Going Home

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. But if that step is in the wrong direction, you might end up 2,000 miles from your goal.

Many believe America took a step in the wrong direction long ago--about the time "progressivism" became popular among political, business, and academic elites in the early 20th century.

If progressivism was a step in the wrong direction, it's led us at least 2,000 miles from our target.

Modern progressives tell us we need to keep going in the wrong direction and we'll eventually find what we're looking for. They seem to forget Seneca's line:

When you are travelling on a road, there must be an end; but when astray, your wanderings are limitless.

Modern conservatives and libertarians realize that we're off course, that we're moving away from the target, and that continuing to wander astray will lead us further from the goal.

But some conservatives and libertarians seem lost, too. They want to wait for a miracle that transports them back to the starting point to begin the journey anew. Or, better yet, they hope to be transported immediately to the target.

The journey home--to the starting point with continuing service to the goal--begins, like the original journey, with a single step. Continuing to wander is idiotic. Waiting for a miracle is stupid.

Wise people just turn and start walking, one step at a time.

Why Don't We Have an Anti-establishment Party?

I'm totally envious of Europe, and I think two American generations can fix it for me. Gen X (born ~1961 to ~1981) is a thoroughly anti-authority generation. Millennial (born ~1982 to ~2002) is a completely anti-institutional generation.

It's time for these great generations to get together and form an anti-establishment movement. Maybe even a party.

Check this out:

A new poll surveying young Americans' political attitudes released by Harvard University's Institute of Politics Tuesday found millennials have less trust in government than ever before.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/poll-millenials-have-historically-low-levels-of-trust-in-government-2014-4#ixzz32lyajNI8

To an anti-authority, liberty-loving Gen Xer, that's the most beautiful paragraph in the history of polling literature. As Pete Townsend said, "the kids are alright!"

Not that the Millennial folk will listen to me, but I gotta say they're 100% right in distrusting government. The US government, their state government, their school board. Every level of government is a trough that big corporations fill for the satisfaction of the elected swine. Government's like a big pig farm.

Last night, I took my son Patrick to Ballpark Village on our way home from Fast Eddie's Bon Air.  It was his 21st birthday. BPV is an awesome place, but it was bought with taxpayer dollars--and without taxpayer input. In other words, Fox Sports Midwest and the DeWitt family stole Missouri's ATM card and PIN and withdrew 19 million of your tax dollars to build an amazing sports and drink palace.

The DeWitts (and others) get the profits; you get the costs. Wonderful.

That's an example of why Millennials think government is the cousin of lies. And that's why America needs an anti-establishment movement, if not an anti-establishment party.

This movement or party, or both, will have a very narrow focus: reducing government activity to a few, necessary tasks. Kinda like Article 1, Section 8 of the US Constitution.

The party will ignore the "issues" establishment uses to keep us divided. Stuff like gay rights and public prayer. Those are important issues, but the establishment uses them to keep us fighting about minutiae while it steals our power and freedom. So we won't play their game.

We won't field our own candidates. Instead, we'll cast negative votes in both establishment parties to deny them their traditional constituencies. Negative votes might include voting for third party candidates or skipping offices where the choice is more of an echo.

Most importantly, we'll use our personal power to influence public officials. We won't harass and protest; we'll smile and converse. We'll lobby like paid lobbyists, even though we're just people.

We've learned our lesson. Yelling at politicians only makes them stronger. We're not doing that anymore. Now, we're talking. And smiling. And connecting.

Look, Gen X and Millennials together are an overwhelming force. We both hate the establishment. Let's get together and destroy it, shall we?

Lets Get Together

50 Years Later Dr. King’s Dream Becomes a Night Terror

It was one of the greatest speeches in the history of speaking. It promoted two self-evident goods: freedom and equality. He spoke first of equality.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today!

The equality Dr. King dreamt of was equality of opportunity for blacks.

We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. And so, we've come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice.

He dreamt of equal protection under the law. He dreamt of a nation with the courage to “live out the true meaning of its creed.”

Since 1963, America has largely erased the evils of racial segregation. We’ve come a long way since the days of Black Only drinking fountains.

But we’ve replaced racial segregation with new, subtler segregation. We’ve allowed an insidious evil to enslave us equally and divide us from the opportunity we were promised. We’ve divided the nation into the elites and the plebes. And we’ve built a pervasive police state to keep the plebes in check.

Between freedom and equality, Dr. King gave freedom the highest honor. He closed with a cry for freedom:

And so let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire.

Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York.

Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania.

Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado.

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California.

But not only that:

Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia.

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee.

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi.

From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, and when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual:

                 Free at last! Free at last!

                Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!

White and black are now equally slaves to the elites’ spy network. The NSA watches your every move, reports you to the IRS, the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI, and the Drug Enforcement Agency.

The elites train their spies to cover their tracks, to fabricate evidence trails, to lie to Congress and judges about the way evidence was obtained.

The NSA shares your life’s most private moments with an increasingly militarized police force that kicks down your doors and invades your home. This police force choreographs these illegal raids intentionally to terrorize its victims.

The spying, the SWAT raids, the dog shootings, and the terrorizing tactics are not to protect you; they’re to protect the Elites from you.

Dr. King’s dream—our dream—has become night terrors.

But we will wake up.

Today, I have a dream. I dream of a day when governments, created by our will and animated with our power, heel to commands of their creators’ voices.

I dream of a day when we throw open the curtains that hide the government.

I dream of the day when every human—white and black—strives for the respect of his fellow plebes and no longer grovels for the favor of the elites.

I dream of the day our America dream walks.

I dream of the day we own our own lives.

God bless you, Dr. King. Please intercede with Jesus on our behalf that your dream comes true for those you’ve left behind.

Pray for us, Dr. King, that every person finds the character and courage to wake from this terror and reassert his power over government.

Rejoice with us, Dr. King, on that day when every American of every race, creed, and color can stand hand-in-hand and sing:

Free at last!

Free at last!

Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!

 

The audio of Martin Luther King’s Dream speech is here. Please listen to it and share it with someone in the throes of a nightmare.

Why the Missouri DOR’s Enhanced Interrogation Methods Should Make You Mad

Pulled from comments, in response to TJ, you asked: "I am somewhat confused about the current outrage. Shouldn’t the DOR verify, to the greatest extent possible, that an applicant for renewal of any state issued ID be who they maintain to be, live where they claim to live and so on." If you’re buying beer at Schnuck’s, you expect the cashier to card you, right? That’s because the cashier is required to verify your are 21 or older.

Wouldn’t you think it creepy if the cashier took your picture and photocopied your driver’s license?

Missouri Department of Revenue - Prying Eyes

When you ask him why he took your picture and copied your DL, what if he told you, “I’m going to forward this information to the federal government. I don’t know why they want to know that you bought beer today, but they do.”

There’s no difference here. A fee collection office is just a supermarket for licenses and permits. The DOR’s verification duties are set by Missouri law. So are its limits.

Missouri law prohibits DOR from recording, by any means, personal identifying information. Missouri law also prohibits Missouri DOR from sharing that information.

The DOR fee office employees are under orders from the state to violate the law.Fee office workers were the first contact Missouri Family Network because they knew that they were breaking the law by using the new equipment and process.

*****

I’m posting my reply to a comment on my first story about the Missouri DOR’s use of enhanced interrogation techniques on people trying to renew driver’s licenses and concealed carry permits. Thanks to commenter, TJ, for challenging me.

Breaking: Dem Appointed Director of Missouri Revenue Caught Lying to Senate

“That is the third time you’ve lied to me!”

Those were the words of Missouri State Senator Kurt Schaefer to Director of Revenue Brian K. Long in a heated hearing at the Missouri State Capitol this morning.

Missouri Department of Revenue - Prying Eyes

Senator Schaefer and researchers at the Missouri Family Network, who broke this story, learned prior to the hearing that Long’s department has ordered Missouri fee office workers to violate state law by collecting and storing personal identifying information (PII) on everyone who renews a driver’s license, non-driver ID, or concealed carry permit in Missouri.

From Missouri Family Network:

DOR is in fact (confirmed beyond question) retooling fee offices and requiring scanning of citizens’ source documents in violation of32.091.7 RSMo and 302.183 RSMo, which according to 302.340 RSMo constitutes a class A misdemeanor for each day’s offense.  (see these laws reprinted below)

Source documents are being required and scanned for CCW endorsements or endorsement renewals beyond the background checks, certifications, investigations and other guidelines required under Missouri’s Concealed Carry laws, and appear to be in violation of 571.101 RSMo and related Statutes (due to volume constraints, not reprinted here).

A variety of Missouri laws prohibit DOR from collecting PII. Missouri law also prohibits any state employee, including Brian Long, from complying with the federal Real ID act. 

Long’s office, however, used three Department of Homeland Security grants to circumvent the law, by installing biometric cameras in Missouri fee office and ordering fee office to record birth certificate and family residence data on everyone applying for a driver’s license or concealed carry permit.

Later, Senators Schaefer and Brian Nieves took to the Senate floor to expose Long’s lies and illegal activity. Senate President Pro Tem Dempsey called on Attorney General Chris Koster to investigate DOR.  (Wish we had a real AG now.)

Fee Office Workers Admit They’re Feeding Your Data to Homeland Security

We called the fee office in Union, Missouri, today. They confirmed that renewal of either DL or CCW permits required that they copy your birth certificate, driver’s license, and proof of residency for use by Homeland Security. 

For months, Long and others at the Department of Revenue have maintained that the DOR was not collecting personal information and was not attempting to comply with Real ID. 

In meetings prior to today, Long had told Schaefer that the DOR was not using Homeland Security money to fund the purchase of biometric recording devices.

Missouri Family Network, however, uncovered clear evidence that Long’s statements were false.

What This Means To You

This means that Missouri is collecting enough information on you to identify you with facial recognition technology, like the technology used to kill terrorists with drones and satellite guided missiles.

It means that if you work at a Missouri license fee office, you could be subject to a civil suit by anyone whose personal information you collected and turned over the Homeland Security.

It also means that Jay Nixon and Brian K. Long are circumventing Missouri law to feed your information into a master federal database of gun owners, identifiable by facial recognition software.

What You Need To Do Right Now

1.  If you suspect that a fee office has photo copied any of your documents or used biometric photography, you could be the victim of a crime.  You can report it to the Missouri Department of Revenue’s Criminal Investigation office cibmail@dor.mo.gov.

2.  Contact Governor Jay Nixon and ask him why his DOR violates Missouri privacy law. Phone: (573) 751-3222.

3.  Because this involves misuse of federal grant money, contact your US Representative and Senator and ask them to investigate.

4.  Contact your Missouri State Representative and Senator, asking them to pass legislation that requires removal of biometric imaging devices from DOR fee office and indemnifies DOR fee office workers from law suits.

I Will Not Debate Definitions

A commenter to my blog about libertarian kids implies that libertarians are okay—as long as they’re not, ya know, too libertarian. The other night at Heritage Tavern I heard debates break out over the definition of “conservative.”

If you’re wondering why the left is kicking our ass, now you know. They’re busy turning Texas blue while we debate the meanings and merits of political labels.

Maybe this country is beyond hope.

Do Not Push

Why Libertarian Kids, Not Drones, Scare McCain and Graham

Jennifer Rubin—WaPo’s token conservative—said it perfectly:

McCain lost his cool with Rand Paul and sounded like the old man down the street screaming to the new kids on the block, “Get off my lawn!”

The real reason McCain and Lindsey Graham embarrassed themselves on the floor of Senate had nothing to do with what Rand Paul said. Rand Paul's ideas terrify McCain, Graham, and most of the Republican establishment.

Those Troublesome Libertarian Kids

McCain and Graham sit at the top of the Republican hierarchy that thrives on protection money from crony capitalists. (See more on crony capitalism here.)

Senator John McCain complains about appealing to libertarian kids

Young libertarians are the closest thing to conservatives coming out of the Millennial generation. If the GOP is to play a role in the 2016 election, it must attract every possible Millennial libertarian.

That puts establishment politicians like McCain and Graham in a precarious position between two competing interests: small government libertarians and big money crony capitalists.

The Conflict That Divides The GOP

These crony capitalists aren’t evil. Neither are the Republicans who enable them. They all believe in American exceptionalism. They invest money and time and energy to keep America great. They honestly believe that America’s strength depends on companies producing wealth. On that point, they’re right. Where they go wrong is cause and effect.

Republican crony capitalists believe that corporate profits are the source of American greatness. Libertarians and tea party conservatives believe that corporate profits are the rewards of American greatness.

(Democrats, by the way, believe that government is the source of American greatness . . . if they believe in American greatness at all.)

Republican Crony Capitalism Can’t Survive On Its Own

Crony capitalists feel they must invest in politicians who will protect and promote their business interests. Those business interests, in turn, create jobs for people, donate funds to improve their communities, fund non-profit charities and schools, and guide politicians on good policy. These are noble activities that benefit all of society.

Over the years, though, these civic investments – increasingly through donations to candidates -- have become less noble and more self-serving. With the rise of profit maximization and shareholder value thinking, corporations treat government and politicians like vendors.

Investing in good government should improve business conditions by promoting a stable economy in which free market capitalism flourishes. Crony companies, however, expect a measurable and direct return on investments for their companies and shareholders alone. The rest of the country be damned.

If those profits made it back into the economy through more jobs, higher wages, and capital investment, things would be better. But they don’t. Even conservative Forbes magazine recognizes that businesses today hoard cash rather than reinvest. Blame “uncertainty” if you will, but don’t overlook the shareholder value mentality that dominates business and finance today.

Crony capitalists accept more regulation and taxes because they think it will give them an advantage over their competition. They trade their independence (and risk) for targeted tax breaks and protected markets. This cycle repeats itself election after election, and each time the government comes out more powerful and corporations more dependent.

This cycle has repeated so many times that corporate dependency on government now threatens the balance of power between people and state. The financial collapse of 2008 demonstrated that big government and big business have grown too large to stand on their own. They lean on each other like weary heavyweight boxers in the 15th round of a brutal championship fight. If one falls, they all fall.  And we get crushed.

What Libertarian Kids Want Threatens the Establishment

Libertarians realize that it was never supposed to be this way. More importantly, we’re pretty sure that America would never have become great had he started out like this. This was, after all, how Europe worked in the 18th century, as mercantilists pandered to nobles and royals who, in turn, granted mercantilists permission to do business, protected their businesses from competition, and collected handsome taxes from their profits. Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations was, in part, a criticism of European mercantilism. So was the Boston Tea Party.

A libertarian solution to the mess politicians and corporations have made involves untangling the knots that bind government and business and banking together. It means that each Congress reduce the loopholes in law and taxes meant to coerce business behavior, eliminate regulations designed to change behavior toward some ideal, and reduce tax rates on businesses.

But that solution threatens a lot of people’s jobs.

Republican establishmentarians rose to power through this quasi mercantile system. They didn’t run on the idea of getting government out of people’s ways. They ran on getting government to favor their constituents, sometimes by holding back someone else’s constituents. Freeing business to thrive or die on a level playing would eliminate the skills that lifted McCain and Graham (not to mention Reid, Pelosi, Durbin, McCaskill, and Obama) to the top. And they’ll fight like hell to keep their power.

The Democrats practice crony capitalism more effectively than Republicans. While their constituencies might be different, the process is the same. Taxes and borrowing raise money that government distributes to favored groups and companies. Taxes and regulations coerce people to trade with those favored companies and organizations.Public education and green energy are two prime examples of Democrats driving economic behavior to benefit friends.

Still, McCain and Graham know that libertarians pose a bigger threat to their power than Democrats. The two big parties play the same game. Libertarians don’t.

The Public-Private Partnership Generations Are Dying

Just before the 2012 election, a poll showed that younger Millennials describe themselves as economic conservatives and social liberals. Their older Millennial siblings describe themselves as economic and social liberals. But both groups show a distrust of both government and big business.

If the GOP had convinced these younger voters that the party believed in limited government and economic liberty, in 2012 it might have eaten into Obama’s youth vote of 2008. Instead, the gap between the parties widened. We have to ask why.

The reason, as I’ve pointed out repeatedly, is authenticity. Establishment Republicans don’t really believe in limited government and economic liberty. They say they do, but they act differently. And younger people see the hypocrisy. Given a choice between Democrats who honestly profess their love of unlimited government power and Republicans who talk about limited government and free markets but don’t really live it, kids go with the party that at least says what it believes.

(Yes, I know Democrats lie all the time, and I’ve blogged about that ad nauseam. But on their fundamental belief in the near-miraculous power of government, Democrats speak the truth. You have to give them that.)

At the other end of the age spectrum, older voters vote Republican—not conservative or libertarian. They want government to increase entitlements, for instance.

These older generations include the last of the WWII generation who grew up during the New Deal and raised families during the massive government programs of the Cold War. Behind them is the Silent Generation which revered (and envied) their WWII elders, becoming the bureaucrats and regulators doing the grunt of government’s growth. The Silents implemented the Great Society programs, the War on Poverty, the Korean and Vietnam Wars. They were young teachers who conducted air raid drills, and they were the first to grasp the power of television. They believe in group work.

Then come the Baby Boomers—those too young to remember FDR’s death. They didn’t trust government to tell the truth, but they never complained when government did their bidding. Boomers were less statist than WWII or Silent generations – after all, Bill Clinton signed off on welfare reform – but they believe government can be molded into a force for good.

Generation X—those too young to remember Kennedy’s assassination—rallied to Reagan’s most famous maxim: “In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.” Gen X is the tip of the libertarian spear, and it’s the generation that’s just reaching the pinnacle of power in business, government, education, information, and entertainment.

As I’ve said, the next generation, Millennials – those too young to remember the Challenger Disaster—are split. As generational historians Strauss and Howe point out, Millennials are much like their WWII great-grandparents. They believe in the power of groups and teamwork. They believe in working together to overcome obstacles. But they may not believe government should force people to do things. We see this in their attitudes toward the war on terror and their increasing drift toward libertarianism. Most compelling, Millennials support federalism when it comes to marijuana laws.

In a nationwide poll that asked whether the federal government should respect state laws on marijuana or enforce more draconian federal law, seventy-four percent of Americans said the feds should respect state law. But 81 percent of Generation X wanted the feds to stay out of states’ business.

With their patriotic embrace of business and careful defense of entitlements, establishment Republicans are the natural allies of WWII and Silent voters. But those generations are dying fast. Nearly 10 million of them died between 2008 and 2012. The 2012 presidential election was the last for 11 million more.

There will be no more Gen Xers or Boomers to swell the ranks of older Republican voters. The last Xer was born during Regan’s first term. The only way the Republican party can grow, then, is by attracting Millennials.

Embracing Libertarian Views Will End the Old Republican Establishment

“The country need more Senators who care about liberty,” Senator McCain said Thursday. “but if Mr. Paul wants to be taken seriously, he needs to do more than pull political stunts that fire up impressionable libertarian kids in their college dorms.”

There it is. Those libertarian kids and their vision of open, honest, limited government that does what it’s supposed to do—what we’ve authorized it to do—and nothing more.

Those damn libertarian kids in their dorm rooms who want to own their own lives instead of borrowing one from the government of Barack H. Obama.

Those libertarian kids with wacko-bird ideas like leaving businesses to compete in a fair and open marketplace where everyone plays by the same rules, faces the same risks, and benefits from the same economy.

Those libertarian kids who want America to go to war only when our liberty is at stake and only when we’re willing to fight for the unconditional surrender of the enemy. (And that’s not very often.)

McCain and Graham and the establishment—Republican and Democrat—fear libertarian kids more than al-Qaeda or Iran.

For a century, but especially beginning with the New Deal in the 1930s, the government has imposed restraints on everyone—some more so than others. Managing those restraints is what the establishment does best. It makes them rich and powerful and supports their fabulous lifestyles.

Those libertarian kids who terrify McCain and Graham want to grant equal liberty to everyone. Libertarians would, over time, remove the government shackles from our ankles.  McCain and Graham, Obama and Pelosi, and all the restraint-keepers will have to find something else to occupy their time.

Rand Paul’s filibuster sparked the imagination in those libertarian kids. Imagination leads to stories, and stories, sometimes, become reality.

If the GOP survives, it must become more libertarian, younger, and authentic. It must look more like Rand Paul and less like John McCain.

And that’s a horror story to McCain and Graham.

St. Louis City Fathers Freak Out Because Police Sergeant Gary Wiegert Lobbies For Sane Marijuana Reforms

You'd think people would listen when a career police officer says we need to reform marijuana laws. But n-o-o-o-o.  Not in St. Louis, anyway. Gary Wiegert is a 30+ year police officer who signed up to lobby Jefferson City on behalf of tea party issues a couple of years ago. Some people freaked out over that, but Gary was instrumental in advancing tea party issues for the past 2 years.

Now, Wiegert is lobbying for some mild marijuana reforms, and the Masters of the City are freaking out.  Not the people, mind you, but the people who make money on draconian marijuana laws.

gary-wiegert

Wiegert represents an organization called Show-Me Cannabis in support of two bills currently awaiting hearings in Jefferson City—HB 512 and HB 511. As I’ve written before, the Republican party should be pushing this issue—it’s a matter of liberty and good government.

The laws would decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana and allow those previously convicted to expunge their records, according to Show-Me Cannabis.

HB 512:

It would eliminate the possibility of arrest or jail for marijuana and paraphernalia possession. It would also limit the fines for those offenses to $250 and, in most cases, keep the charge from appearing on the defendant's public record through use of a suspended imposition of sentence (SIS).

HB 511:

would expand the use of expungement. This bill would allow for the expungement of all misdemeanor offenses, including marijuana and paraphernalia cases, in both state and municipal courts, with the exception of violent or sex-related charges. Expungement would be available after five years with no additional similar convictions.

These small reforms would let police focus on more serious crimes, save Missouri taxpayers tens of millions of dollars, reduce crime, and strengthen society. And HB 512 mirrors the policy of Columbia, Missouri.

Neither Wiegert nor Show-Me Cannabis nor I advocate breaking the law, and Gary enforces the laws on the books. He also knows the toll those laws take on law enforcement and budgets, and the damage they do to people’s lives. Nor are we advocating use of marijuana, even if it were legal. We realize that any drug can lead to problems for individuals, families, and societies. That's why there are inpatient treatment options for marijuana addicts.

Fox 2 News’ Charles Jaco hoped to interview Wiegert this afternoon, but Gary’s bosses in the police department barred Wiegert from talking to the press. Wiegert has a meeting with those bosses on Monday at the police headquarters.

I support Sgt. Wiegert, liberty, and reform of draconian marijuana laws. I also support Gary’s right to advocate for changes to laws he believes are unjust and counterproductive. If he cannot lobby for reform of marijuana laws, I don't expect to see any police chiefs lobbying to weaken the Second Amendment—or anything else.

See my original post on The War on Weed.