Thursday, April 21, 2011

Things You Can't Know, and for other purposes

((((whenever they introduce legislation, they cryptically describe what the bill is supposed to do, then add the phrase, "and for other purposes". I'm for abolishing that practice. It has nothing much to do with this post))))

Quite often you will hear governmental agencies, police, charities, the friggin Ad Council announce that some practice or restriction has saved X number of lives. In reality, there is no way of knowing how many lives their pet projects saved.

The reason it can't be known was quite eloquently illustrated in Mark Twain's short story, The Mysterious Stranger.

For example, they may claim that a general road block to filter out drunk drivers saves lives, and it may seem like it does. Usually it is more successful at nabbing people with too many parking tickets, past due license renewal or broken tail lights.

What if, because of that simple delay, Sally did not meet Biff at the local art gallery, and therefore the chance that they would produce a child named Dexter was lost?

Dexter would have been conceived at just the right time and temperature for all the genes and juices to create a benevolent super genius. Dexter would have raced through his education, obtaining a doctorate by age 13, and by age 20 he would have found they key to curing AIDS, as well as the common cold, cancers of all sorts, and psoriasis.

But no! Officer Dimwitty of the El Cajon branch of the CA Highway Patrol, and his sidekick Officer Juan Mamaculo, had to put up a roadblock, delaying some drivers more than others. They spent just enough extra time trying to look down Sally's blouse, asking stupid questions, that by the time she arrived at the gallery, Biff had hit the road. Fate had been duped by the Man.

So, in reality many lives which would have been saved were lost. We can't know that will happen, but we can't know it won't.

That debunks assertions that they know how many lives are saved.

Anyway, after the fate twisting roadblock Sally marries a sociopath who does things of which I cannot speak. Her life is forever plunged into darkness and despair. Biff becomes the Democratic congressman from East San Diego county and introduces a bill requiring everyone to fly naked, wrapped in ten layers of plastic wrap, with little holes poked in it so you can breathe.

Biff's bill results in a drastic increase in the cost of air travel, and necessitates that everyone arrive at the airport 6 hours in advance so they can be stripped, wrapped and loaded by conveyor into the aircraft.

The country then wonders what happened to the air travel industry. Like always, when things go awry, the public media take on it is that it somehow mysteriously happened all of a sudden. Cause and effect has been stricken from the collective mind. Perhaps it has something to do with sensitivity or giving back, or chem trails--who knows?

Because the airline industry demise is so bewildering, the president initiates a plan to bail out the airlines at a cost of 3 trillion dollars.

It turns out the bailout money is not closely followed so the CEOs who supported the president's campaign are able to receive huge bonuses and billion dollar salaries before their companies declare bankruptcy and they resign to take prestigious jobs in the executive branch of government. Then Congress authorizes a second bailout to keep the companies from going under and to get them out of bankruptcy.

All because of a life saving roadblock.

This is what happens when you have policies which treat everyone as guilty before proven innocent and 4th amendment protections against unreasonable search and seizure are ignored.

The public was assured by the cheerful TV newslady that "it's a lot safer out on the highways this holiday season!!" She may have had something else to say, but I got distracted trying to look down her blouse.

I'm Not The Only Radical

Great news!! In Georgia, of all places, someone introduced a bill that disputes the notion that driving (use of public thoroughfares), is a privilege instead of a right. I've never gone along with that idea--that driving or any other exercise of freedom is a privilege instead of a right. Who decides who has the right to decide if I can exercise my rights? You cannot grant me privileges which involve my own life and rights. Privilege to travel?

People still have to drive safely--as if they do now--ever driven in Atlanta?--but they can't be forced to be licensed in order to travel.

Georgia Assembly
10 LC 34 2350
House Bill 875

By: Representative Franklin of the 43rd

Go representative Franklin.

At first this sounds so radical and scary, but that is mostly because of conditioning to believe the behavior control and security of the government works out well. I tend to think the idea of a driver's licence was first seen as a source of revenue, then as a way of keeping track of people so they could be hit up for more money later, and the very least of the motives had a thing to do with safety.

I'm astounded that an elected official anywhere would seriously challenge such an accepted, though nefarious, institution.

When something has been hammered into your mind long enough, you tend to accept it and even defend it. Facts often get in the way, and reason does as well.

It's what makes it so easy for wars to keep being waged. Except we don't call it war. That is just one example.

There are many things that are considered necessary, and which have become accepted facets of government and restrictions on rights which we could do without. Those who think the increase in war, crime, sociopathic gang behavior, failing schools, etc. is somehow not the fault of governmental policies and encroachment upon life, would disagree with me. I believe the policies of the last 100 years, and more, have been the root of most evil. There are a couple of things which have gone counter to that, but the reality is these were used to smokescreen very strong moves to restrict the universal rights of all.

I'm back to searching for a hollow tree, far away from anything I know--not sure I will survive in the world as I know it.
That part is my fault.

I don't expect anyone to agree with me, and I know some who are very big on the idea that everything is a privilege, not a right. Guess we'll just continue to disagree, but one day the squeeze of the state will affect your life in an unpleasant manner and you will wonder how it happened.

I suppose I am one who feels at least as threatened, or more, by government than I do by those from which it claims to protect me. Seriously, I do not automatically trust police or government officials regarding any matters whatsoever. You never know what you will get, and it is not right that such human beings have that power which can be used as a weapon on a whim. More power, in many ways, than the power a punk weilds when he holds a gun. Not such a different mentality in many cases.

Something is wrong with the set up when punks and police are often equally antisocial. It's because 90% of police work involves matters which aren't the proper function of government, and which violate basic rights and freedom. Also the methods are generally dishonest and based on the assumption that the average citizen is a a criminal who needs to be caught and trapped doing something evil, like speeding, growing a pot plant, minding his own business without prior permission.

BOTTOM LINE: The main problem is that packing to many people together too tightly, combined with too much central authority over their lives makes for trouble on all fronts. And the temptation to get away from filtering restrictions through the test of if an act constitutes force or fraud--restricts the rights of others--seems too great to resist. Hence you often hear a defense of "We've done nothing illegal" when there has actually been an act of deception or force.

UPDATE: re: right vs privilege -- even if I agree with licensing, (I'm on the fence on that issue), if I demonstrate the skill to safely operate a machine, vehicle, perform a task, etc. it is my right, then to undertake that endeavor. Privilege implies that my right to freely travel, or work, is bestowed upon me by some higher authority, and can for any reason be revoked. I hold that it is my right as long as I am not infringing on the ability of others to exercise their rights.

That is why I do not shout down people with whom I disagree in a public forum. That is not exercising free speech, it is attempting to curb the exercise of that right by the one with whom I disagree.

Right to travel freely is even addressed in the Magna Carta. People forget that the Bill of Rights was limited and intended to reinforce the idea that rights not granted to the government were retained by the people. I tend to believe it is my right to do whatever I please within bounds of not violating rights of others. Many of those rights I would not exercise, like putting opiates in my oatmeal or molesting a particularly affectionate sheep.

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Ballistic Mountain, CA, United States
Like spring on a summer's day


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