Don’t Prepare Your Kids to be Slaves of the State

February 1, 2014

As we all know, the jails are full of victimless criminals in America.  Whether they are street walkers, gamblers, or drug users, many are serving time not for hurting anyone, but as protection against themselves or because they committed an act considered immoral by society’s moral elite.

However, adults are not the only ones punished for not hurting anyone.  Young children are usually placed in time out, spanked, or have their toys confiscated by their parents for committing the victimless crime of not sharing.

Picture this, little Jonny has a friend over to play, but refuses to give him a turn with his slinky.  After much quibbling between the two young lads, Jonny’s dad intervenes by taking the slinky away from Jonny and giving it to Jonny’s friend while Jonny is placed in time out on the couch to think about what he did.

But, what did little Jonny do?  He did not hurt his friend or violate his friend’s rights.  After all, he didn’t steal from or hit him.  What he did was obnoxious and inhospitable by societal norms, but no crime worth punishing was committed.  Little Jonny’s toys are his property and it is his decision whether or not to let others play with them.

If you disagree, then consider why adults are held to a different standard?  If my neighbor wishes to borrow my hedge trimmer, but I don’t loan my tools out to anyone, does some authority figure come along and take it from me and give it to my neighbor while I am placed in time out in a ten by ten cell?  Most people would say that is a preposterous example that would never happen.  Agreed, then why are kids punished for not sharing their toys?

Like adults, kids have a choice to make.  If they don’t share their things, when they are at a friend’s house, that friend may not share his things with them.  Worse yet, a child who doesn’t share may not have any friends even if he wanted them.  The bottom line is that the natural world has a way of working these issues out.  There are plenty of incentives for little Jonny to share.

But, let’s return for a moment to the example about the neighbor who wanted to borrow my hedge trimmer – the example is not so far-fetched upon closer consideration.  In America, it has become all too commonplace for our neighbors to ask for authority figures (government) to make us share our income with others or face time in prison.  Whether it is big bank bailouts, the military industrial complex, public employee unions, corporate and individual welfare, or foreign aid, Americans are constantly required to share their money with others or face jail time.

And that is really the lesson to be learned about punishing kids for not sharing their things with others.  It teaches them at a young age that property rights equates to selfishness and prepares them to be subservient slaves to the state which takes their property through taxation or price inflation and gives it to others.

At the end of the day, sharing should come from the heart not because you will be placed in time out or put in a cage.  Parents should teach their children empathy for others while respecting their property rights.  In an age of massive public assistance spending and “too big to fail” bailouts, property rights have taken a back seat to political expediency.  It is time property rights were once again respected. Parents can begin that process with their young children.

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Lies, Intolerance, and Disrespect for the Rule of Law

August 22, 2010

President Obama was absolutely correct last week when he proclaimed that the Cordoba Initiative, under the Constitution, had “the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in lower Manhattan, in accordance with local laws and ordinances.”  Of course the president’s remarks set off a firestorm of responses from Republicans looking to capitalize on the issue in this election year.  Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, told “Fox News Sunday” that Mr. Obama’s view “demonstrates that Washington, the White House, the administration, the president himself seems to be disconnected from the mainstream of America.”  Former House Speaker and potential Republican presidential candidate in 2012 Newt Gingrich said on his website last month simply “No mosque.”  Lastly, of course, the Jesse Jackson of 21st Century political America Sarah Palin wrote in a Facebook message originally posted July 20 – “Many Americans, myself included, feel it would be an intolerable and tragic mistake to allow such a project … to go forward on such hallowed ground.”  These remarks and others like them represent what is so wrong in America today – deceit, intolerance, and disrespect for the rule of law.

In the first place, Palin is stretching the truth by using the “hallowed ground” rationale. The proposed site of the mosque is several blocks from Ground Zero and would be surrounded by a store offering lingerie, a peep show, and sex toys, at least 11 bars, and a strip club.  Calling this neighborhood “Hallowed Ground” is like attaching the same nomenclature to the Strip in Las Vegas.  Given the current makeup of the area, a mosque would add a spiritual influence to its fabric and actually make the district more “hallowed”.  In any event, Palin’s statement, like many uttered by our politicians today, is misleading and has certainly led many Americans to a false opinion of whether the mosque should be built.  

Newt on the other hand employs direct intolerance in his opposition to the mosque project.  “No mosque” leaves little room for negotiation.  How can someone who possibly aspires to be president be so vehemently discriminatory?  Since there are already 10 churches and 3 synagogues in lower Manhattan near the Ground Zero site, a mosque would actually enhance the diversity of that community.  Additionally, these are times when people of different faiths should come together to solve problems and be role models of tolerance and cooperation.  I can imagine no greater tribute to those lost on September 11, 2001 than for the churches, synagogues, and mosques near Ground Zero to work together on projects that promote understanding and peace.  With Newt’s thinking this won’t be possible.

Lastly, Senator Cornyn should know that property rights under the Constitution are not a popularity contest.  Just because a majority of Americans hold a certain opinion, in this case that the mosque should not be built in Lower Manhattan, it does not mean it is the law.  The Constitution specifically grants all Americans equal protection under the law and protects us against deprivation of life, liberty, or property without due process of law.  The builders of the mosque have broken no laws and are entitled to the same justice as churches and synagogues.  Thus, they have a right to build their place of worship on their property.  Cornyn’s inference is dangerous because it violates the Constitution by making mob rule king and minority rights arbitrary at the whim of the mob.  At a time when property rights are already under attack from both courts and policymakers, all Americans should stand with the Cordoba Initiative in support of its property rights.  By doing so, they may be defending a future attack on their own.

The debate over the so called “Ground Zero Mosque” is representative of the lies, intolerance, and disrespect for the rule of law which has become so pervasive in American society.  To gain an upper hand in a campaign politicians lie.  We see this all the time in campaigns where candidates have lied about their opponent or themselves.  We have become intolerant by labeling those we don’t agree with “racist”.  More ominously, we have become a society averse to the rule of law, by condoning leaders who lie under oath, lie to start wars and invade sovereign nations unprovoked.  Instead of chastising the president for defending the Constitution, it would have been refreshing if Cornyn, Palin, Gingrich, and others who claim to support the same document, would have come out in support of the president’s position.  Perhaps in America’s current environment this is too much to ask?

Article first published as Lies, Intolerance, and Disrespect for the Rule of Law on Blogcritics.


U.S. Property Rights in Line with Tenets of Communism

July 26, 2010

Regardless of how you may have felt about George Steinbrenner during his life, you must admit when he died a few weeks back he went out a winner.  His prized possession, the New York Yankees, are on top of the baseball world having won their 27th World Series last October and apparently poised to make another run at it this fall.  But, more importantly, especially for his heirs, he died during a year with no federal estate tax.

The latter victory is a really big deal for the Steinbrenner heirs since George’s net worth was estimated to be about $1.1 billion.  If Congress had not messed up and allowed the 45 percent federal estate tax to lapse last January, they would have been required to pay $500 million to Uncle Sam.  The need for huge liquidity to pay the tax may have forced the family to sell the team it has owned since 1973.

It may be too late for them to stick it to the Yank’s deceased owner but members of Congress are planning to reinstitute the levy next year., Of course, they plan to do it with a vengeance by making the new rate of pillage 10 points higher at 55 percent to make up for their terrible error of letting the federal estate tax lapse in 2010.

It’s interesting that given how our politicians boast about how we honor property rights in this country, they have and will again impose a huge redistributive tax on the dead and their heirs.  I mean 45, 55 percent?  Isn’t this exorbitant?  Taking the Steinbrenner fortune as an example, didn’t he amass it while at the same time employing 1000s of people?  Didn’t his venture enrich the lives of millions of baseball fans?  Don’t these social benefits account for anything?

But, estate taxes are not the only assault on property rights in America.  The whole “American dream of owning one’s own home” is a farce.  In America, you never fully own your own home.  If you have to take out a loan to buy your house then you jointly own it with the lender until the debt is repaid.  That is fair enough and represents a mutual business arrangement that is beneficial to both sides.  The homeowner gets the ability to purchase his house and the bank makes money by collecting interest.

What is not fair is that of no choice of your own you are also and always a joint owner of your home with the local taxing authority (either town and/or county).  The bottom line is that if you pay off your mortgage to the bank but fail to pay property taxes on your house the government can take it away from you.  Unlike the bank, the government has no risk or stake in your property.  It becomes a joint owner with you not because it put up the money or gave you a loan to improve the property – it becomes a joint owner simply because it says so in exchange for so called promises to provide services to you that you may not even want or need.

In my own case, I pay property taxes on my summer home.  These taxes go towards schools, parks, roads, trash removal, courts, libraries, street lights, and other communal resources in my county.  I really only partake of trash removal and roads.  Thus, I have money essentially stolen from me under the threat of my house being confiscated to finance the wants and needs of others.  Would you go into a store, buys things you didn’t personally use, and leave them for the next patron?  Of course, not, but property owners do this all the time when they pay in many cases exorbitant amounts to local taxing authorities for essentially the right to keep their own homes. 

And it is amazing that the statist do-gooders who usually stand up tall for the economically disadvantaged and downtrodden rarely advocate for the thousands if not millions of elderly property owners who living on fixed budgets lose their homes due to high property taxes.  The following quote from a taxpayer on a New York state government site says it a lot better than I can:

“I fully agree on all the points gesiburn has stated. I am in my late 70’s, not working at my profession now, and having to spend down my savings and a reverse mortgage in order to afford keeping my home that I have lived in since 1967. The taxes including the largest, the school tax, is an enormous burden on me and I and my late husband have dutifully paid the school taxes with no children in the system all these years. It is time that we seniors have this enormous school tax burden lifted from our shoulders.”

From redhead

Two major tenets of communism are:   abolition of all rights of inheritance; and abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes.  Although we still retain the right of private ownership of property in America, estate and property taxes put us perilously close to fulfilling the dreams of communists everywhere.  The death tax should be abolished altogether to preserve the full right to property ownership.  Local governments must slash taxes, impose user fees, and solicit charity to pay bills in order to protect property rights.  If these two things happen, we can all go out winners like George Steinbrenner.  

Article first published as U.S. Property Rights in Line with Tenets of Communism on Blogcritics.