WE JUST DISAGREE …

It was one of those little online skirmishes you wish you hadn’t gotten in. 

But I did. 

We all feel the need to correct the misguided and misinformed, online. That impulse is why social media is such a psychological war zone and has been for years. It’s also the reason we have certain elected officials that we have, and the balance of world power is what it is. 

Because some people just think a certain way. And no matter what you do, you can’t fix it. 

Last night, one really bad candidate in Georgia beat another really bad candidate in Georgia, for the United States senate. Some of my friends were ecstatic. Some were incensed. 

I realized that my little online skirmish had everything to do with it… 

See, the volley was about how there’s this new law requiring sites like PayPal and Venmo to report taxes to the government, of anything over $600. That sounds perfectly reasonable. Doesn’t it?  

After all, as this person very calmly and methodically explained to me, we have to report taxes of everything over $600 anyway. This is all part of the tax code and this is a good law because it helps the government tamp down tax fraud that may be occurring on these sites. 

That is a cogent, well documented stance. It’s really hard to argue with. It is logical as can be. Unless…

You don’t believe the government should be taxing income in the first place and you definitely don’t believe they should have more access to your financial profile than they already have. 

Why would someone think like that? 

You start thinking like that when you finally uncouple from the idea that government is the end-all, be-all of existence. When you stop believing that government (even ours) should be the ultimate arbiter of everything that touches our lives and that every dollar turned in this country should end up in Washington D.C, you kind of get out of the Matrix and think about things differently. 

See, I don’t care if you commit tax fraud. I don’t care if you never pay another dollar to the United States treasury, for the rest of your life. I don’t need to know what you’re doing with your finances. That is between you and the I.R.S. 

It only becomes a concern of mine, when I start believing that the government is the sacred wheel we must all turn with as much force and toil as we can muster. If you see government as the fountainhead of all running waters, you will make it your business to oversee every dam. 

But I don’t see government that way. I see it as a necessary evil we must endure, while keeping it as pragmatically small as possible. It should only do what it’s designed to do and not an ounce more. 

And it should behave in such a way, and structure its tax policy in such a way, that the citizens aren’t having to hide money from it in order to build any sort of future for themselves or their families. 

And it has no business having access to the personal finances of any of its citizens. 

And if your first knee-jerk reaction to this is, “Yes, but …” then you simply don’t understand Libertarianism. And I probably can’t explain it to you in any sort of way you will comprehend. 

I mean, I can explain it to you. But I can’t understand it for you.    

I didn’t win that online debate. I mean, I won…I just didn’t win. The person insisted on holding to the notion of what needs to happened for the government to function “more effectively.” For them, that meant the government having better access to my financial information…and yours. 

I simply don’t see that as “more effective.” I see it as “more intrusive.” 

Agree to disagree, I suppose. 

But that’s it. That’s the very heart of our differences. We simply see government in different ways. 

Some people see the seat of power as “America.” And that’s what they love about the country. I see you and your family and your reaching for your ultimate potential and your chasing a dream and starting a business and sacrificing for your children so they can get to places you couldn’t reach, as “America.” 

The government we put in place is simply supposed to protect that spirit and not interfere with it. When it starts doing that, it violates the spirit of America and it’s the problem. Not the solution.   

Whenever I hear a politician (on EITHER side of the aisle) say, “We need do to get a lot done,” I yell to myself, “NO! Stop getting stuff done. Go on vacation and stay there for a very long time. Leave us all alone. No more law, please.” 

As I always say, whatever beast you build must be fed. And if you build a professional law-maker class, complete with 6-figure salary, the best benefits on the planet, and instant fame, don’t be surprised when they become really good at making law after law and creating statute after statute and making the country bow to them. Because those laws they make aren’t just frivolous corporate community standards. 

Those laws come with jail time and life-destroying penalties. 

That means, that beast has ALL the power. ALL. OF. IT. 

If you like it that way, you are very inclined to vote for Democrats. Democrats make no bones about giving more power to government. And I actually applaud them for their clarity and commitment. They’ve done a really good job of training generation after generation to rely more and more on them. So, when it comes to election time, the weakened masses allow them to gather more strength.

For some, this is seen as a victory. For them, it was last night. 

But if you have the least bit of concern over the size, scope and reach of the state, you will find yourself voting for Republicans. Not because Republicans are good candidates. Most of the time they’re horrible. Many of them are just not up to the task of articulating a counter argument to the status quo, which is what you HAVE to be able to do, to win as a Republican, and something Hershel Walker (as much as I tend to like the guy as a person) wasn’t up to. 

But here’s the thing about voting for Republicans…

I learned, years ago, that you should ONLY vote for the party…not the person. Because Republicans are the only ones willing to consider constraints on the expansion of power. 

Governmental power grows naturally, in the first place. It’s almost impossible to stop. And when it is run by people who don’t want to stop it, it can become a nightmare. You’re living in that nightmare right now. 

Wonder why your trip to the grocery store costs almost twice what it cost last year? Part of it is because Joe Manchin, the good ‘ol boy from West Virginia, who won his first election by doing videos of himself out shooting guns and showing his best “I’m-a-conservative-at-heart-I-just have-this-D-by-my-name-for-show” routine, locked arms with his party and voted in a spending bill that has flooded the market with so much cash, it’s almost not worth anything anymore. 

Joe is probably a good man at heart. But he basically broke the world with his vote. 

You’ll see it play out this winter, when you’re wondering why your natural gas bill is higher than your mortgage payment. 

But don’t worry…somebody online will be able to tell you why that’s Republicans’ fault. And we probably need more regulation to make sure everybody’s taxes are reported accurately.           

R

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THE KNOWN …

I was on the debate team, in high school. 

I was undefeated, by the way. But I digress …

There are some rules I learned, that have stayed with me through the years. A few of them have come in handy in marital arguments. Some of them have served me well in the public arena. Some of them have sent me down some online rabbit holes I wish I had stayed out of. Nevertheless…

One is: always force your opponent to defend the details. 

That means, make brash claims, based on “chapter and verse” of something obscure. Then, put your opponent in the position of having to refute your knowledge. 

Example: “page 38, paragraph 10, section 33, of the New York penal code explicitly states that this is a crime.” 

There may be no page 38, paragraph 10, section 33 of any New York penal code. You may be making it all up. But in a debate, your opponent is supposed to know all of that. So, the more details you can throw at them, the more confused you can make them. 

A weak debater will say something like, “Yes, but the spirit of that code is this or that…”

A strong debater will say, “There IS no page 38 of that code. I read it yesterday. And it doesn’t say that. It says this …”

Then, they’ll make up whatever they want to make up. 

And a big part of debate strategy is for each debater to bluff their opponent into believing they have a greater command of the facts than the other one does…whether they actually do or not. 

The strongest debaters of all, however, will actually have the facts. 

But keeping mountains of facts and oceans of figures at your constant disposal is difficult. We forget names and dates and penal codes. So, one of the more subtle nuances of general debate strategy is this: don’t get dragged into the speculative, when you can win on the known

That means don’t go off into the weeds on paragraph 10, section 33, when your opponent opened the door to page one, paragraph one, which everybody in the room can recite with their eyes closed.  

I’ve always found it interesting that people get dragged into an argument about how long The United States had slaves. The New York Times did an entire series on it, called The 1619 Project. 

But it’s not true. The United States didn’t have slaves in 1619. The United States only had slavery for 87 years. And do you know how I know that? 

Because it’s in the first line of the most famous American speech ever given…

“Four score and seven years ago, our fathers brought forth on this continent a NEW nation…” 

That’s Abraham Lincoln…saying we’ve only been in existence for 87 years. Earlier that year, he had emancipated the slaves. 

This is a page one, paragraph one situation. The known. We don’t need to get into the weeds about page 38, paragraph 10 regarding 1619. That’s all British colonies and royal subjects and pre-revolution thinking. The debate is over based on the known. 

87 years ago, we started over. 

Anyway …

I have always maintained that the Hunter Biden laptop story is the most important story of the last decade. I’ve written about it many times. 

And it has nothing to do with Hunter’s personal problems or addictions or proclivities. I care about none of that. I would venture to say that most people don’t. 

And the story might have just been about garden variety political corruption, which is clearly what the Biden family is (and has been) engaged in for decades. That’s not really debatable either…based on the known. 

Truthfully, I don’t even blame them. I blame the nature of bureaucracy and the corrosive influence of power itself. This is why politicians in America should get out as soon as they can. Once you start seeing the people’s money and time as yours, corruption is only a whisper away. 

They answered the siren call. It’s clear. 

And I base this assertion on the known…not the speculative. 

Here’s what I saw with my own eyes and heard with my own ears:

Hunter Biden, in an ABC interview, admitted that he has NO expertise in oil and gas exploration. And yet he was placed on the board of Burisma, a Ukrainian oil and gas exploration company, making 80k a month just to sit on said board. 

When the interviewer asked him if he thinks he got that gig based on who his father was, he answered that he probably got a lot of opportunities in his life based on who his father was. 

And my next question was…WHY? 

What would a company anywhere in the world GAIN from having a senator or Vice President’s son on their board? There is only ONE answer…access. 

Access to what? American power. And if that’s the case, the Biden family was profiting off the elections of Joe.    

That is the known. 

Then, the video of Joe Biden bragging to the Council on Foreign Relations about withholding official government assistance to that country (tax payer dollars) if they didn’t fire a particular prosecutor. That’s known. His words. Not MY speculation. 

What was so important about that prosecutor? Well, we KNOW he was investigating Hunter Biden’s involvement in the Burisma company. 

Again…known. 

There may have been a dozen other reasons to fire that prosecutor. He may have been more corrupt than anyone we know. But I can’t make Joe Biden’s actions not be what they were. And even though there may have been all those other reasons to fire the guy, there was also a son sitting on a board, being investigated by a guy the dad forced to have fired, by withholding public dollars from an ally. 

So far, I haven’t had to make ONE claim about the Biden family. They’ve done it all for me. 

But let’s set all that aside and pretend, for a moment, that everything was on the up and up and that it’s all legal and pure as the driven snow. Those kinds of political back room deals don’t make the laptop story all that important…until 2020. 

Once the laptop story broke, and the corruption claims could actually be verified (or debunked) with some basic 101 journalism…but WASN’T…it became the most important story of the decade. 

Why?

Because now, the entire media establishment was picking a side and intentionally squashing a story to affect an election. And they weren’t even being coy or clandestine about it. They were doing it in broad daylight. 

Now, it wasn’t a story about political secret handshakes and cigar smoke-filled rooms, where the power gets transacted. NOW, it was a story about an entire sector of the United States putting its finger on the scale of an election; something we’ve never seen happen in the raw light of day. 

And we’ve told ourselves for years that we don’t do that here in America. Well now we do. And it’s known. 

This weekend, Elon Musk started releasing actual documents proving this story to be even more far-reaching than we could’ve ever speculated about. 

The known is now more corrupt than the original speculation. As it turns out, the conspiracy theorists weren’t thinking creatively enough. 

People talk about “election deniers” as if they are some fringe group of the insane. I am now wondering how anyone can still have faith in that election at all. The people who accept it as free, fair and secure are the crazy ones to me.

And that’s not based on some obscure voting anomaly on page 38, paragraph 10.   

What I’m talking about is based on the known.  

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TWO MINUTES …

It was all over two minutes. 

I’ll never forget it. 

My (then) 6-year-old son had asked me if he could stay up till 9:30 and play with his toys. I agreed. At 9:28, I came up and told him to start getting ready for bed and that by the time he got everything put away it would be well past our agreed upon time. 

“But you said I could play UNTIL 9:30,” he reasoned. “It’s only 9:28. That means I still have two minutes. This isn’t fair!” 

We spent the next ten minutes going through the gyrations of what it meant to get extra time to stay up and how two minutes wasn’t that much in the scheme of being allowed to stay up past your bed time, and how you have to factor clean up time into your bedtime equation, etc, etc. 

But as I put him down and was tucking the covers up around his neck, his scowl and quivering lip told me that he’d still not understood the issue as I understood it. 

Finally, I said, “If I let you get back up and play for two minutes will you be satisfied with our deal?” 

“Yes,” he replied, defiantly. 

So, I let him get back out of bed and play in his play room for EXACTLY two more minutes. I stood there and timed it. And when the alarm on my phone went off, he didn’t question anything. He simply got up and voluntarily went back to bed. Because my son is one of those people who is all about the letter of a thing. Not just the spirit of it. 

He doesn’t like phrases like, “around 20 minutes or so” or “roughly 80 pounds.” He needs specifics and he expects precise accountings. Some people are just that way. 

Yesterday, Donald Trump announced he is running for president again. 

Some people are elated. Others are horrified. When I saw it, all I could think about was “two minutes.” 

See, here’s the thing…

If you are one of those who believes we should move on past 2020 and simply forget all the craziness and look to the future instead of the past, you’re missing something really foundational. Donald Trump still believes that the 2020 election was stolen from him in broad daylight. Millions of others believe this as well. I happen to be one of them. 

Why do I believe this? Because Time Magazine admitted to it. 

Their admission wasn’t about ballot harvesting or 2000 Mules or any of that. But they did do a whole cover story on how the press colluded with Hollywood and social media and the Democrat election apparatus to get Trump removed from office. They were proud of it. 

For me, it was always about the Hunter Biden story. I said then, and I still maintain, that that story was the most important story of the moment. And it still is. 

And why, in a world of Covid, Russia invading Ukraine, January the 6th, inflation, gas prices, Roe V Wade being overturned, would that story be the most important one? 

Because in that story, we get to the core of all the other ones. 

In Hunter Biden’s laptop, which we all know is a real thing, now, we get a glimpse into the world we always had a hunch existed but couldn’t prove. We get to the heart of what Donald Trump represented to millions of Americans in the first place. We get to see all the secret handshakes and back room deals everybody hates about what American politics has become. 

The other thing about that story is that the suppression of it by the press and social media (and I mean, adamant suppression), lies at the heart of what everybody believes about the corruption of the press and the cabal they have with the Democrat party. 

If it had all proven to be a false story, the narrative could’ve been that Republicans (like Rudy Giulianni) were just trying to pull an October surprise on ‘ol Joe. But it was all true. And the FBI (according to Mark Zuckerburg) was apparently in on it. 

And that is political corruption at it’s zenith. That is Watergate, Iran/Contra, Monica Lewinski, and bombing Cambodia all rolled into one. And it still hasn’t cracked the front page of any major newspaper. 

Every poll taken on this, shows that if that information had been allowed to be released, the 2020 election would’ve swung by as much as 8 points. And you’d probably be paying around two bucks a gallon for gas right now (apologies to my son, who would prefer a specific number). 

In this entire narrative lies the January 6th event and people being imprisoned without due process. In it lies the retreat from Afghanistan. In it lies the billions of dollars given to Ukraine, that can’t seem to be tracked or accounted for. In it lies why Elon Musk even wanted to buy Twitter in the first place. In it lies 40-year-high inflation and American energy policy.

And in it lies the most recent 2022 midterm elections, and the dark cloud of mystery that still hovers over certain states’ voting practices. 

So, yes, Donald Trump sees all of this. And if you think a guy like that is simply going to throw up his hands and say, “Okay, guys. You got me. Good one. I’m just going to pack it in and take the L,” you don’t know anything about New York billionaire real estate tycoons. 

To me, Donald Trump isn’t the issue and never was. And none of this is about him. 

It’s about the power of the state and what it can do to people who are disrupting it. Is there ever a chance for a real outsider in American politics? Or do we have such powerful and well-oiled systems in place that we can thwart the will of the people whenever we need to, by simply pulling certain levers?

Nobody wants to believe that is the case. We all want to believe the American experiment isn’t being run by some invisible cartel that answers to no one. But 2020 makes you take a hard look at it and wonder. 

The thing about elections is that the winning side sometimes gets lulled into believing that just because they won a political battle, the other side is simply going to vanish. 

But that’s not how it works. 

People regroup and re-tool and come after you again. And sometimes they figure out how to beat you the second time. 

I don’t know if Trump can do that. And, to be honest, I don’t actually care. But what I do care about is my country and this really special thing we are all privileged to be a part of. 

And I think you can make a strong case that in 2020, that thing didn’t get its two minutes. 

R

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BALLOTS ON THE BALLOT …

Fluorescent lights. 

That’s the image that is always burned into my brain when I think about a government building. Then, I paint the rest of the picture. It usually includes beige walls and nondescript, utilitarian flooring of some kind. Then, of course, there are the obligatory drop ceiling tiles. One or two of them will have water stains just for good measure. 

It usually has the faint smell of coffee, cigarettes and some off-brand perfume. 

It’s nice enough and functional enough. But it’s never as exciting as the office building of a young, hip, private company.  They’re just two different worlds. And there are reasons for that …

If you want to see the major difference between the public and private sector, look no further than an election. 

As of the writing of this piece, we still don’t know who won some districts in yesterday’s mid-term elections. 

In the coming days, there will be endless analysis of the races themselves and why there wasn’t the red wave everybody thought there was going to be, and where the country’s mindset is and what drove voters to this or that. 

But, as a fairly simple man, my focus is always on the easy-to-point-out stuff others may not be talking about. And I have been baffled for many years (decades, actually) at how the most powerful nation in the history of the human race, still has ANY issues at all with its voting processes. 

We have fixed every major problem humans have ever had. We figured out how you can order an entire meal at one speaker and have it in your car by the next speaker. We figured out how to broadcast ourselves talking about literally nothing, to the rest of the world, holding the same device we are holding. 

We figured out how to scroll on that device and find a picture of the ice skates we want, order them with the touch of a button, and have them delivered to our front door…THE. NEXT. DAY. 

And yet, when it comes to electing our public servants, we can’t seem to have a nation-wide accurate count in 24 hours. Why? 

My opinion (yes, this is an OPINION Piece) is that we can’t get our elections certified in 24 hours for the same reason we can’t get those stained drop ceiling tiles replaced before winter… 

Government isn’t a dynamic system. 

Yesterday, I was called a “conservative” on social media. And I don’t know how many times I have to write about it and yell about it and explain it, but I am a LIBERTARIAN. NOT a conservative. 

Many people don’t know the difference. So here it is in a nutshell…

Libertarians believe the government should always be the last resort when it comes to solving complex problems of the human condition. They also believe in the most amount of personal freedom for the most people. We usually end up having to vote for Republicans because Republicans are the only political party left willing to even discuss this idea.  

One of the driving forces behind the Libertarian belief is that all government (ours included) necessarily creates a dispassionate pragmatism within itself, that has no incentive to innovate or create. And that’s okay if you’re building roads and bridges. But government is a static ecosystem populated by people without expertise in all the things we demand they be experts in. They also have no stakes attached to their decisions. 

American Idol, The Voice and AGT can receive and count millions of votes in mere hours…because they have to. Their very survival as a thing depends on them getting the job done. 

When government does it, however, there is no place else for the consumer to go; no competition lurking in the shadows, waiting to replace them. They’ll get it done when they get it done. Take a number and sit down. You’re stuck here. 

Now, obviously, TV shows don’t have the same sacred mandate and constitutional responsibility as representative government has. And allowing people to vote for a public servant from their phone comes with all sorts of issues that would take people much smarter than me to figure out. I’m not even advocating for that particular thing, anyway. 

I’m simply saying that if we are going to continue to give these people more and more power – and that seems to be what Americans are simply hell bent on doing – then shouldn’t our voting systems be the most state-of-the-art in the world? 

Shouldn’t we be able to announce which C student is going to be deciding global monetary policy, by the end of the night…in ALL 50 states? Is that really too much to ask? 

As a side note: I have certain doubts about the integrity of some states’ election systems in the first place. And I have for many years. In 2012, there were those weird stories about certain districts in Pennsylvania, where 120% of the total population of a town apparently voted…for ONE candidate. I don’t know if any of that is true. 

But at this point, I’m prone to believe a lot more far-fetched stuff than I used to. And Pennsylvania sure does seem to do some weird stuff. I’ll just leave that there. But just know, Pennsylvania…I’m watching you. We all are. 

How many times are we going to hear, “All the votes probably won’t be counted till the end of the week”?

For some people, that just always sounds too much like, “We need to see how many votes we need, here, to win this thing.”  

There’s probably a pulitzer or, at the very least, A Netflix documentary, in it for some hungry journalist who wants to do a multi-year deep dive in to voting practices all across the nation, and see what in the world is actually happening in some of these places. 

I would watch the hell out of that out of sheer curiosity. 

My hunch is that we wouldn’t find some sinister force, putting its finger on the scales. My money is on the disaffected incompetence that comes with knowing that you cannot be replaced no matter what. 

My gut tells me it’s more about fluorescent lighting and ceiling tiles than it is about shadows and monsters in the dark.  

So while everybody else is going to be talking about “what went wrong” or “what went right”; what message voters are sending or what America is standing up or sitting down for, I’m over here saying, “You can’t be excited about either side of any government that can’t get the votes counted in 24 hours.” 

People tried to tell you that “democracy itself” was on the ballot, yesterday. 

I’m telling you that in 2022, the fact that your state’s ballots might not be fully counted till next week, should tell you all you need to know about how much control you should give the government. 

Get used to stained ceiling tiles.  

R

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THE I-S-M …

Communism. Community. 

They both come from the same root word: commune. To commune with someone is to “feel in close spiritual contact with”them. That’s the actual definition. A commune (emphasis on the com) is a place where everyone lives together and shares in duties and responsibilities, as well as profits and gains…equally. 

Both words kinda mean the same thing. Or, at least, they’re both attempting the same thing. But there are profound differences…

 

Everybody has a little inner communist inside them, somewhere. If you’ve ever thought to yourself, “we need the community to come together on this. And if they won’t, then we need to create laws that will force them to,” then, congratulations…you’ve found your inner communist. 

Now, obviously, there are things we do have to force society to come together on: murder, rape, theft, fraud, assault, etc. And, in a way, we all have varying degrees of inner communists inside of us. 

But for the most part, everybody knows (or should know) by now, that pure communism doesn’t work. Anywhere. And it never has. Because you can’t force community. It has to happen naturally and willingly. Once it’s forced, it gets dark, ugly, complicated and chaotic.   

The thing that keeps me hanging on and loving America (or, at least, the idea of America), is that it has been the purest experiment in human freedom, in human history. And guess what? It works.

Does it have flaws? Oh my lord, yes. Does it create horrific by-products? Without question. Can it be a vehicle for unimaginable corruption? If you don’t know how much, you’re not paying attention. 

But it’s also a better option than any other option humans have ever attempted. And so, it’s worth continuing the experiment. But there are schools of thought that suggest otherwise. 

There are those who believe – OPENLY believe – that some speech or some freedoms or some forms of expression or some personal rights should be repressed or reigned in or bridled in some way. 

And those people are really good targets for those who have embraced their inner communists and believe it’s not a bad thing after all. 

Historically, those forces use what they call “useful idiots” (literally THEIR words – not mine) to get their message spread and their power consolidated. And they use all sorts of psychological weapons to keep everyone fighting each other, while the power expands.  

One of the things they have used for decades, is the idea of protected class; race/gender/sexual orientation/etc. 

My wife had an exchange with a gay man, recently. They were simply talking about Chick Fil A. Nothing more. As innocuous as it gets. But he suddenly went into a tirade about how that company hated him and wished he didn’t exist and how insidious it was that he actually liked their chicken. 

My wife sort of talked him down and diffused the vitriol. And they had a reasonable conversation. She listened and understood where he was coming from on certain things. However, ten minutes later, he came walking through the same area, making fun of some Asian people he’d just encountered, talking in a caricature Chinese accent and LITERALLY pulling his eyes tight, to mimic facial features. 

At that point, he’d poked the wrong mama bear. See, our daughter is Asian. And that type of thing is not acceptable in our house. At. All. 

My 16-year-old, white, straight, son, wouldn’t even THINK about doing such a thing. It wouldn’t cross his mind. 

But when pressed, the man talked about how he was gay, so he couldn’t be racist or sexist, because of power structures, blah, blah, blah. 

That is the lie collectivists have talked the world into. The lie that everything is based on which group you belong to and how you line up in some sort of ven diagram of victimhood. It keeps people separated and thinking that they have some moral authority over others. And it allows them to be used.  

It’s how we go from individualism to collectivism. If your individual prejudices are protected by some historic injustice, then you can allow them to flourish and grow without consequence. And prejudice is a great political tool to use against others. Especially, if you are convinced yours is okay…or even justified. 

And that will keep you voting for the power that you believe is on your side.  

I’ve often said, there are really only two variants in political thought: statism and libertarianism. 

You either believe the state (the collective) is the answer or you believe the individual is the answer. I’ve never made any bones about my belief in the individual. It gets confusing to some… 

See, at heart, I’m a liberal. 

I’m an artist. I’m a free spirit. I love to see people expressing themselves without restraint. I love to hear people talking without restraint. I love to see what genius ideas people can come up with…without restraint. 

And you’d think that would make me a Democrat. But Democrats seem to always be the ones wanting to corral every little thing into the structure of government. And that just kills all the life in it.

As a famous (VERY famous. Trust me – you’d know ALL his songs) songwriter friend of mine once said to me, “Of course I’m a liberal. But, dear God, I’d never vote for one!”  

I found that to be a profound statement. 

The truth is, if you’re still “voting blue, no matter who,” I get where your heart is. But you’re like a Members Only jacket or a flip phone. It’s kinda over.   

The only reason we’ve even had Democrat presidents, in the last 42 years, is because of the Bushes and Covid. Most people between the coasts, know that it doesn’t really work in day-to-day life.  

One week from today, the United States will have a different makeup in the house and senate. The predictors all say that Republicans are about to come roaring in like a stampede. And some big things will change. Hopefully, for the better. Maybe for the worse. 

But let me offer a word of caution: 

First of all, Republicans aren’t going to solve all your problems. They don’t do that. Nobody does. There are going to be patriots and scoundrels among them. There will be true believers and impostors. There will be those who are corrupt and those who are dumb enough to allow someone to frame them for being corrupt. 

The problem with humans is that they are all so…well…human. 

But make no mistake, the current true divide in political thought is inside the Republican party. And it basically boils down to the same thing it always boiled down to: statism or libertarianism.  

How much power will the government attempt to take? That has always been the question. And it always will be the question. 

Democrats answered that question long ago. To me, that takes them out of the running. They should just call themselves the Whig party and disband. 

But the same little inner communist whispers in everybody’s ear, no matter what letter is by their name. The only way to stay on track, is to remember: Communism. Community. 

Both want the same thing. The i-t-y keeps it voluntary. The i-s-m makes it law. 

The more law you make…the more power you take…

the closer you get to the i-s-m. 

R

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DEATH BED …

The scariest part of having Covid, for me, wasn’t even about the virus. 

Yes – not being able to breathe was scary. Yes – the temperature breaking…then raging back, was scary. Yes – the way it continued on for days (and then weeks, and even months) on end, was disconcerting.  

But those parts weren’t the truly terrifying-down-to-my-core part. 

When in was in China, 20 years ago, and showing all the signs and symptoms of this thing called SARS, I remember lying in my hotel room bed and thinking to myself, “If I can just get back to America, this will get fixed and everything will be okay. Somebody, somewhere in that country, will figure this out. I just have to get home…to America.”

When mortality and reality start colliding, we think about where there will be the least amount of bullshit. And that’s where we want to be. It’s why we often find ourselves wanting to just go home, when facing bad situations. 

And no matter how “international” I fancied myself; no matter how comfortable I felt around the Chinese people, I instinctively knew that the American wildcat ethos would at least give me a shot at fighting my physical dilemma. 

At the time, I believed that we (in America) wouldn’t politicize medicine or care. I believed in the idea that the science would be cutting edge and state of the art, and that I would be able to access it somehow…even if it meant spending every dollar I had. At least I’d be able to buy my way out. There would be options. 

And it was somehow comforting to know that somewhere in the world, there was hope. No matter what my problem was…there was hope. 

So, it was particularly chilling when the doctor who diagnosed me with Covid, very tersely said “no!” when I asked if there were any medications that might make my Covid situation better. I even pressed and said, “But I’ve heard that …”

And before I could finish the sentence, she shut me down with, “Sir, this is a VIRUS. There’s no way to mitigate a virus. Whatever you’ve heard about treatments is false information. Just go home and rest. It will run its course.”

“Could I at least get some cough syru…”

Before I could get that sentence out, she shut it down as well with a repeat of the former statement. And this time, she was about half angry at me for even asking. 

THAT is when I got scared; when I realized that all of this was about politics and not medicine. 

See, I’ve had viruses before and I’ve had conversations with doctors about them. And in every case, the doctor would at least riff a little on what has worked here or there, in the past. They would at least allow you to interact with them on YOUR health procedures. 

This was cold and robotic and it almost felt like the woman feared someone was watching her on a camera, somewhere. She refused to discuss ANY medical therapeutics. But beyond that, she couldn’t even allow the words to come out of my mouth. It was like if “Hydroxyclo…” got out of my mouth, and into the atmosphere, some weird hammer would fall on both of us. 

I instinctively knew that this wasn’t about the virus or medicine or health or any of that. This was about Donald Trump and whether or not he had uttered certain medical terms. And if he had, and the doctor in question was not a Trump supporter, that medicine would have to be discredited. But if the doctor was a Trump supporter, that medicine would be touted as life-saving. 

That was all terrifying to me. Because once medicine is being used as a political tool, we’ve genuinely lost our way. And you might as well be lying on a hotel room bed in another country, not sure what to do. 

Why do I bring this up almost two years after recovering from Covid? 

I think it’s because of the Pfizer commercial I saw last night, advertising the new drug that lessons the symptoms of Covid 19 (their words – not mine). But…but…isn’t it still a virus? Oh, never mind.

One of the positive things that happened to me, after recovering from Covid, was becoming obsessed with health and fitness. I’ve lost almost 70 pounds. I stopped drinking (in fact, today is my 19 month anniversary of sobriety) and I started doing tons and tons of research on the human body and health and antibodies and t-cell memory and cytokine storms and on and on it has gone. 

One of the things you will learn, if you do enough research, is that there is a lot of speculation that the new drug, that is supposed to be effective treatment for Covid, is basically another version of something called Ivermectin. Yeah…the horse dewormer Joe Rogan took. 

I’m not making any such claim. And before we start re-litigating certain medications and get into online battles about “I had a friend who took this or that and died or didn’t die or got better immediately, etc, etc,” just know that I, too, had friends who took certain medications for their Covid, and got better quickly. 

I also had friends who took the same stuff…and died anyway. 

That’s not what I’m here to discuss. The problem for me is that there are people out there who got de-platformed and cancelled; suspended and publicly reprimanded, for talking about medication. That’s it.  Did the medication work? Maybe. Maybe not. But now, a medication being offered by a major drug company, is now being advertised on prime time TV as essentially a Covid cure. And everybody seems to be okay with this. Because “the right people” are behind it and “the right people” approve of it and “the right people” are giving us permission to take it. 

That is at the heart of all of this

That is what Neil Young pulled his music from Spotify over. 

That is actually why January 6th happened. 

That is why people are rooting for Elon Musk to buy Twitter. 

That is what the cultural battlefield is at the moment: a simple free exchange of ideas.  

When the smoke is completely cleared from all of this, and we examine how we dealt with it, I personally believe there might be a class action lawsuit to be had, within the medical community. 

What if some of the therapeutics, that were banned on social media, would have actually worked for some people? Maybe they wouldn’t have. But the fact that people weren’t even given the option, based on the politics of the moment, seems like the most sinister kind of malpractice. 

And now we’re all supposed to just act like nothing happened, when we see a major pharmaceutical company selling hope? 

For me, it just didn’t sit right. 

5 days into my illness, I found a doctor who wasn’t afraid to discuss all the options with me. We did a FaceTime call. I’ll never forget what he said to me…

“If we had started on day one of your infection, there are several treatments we could’ve tried. But now that you’re into day 5, we just need to get you on a steroid (at the very least) to cover possible pneumonia.” 

He called it in, and 5 days later, another doctor told me, as I lie there on an E.R. bed (what I thought might be my death bed), gasping for air, that getting the steroid started that early may have saved my life. 

And I shuddered at the thought of how close I came to leaving my two children (one with special needs) fatherless, all because of political posturing. And that moment sent me on an odyssey that continues to this very moment. 

Because there is not a more helpless feeling on earth than to not know who to trust or who to listen to when it comes to your very life, based on who happens to occupy the oval office at that very moment.That kind of thing is supposed to be reserved for third world countries and tinhorn dictatorships. Not the most powerful nation in the history of mankind. 

I felt that kind of helplessness once, in China. I never thought I’d feel that way in my own country. But after seeing that commercial last night, I felt it all over again. 

When we feel that way, society is on ITS death bed.   

R

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THE GHOST WRITER …

I moonlight as a novelist. 

I’ve always been sort of a “story-teller” type songwriter. So, it was only a matter of time before one of these stories in my head, made its way onto the page. 

A lot of people have read my book Angels & Idols (non-fiction) and maybe even more have read (or listened to) my Christmas novella, One Silent Night. And there’s even a bit of a cult following around my Father’s Day book, 8 Rules. 

But only a couple hundred people have ever even heard of my ghost story, centered around a Nashville songwriter, called, The Ghost Writer. 

It was an online novel I posted solely for my Patreon subscribers, a few years ago. 

I’ve decided to make it available to the public, this season, a couple of weeks before Halloween. But here are a few things to note:

1. It has an R rating.  

If you’re offended by language or drug use or sexual situations, you won’t like this. I don’t normally write things like that. I like to keep it pretty “family friendly.” But this particular work goes into the belly of the music business beast. And there’s no way to tell that story accurately, and with the kind of edge it requires, without getting a little graphic from time to time. 

I’m just warning you right up front. 

2. Everything in this novel has either A) happened to me,  B) happened to someone I know, or C) happened to someone I heard about.  

ALL of these characters are based on real people and ALL of the scenarios, related to the music business, are based on real situations that have actually happened, somewhere. The only thing made up out of whole cloth is the ghost story. But who knows? Maybe it has happened somewhere, too. 

3. This isn’t an “endorsement” or “celebration” of Halloween. 

I’m not into Halloween. I’m definitely not into occult things or witchcraft or any of that. This was just an idea I had about how songwriters get haunted. And the idea kept developing until I thought it would be fun to write down. It literally goes no further than that. Halloween is a good time to put to out because…scary stuff, etc. 

Enjoy it for what it is and don’t read too much into it. 

*One thing to keep in mind is that this hasn’t been properly edited, so there will be typos and misspellings everywhere.*

I apologize in advance. It’s still a fun ride.

I’ll be posting the novel, WITH the accompanying songs (all mentioned in the book), on my Patreon site again this week. If you’re interested in that part, consider becoming a Patreon subscriber. Every one of them say it’s worth it.  

Otherwise, download it for free and enjoy.

All I ask is that you consider throwing something in one of the the digital tip jars provided, if you enjoy it. If you don’t do either thing (enjoy it or tip), we’ll keep that as our little secret and move on. Nobody has to know. 

Alright, friends. 

Enjoy The Ghost Writer …

R

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LEFT RIGHT AND TWAIN …

Mark Twain once said, “If you’re not a liberal by the time you’re 20, you’ve got no heart. If you’re not a conservative by the time you’re 40, you’ve got no brain.” 

Actually, I don’t know if it was Mark Twain. But the general rule of literary thumb is if there’s a ubiquitous, pithy quote out there, and you don’t know who to attribute it to, always go with Twain. 

He also said (I think), “If voting mattered, they wouldn’t let us do it.” That one still kinda stings. But, another blog for another day…

There’s a lot of noise, right now, around titles and the definitions of those titles. What is a conservative? What is a liberal? What’s the difference between Republicans and Democrats? 

We’ve been defining and re-defining these things for as long as people have organized themselves into groups. We believe this. We don’t do that. We’re for the other thing. And as you age, your very existence becomes about these titles and definitions. You essentially have to pick a team.  

I recently saw a social media post by an ex-prisoner/gang lord saying this very thing about prison. People come in thinking they’re going to remain neutral and stay to themselves. But, according to him, that was not an option for anyone. You had to choose which gang you were going to be aligned with. It was simply survival. 

The political world is no different. It’s basically a damn prison yard. And nobody wants to be part of “the bad” gang. 

On this same scrolling expedition, I saw a couple of videos of average people, describing what they thought the differences between liberals and conservatives were. There was one young man (probably in his 20’s) giving us all a very well produced exposition on the differences between capitalism and socialism. 

Of course, socialism was the best, most equitable option. Oh, and the Nazis weren’t actually socialists. Mmmkay. In his 20’s. Enough said. 

Then, an old George Carlin clip came up on the feed, where he talked about the differences between Conservative and Liberals as well. And even though I love me some Carlin, his assessment was kinda hackneyed, which is odd for George. He’s usually like a modern day Mark Twain. 

Anyway…

The general consensus is that liberals are more caring people; more about the collective’s concerns. And conservatives are more about things, property and themselves. 

Ever heard these well-worn tropes? They’re such overused cliches, that most people simply regurgitate them without really thinking about it. Because, on the surface, they seem to have at least some level of truth to them. 

We see Democrats as having taken on all the big social justice issues of our time; racism, sexism, gay rights, etc. And we see Republicans as the party opposing everything, that seems to only (and always) be in favor of the rich, white guy and out of step with progressive social waves. 

Again…sound familiar? 

But just a little history before we move on: 

The Republican party was founded to end slavery. That was its sole purpose. And guess what? It did. 

The first Republican president, Abraham Lincoln, not only signed the Emancipation Proclamation, in 1862, Republicans passed and signed the 13th and 14th amendments (those are the ones that officially ended slavery within the constitution itself and gave black men the right to vote)…almost exclusively. 

Republicans also passed and signed (by Warren G. Harding – Republican president) the 19th amendment (that’s the one that gave women the right to vote). 

In 1958, Dwight D. Eisenhower (Republican and first President to appoint a person of color to his cabinet) tried to get a Civil Rights bill passed, that would essentially end segregation. It was filibustered by a senator from Texas. His name was Lyndon Baines Johnson (we’ll come back to him). 

George W. Bush, Republican from Texas, appointed the first black Secretary of State. Then, the first black woman Secretary of State. 

When L.B.J. actually signed the 1964 Civil Rights bill, after filibustering the similar bill 6 years earlier, there were a higher percentage of Republicans who had voted for it than Democrats. 

I live in Tennessee. Our (then) senator, Al Gore (senior), did NOT vote for it. His son (Al Gore Junior) later went on to become Vice President and climate warrior. He has earned about two hundred million dollars in his quest to save the planet. Good gig. 

Look, you can go back and forth on who did what and if what they did was a good thing in its time or whatever. Most people don’t know that a Republican (Teddy Roosevelt) started the National Park Service, ended monopolies, and built the Panama Canal.

The Environmental Protection Agency was started by Richard Nixon. And the largest mass amnesty in American history for illegal immigrants from Mexico, was granted by Ronald Reagan. 

But I don’t like to get in those little history spats. So much of what politicians do while in office, has to do with expediency of the moment and pragmatism of their time. 

The actual differences between the two political spieces’, at least these days, really has nothing to do with “liberal” or “conservative.” Conservatives are typically seen as the ones in the button down shirts, not getting the joke, not knowing the latest rap song, but having a healthy financial portfolio.

Liberals are the cool, hip ones, who read all the beat poets, go to Burning Man, and know why the caged bird sings.

But stereotypes are for movies and small minds. And it’s usually more complicated than that.

In this case, however, it might simpler. 

The big and profound difference isn’t really “liberal versus conservative.” It’s really about Statists and Libertarians. 

The Statist (Liberal) wants to help people – the collective. Yes, that’s true. But they always (and I mean ALWAYS) want it done through government intervention.

The Libertarian (Conservative) also wants to help people – the collective. But they believe most things are done better and more efficiently through the private sector. And they believe in the individual above all. 

They believe in incentivizing over forcing; setting the rules in a way that allows people to win in the open market. 

During the healthcare debate of 2010, Liberals accused Conservatives of not wanting people to have healthcare. But they weren’t getting it. Conservatives just didn’t want the government being the main arbiter of it. And as of right now, healthcare delivery isn’t necessarily more “fixed” as a result of the ACA…just more complicated. 

And always remember: if you don’t like the state of modern healthcare, not ONE Republican had a hand in creating it. NOT ONE. It is the exclusive domain of the Democrats. 

 

If you believe the government is the all-powerful deity from which all blessings should flow, Liberalism (or Statism) will make sense to you. And it will always bother you when someone doesn’t want the government to grant this or that or pay for the other thing. In your eyes, they are literally tying the hands of God. 

If you see the government as a necessary evil that should be restrained at every turn, and kept in check by the citizenry, you will probably lean toward being a Conservative (or Libertarian).  

You are paying more for gasoline because of what the government has done and who it has influenced. You are paying more for eggs, bread, milk and meat because of government putting its fingers in literally everything that touches your life. So, it comes down to whether you believe the government should control as little as possible or as much as possible.

And if the government is controlling as much as possible, it had better be competent, sharp and on point….all the time. I don’t know about you, but it doesn’t feel like that’s the case right now.    

This coming November 8th, a big change is probably going to take place, where we replace a lot of Democrats with a lot of Republicans, hoping we either get some government out of the way or, at the very least, some competent overlords. 

We won’t ever get as much government out of the way as we think we will, because all Republicans aren’t Libertarians. At this point, though, they’re kinda like Keto. Nobody ever wants to do it, or admit that it works. But when you can’t bend over to tie your shoes or walk up a flight of stairs, you end up having to do it for at least a little while. And it always works. And it pisses you off that it does. 

This is why a VERY liberal friend of mine once said to me, “Of course I’m a liberal. But dear God, I’d never vote for one!” 

Because another set of defining characteristics between the two ideologies was said by another friend of mine, just this week…

“Conservatives believe in things that work, but don’t sound good. Liberals believe in things that sound good, but don’t work.” 

Go ahead and just attribute that to Mark Twain. 

R    

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THE COLOR OF ART …

I had the conversation yet again, this morning.

I’ve had it so many times, now, I can’t even remember specifics. It’s just a conversation I’ve gotten so used to, I’m numb to it. I take it for granted and in stride. It doesn’t shock me or upset me or really even make me think twice, anymore. 

It’s the conversation about changing a straight, white, male character to another race or gender, in one of my film scripts. 

This particular story of mine has a straight, white, male lead in it. In fact, all of my stories have straight, white, male leads in them. Is it because I’m only concerned about straight, white, male issues? Is it because I have blinders on to other races and genders and sexual orientations? Am I perpetuating privilege? 

It’s none of that. 

The thing about writing is this…you have to write what you know. And I’m a straight, white male, “of a certain age.” So, it’s incumbent on me to tell stories from my point of view, as it is for every artist.

I’ve written songs from different points of view. But not many. Because you have to be honest in art. And it’s hard to be honest when you are assuming something about another character, that may or not be true. The voice has to ring true. Always. 

This is why art must always accept the mantra that all experiences and voices are valid…even if they’re not experiences we agree with or voices we care to hear. 

I am currently writing a novel from a completely different point of view; one that will surprise a lot of people. But as an artist, you can run into rough waters when you veer outside your own experience. Because these days, you can get in trouble for appropriation of someone else’s “authentic truth.” 

So, if you’re a straight, white guy, who is an artist, there are a lot of little mine fields you have to constantly sidestep. You have to create from your own perspective. But that perspective is currently seen as illegitimate because it comes from a place of too much privilege. But you also can’t explore someone else’s experience because if you do, you’re culturally appropriating. 

So what does someone who happens to have been born male, in a pasty white meat suit, do?

My remedy has been to basically tell everybody to kiss my ass, and write and create whatever the hell I want. You just have to bake severe criticism into the cake and press on. 

It’s just not always that easy, these days. Because there are forces that want me to be completely shut down as an artist. Not just criticized. There are those who would prefer people who look like me and think like me, to simply go away forever; be silenced into oblivion. To basically lay down and die.  

In the realm of my life that cautiously and reluctantly works in the film industry, it is a constant drum beat to turn every straight, white male character into something “other.” 

I have actually, with my own ears, heard decision makers in Hollywood say, “why on earth would anyone care what another white guy has to say?” or (my personal favorite) “We’re done telling white guy stories.” 

Yes. I have heard BOTH those phrases uttered. And, on some level, I suppose I get it. The white guy hero archetype has been played to death. It’s certainly a thing. And there are definitely other voices we should hear and consider. I’m all for that. 

On the other hand, I can safely speak for all straight white dudes everywhere when I say, we didn’t ask to be born how we were born anymore than you did. I can’t help my face or my skin. Trust me, I spend every summer trying to do something about this splotchy whiteness stretched across my skeleton. 

But we are who we are. And the soul of an artist shouldn’t be held hostage to plumbing and skin tone. Yet we keep insisting on holding people hostage to those very things for some reason.   

And because of the hostage taking, what gets produced for your consumption, these days, often has an agenda behind it. 

There is a difference between art with a point of view and art with an agenda. This is precisely why I left the world of faith-based entertainment over 20 years ago. I consider myself to have a faith point of view. But I’m not a worship leader. And I’m not trying to use my art to get you to believe anything or accept anything or decide anything. 

But make no mistake – agendas come in all forms. Not just religious. 

Billy Eichner got a 25-million-dollar movie made, called “Bros.” It is a story based on all gay characters or straight characters that become gay or…whatever…I’m already bored. 

And I’m not bored because of gay or straight or trans or whatever else I’m supposed to be aware of. It’s because it is LITERALLY boring. The point of view ABOUT the point of view has played out. We all get it. What else you got?

I watch Modern Family every night with my daughter. It’s her favorite show. I’ve been watching Mitch and Cam for years. I love those guys. They’re actually like family to so many of us. And do you know what we love about them? They are giving us a point of view about more than just the point of view.

Plus…they’re freaking hilarious. And, at the end of the day, that’s actually all that matters. 

Billy has gone on a social media rampage about why this movie has tanked so badly (only making 4 million), blaming people like me (and probably you, too). It’s all laced up in this political ax he has to grind with half the country and Donald Trump and people who voted for Trump, etc, etc.  

But here’s the first rule of show business everybody should learn: it is NEVER the audience’s fault. 

I wrote a song I was very proud of, years ago, and I tried it out on an audience one night. It got golf applause. My wife, who has never criticized any of my work in this way, said, on the ride home, “You might want to re-think that new song. Something about it isn’t working.” 

I blew it off. Clearly, I just didn’t have it under my hands well enough yet. I wasn’t selling it correctly. Maybe…she didn’t get it. 

So, I did it at another show. And then a friend of mine came up to me and said, “I’m not sure I understood that new song.” 

Yeah…this was over everybody’s head. I was just ahead of my time. 

So, I did it at yet another show. This time the head of my label was there. After the show he came up to me with glowing comments. But as he turned to leave, he said, “You know, just take that new song out of your set. It doesn’t work.” 

Three in a row. That wasn’t their problem. It was my problem. And I’ve never done the song again. 

If you berate people, you can’t bring them in. If you exclude their point of view as something illegitimate, you can’t expect to get empathy from them. If you insist on splitting people up into sub-groups, it’s hard to then also insist on inclusion. 

An audience should never be placed in the position of having to decipher all that stuff and react in a calculated way. Being in an audience means you should be able to relax and receive. 

And if it’s funny, you will laugh. If it’s emotional, you will cry. If it’s bouncing, you will dance. That’s called resonance. And art either has it or it doesn’t. 

The color or gender of the vessel delivering that art shouldn’t matter either. The point of view shouldn’t matter, because it should always touch universal truths we can all relate to.  

Great art brings people together. It doesn’t drive them apart. Take a stadium full of people of different races and genders and sexual orientations and political ideologies, and play Purple Rain. You’ll see very quickly what a song is supposed to do.  

And if nobody shows up, or nobody laughs or three people tell you the song doesn’t work, it’s not their fault. And your fight shouldn’t be with them. 

Your fight is ultimately with you. 

R  

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BOTH SIDES NOW …

“Both sides are guilty of …” is a favorite preface among pundits trying to prove their objectivity. 

This puts the ones you are trying to convince at ease and puts the ones you are playing to on notice. You are shooting straight down the line. No partisan in you, boy. You call balls and strikes. Real talk and truth and mic drop and all of that. 

Whatever …

Here’s the real talk, mic drop truth: nobody is objective. And here’s the even realer, mic droppier truth: No…both sides are not to blame. Let me explain …

There is a core belief that drives us. Everybody has this. It’s your North Star; your guiding principle. And that usually separates people into Ds and Rs. And very often, once we commit to one of those letters, we cannot see how anybody can be the other one. 

I’ve written about and spoken many times (at length) about my being a Libertarian. Here’s how you become a Libertarian…

If you hang out with Liberals long enough, you will eventually see their absurdity and become a Conservative. But then, if you hang out with Conservatives long enough, you will see their absurdity and become a Libertarian. 

How are Libertarians different from straight-up Republicans? Well, one of the big things is we believe the drug war has been a travesty and that there is no reason for the state to decide what drugs you can or can’t have. Prohibition should’ve taught us this. But it apparently didn’t. 

So, sometimes, I find myself aligned with Democrats who want to legalize Marijuana. My only beef with it is that it doesn’t go far enough. ALL drugs should be legalized. 

That’s not an endorsement of drug use. It’s an endorsement of me and the state not telling you what you can and can’t ingest legally.

But then, Libertarians also believe in the lowest taxes the country can withstand. So, I align with Republicans on taxes. My only beef is that they usually don’t go far enough. The I.R.S. should be abolished and replaced with nothing. 

From a Libertarian’s point of view, there should simply be a processing office that takes in the voluntarily submitted taxes of citizens, consenting to the percentage of said taxes. Not a weaponized arm of the government that can seize your entire life and reach into your bank account without warning or cause. 

And maybe that tax should be flat and simple. You should be able to fill out your taxes on a post card and not be too burdened by the number the state is asking for. 

Sounds simple. Right? 

Well, it’s not. And here’s why…

In taxes, we find the North Star for people. Taxes are usually the fulcrom for someone like me, because in them, we get the tentacles of government.

I saw a social media post, recently, where the person asserted that the difference between Democrats and Republicans was that Republicans were interested in their own personal rights and well being, where Democrats were interested in the rights and well being of EVERYONE. 

And some people actually believe this. But it isn’t the difference at all. Not even close. 

The differences that have developed and played out over time, is that Republicans tend to be more about what the people can do without the government. Democrats tend to be more about what the government should do for the people. 

And if you believe the government should be doing as much as possible for the people, you will probably tend to be more of a Democrat. This is called statism. If you, on the other hand, believe the government should stay out of the way of the people as much as possible, you will tend to be more of a Republican.

The natural conclusion of that belief is Libertarianism. 

The problem with the government doing a lot of things for the people, is that it is, more often than not, a disinterested party with no expertise in what it’s trying to accomplish. So, it ends up being inefficient (at best) and damaging (at worst). 

This is why both sides are NOT to blame for everything. 

The most glaring example is our healthcare system. How many times did we hear Democrat candidates talk about the need for healthcare reform in the last election? 

But guess what? The ENTIRE current healthcare system in America was built by Democrats. If you don’t like what’s happening with your healthcare plan, or you are dissatisfied with your options, remember that NOT ONE Republican voted for The Affordable Care act (known as Obamacare, which is what our current healthcare system is built around). And they shouldn’t have. It’s a horrible piece of legislation that raised prices, confused providers and kept as many people uninsured as were uninsured prior to its passage. 

For people who say the Republicans didn’t offer any alternatives, that is simple misinformation. The Republicans actually had eleven (11) alternatives to the ACA. I’ve had one of them on my laptop since 2009, put forward by Marsha Blackburn (who was my representative at the time). 

It is 27 pages long (instead of 27 HUNDRED, which is what the ACA is) and would’ve solved every problem healthcare delivery had (and has) in this country. But it didn’t seize enough control by the government. 

*I’ll post the bill in the comments*

And if you believe the government needs to be in control, you’re never going to agree to something like that. You’ll always see the holes where no government exists, and want to fill them…with government.

If you fundamentally believe that fossil fuels are bad for the earth, you are going to create policies that limit them. If you don’t, you’re a hypocrite and probably some weird mix of pragmatism and evil. 

One side is a true believer when it comes to climate change policies. The other side says the science (about human causes) isn’t strong enough to intentionally impoverish people. There isn’t much nuance to it.

If you fundamentally believe that most businesses, and business owners, will tend toward shady activity, and you fully buy into the idea that government can (and should) curtail these practices that haven’t happened and may never happen, even before they happen, you will favor policies that are fundamentally suspect of free market activity. 

You HAVE to. Otherwise, you’re not being true to your core beliefs. 

On the other hand, if you believe in the divine spark of creativity, and that human ingenuity and innovation is a good thing, and the preservation of it is the cornerstone of the American experiment, you will be all about rolling back stifling regulations on entities that you believe drive the economy. You will believe it’s for the overall good for the citizenry. 

I still see people posting “Vote blue” on the internet. Well, guess what? We did. And here’s how it’s going…

When Joe Biden took office, inflation was at 1.4%. It’s now at 8.3%. Gas was $2.39 a gallon. Now it’s $3.73. The Dow Jones was 31,188. Today it’s 29,260. 

Some of this is because of the topsy turvy world we’re in. I grant grace for X factors. 

But some of it is because of core beliefs. 

That’s why both sides aren’t to blame. 

R

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Marsha Blackburn bill: