Monthly Archives: October 2018

The Degeneration of American Society, Circa 2018

America has really degenerated over the last 60 years, and lost many of the qualities that people of that time were capable of. People of that day were just coming out of eons of Mankind living in the most primitive, violent ways because of lack of technology. When Mechanism took Command, it enabled man to live on a level, and in an orderly way, as he had never been able to in all human history. This was exemplified for a while in the 1920s, when, for the first time, a man could live an orderly life, with clean surroundings, new clothes, a modern house, and conveniences and amusements like cars and radios, if he could secure a living. The possibility of Order came into humanity, which had never, ever existed before. Imagine living in the world of Henry VIII; even the wealthy could not live an orderly life then, because of the insecurities of disease, of impoverishment through government fiat, or else having your head cut off.

As the 30s progressed, despite the Depression, the technologies just became more refined, a progress that has gone on uninterruptedly since those days. Compare the cinematography of the 1930s to that of 1963, and you will see a huge improvement in image quality. And now, unfortunately, films look like commercials, having lost that documentary realism one got from the black and white dramas of the 1960s.

This artistic degeneration also eclipsed Jazz. Jazz from the late 1950s to around 1970 was quite a popular genre, though not the major one of Rock, which also had a huge creative explosion during the same period. Both of them started to change in the early 70s, and by 1980 you had disco and jazz was using synthesizers, and sounding a bit like Soul music. The drive and elegance of Basie and Ellington, and the many, many talented trios and quartets, was really amazing, even to this lover of Rock. College kids back then would listen to Jazz in addition to Rock. Do they do that now?

So the breakdown of Art in Film, Jazz, and Rock seemed to parallel the breakdown of American Society that started to set in under Nixon, and really took off under Jimmy Carter. Since then every President has made it worse. Hopefully the current one might reverse that trend, although it is too far gone already.

In the 1960s, people were still in touch with that long past wisdom and humanism of man. People in Britain were generally very courteous and civil, and despite a hard life, alleviated only by beer, cigarettes, and football, they seemed to remain cheerful, and displayed a sharp sense of humour, based on plays, puns, and double meanings of English words. Literature was prized. In a famous, or infamous, speech of War Criminal Lyndon Johnson, in the early 1960s,on gun control, he mentions that in the US there were over 40,000 homicides in the previous year, compared to 38 in England. A murder in England would be in the national papers, and the police didn’t carry guns. In fact, if anyone attacked or shot a policeman in a robbery, the other thieves would help the police catch the criminals.

Of course, there were many very bad aspects to British society, but in general it was a civil, courteous, fairly cheerful, one.

One reason for this was Capitalism. Not the Capitalism of the behemoth corporations like GE and the major banks. But Capitalism in the form of the shop, Individually-owned. England used to be known as a “Nation of Shopkeepers”. A person would open a store dealing in something he liked, or was interested in, or knew much about. The fruitier who loved fruit and seeing people eat, the bookseller with his regulars whose favorite subjects he’d memorized, the three-chair barbershop, the antique junk shop, the cigarette card and stamp shops,— all these enabled their owners to earn a living in an age when many were virtually forced down the coal mines, or to be a dull bank or insurance clerk, scribbling away all day, while the boss rode you. To shop-ownership you probably owe the Capitalist, libertarian strains in English history, the low murder rate in a country where drinking was de rigueur for the working man and everybody else, despite alcohol’s lowering of inhibitions. Blows they’d come to, but rarely murder. And if done on alcohol, murder was rarely premeditated. The Dr. Cribbin who poisoned his wives was a figure of horrible fascination for the public, frequently referred to for decades afterwards. I doubt if many American millenials would now know who Dr. Cribbin was.

And Capitalism in England, as in Holland, forced or encouraged people to get along with each other, so that toleration of other people’s views was necessary if you wanted their custom, and custom meant money now and money in the future. As I put it, imagine two Armenians who go into business together, and after a few years, one finds that the other is defrauding him through the business. He breaks the partnership, and takes on a Korean partner. Not only is the Korean scrupulously honest, but he’s pleasant to work with, having an excellent sense of humor. And both partners are making a good living through the business. Is the Armenian likely to hate Koreans, or does the partnership humanize what was an Ethnic identity into an Individual? Modern people have forgotten that up to 1960, Americans thought all Japanese and Chinese looked alike. But decades of frequently seeing Asian faces have now led people to see them as individually as they see Western faces. This is what made America unique; it was a place where people from many lands came to create a society where Capitalism and the law created the conditions for an orderly life (as compared to anywhere else on the earth), and its basic law was the most Classically Liberal and Libertarian in the long history of Mankind. Jefferson in 1776 was light-years ahead of most of the current leaders in the world in his Libertarian understanding of political science, Natural Rights, and the composition of a Minarchist, or minimal government, Republic, as well as being far ahead of almost all current American politicians. (President Kennedy, the last great President, once invited Pablo Casals to perform at the White House. After the performance he said, “There has never been this much culture in the West Wing since Jefferson dined alone.”) That Capitalism, combined with the radical Freedom of Conscience which some of the Christian Radicals like Roger Williams displayed, along with those other colonies that propounded a radical tolerance for different religious sects and religions, — that I think is what made America so unique in the history of Human civilizations, although there were those anti-libertarian colonies that persecuted sects mercilessly, like the terrible persecutions of the Quakers. You also see this radical Libertarianism in the later efforts of Christian radicals like William Lloyd Garrison who, in the 1830s, was speaking out against “the Peculiar Institution” of slavery, as it was so euphemistically referred to, the worst anti-libertarian Crime next to murder.

You can see this collaboration of many ethnic strains coming together in the making of Hollywood films. If you look at the names of the technicians and actors, you will find names typical of virtually every country excluding the Third World of Asia and Africa (except for cameraman James Wong Howe). Somehow all these people of different backgrounds came together to make the steady stream of excellent films that came out of Hollywood for 30 years after sound came in. And what caused all this energy to be expended was Capitalism, the desire of all these people to make a profit in order to live. As one person aptly put it, the films were written by Communists, they were directed by Social Democrats, and they starred Right-wing Republicans.

But now that Socialism has so long depleted the wealth of Americans, and the constant printing of money and piling of government debt has further weakened the currency, American society is reaching the limits where social groups start fighting for the limited resources. And that is the underlying cause of the increased social friction between the two competing large political camps in America, the Left and the Right. Like Camus, the libertarian is neither one nor the other.

The Libertarian economists Hayek and Mises both predicted this degeneration late in the socialist cycle, and now that 51% of Americans receive government benefits, and 49% don’t and pay into the system, we have crossed into a democratic-majority socialist entity that is no longer the old Jeffersonian Republic of pre-1964, when the US ended silver coinage.

I recall financial analyst Robert Prechter predicting this increase in conflict in 2009. He said that you didn’t want to be in office during that time because you would be blamed for the collapse, no matter what you did. But he recommended getting elected during the depths of the late depression because, when the economy naturally rebounded as markets always do when they’re not interfered with, you would reap the Political credit, even if you did nothing. (Re-elect Harrigan! He did nothing! (Cheers are heard from the crowd.)).

So the heated political rhetoric goes on, with very few having any idea of the libertarian political and economic Principles on which the Republic was founded.

The U.S. – A great Society that reached its peak 55 years ago, and began to die with the twin murders of President Kennedy and silver coinage.

— Paul Grad, Enviro-Vegan Libertarian

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My Positions on Oregon Measures 7-65, 14-62, 18-111, 20-290, 22-174, 22-176, For The November 6, 2018 General Election

As promised in my previous post, these are my views on the Oregon non-statewide Measures that are specific to certain Counties in the upcoming election. As usual, I take a strict libertarian approach to these measures which may differ markedly from the positions of the political party that goes by that name.

Measure 7-65 concerns the looting of Crook County property tax payers to support the Bowman Museum in Prineville. It is pretty obvious that local taxpayers have absolutely no responsibility to fund cultural or educational museums. If this museum is that important to the State and its historical heritage, and it probably is, then it should be funded at the State or Federal level, by the State either cutting its salaries and PERS pensions, or by taxing multinational corporations doing business in the State, who currently pay no income tax whatsoever.

Moreover, if the levy fails, the Museum will not close, but will cut hours and staff. It would still be open to the public.

Crook County Government. A fitting name.

On Principle, Crook County property owners and residents should vote NO on Measure 7-65.

Measure 14-62 is another attempt to loot the public in order that the government can swill at your trough. It concerns a heinous attempt to impose a cannabis tax on retail sales of marijuana items in Hood River County. The tax is an outrageous 3%. I believe there should never be a tax on any drug less addictive than caffeine on the Benowitz Scale of addictive substances, and cannabis is less addictive that caffeine on that scale. Therefore it should not be taxed. And, while I would oppose any tax on any drug in a libertarian, laissez-faire society, if the taxpayers are going to be forced at gunpoint to pay for other people’s medical costs, as they are under Medicaid and other schemes, then I would not oppose a tax on substances more addictive than caffeine.

Don’t let them financially exploit you while they pay out State PERS pensions of $913,000/yr. If the State can pay that, they can do without your 3% looted contribution. Give ’em the financial finger on November 6th, and vote NO on Measure 14-62.

Measure 18-111 is another boondoggle that will suck approximately $230,000/yr from the wealth of local property taxpayers for 5 years running to fund the Klamath County Museum System. Like Measure 7-65, such educational and historical museums should be funded at the Federal level or by voluntary private organizations. If the State thinks it is that important, let them cut State salaries by $0.05/$1000 and fund it that way.

Vote NO on Measure 18-111 if you live in Klamath County.

Measure 20-290 is a Lane County attempt to get around the first-past-the-post
method of deciding democratic elections in Oregon, by substituting a very complicated point system which is actually an attempt to insert proportional representation, a terrible system, into the US electoral system. It applies only to non-partisan county elections. Each candidate will receive points from the voter, which will then be added up, the two highest point-receivers are then placed in an “automatic runoff”, and the person with the most points wins the election. In other words, not only won’t candidates have to compete in a primary, so the public can get to know their positions long before the final election, but a candidate who ran second could beat a candidate who was the first choice of the public through democratic majority.

Such measures favor socialist and mixed economy candidates at the expense of Libertarian candidates, because libertarians can usually only vote for a libertarian candidate, but would not tolerate anyone who was a partial or complete socialist, as are almost all non-libertarian candidates. Socialists or social democrats can vote for several candidates depending on the extent of the candidate’s socialism. So Libertarians are at a clear disadvantage under this so-called STAR voting system.

Don’t tinker with our first-past-the-post, democratic majority, system of deciding elections. Vote NO on Measure 20-290 if you live in Lane County.

Measure 22-174 may be quite popular with some libertarians, but not with this one. What it does, in effect, is have the local Sheriff, in this case the Linn County Sheriff, decide which firearms laws are Constitutional and which are not, and to not spend money enforcing those laws which he decides are unconstitutional. Any Individual or organization that happens to follow the Supreme Court or State Supreme Court’s decisions, can be fined $2k for an individual or $4k for a corporation if the Linn County Sheriff happens to think those laws, which have been declared Constitutional by the Courts, are unconstitutional. Which obviously means, in effect, that the local Sheriff has replaced the Courts, and the Supreme Court, in deciding Constitutional Law, a risible attempt at overthrowing our judicial system. Given the lack of legal training as to the Constitutionality of gun laws that the typical Sheriff suffers from, it is obviously absurd to have them decide by themselves which laws are Constitutional, and which aren’t, and to be able to fine people thousands of dollars if their view of gun laws (and the Court’s view) differs from the Sheriff’s. This is a real invitation to vigilante law, and is obviously an unConstitutional Measure. The Sheriff’s function is to enforce the current laws on the books, not to create new law out of whole cloth.

Defend the Constitution, and the separation of powers between the executive, legislative, and judiciary branches of our government. Vote NO on Measure 22-174.

Finally, we have Measure 22-176 in Linn County, which changes the office of County Surveyor from an elected to an appointed position. Obviously, this is an aggrandizement of government power at the expense of the democratic choice of the People. County Government already has far too much power in that many county positions from dog catcher to patrolman are assigned by appointment rather than election. The office of Surveyor is too important a position to let it be filled by appointment. Let the voters decide at a general election who is the best to be surveyor.

Vote NO on Measure 22-176 in Linn County.

That concludes my positions on the non-Statewide Measures that will only be on the ballot in specific Counties. Readers interested in my positions on Oregon Statewide Measures 102 through 106 should consult my previous blog post.

— Paul Grad, enviro-vegan Libertarian.

My Positions on Oregon Measures 102, 103, 104, 105, 106, for the November 6, 2018 General Election

These are my views and positions on the Oregon Statewide Measures being decided in the general election of November 2018. I was the Libertarian Party of Oregon Gubernatorial Nominee for 2014, winning 21,903 votes. I have been a NAV (non-affiliated voter) for the past year approximately. I approach these issues from my own libertarian perspective, which can differ markedly from the positions of the political party that sports that name, and from an Austrian School of Economics approach to fiscal issues. Libertarian Philosophy’s clear basic core principles make deciding most political issues decidedly easy.

Oregon Measure 102 – This heinous and blatantly Fascist measure in the truest sense of the word, aims to get you, the taxpayer, to subsidize private capitalists so they can risk your money, and if they succeed, make a fortune for themselves. If they fail and go bankrupt, you the taxpayer are the proud possessors of some worthless bonds and more State-owned and owed debt.

The bonds in this case go towards the construction of “affordable housing”. Now what does that term mean in an age where the inflationist Obama and his Republican collaborators in the wicked TARP bailout, which caused massive printing of money by the FED central bank, and led to a tripling and quadrupling of the cost of living in America for the poor and middle class — what does that mean in terms of today’s rents? The reason for the outrageous rents now charged in cities in the US (a two-bedroom old apartment in Brooklyn NY goes for around $3500/mo.) is this TARP print-money bailout, which has also led to the super rich getting richer in the stock market.

So what we need instead of passing the burden of the TARP atrocity onto you, is a deflation in food, clothes, and shelter costs for the American consumer, which is something the Democrats and Republicans won’t permit, although they may not be able to control it as they think they can if it does occur.

One can argue that you might have a tax imposed to operate a Law Enforcement and Court system (I don’t, but I see it as an interim measure in a Minarchist State). But there can never be a justification for the public taxpayer to be burdened with debt that is aiding private capitalists. It is an assault on your capitalism by the State to aid their favored capitalists — not much different from the Mercantilist System used by the British Kings that helped lead to the American Revolution.

Or, in other words, vote No on Measure 102.

Measure 103 – This measure prohibits taxation of “groceries”. Pretty easy for Libertarians, who oppose taxation as violence and a violation of the Non-Aggression Principle, to decide on this measure. And a tax on food, one of the most basic necessities, to subsidize the huge financial waste of Oregon’s Government, is one of the most immoral and heinous Crimes of which one can think. This measure will serve as a prophylactic against such an outrage, a condom against Crime, and one where libertarians are probably in agreement with most Socialists.

Ergo, a resounding Yes vote on Measure 103.

State Measure 104 is a strong, libertarian measure, designed to thwart the depredations on individual’s capital by the State without the approval of 3/5th of the Legislature. This 3/5ths majority is currently required to pass any taxing measure, but does not apply to the raising of fees, and other revenue raising measures designed to loot the Individual in order to expand the power of Leviathan Government. This measure would extend that protection to any increase in fees, and other costs to the taxpayer that are not currently subject to 3/5ths legislative approval. Two years ago it cost $80-odd to register your car in Oregon; only two years later, under the Democrat Brown Administration, it costs $112. About a 30% increase in two years, while at the same time the Obama Administration, and the FED were telling us not only was there no inflation, but there wasn’t even enough inflation, and it had to be induced. Yet a Democrat rips off the little guy for about a 15% a year increase on a near necessity.

Don’t let the corporate Fascisti of the Democrat Party continue to rip you off without a supermajority to protect your Inalienable Property Rights. Vote to increase the checks and balances which are the only rein in for a democratic government that violates the Rights protected in Jefferson’s beautiful Bill of Rights — a Bill of Rights for the whole Human Race!

I urge a Yes vote on Measure 104.

Measure 105 is a tough one to call, and I find myself on both sides of the fence on this one, with one brain hemisphere arguing with the other, and both spheres unconvincing in their arguments.

This Measure concerns whether State Law Enforcement Personnel should enforce Federal Immigration Law if they come across a violation that pertains solely to immigration. In other words, should the County or City Policeman inform Federal Authorities if he comes across an immigration- or likely immigration-law violation during the course of his local duties? This is sometimes called the “sanctuary city” problem, and it is similar to the question raised during my campaign about whether to grant driver’s licenses to illegal aliens. I changed my position on that issue from feeling that “The Laws must always be obeyed”, so that a State Police officer would report an illegal resident to the Feds, to one where I felt it was solely the duty of the Federal Government to enforce these laws, since they are supposed to handle immigration, whereas if State Employees were taking their time away from their normal duties to help enforce Federal Law, that would be a theft of Oregon Taxpayer’s monies which were intended solely to enforce Oregon Law, and my Oregon Constitutional duty was to enforce Article 1 Section 1 which includes the “safety” of Oregon Residents, which in turn meant I had a sworn duty to test drivers and issue them with licenses to protect safety on the roads.

This measure only deals with immigration law violations. If a County cop discovers an illegal alien bankrobber wanted on Federal charges, he can still inform the Feds.

So my Law and Order desire clashes here with fiscal responsibility to the Oregon Taxpayers.

In other words, I don’t know on Measure 105 which is the correct position, so I will leave it up to the Individual voter to decide which side is right. It is a matter between the voter’s Conscience and the Ballot Box.

Finally, there is Measure 106, which bans Oregon Taxpayer monies being used for abortion, including rape and incest except according to Federal Law. This is another one that I will leave up to the Consciences of the voters, although a clear libertarian position would be that it would oppose any tax or use of public monies for any costs that could be funded by private voluntary organizations. A contrary Minarchist-libertarian argument might be that the implantation of a foetus through rape was an invasion of the woman’s property rights in her person that was no different from the same invasion of her body if she had been shot in a bankrobbery, and the State had rushed her to a hospital and removed the bullet at State taxpayer cost. However, Federal Law apparently does cover the cost of abortion in cases of rape and incest, so the concern that one is denying a destitute rape victim an abortion if this Measure does not pass is probably not a valid concern.

Also there is the moral argument that people who are strongly and morally opposed to abortion should not be forced to pay taxes for something they regard as murder. I agree with that position, just as I, as a vegan, object to my tax money being used to buy meat and pay for the murder and inspection by the State of millions of animals a day, which people on food stamps can then get for free. It is a very comparable situation to the abortion issue.

Therefore, I again leave it up to the voter’s Conscience what he will do when he marks his ballot, now that the mail box has become the new ballot box.

I shall presently present my positions on the six State non-statewide Measures specific to certain counties. The principles involved in some of these measures are singularly interesting.

— Paul Grad, 2014 Libertarian Party of Oregon Gubernatorial Nominee