What’s Wrong with Conscription

It isn’t enough just to be on the right side of an argument. We should have a good foundation, and well thought out reasoning as to why we hold the positions we do. For almost every issue raised there is an ethical, as well as a utilitarian (or economic) case, to be made one way or the other. It’s rarely ever possible to argue effectively for a position from an ethical standpoint if the person you’re debating is only concerned with the justice of their cause. The reverse is also true, to an extent, if a person has a utilitarian complaint, all the moralizing, about people being entitled to make their own choices and having a right to control their own bodies. Therefore, it’s always good to be brushed up on both, and sometimes you need both. A great example is in debating neo-cons on the matter of drug legalizations, where they argue both that it is immoral, and that it leads to high crime and more accidents.

So what is our case against conscription?  Is it so obvious that we are at a loss of words?

Let’s start with the economic concerns. By conscripting people to be in the military, we are diverting labor away from more urgently needed tasks. Instead of marching around on a field somewhere those men could be busy producing goods people want and need. Thus conscription increases the amount the rest of us have to pay for goods and services.

SOME GROUND WORK

The main argument is on ethical grounds. I make a distinction between morality and ethics where most people use the two terms interchangeably. There are two different concepts out there that are blurred, and we float back and forth from one to the other using either of the two words. These two ideas quite often overlap. Theft is both immoral and unethical. Two unmarried people having sex is immoral, but is not unethical.  When I think of morality I think, “That which is pleasing to God, or a person’s God.” So another example might be drinking, or smoking, or even lying that is unrelated to a property transaction. These are all immoral but ethically neutral. Ethics is that sphere of conduct with relation to other men. It’s unethical to initiate physical aggression against another man, and it is unethical to defraud him. Ethics is about the point where it becomes justifiable to use violence to stop a behavior. It is, I believe, immoral to hate someone just for being different, but we can’t throw someone in jail for it. But it is unethical to initiative violence against a person for any reason. So if Bob is a hater and hates Ted, puts up signs denouncing Ted and makes mean faces at him, he is, according to most people, behaving immorally. However, he hasn’t hurt anyone. Once he does, if he does, now it becomes justifiable to lock him up. In addition, I just remembered Block’s book “Defending the Undefendable,” prostitution is immoral, not unethical.  I can’t think of anything unethical that isn’t also immoral, but there is plenty of morality unrelated to ethics. Morality is also much more subjective. One may consider homosexuality immoral, while others might not. The rule for ethics is transgression against another person, so as long as the engagement is consensual, it is ethically neutral.

THE ETHICAL CASE AGAINST CONSCRIPTION

With that out of the way, let’s look at the ethical arguments against conscription. We presume that each individual is a self-owner, that he owns his own body. The only other options would be some people own others, or each of us own 1/6 billionth of every other person and is, in turn, owned by everyone else on the planet. The former violates the principle of homesteading, wherein the first user of something is held to be its owner. As does the second scenario, but the second case is also entirely ridiculous seeing we would never be able to act in even the smallest capacity if we were beholden to everyone else on the planet before we acted.

So conscription involves depriving the person of his rights in the ownership of his own body. He is either jailed, or sent abroad to kill and be killed.

I suppose this might have something to do with why most people oppose conscription, that little part about killing and being killed. But that really is beside the point. We wouldn’t tolerate slavery if the slave shack was a 1,500 square foot 3 bedroom home and the slave were able to keep 60% of what he produced. The issue with slavery is the expropriation of labor, or the product of the labor, and the deprivation of the individual’s choice.   The same is true in the case of conscription, from an ethical standpoint; there is very little difference in slavery and conscription, the only difference being the term of service and the extent to which it is taken.

Let’s consider work conscription. Suppose a scenario where war hasn’t yet erupted, but it seems very probable. The government pulls draft cards, not to send the men off to fight and die, but just to work in a relatively safe setting, for good pay. Nevertheless, there is no choice in the matter for the individuals; they must begin work now towards building planes and tanks and bombs. Would this type of conscription be okay? I can still see some purists who are so opposed to war they would object to this merely on the grounds these men would be contributing indirectly to war.

What if, in our war on global hunger, the government drafted 5,000 men and women including you? They insist you must travel to some far flung third world country and help the locals plant crops and you are “obligated” for a 2 year tour. Would this be acceptable? As long as it is all other people who are selected, it might be seen as tolerable, but when it’s you without a choice, there will be few to give joyfully.

One might argue compulsory schooling is acceptable since they are children. Here we are talking about adults, and adults can decide for themselves.

We face the same argument for conscription we do for minimum wage laws. “You are not smart enough or capable enough to decide for yourself. If you were, you would choose to volunteer to protect your freedom. Likewise, you are not smart enough not to work for less than $7.25 an hour, so we will make it impossible for you to do so.” Never mind what the individual who might evaluate the threat or asses the opportunity costs for themselves.

In the end, conscription is the denial of self-ownership. Without self-ownership, what liberties can we have at all?

NOTES

This isn’t related to the show but something I thought would be worth covering while the show is offline until the 4th.

I don’t know of any books or articles that specifically govern conscription, but “Conceived in Liberty,” a 4 volume collection of the history of colonial America from 1607 until the peace treaty of Paris, by Rothbard, has some significant insights into the way war is and should be conducted by a people seeking freedom from an oppressive government.

On a more foundational level, I’m almost certain the concepts are addressed in “The Ethics of Liberty” by Rothbard. Both books are free in audio format on iTunes, and on pdf at mises.org.

The Minimum Wage

Let’s not kid ourselves. No one besides a few crazies are actually advocating the minimum wage be more than doubled to $15.00 an hour. And besides, it isn’t going to happen. Not for a long time anyway. In reality, the minimum wage will be increased to $9.50 or perhaps as high as $10.90 an hour. So all the talk about the very real disaster of raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour is unnecessary.

Another thing that should be said at the outset is when a person earns five, ten, or fifty dollars an hour, that isn’t an indication of how much the person is worth. This is used as a figure of speech, but no one can say that Bobby or Suzy is only worth x dollars.  A person’s worth is an intangible aspect of who they are that takes into account a score of different factors and is incalculable and impossible to determine.

So who earns the minimum wage? You might have read statistics in the news about 37% of minimum wage workers are between the ages of 35 and 64. And that may be true. But, let’s look at it from the other side. Only 3% of the workforce over the age of 25 earn the minimum wage according to the BLS. That’s an astonishing number. That’s a lower number than the yearly high school dropout percentage. That’s lower than the unemployment rate, even by the government’s own standards. On top of that, a person who is earning the minimum wage does not continue to make the minimum wage forever. Perhaps there are a few, but the vast majority earn raises 6 months or a year after being with the same employer. While others who were earning above the minimum wage lose their job, move, or otherwise find themselves out of work for a time before re-entering the workforce at the minimum wage.

So why are we even discussing this? Because we care. We care about the least well off and the most vulnerable in our society, and we want them to do well. But that probably isn’t anyone you know. It isn’t a stay at home mom going out to get a part time job after the kids go to school. And it isn’t teenagers living in the suburb who get a minimum wage job for gas money. I would say it is first men and women getting out of prison, and then single mothers, minority teenagers might come in third, and we’ll come to them in time.

An employer doesn’t need to be a bigot, a sexist, or a racist to discriminate. He interviews a 30-year-old married man and a 30-year-old single mother with 3 kids. If the two are anywhere close, there’s no doubt who will get the job. Married men don’t miss work when their kids get sick. It isn’t fair, but being more or less qualified is in the eye of the beholder. Who can say, and how can it be proved, that Suzy should have been hired at the dollar store rather than Johnny? The minimum wage outlaws competition on the labor market below a certain point. If Suzy and Johnny are both college educated she can undercut him by offering to work for a slightly lower wage, but in this situation the rate is set by the state, and all she can do is shake the interviewer’s hand and go look elsewhere.  That is sad.

The same is true, and even more pronounced when dealing with the six hundred thousand people released each year from prison. 75% of whom are released on conditions, such as paying court costs, meeting regularly with a parole officer, and holding a job. Oh and it is entirely legal to refuse to hire convicts. There are whole professions where they are prohibited from working. But the minimum wage doesn’t allow them to compete, and when faced with paying 58 dollars an hour for labor, do you want a 30 something man with a family or a convict? If this 30 something wants $8 or $9 an hour and these are your only two applicants then your choice is made easier, but if this guy is happy to take $7.25 then why bother with the baggage of a convict? Would you hire him if you could get a dollar an hour discount? Maybe. But that’s off the table. So this fellow has 2 more weeks to get a paycheck to pay his first court payment or he goes back to prison, and he still hasn’t even found a job.

It’s a shame McDonald’s gets such a bad rap. No, they don’t pay much, but they did hire these people. And very few people go to McDonald’s first. They work there, and at Dollar General, and cutting grass not because the work is rewarding or glamorous. They work there because no one else will hire them.

For teenagers it’s not much better. Teenagers are immature, inexperienced, they want off for games, hot dates, and summer camps, and they are the most likely to quit. Not to mention they are clumsy and awkward. Who wants one of those around when you’re trying to run a business, when for the same money you can hire someone who isn’t going to quit to go on a road trip in 3 months. Why not hold out for someone who knows what a W4 is and has been around the block a time or two? No wonder the unemployment rate among youngsters is at 12%.  The same site will tell you that the unemployment rate among black youths is 20%.  The labor participation rate among black youths is 44%. So If I understand that right it means 64% either have jobs or are wanting jobs but can’t find them. Thus 1 out of every 3 black youths is unable to find work with the price floor set at $7.25.

I’m not nearly as interested in whatever economic benefits might be seen on the whole from the abolition of the minimum wage. Instead, I’m much more concerned with the wellbeing of people who want to work but can’t because to hire them at a competitive rate would be criminal. Remember the law says an employee must be paid $7.25. It doesn’t say that employee must be hired.

Minimum wage increases help capital intensive and skilled labor.

I do believe most people form their views on this subject with the wellbeing of the poor in mind. Yes a small business owner may be motivated by self-interest to oppose an increase in the minimum wage, but even they don’t seek to see the most vulnerable suffer.

Some are not dealing so openly. This is the skilled and semi-skilled segment, mostly represented by the labor unions. Suppose it takes two low skilled workers to turn out 10 widgets in an hour for $7.25 an hour each. That’s $14.50. While a more skilled worker, working with a tool, can turn out the same 10 widgets for $17 an hour plus 2 dollars an hour factored in for the expense of the machine, for a total of $19 an hour.

The more economical choice is to hire the two unskilled workers, forgo the cost of the machine, and pay $1.40 per widget. But let the minimum wage increase to just $10 an hour and now it makes more sense to start buying machines and hiring more skilled workers.

Employers don’t pay for time, they pay for output. They are buying production. As much as we hate to be away from our families, the employer doesn’t care about that, and by that he doesn’t care one way or the other. He isn’t giving you money for you to be away from your kids, he’s giving you money so he can get more output. Therefore, your time is only as valuable as the output you can deliver in that time. It is just as well for them to hire one man and buy a machine, as it would be to hire two unskilled workers. It only matters how much output per dollar can be obtained.

This is a little more nuanced argument than the straightforward higher minimum wages cost jobs, but then, for $4.00 many single mothers might find jobs as secretaries and receptionists in places that go without. And for $3.50 a swarm of teenagers might once again rush to your car to fill it up, clean your windshield and check the air pressure in your tires. I hear they still do this in New Jersey where the crazies passed a law making it illegal to pump your own gas. Looks like someone realized the rise in the minimum wage would cost jobs and they decided to do something about it.

Whether or not a person can survive on his own on $3.50 a week is beside the point. The point is you can survive better on $3.50 an hour than on nothing.  And if people are willing to work for a given amount who are you to tell them that their working for that rate should be illegal?

But let’s get back to addressing the problem, because we do care about the poor. The point may well be made that $2.00 won’t by a loaf of bread. But why not? I’ve been told over and over again about how my grandad and grandma got married on a paycheck of $53 dollars for 2 weeks. And they were never poor (at least not as they understood the word, that is, cold, or hungry, or out of doors). $106 a month now even for a single person wouldn’t even buy a one bedroom apartment, not even in Oklahoma, much less food or anything else. But why not? What’s happened? Why were the democrats content with a minimum wage of 40 cents in 1945 and $1 in 1950 and $2.30 in ’76 and 5.15 in ’97 and $7.25 in ‘07 but only for a while before insisting on an increase?

The minimum wage has gone up no less than 20 times since it was first established. But why? It’s because the government is messing with your money. They can only get away with taking so much through taxes without it costing them their jobs, so they take what they can get away with, and then siphon off the value of what they leave you.  This is why prices go up.  In truth, goods and services aren’t getting more valuable, not in general, with the exception of land and housing perhaps. Rather the value of the dollar is decreasing. So you get a job for $7 in 1990 and you’re doing okay, and if you aren’t able to get a raise, 25 years later you’re barely scraping by.  This outrage should have people out in the street. The government gives you a 2% pay cut each year by inflating the money supply and then plays the “hero” by increasing the minimum wage every so often. It’s a cruel gimmick.

Stop worrying about increasing the minimum wage and stop the inflation.

I will write more on this; not now because I have no time. I highly recommend, “What Has Government Done to Our Money” by Murray Rothbard, available in multiple formats in the link above.

For more readings on this subject you may refer to
Mark Thornton, Walter Williams, Walter Block, Tom Woods, and of course, Rothbard and Henry Hazlitt. And there is a ton of information on the subject at mises.org.

Fredric Bastiat & Economic Sanctions – December 16th

Both today and yesterday Jason had a golden opportunity to share Fredric Bastiat with his listeners. Yesterday it was during his coverage of the Council for Obsolete Industries. I guess it was little more than a passing comment about a group of people in Australia making the satirical argument wagon builders and candlestick makers should be bailed out too if the government bails out the taxi cab industry. It’s brilliant, but not quite original. Fredric Bastiat made essentially the same arguments over a hundred and fifty years ago titled, “The Candle Maker’s Petition.” And it is a riot.  Bastiat was a very clever and clear thinker and a forerunner to the Austrian School of Economics. He was the first to hit upon the notion of a subjective theory of value, though it was left largely undeveloped until Carl Menger, Eugene Bohm Baverk, and Ludwig von Mises came along.

Before Bastiat, the Labor Theory of Value held sway thanks to Adam Smith. And it is, by the way, the Labor Theory of Value that gives credence to the theories later developed by Karl Marx. Without the labor theory of value, Marx’s theory of exploitation has no base on which it can be built, and without that, the whole thing comes crumbling down.

Bastiat asked the question, “Do men dive for pearls because they are valuable? Or are pearls valuable because men dive for them?” The answer should be obvious. In appraising a pearl no one cares how much time the diver spent searching or to what depths he had to go in order to find it.  The pearl is valued only according to the subjective value scale of the buyer or potential buyers.  You can read some of Bastiat’s work here for free. Or here. At the second link you’ll find another link where you can buy his work in hard copy, though not necessarily hard back.

And then today, Jason actually quoted Bastiat, “Where goods don’t cross boarders, armies will.” I do not attribute any intellectual dishonesty to Jason, he might not remember where he read this, or maybe he forgot, and it is possible he didn’t know that Bastiat had uncovered this truth.

Now there are a few questions concerning sanctions when it comes to trading with slave camp states such as N. Korea. Certainly trading with them is preferable to merely giving aid in exchange for nothing. Kasparov’s book has chipped away at my steadfast resoluteness in opposing sanctions. He points out the people of Russia don’t benefit from selling oil and gas to Europe, only Putin and his close circle of friends and supporters. Thus he argues oil should be shut off until they start behaving. I’m still highly skeptical of this, but maybe this is a possibility, if an embargo was put into place for one winter, maybe that would hit their pocketbook at get them to turn around.

In the case of N. Korea, a truly slave state, let’s think of how we respond to a man who had slaves and sought to trade with us. We want him to emancipate his slaves, but we are unwilling to use force. What should our trade policy be? If we trade, are we supporting slavery? If we do not trade are we contributing to the starvation and misery of the slaves?

Some would say if we don’t trade we should at least give food to the slaves for their sake. Others would argue we should not give any support, and hope the misery of the people incites them to rebellion and revolution. This latter view seems somewhat plausible. However, if we give them food, why not take something in return? Why not trade?

I should digress for just a minute to raise the question of where this food comes from; the U.S. government doesn’t grow food. They have to get it from somewhere. The answer, as far as I know, is they buy it on the market. But with what? Again, the Government doesn’t have their own money, they take it by way of taxes. So now we’ve entered into a moral dilemma with serious questions at both ends. Feeding starving children in N. Korea is a noble and honorable venture, but doing so through such means raises serious concerns.  Suppose a thief broke into your mother’s home, stole all of her jewelry, sold it to a pawnshop, and then gave the money to a battered women’s shelter. Would he be any less guilty, any less a criminal, any less a thief because of what he did after the fact?

What about the hypothetical slaveholding neighbor of ours. Might we steal food from the farmer next door to feed those held in chains across the street? I don’t think anyone would advocate this. We might take up a voluntary collection at the church meeting, but stealing from one person, even if it is to give to another, is still unethical and immoral.

So then, the question has been breached but it still stands. We can trade, we can isolate them entirely, or we can take up collections to send food. Taxation to feed the N. Koreans is off the table.

Those in power are mostly concerned with stability on a fulcrum. they want the regime in power to either be stable enough they do not start a war in the region, or if they become unstable, to do so to the extent and in a quick enough time frame the regime can be toppled before those in power cause too much damage.

When we don’t trade and we don’t send aid, the misery is palpable. Nevertheless, the leaders, or slave masters, can say, “Ah, look, we are all in this together, the other nations are conspiring against us and they seek to have us undone, but through my leadership we will get through.” When we give food aid, the people eat because of Kim Jung Il’s (now Kim Jung Un’s) masterful diplomacy at the negotiating table. In both of those cases, the leader has some benefit to himself he can magnify through his propaganda.

But what about trade? Even in a slave camp, if the people are able to eat by the sweat of their own brow, it gives them some semblance of independence. They know they vanquish hunger through their own efforts; is it possible the idea might creep in they are also able to vanquish their oppressors by their own efforts?

As far as the leadership goes, it takes rifles out of the hands of the guards and puts them to work in industry. If no trade is taking place, the most effective place to put 200,000 restless men is in a disciplined army as a police state, to keep the rest of the population under control. Whatever industry there is, is to produce tanks, missiles and submarines (N. Korea has more submarines than any other country by the way). But if the market is opened up to them, maybe instead of 1.2 million men in the military there might only be half a million in the military and the rest allowed to work. Instead of building tanks and subs, they might start building shoes, skateboards, tennis rackets and fishing poles.

If markets are opened up, it is the market directing production within N. Korea. Not quite the same as it does in South Korea but the market will have an influence. If there is no market for N. Korean goods, then the dictator is in total control of everything that happens in the country.

By changing our policy towards N. Korea, we would transform the country from a military dictatorship to a multi corporation conglomerate with the dictator as the C.E.O.

And it would fail. There’s no doubt about it. There would be shortages of inputs, and misallocations of resources. But the fact they would be trying to produce for the rest of the world would change the mindset of the leadership. And this would lead to reforms. A rudimentary market might emerge, the labor market would be redefined, the role of party status would decrease, and the role of ability and leadership would increase in determining who ran the plants.

Overtime the command and control economy would break down, the same way it did in China.  Not to say China is a “free” country by any means, but people in China live exponentially better than N. Koreans. Every year thousands of Koreans are killed or sent to labor camps for attempting to cross into China.

So. Do we trade or not? If the people of N. Korea were in any position to overthrow the regime, it might be feasible to cut off all support and wait for a revolution. Sadly, there is no hope of this in the foreseeable future. Therefore, unless you’re willing to advocate for 5, 10, maybe 15 years of isolating the N. Koreans, and see millions and millions starve in the meantime, we should open up trade with them. It is the best chance at liberty in our time for the Koreans and it is the only ethical and humane option available.

Sanctions on our allies.

I’m glad I got to cover that, but sadly this isn’t what was brought up in the show. During last night’s debate, some bonehead said we ought to impose economic sanctions on our allies if they are unwilling to carry the military burden in the Middle East. Can we even impose sanctions that would be more expensive than the cost of fighting a war? I won’t use any precise numbers here because I have no idea what allies we are talking about, but let’s just suppose it takes a billion dollars to engage in the conflict for 1 year. So, we put sanctions on them costing 900 million a year. That won’t make them move. What if it’s 1.2 billion worth of sanctions? No. And the higher the sanctions go the more it hurts U.S. interests and business. I’m not sure there is an ally besides Canada so heavily dependent on the U.S. economy we could unilaterally pressure them into such an expensive endeavor as war. Unless we are calling China an Ally now?

It isn’t just wrong, it’s impossible. And it’s stupid.

Of course, Jason covered many more subjects, and as always, I urge you to listen to his show. But I’m going to wrap it up with this one. I’ve decided it might be best to only pick one subject and stick with it. This makes it easier for folks who haven’t heard the show to follow along, and gives them more incentive to listen.

Anarchy and the Stateless Society

Anarchy gets a bad rap. It is associated with chaos and mayhem by most. Not merely the absence of government, but the absence of law and the absence of justice. Looting, burning, raping and murder are images running through our mind when we hear the word.

Strictly speaking, those are not necessarily conditions of anarchy. Anarchy simply means no ruler, as opposed to a monarchy (one ruler), or a democracy (rule by the people). Yet the image is hard to shake. Thus, I prefer to refer to it as a stateless society. Now you have a society, which invokes images of nothing less than civility, fair play, and peace, but merely with no state. No taxes, no congress to pass laws, and possibly no law enforcement, courts, or welfare for the poor. It might sound like an oxymoron, but it doesn’t invoke the same resistance the term anarchy does.

Lately I’ve been brushing up on my English history. There are several interesting, if not good, podcasts I find worth listening. There is the British History Podcast, reasonably reliable, but an awful lot of leftist moral judgement and anti-religious judgement sprinkled in. There is the History of England podcast with witty British humor, entirely lost on an Okie but quite good nonetheless. And, my favorite is the one whose focus isn’t even on history itself but on the language; The History of English Podcast.  I’ve also recently finished Dan Jones’s “The Plantagenets” and “Wars of the Roses.” Now, the history of the Plantagenets is pretty simple and straight forward, but you really have to pay attention to know just what the hell happened during the Wars of the Roses; It’s confusing as all get out.

It occurred to me to while taking a break from my study to listen to Jason talk about why an anarchist society wouldn’t work what the people of the 14th century might say about the things we do now.

Let’s take a quick trip back into the past, find ourselves a well-educated monk, lord, or maybe even King Edward III and present him with a few “impossibilities” and imagine what they may say.

  1. Women can be, and should be given the opportunity to be world leaders.

Edward III: Laughter.

  1. Countries will be governed not by kings, but by elected representatives in parliaments and congresses. The royals will be nothing more than figureheads in the places they are retained, and many nations will not have royal families at all.

Lord: Madness and anarchy.

  1. The church will not receive money from taxation, but will depend entirely on the voluntary contributions of its parishioners. Attendance will not be mandatory and will not be enforced. Everyone will be able to read and everyone will own at least one copy of the holy script and read it on his or her own, and take away from it whatever meaning he can make of it.

Monk: This is the most serious deviation. If taxes are not levied to support the church she will fall; there will be Godlessness and wickedness at every turn. If people aren’t force to pay for the church, and they are not punished if they fail to attend, churches will disappear from the countryside and religion and love for God will disappear from men’s hearts.  In addition, if every individual may read and reason from scripture translated to his own tongue, there will be as many heresies crop up as there are laymen who do read it.

Now my aim is here is not to sing the praises of our modern society, any more than we might laud the telegraph compared to the message runner, or the rotary phone as compared to the telegraph. My point is only to show how easy it is to write things off as impossible, illogical, or down right insane, that make perfect sense and are entirely achievable. Whether in terms of technology, or society, if we were to give an account of our condition to the people of the 14th century, the only men who would not find us mad would be those who were themselves insane.

So let’s take a deeper look, reexamine the arguments and the position of a stateless society, and see if they really are all that crazy. Certainly, taxes are not necessary. If the Catholic Church and scores of other churches have survived down through the last few centuries without forced attendance and forced monetary contribution why couldn’t the police force, the courts, and the welfare system do the same? And, is that any less crazy today than advocating for voluntary support for the church 500 years ago?

When we look at these issues in a broader historical perspective, all of a sudden it doesn’t seem so wacky. I don’t know if we’ll ever have a society entirely free of monopolies, of compulsion, coercion, and violence, but I do believe the day will come when they will be supported voluntarily and not through taxes.

As far as a truly stateless society, and how crazy it is to think people may figure out for themselves, free of coercion and monopoly, how to adjudicate disputes and administer justice, this may be less realizable because monopolists are highly disinclined to relinquish their monopoly. But it isn’t crazy.

We can set our dial to the 1950’s in the USSR. There, the state produces everything from cars to housing, from food to toilet paper. True, not enough is produced, and the quality isn’t very good, nor is the service prompt, but can you only imagine how much worse it would be if it were left to profiteers to provide such goods? The greedy capitalists would evict everyone, and food prices would be so high the average worker would be lucky to get one meal every other day! How silly is that? Yet, isn’t that the attitude we take when presented with the idea of people living without government? We find ourselves in the same situation we saw the people in the 14th century living in.

Alternatively, we might even come back home to modern day America, and look at the marvels of the post office. If it weren’t for the USPS, who would carry the mail to the far flung backwoods of the frontier?  Well no more time travel is needed, but merely reference to a history book.

Prior to the establishment of the British post office in 1597, mail was carried by merchants and travelers who would stop in at the local tavern or inn and check a mail sack hung on a post. They would find the letters addressed to the town that they were traveling to, the keeper of the establishment would pay them the appropriate amount left with him by the sender, and the traveler would be on his way with the letters. Now, no matter how far out in the sticks you live, either someone from town comes to see you or you go to town. Even if it is a little town, truckers still make their way there; it isn’t unreasonable that what the government now does, could once again be done by private individuals.

UPS and Fed Ex are constantly expanding their field of service.

By the way, the most irksome fact concerning letter carrying is the why. It would have never come to pass but the privy council of England was interested in knowing who was saying what to whom about the crown, and if there were any plots against the crown or the realm. When we in America established our independence, we simply inherited the same system.  Originally, it was a 16th century NSA spy program. How creepy is that?

Of course you’re mail is perfectly safe today with the USPS. Yes, they’re listening to your phone conversations, and reading your emails, but your letters, they don’t read those. And that’s probably true, anything important enough to send is probably sent by other channels. Nevertheless, I’m still creeped out by it.

What you find entirely natural today was nothing but the ravings of a lunatic a few centuries ago and what you think is crazy will be the norm in the future.

Update

I want to let everyone who might have accidentally found this page, as well as a few of my closest friends who I’ve told about this site, I haven’t quit. Jason has gotten most everything right lately, and he hasn’t left very much room for elaboration on my part.

If that weren’t enough, I just finished a 7 day stretch of 12 hour days at the best tire plant in the world and I haven’t had the time or energy to write anything lately.

I am also trying to upgrade this site so it is more appealing and looks more professional, as well as make available some of my very own writings unrelated to and predating the Stapleton show.

I’m still here, and despite the heckling, I won’t be going anywhere.
Right now this site is online, it’s open to the public, and anyone can view it, but so far it has not been promoted, and I’ve only told about a half dozen people about it. January 1st 2016 will be the official launch date and then I will start promoting vigorously.

About the only metric I have as far as how many people visit and read what I write is the comments. I don’t have a fan page on Facebook. I don’t have a twitter account.

I might have a million people visiting this page, or it might just be my mom. The only way I’ll know you’re out there is if you leave a comment.
With that said, I will leave the remaining 21 hours I have off to eating, sleeping, and making this web page better.