted by: johngalt at September 11, 2013 4:27 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

"Total Recall?"

As long as we're going to use Schwarzenegger references, should we respond with "Hasta la vista, baby" or "you're terminated"?

Posted by: Keith Arnold at September 11, 2013 8:34 PM
But dagny thinks:

Anything but, "I'll be back."

Posted by: dagny at September 12, 2013 1:31 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Ladies and gentlemen, please walk away from the keyboards. Dagny's comeback is today's Winner of the Internet.

I will credit the source when I use that one myself.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at September 13, 2013 1:05 AM

July 13, 2013

The "Producer's Pledge"

"I am proud of my company's product and the profit we make by selling it to others - freely, and to our mutual benefit. Since certain government entities have materially restricted my ability to produce and profit it is no longer beneficial for me to sell my product in the jurisdictions of those government entities. I therefore pledge that I will no longer sell my product through distribution channels that serve the state, county, or local governments that restrict or prohibit my ability to produce my product."

The idea here is that when the voters of, say, Boulder County, Colorado, find their gasoline prices spiking and supplies becoming scarce they will finally make the connection between their voting habits and the supply of daily conveniences that they have come to take for granted.

If you are interested in the supporting "rant" for this idea, read on below.

Ayn Rand said,

"Productive work is the central purpose of a rational man’s life, the central value that integrates and determines the hierarchy of all his other values. Reason is the source, the precondition of his productive work—pride is the result."

Anyone who has ever felt the gratifying sense of an accomplishment after making or building something has a hint that this is true. But the central purpose? The central value? To answer those questions ask this one: What else, other than productiveness, gives man pride?

Just as the passage of the 2009 "Stimulus" Bill precipitated a civil uprising known as the TEA Party, the partisan overreach of Colorado's 2013 legislative session produced a movement advocating that many rural Colorado counties secede from the rest of the state. Practical problems with that idea spawned a call to rearrange Colorado's legislature such that every county is represented by its own state senator, regardless of population, as is the case regarding the several states in the United States Senate. But this too has a practical problem. The same problem that led to both the 2013 Colorado legislature and the 2009 United States legislature being controlled by a single political party. The problem is something Americans have long been taught to hold as a virtue. The problem is democracy.

Democracy is not the same thing as freedom. Democracy is the idea, not that people decide how to live their own lives, but that a large enough group of people can decide how everyone is to live his life. To understand if an idea is virtuous or not imagine its extreme. The extreme of democracy is ochlocracy. (Look it up.) The extreme of freedom is, liberty. And to understand just how mixed up and turned around political philosophy has become, consider the fact that those who once advocated for extreme freedom, whether from a monarch or from a religion, were called "liberals" but those known as liberals today are advocates of "social equality" and/or "environmental protection" via democracy - a decidedly anti-liberty prescription.

The men and women of rural Colorado have many reasons to seek separation from their neighbors in the urban counties but as one county commissioner said, "The mandate that tells us what kind of energy sources we may use was the last straw." And understandably so. In addition to producing food that feeds the urban county populations, many of the rural counties produce another valuable export product that results in billions of dollars in wealth creation and millions of dollars in tax revenues to state and local governments. That product, actually many products, is known as oil and natural gas.

For economic reasons the fastest growing process used today to extract oil and gas in the United States is hydraulic fracturing, or fracing. (Also spelled "fracking.") The only real difference between fracking and conventional drilling is that a water-based solution is pumped into the well after drilling and before pumping to create pathways through which the oil may escape to the well bore. That's it. It's not polluting and it's not sinister, although its detractors do everything possible to convince us, the people who vote, that it is both of those things. And many people are convinced. One such person is Washington County resident Steve Frey who said, "I don't want be [sic] in a 51st state. I don't want any part of their fracking that they're doing in Weld County."

I could not possibly agree more with Mr. Frey's contention that he has a right to be free from every aspect of the oil extraction process called "fracking" that he disagrees with, for whatever reason he chooses to do so. Industry must begin taking immediate steps, doing everything in its power, so that those who oppose its practices must not be forced to accept the severance tax revenues accorded to their local government by fracking. Unfortunately, government holds the reins on virtually every aspect of this unfair treatment of Mr. Frey and others similarly situated. Industry has but one thing it may control. Namely, to whom and to where it chooses to sell its product.

Posted by JohnGalt at 10:56 AM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

Well said and well thought. But it strikes me as a very tough sale.

Trying to think of a producer who would eschew a sale, it would probably have to be more direct. Maybe I wouldn't sell to the Taliban, but withholding gas from a poor stupid Boulder guy's Subaru? It doesn't take many cycles to rationalize away that.

My employer sells bucketloads to gub'mint. I read your pledge first, as you presented and thought "we're not going to leave that money on the table" while he rest of your post loaded.

NED bless Magpul (though principled stands might be a plus in that industry) but while government seems pretty close to Atlas, I think business is light years away. And for every principled Galt, there are a dozen James Taggarts to patch things over. In fact, we probably make the Progressives' favorite error of conflating business-folk with Capitalists.

Posted by: jk at July 13, 2013 12:18 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Yes. Your very last point is key. And it is the only way we can convince producers to do this, as a moral issue.

"Do not conflate winning special favors from government with achievement. Cronyism and achievement are each other's mortal enemies."

(I quote because I just said it on Facebook.)

Just as peaceful Muslims lose credibility when they fail to denounce the crimes of Islamofascists perpetrated in the name of their faith, capitalists lose credibility when they fail to denounce and distinguish themselves from crony-capitalists.

I'm not thinking we would encourage individual gas stations to refuse fueling Subarus (while still selling to SUV owners) but for oil producers or refiners to stop selling to retailers who don't agree to temporarily padlock their pumps in those cities and counties. The producers will still have a world market to sell into. The retailers will be under public pressure to make a decision. If one agrees he will be the only one in the region to receive fuel shipments. This applies to all counties, even the ones that allow fracking.

There are details to be worked out, for sure, but to any extent such a plan is executed, especially just before an election, it will bring an important question into the public square: Do producers need consumers, or do consumers (and government) need producers?

Posted by: johngalt at July 13, 2013 1:04 PM
But johngalt thinks:
"We will rebuild America's system on the moral premise which had been its foundation, but which you treated as a guilty underground, in your frantic evasion of the conflict between that premise and your mystic morality: the premise that man is an end in himself, not the means to the ends of others, that man's life, his freedom, his happiness are his by inalienable right." | Atlas Shrugged
Posted by: johngalt at July 14, 2013 11:01 AM

December 13, 2012

Exit, Stage Right

A few days back I posted a link to Part I of Brit philosopher Nick Land's crushing take on democracy and liberty, "The Dark Enlightnement." Strangely enough, the orignal entries disappeared from the "That's Shanghai" website shortly after the piece began to be extensively linked...

Fortunately, a Tumblr named Matt Leslie had posted it in full back in September. At over 27,000 words of reading neither easy or light, it's not everyone cup of tea, but I present it for your consideration.

I know that not everyone here agrees completely, but we are entering interesting times. It is not the end of civilization or a return to the Dark Ages, but it is indeed the kind of inflection point that has been seen before, many times, in human history. Things that cannot go on, will not. Reality is not subject to a filibuster in the Senate.

I wrote before that I am dead to national politics now, though I am still involved at the state and local level. Some states and locales will be much better to live in than others, when the New WoMen really get their program in place.

It's now about Flight, or Exit. Since there is no new frontier on Earth, and space isn't quite ready yet, it's going to be an internal exit. In the next few years a lot of the best people we've got are going to quit working so hard, quit trying to deal with DC, quit trying to make the world "better." Just for awhile.

Rand's vision was awesome, because it relied on the reality of human beings qua human beings, and the reality of this earth. "Is Atlas Shrugging?" articles have been written periodically for over 50 years. Maybe I'm wrong; but I hear it coming, like the faint low staccato of a distant stampede, that no one can stop. One can only get out of its way.

I'm not "depressed" (what a typical modernism!) by this, not at all. Again, interesting times! I'm with author Sarah Hoyt (of Colorado):

And then there’s the fact that in the rest of the world, if things get unbearable, you can always go to America. But we don’t have an America to go to. Which will only make us more determined to “ignore the order, buck the directive, roll up our sleeves and do for ourselves.”

This is why statists of any stripe so often throw their hands up and call us ungovernable. Not that this gives them the idea they shouldn’t try. No. Instead, they try to devise more cunning ways of governing us. You have them to give credit for dreaming the impossible dream. It’s the one proof we have that the sons of beetles are Americans.

So… after sixty years of creeping statism, they’ve now “captured the flag” – they have actually got all of the important systems sewn up: news, entertainment, education, government.

They think – can you blame them? – that they won.

I won’t say they can’t hurt us. They can. The mechanisms they’ve seized hold of are important and they are – natch – misusing them.

I’m not saying that this will be easy. It won’t. Our economy is likely to be an incredible shambles, and I’ve said before I think we’ll lose at least one city.

But, listen, the problem with these sons of… Babel is that they might be American, but they’re not American ENOUGH. If they were, they’d understand “ungovernable” and this willingness for each of us to go it alone (often for common benefit, but on own recognizance, nonetheless) is not a bug. It’s a feature. And that it’s baked in the cake of a people who came here to escape the top-down spirit of other places. Some of the black sheep (or as one friend of mine calls it, the plaid sheep) attitude is genetic, hereditary, inborn. And enough of us have it.


I'll tell you what's really funny; I've basically returned to where I was back in '75 when I read Harry Browne's How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World. If you haven't read it, I recommend you do. No spoilers here.

But the title says a lot.

Posted by Ellis Wyatt at 4:39 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 5, 2012

Reconsidering 2016

It seems to me that most of us Three Sourcers had a pretty good idea that the election of Mitt Romney was not going to "solve" America's problems. We didn't talk about it much, explicitly, but deep in our hearts I think this extraordinarily bright collection of humans knew that this is the way things really are.

He gives it the catchy title "The Dark Enlightnement" but I might just call it reality. If you have a few minutes, read the piece and let us discuss our next move. I don't think mine will be to research whether Rubio, Ryan or Jindahl is the best choice for 2016...

Posted by Ellis Wyatt at 3:16 PM | Comments (8)
But Bryan thinks:

My God that was depressing. And Awesome!

Posted by: Bryan at December 5, 2012 4:50 PM
But Steve D thinks:

The endarkenment

Posted by: Steve D at December 5, 2012 4:56 PM
But jk thinks:

...and I just crawled back off the ledge where I was going to jump after the election.

Every word of the linked piece is true (I suspect the authenticity of the Franklin quote as well) and yet what a Hoppe never concedes is the great run of Constitutional Republicanism in the United States. It took us almost two hundred years to break the fine machine that Madison et all constructed -- and we can still use it to assert rights of speech and self-defense unfathomable in other modern and free Democracies.

The rise of the United States from backwoods colonies in the 18th Century to Argentina's economic equal in the 19th to a superpower in the 20th to hegemon in the 21st makes me think that there might be something to that Constitution thingy.

I love reading Hoppe and Lysander Spooner and Lord Acton. Their beliefs reinforce many of the things I hold true. But what I strive for is attention to the US Constitution, accepting its warts Even accepting the 16th and 17th Amendments which ruin it.

On this day, dear friends, we repealed prohibition and ratified the 21st Amendment. Hope lives.

Posted by: jk at December 5, 2012 5:01 PM
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

Brother jk, I love your optimism, which mirrors my own natural inclination. But the inexorable logic of the situation seems well, inexorable.

I will be out of touch until tomorrow, when I hope to get more into the "what should be done" of the situation.

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at December 5, 2012 5:15 PM
But jk thinks:

I am calling for tempered pessimism. No, the United States is unlikely to return to its pre-progressive, lasseiz faire liberty. But we've seen Canada, Finland and Sweden roll back government. It can be done.

Consistent with Reason 40th Anniversary: yes, government is going to hell, but freedom advances in other spheres. We have the TSA, but we have the Internet. In the heat of an election -- or after a disastrous one, I know that sounds like the consolation prize, but it's a vector as certain as democracy -- and it points the right way.

Removing self-directed rule in fear of democracy is tossed around pretty cavalierly by the anarcho crowd. I really don't want to move to Singapore, Dubai, or Hong Kong in spite of high economic freedom.

Posted by: jk at December 5, 2012 6:17 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I got me this cabin in the woods...

KIDDING!

Posted by: johngalt at December 5, 2012 6:31 PM

November 4, 2012

Grandpa Voted Democrat

A little more "low-information" than the mean Three Sources demographic but we'll take humor wherever we find it.

Posted by JohnGalt at 10:42 AM | Comments (0)