We moved from Abilene, Texas to Seattle, Washington back in April 2013. I am fond of saying “we escaped to Seattle” as my affection for Texas is quite low. Seattle, by comparison, is amazing. I have found every possible group to satisfy my million hobbies.
There are an insane amount of activities to do in the greater Seattle area. We have easily done more in Seattle in 10 months than we did in Texas in 4 years.
With all my work helping other groups with their websites, I am finally thinking of making my website more functional. I may rip the whole WordPress part of it down and put up something far simpler… and I may not. Yay for my first post in forever.
Kind of a dreary winter here in Abilene, Texas. Temperatures have ranged from freezing (20′s) to nice (60′s). The sky is often overcast. We spend our evenings inside watching Netflix. We have recently taken to watching all the Star Trek series. Sharyn watched the original series all the way through. Now we are watching TNG together. We haven’t watched an episode which I don’t recall in some way. I am so glad that I watched Star Trek as a kid instead of so many other whimsical shows I could have seen. Star Trek: The Next Generation has such cool ideas and explores such high-minded areas. It feels oddly out of place when I compare it to the partisan bullshit going down in our government lately. It feels to me like we had a few years there where we were approaching a unification on a large scale. Only now it feels so distant. I miss living in California. Texas is so bereft of good will. What a depressing place.
I have endeavored to take more notes digitally of late. I have been reading less and less as I grow older. I used to have this amazing patience and would read for hours. I am now more impatient than ever. I am a slow reader and it just takes too long to get through a book. It is like I have so much work to do, I just can’t bring myself to start. So I make lists of books I would like to read but I never go to the trouble of buying them because then I will need to read them. I can’t bring myself to read much fiction anymore because it feels like a waste of time.
I recently updated my Wish List 2011 on Amazon to reflect books and media which I would definitely like to read. I will likely buy them for myself given enough time and then I will update the list. Not that anyone actually reads this blog since I post to it so very rarely. But just in case someone does read it and intends to get me a gift to keep me occupied for the long boring winter, I know I am very hard to shop for so the wish list is your best bet.
I have recently taken to reading a lot about the philosophical underpinnings of Libertarianism. Like many unsuspecting saps, my first discussion with a Libertarian was initiated when one made some off-handed comment about the government robbing them of their money at gunpoint. I am not one to shy away from discussions on politics. Upon hearing what I thought to be an absurd claim which I thought was likely based on poor logic, I asked for them to back up their claim. The Libertarian in question was thrilled to be able to explain the concept to me and carefully laid their argument as most do:
Libertarian: Do you agree that the initiation of force is immoral?
Me: Well I guess.
Libertarian: The government takes our money by force.
Me: How do you figure?
Libertarian: What happens if you don’t pay your taxes? The government will throw you in jail. They are initiating force against you.
So something is up with this. I dug a little deeper, acquiring a copy of For A New Liberty: The Libertarian Manifesto by Murray Rothbard. Rothbard describes three types of Libertarians, two of which are straw men he easily burns:
1. Emotivist Libertarian
2. Utilitarian Libertarian
3. Natural Rights Libertarian
Rothbard describes the Emotivist Libertarian as someone who asserts that “they take liberty or nonaggression as their premise purely on subjective, emotional grounds.” This straw man is easily dispatched: “By ultimately taking themselves outside the realm of rational discourse, the emotivists thereby insure the lack of general success of their own cherished doctrine.” He takes utilitarianism to its logical and extremist conclusion in which the benefit of the many outweighs that of the one unilaterally; an obvious irrational, even if logical, result. With 1 and 2 easily burned to the ground, the 3rd option is the convenient winner.
Natural Rights, says Rothbard, come from Natural Law which is described by the philosopher John Locke. The Natural Law of the self are defined as Life, Liberty, and Property. Rothbard posits three possible arguments for self-ownership: the individual owns…
A. their whole self
B. part of their self
C. none of their self
Rothbard goes on to argue that A is the only possible answer. He argues that B is not possible because if you do not own your whole self, then you cannot convince anyone of it since you own part of them and they own part of you. All owners of your “self” would have to agree… this degrades to absurdity quickly. For C, he argues that if you owned none of yourself then you would have no control at all.
I feel like Rothbard is ignoring a key component of the definition of Natural Rights on purpose. If the self is made up of Life, Liberty, and Property, then self ownership must be applied to each, not all three unilaterally. Applying the idea of self-ownership to Life, Liberty, and Property, I posit the following:
LIFE = A*
LIBERTY = B
PROPERTY = B
The Libertarian claims A (ownership of the whole self) for each. To a Libertarian who believes this, please tell me:
* I do not believe in absolutes. I think that both A and C are absolutes. I still have to come to terms with the idea of absolute ownership of LIFE. I think in this case, it means that I own my personal body (even though that concept doesn’t really make sense to me). I choose A in this case for the sake of argument.
** Property as described by Rothbard in Chapter 2 of For A New Liberty.
OK! First post is up. I will have to revisit this quite a few times in order to really get my understanding all nailed down.