Category Archives: Freedom

Is it Bad Behavior or ADHD?

Read this fabulous article on ADHD by Frances Childs. Should children be raised in a boundary free permissive environment? No, they shouldn’t. Children should be brought up in an environment which fosters human freedom.

They should be free to explore their world and make their own decisions, but we shouldn’t over-protect them from the consequences of their actions.

Freedom isn’t being able to do whatever you want, whenever you want, to whomever you want, with someone else’s money, on someone else’s property, without consequences. That isn’t freedom, that’s insanity. It’s denial of reality. It is the delusion of the tyrant and dictator and it’s the way many parents let their children behave.

Expect more from your children.

True freedom comes from taking full responsibility for yourself, your decisions, and your environment. Once you understand that you’ll understand the power of your own freedom.

The day the finger pointing stops is the day we’ve all grown up.

A truly free man will make the right decision without a gun pointed to his head, because he is intelligent enough to understand his responsibility for his own decisions.

If others are trying to help me learn, and I tell them to go F-off, while I am free to do that, they also are free to walk away and never help me again. They are also free to ask me to leave if I do it on their property.

You cannot be free until you acknowledge every other human being’s inherent freedom.

Putting a fridge in my son’s room, filling it with donuts and Mountain Dew, and then drugging him with Adderal teaches him nothing about freedom. Being truly free is understanding you must earn the capital to buy the room, the fridge and its contents through voluntary transactions with other people. And even then, you still must accept the consequences (obesity and diabetes) of your poor diet and your drug use. There is no escaping the consequences of your actions.

Real boundaries are defined by your actions and other people’s reactions.

I am free to choose not to bring soda pop and candy into my house, and my son is free to swear at me because he wants candy and pop, but if I am an intelligent parent, I will react to his actions in a way that will not satisfy his desires, because, to be truly free, he must learn that he is not the only free person on earth. We are all free to choose and decide, and if you swear at me I will make a decision you will not like.

Hyper kids need to be taught that their actions cause reactions. We should not shield them from unpleasant reactions. We are all connected in this world. There is no denying it.

Free people treat each other with dignity and respect because that is how they want to be treated.

What does this have to with ADHD? Labeling poor behavior ADHD, relieving the child of consequences for his actions, teaches tyranny not freedom. It creates high chair tyrants who demand everything and contribute nothing.

I’m pretty sure I’m ADHD. Many of my friends are ADHD. And I can clearly see that the only control I have is self-control. Amphetamines (that’s what Adderal and Ritalin are) are not an option. I’ve seen people close to me go down that path (both legal and illegal) and it destroys the soul. I’d rather be quirky and disorganized than a shell of what I was.

Don’t drug your children, set a good example for them and hold them accountable for their decisions.

Don’t use drugs to get your kids grades up. So what if he forgets his homework. Grades just aren’t that important in the grand scheme.

(I’m not saying there aren’t hard cases. Maybe your child is one of them. I’m not talking about you. But IMHO ADHD is clearly over diagnosed. In the UK, It’s gone from 2,000 in 1991 to 400,000 today. Clearly many schools and parents are using ADHD to absolve them from confronting and correcting damaging behavior.)

Overcoming Fear – The Courage to be Creative

Jeff Jarvis writes, “we are shifting, too, from a culture of scarcity to one of abundance.” While we live in a world of potential abundance, there are obstacles to realizing this abundance. It requires that we accept change and become willing to relinquish control of others. To realize your creative abundance, you must have the courage to confront your own fears and the fears of others. Jeff Jarvis writes…

So let’s assume that instead of a scarcity there is an abundance of talent and a limitless will to create but it has been tamped down by an educational system that insists on sameness; starved by a mass economic system that rewarded only a few giants; and discouraged by a critical system that anointed a closed, small creative class. Now talent of many descriptions and levels can express itself and grow. We want to create and we want to be generous with our creations. And we will get the attention we deserve. That means that crap will be ignored. It just depends on your definition of crap.

The gates of the creative kingdom have been guarded for far too long by a group of elitists who practice a form intellectual apartheid (albeit unknowingly). In the past, they, the guardians of taste and culture have prevented the great mass of humanity from participating in true meritocracy. In fact, the system was designed to convince us that we don’t deserve to participate. William Deresiewicz writes in The Disadvantages of an Elite Education

My education taught me to believe that people who didn’t go to an Ivy League or equivalent school weren’t worth talking to, regardless of their class. I was given the unmistakable message that such people were beneath me. We were “the best and the brightest,” as these places love to say, and everyone else was, well, something else: less good, less bright. I learned to give that little nod of understanding, that slightly sympathetic “Oh,” when people told me they went to a less prestigious college. (If I’d gone to Harvard, I would have learned to say “in Boston” when I was asked where I went to school—the Cambridge version of noblesse oblige.) I never learned that there are smart people who don’t go to elite colleges, often precisely for reasons of class. I never learned that there are smart people who don’t go to college at all.

I also never learned that there are smart people who aren’t “smart.” The existence of multiple forms of intelligence has become a commonplace, but however much elite universities like to sprinkle their incoming classes with a few actors or violinists, they select for and develop one form of intelligence: the analytic. While this is broadly true of all universities, elite schools, precisely because their students (and faculty, and administrators) possess this one form of intelligence to such a high degree, are more apt to ignore the value of others. One naturally prizes what one most possesses and what most makes for one’s advantages. But social intelligence and emotional intelligence and creative ability, to name just three other forms, are not distributed preferentially among the educational elite. The “best” are the brightest only in one narrow sense. One needs to wander away from the educational elite to begin to discover this.

Now, due to ubiquitous technology and cheap access to the internet, no one can prevent you from floating balloons and discovering what rises. But there is another angle to this, the media consumer.

I hear average Joes (non-social media addicts) say they don’t understand blogging and all the fuss about online media. I hear, “every blog I’ve read sucks. How do you find blogs worth reading? How do you know if it’s accurate? How can you trust some blog?”

I reply, “Discriminate for yourself and find your information via news aggregation. Decide for yourself what is plausible, what is good.” In a diplomatic way, I’m saying, “Think for yourself.”

Invariably I am told, “Who has time for that!” Which I find a bit depressing, because they’re saying they don’t want to exert the effort to think critically about what the media says. It is an industrial age hangover.

A large percentage of media consumers were conditioned during the industrial age to have decisions made for them. They don’t want the freedom to decide for themselves what is worth believing, because then – they must take responsibility for what they believe. Now, they assume if something is written in a major newspaper that it must be accurate and trustworthy, and it makes them feel safe. They want editors to protect them. They want schedules, filters, and predictability, but they don’t want to be accountable.

This is the problem Web 2.0 entrepreneurs must solve. Digg tries to filter out the garbage and let the cream rise, but they fail by consistently suppressing great content via bury abuse. People bury ideas they disagree with, not just spam. Controversial political opinion is becoming harder to find on Digg. Reddit’s algorithm allows it to be overrun with redundant content. No one system has the answer, but the aggregators are improving, and we are getting more choices.

While Jarvis writes of the demise of the creative class, Dereck (I Will Not Die) asks if we are in the midst of a new class war.

Not rich vs. poor. I don’t mean the hordes of normal working people rising up hoping to slaughter all the landowners. What I have in mind is a new kind of class, a class that has crept up slowly, growing almost without being noticed until it’s big enough to be a major player in society. I mean a class of tech-savvy, scientifically-minded, free-thinking über-”geeks”. I’m guessing we now number in the millions, easily. Probably in the tens of millions though.

As I talk with people about new media and the changing economy, I run into people who ‘get it’ and people who don’t. Right now it appears to be nearly black and white. Of course there are those who think they ‘get it’ and don’t, and those who ‘get it’ and are trying to thwart it, like the Philadelphia Inquirer. The new class warfare Dereck describes is being fought between those attempting to preserve the past and those welcoming the future. This new class war, defies the political and social constructs of the industrial age. It is neither conservative nor liberal, rich nor poor, white nor black. It is about freedom, intellectual and creative freedom.

The old media won’t hold up economically or ethically. It will fall like all central control falls when it is confronted with mass technological and social innovation. It will fail because it doesn’t serve people, it serves itself. Preserving the past never works, because (as an old school genius wrote), Time Marches On and it doesn’t care about you or your fears.

Giving Children Freedom and Self-Control

To become responsible adults, the most important thing children need to understand is that they own the power of their decisions. Parents don’t own the child’s decision making power. This doesn’t mean that parents don’t make decisions for their children, they do, but only because the child allows them to. Fortunately until a certain age most kids don’t realize this, or parenting would be hell. A parent has the same power of decision. He owns his decisions and the child cannot make them for him. Both parties should clearly understand this situation by adolescence. Confused? Read on.

This is an insightful comment left by Chris on a recent post about being remarkable:

Steve, the problem with all this is that the time it takes to develop one’s gifts is usually wasted in the modern jail for youth known as school. One’s entire childhood and adolescence is wasted in what Thomas Armstrong correctly calls “the worksheet wasteland.” You’re not given any choice in the matter, you’re just forced to waste all day, every day on pointless, tedious, banal busy work. It’s impossible to develop your God-given talents in this tedious, mind-rotting, soul-destroying context.

I had dreams, lots of them. But they were unachievable, because I spent almost my entire twenties playing catch-up. I had to learn all the things I didn’t learn before. I’m perfectly aware of the need to take risks, but talents are not something you’re just born with. They have to be honed & developed. Yet they CANT be developed unless you had the good fortune to be home-schooled, or realized early enough how pointless school is and opted out. If you don’t realize that soon enough, by the time you’re in your twenties it’s almost too late.

I did not make a series of “safe” decisions, because I did not make any “decisions” at all until the time I needed to hone my talents had passed me by. Everything in my life was mapped out for me. Life just isn’t the way you describe it in this post. Most parents are fearful & timid and project their fears onto their children. They don’t have confidence & will make their lack of confidence in their child clear. The only thing that makes them confident about their child’s abilities is As on a report card: but if a child is compliant and gets lots of A’s, chances are they’ve already sacrificed their own interests and hobbies and talents to comply with other people’s wishes. The very time needed to find out what you’re good at, and “hone them to razor sharpness,” is completely monopolized in youth. I never had the opportunity to find out what I was truly good at, and neither did most people I know. If I’d been home-schooled, or if I’d dropped out of school, it would’ve been different.

People are not miracle workers. They cannot just magically discover what they’re good at unless they have some time to themselves. But to take that time is usually a trade-off resulting in poor marks in school, the very thing that throws most parents into a panic (at least, my parents were that way: extremely over-controlling and over-protective – only it didn’t seem that way to them because their friends are the same way). Most people are never given that time. Most kids today are even more over-controlled, having every waking hour restricted and constricted, than they were in my day. Their parents, teachers, and all the adults in their lives are control freaks. Remarkable people may have been ordinary in most ways, but in one way at least – the chance for self-discovery granted to them – they were extraordinary.

Which closely relates to what Hasref wrote in a comment to this post about being a control freak:

I believe that many people make the assumption that if children are left to their own devices that they will become “blobs of glowing Jello” because of the fact that childhood obesity is on the rise. Though I wouldn’t classify it as an epidemic, my belief is that today’s children have far more distractions that keep them sedentary (e.g. round the clock television programming that fits just about any interest, video games, etc…) than that of the generation of children before them. Couple that with the overwhelming fear propagated in the hearts and minds of the parents that someone evil will snatch up your kids while you aren’t watching keeps children from simply going outside and being kids.

Given that, I believe a measure of control must be exerted to simply break through the distractions the children face and the fear of those that care for them. I don’t believe that we, as parents, should simply just let our kids do what they want. But I also don’t believe in the authoritative, “do what I tell you because only I know what is best for you” either. The key here is balance. I control my kids to show them what I believe to be best for them; however I also try my best to listen to them to help me decide what is best for them.

An example of what I mean comes by way of education. Left to his own devices, my son wouldn’t lift a finger to do his homework. Sadly, he could really care less. I control him by checking his homework and ensuring that A) he does it and B) he does it correctly. He complains often and thinks that I shouldn’t have to check his homework. But the past has shown that if I don’t check, he doesn’t do it. I exert my control for what I believe to be best for him and his future.

Another example is that my son wanted to sign up for baseball this year. I obliged him, but told him that if I signed him up he had to finish out the season. Things were rocky at first and he was pretty adamant that he wanted to quit. I kept reminding him that he had to finish and pushed him out there to be a part of his team. At the end of the season, he had such a great time that there isn’t a question that he will be signing up next year as well. So I exerted my control to make him finish what he started. In this case, it turned out well. But even if it hadn’t, the bigger lesson was to finish what he started.

I certainly wouldn’t classify myself as a control freak, but I do, very much, control my children in order to help them become whatever it is that they wish. Education is opportunity.

As you can see these comments contrast quite sharply. In some ways I agree with both comments. How is that possible? Let me explain.

First, I’d like to ask Hasref what he would do if his kid got up from his homework, said fuck you, walked out the door, lit up a Marlboro, and got in a car with his friends and waved good bye with his middle finger? Fortunately for you and your son he hasn’t realized that this is an option. That is exactly what I did. There is very little a parent can do about it without resorting to violence. I’m not advocating this, I’m just pointing out that your control is an illusion.

Second, I agree with nearly all of what Chris wrote, my school experience was soul crushing, and it took most of my twenties to catch up. I recommend home-schools or small entrepreneurial Sudbury or Montessori schools and avoiding all large government institutions.

The vast majority adults in America went through the same crappy institutions Chris and I attended, and yes they wasted years of our lives, and in some cases suffered irreversible damage, but the fact we wasted 15-20 years of our prime on a lie isn’t an excuse to quit living. Letting go of resentment is the key to positive change. You are never too old to live your dreams. I met a couple who started their dream business in their sixties and it is still growing in their eighties. Never, ever, give up.

I write about the evils of forced schooling not to whine and complain about it, but to warn young people and new parents about what they are about to subject themselves to. I pray for the day we will stop jailing our children in govern
me
nt institutions.

But regardless of my ideas about forced schooling and the worksheet wasteland, in my experience children need boundaries and guidance. I cannot control the greater culture, so while I don’t personally value traditional education, I understand my values will not override the beliefs and values of the dominant culture, and my children must live in this dominant culture. The consequence of forgoing traditional education is the loss of credibility in the greater society. Sure people like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates found credibility outside academia, but if you ask more than a few academics to judge them, you would find many academics describe them as cretins. Under current law, neither of them would be allowed to teach business in a public school because they aren’t “qualified”, which is a perfect example of how asinine it is to license teachers. The simple fact is, there are very serious consequences for not completing traditional school. It does not matter what you and I believe, there are people who will stop you from doing certain things without specific credentials. If you don’t abide by their rules, they will lock you in a cage (try practicing law or medicine without a license).

My oldest son says he wants to be a scientist, and he has interest and aptitude for the discipline. Now, in base reality, you don’t need a traditional education to be a great scientist, but in our modern caste system you do, if you want to be taken seriously. Education has become religious dogma. You must have the blessings of the priests to earn your credentials. I can’t tell you how damaging I believe this is, but it is unlikely to change soon, so I’d be remiss in my parenting if I didn’t teach my son about the system. And until he is old enough to understand it for himself, I am going to make damn sure I keep him on the path of his dreams and talents, and that means I am going to teach him there is value in schoolwork, if he wants to be a scientist. On the other hand, if his dreams and talents appeared to be trending toward motocross racing, I wouldn’t worry too much about his grades. Even if he doesn’t make it as a motocross racer, his interests won’t require education credentials to blossom. I always tell them that good things happen to people who put in the greatest effort. Nothing much happens to people who wait around for someone to give it to them.

With the exception of violence and imprisonment all external control is an illusion. Outside of violence, the only thing you can do to control another person is to offer incentives or disincentives for making certain decisions. But that isn’t really control, is it? The person still makes the decision for themselves. So the only real control is self-control, and that is what I believe parenting is about, instilling self-control and helping them understand that they own their decisions. There is no one to blame. I will teach them that you control your destiny through your decisions. If you are afraid a friend will call you a pussy unless you steal, the decision to steal is still yours. If your teacher says you will fail unless you turn in your assignments, the decision to turn in the assignment is yours. If, like Hasref wrote, your dad tells you must finish your baseball season, no matter what your dad thinks, the decision is still yours. You can always say no. I suppose your dad could use physical force and drag you out on the field but he couldn’t force you to engage in the game, and you must understand, if you make that choice, he’ll probably cancel the cable TV and throw the Playstation out, and he may even put you in treatment for oppositional defiant disorder. You’ve got to understand the consequences of your decisions.

Many people believe freedom is action without reaction, or decision without consequences. That isn’t freedom, that’s la la land.

Now there is the other side of this that always seems to get missed, the authority figure’s freedom. The authority figure could be a teacher, parent, government agent, or whatever. I will use parenting as an example. When our children demand something of us, it is our right to refuse to do it. Refusing to do something your child wants teaches them about freedom, because doing everything they want doesn’t make them free, it turns them into tyrants. It teaches them the exact opposite of freedom. My children are not allowed to control me or my wife. They try, and it is our job to resist their control when necessary. I am not required to give them video games, candy, and soda pop simply because they might feel sad or angry if they don’t get it. It is my choice to take that action, I have every right to refuse it, and they need to learn that. No one is entitled to someone else’s labor, it must be given voluntarily. Like adults, kids offer incentives and disincentives for compliance. In the short run it is easier and feels better to just give them what they want, but in the long run it can ruin them.

I will teach my children about freedom. But I can’t give them freedom, because real freedom isn’t bestowed from the outside, real freedom isn’t controlling other people, it isn’t action without consequence, real freedom is internal, it is inside you, the core of true freedom is the only legitimate form of control, self-control.

If You Love Liberty and Freedom, You'll Love This

I have some exciting news. I’ve launched a provocative and controversial new blog.

If you have enjoyed some of my more political posts, my new site is for you. The new site is for those of you who love to question the government, who love personal liberty, and love to discuss political topics and political philosophy. I appreciate all intelligent debate from all perspectives.

My new blog – The Free Savage – is about political and social freedom.

The Free Savage is written in the spirit of John the Savage from from Adolus Huxley’s novel Brave New World. (For more information read the snippet at the bottom of this post about John the Savage from huxley.net.)

Then read, This isn’t personal. This is about ideas or the About Page. To get an idea what kind of material I will be posting, read Baseball Bats and the Nanny State which has already had several thousand visitors. I’d love to have you join the conversation.

In the future I will publish my political posts at The Free Savage, so if you hate political discussion, steve-olson.com will be less political than before. However, I will promote The Free Savage here at steve-olson.com from time to time.

At The Free Savage, I will link to the best liberty oriented content on the web, so if you have something worthy let me know via the contact page.

I welcome any help promoting or launching this new website, any reviews, stumbles, or other promotions. And as always, I appreciate any and all links.

Please subscribe to The Free Savage feed.

Thank you for all your support.

******

JOHN THE SAVAGE
The illicit son of the Director and Linda. He was born and reared on the Savage Reservation (”Malpais”) after Linda was unwittingly left behind by her errant lover. John the Savage is an outsider both on the Reservation – where the ignorant natives still practise marriage, natural birth, family life and religion – and the ostensibly civilised Brave New World: a totalitarian welfare-state based on principles of stability and happiness, albeit happiness of a shallow and insipid nature. The Savage has read nothing but The Complete Works of William Shakespeare. He quotes them extensively and, for the most part, aptly, though his allusion to “Brave New World” [Miranda’s words in The Tempest] takes on a darker and bitterly ironic resonance as the novel unfolds. John the Savage is intensely moral. He is also somewhat naïve. In defiance of BNW’s social norms, he falls romantically in love with Lenina, but spurns her premature sexual advances. After his mother Linda’s death, the Savage becomes ever more disillusioned with utopian society. Its technological wonders and soulless consumerism are no substitute for individual freedom, human dignity and personal integrity. He debates passionately and eruditely with World Controller Mustapha Mond on the competing merits of primitivism versus the World State. After his spontaneous bid to stir revolt among the lower castes has failed, the Savage retreats to an old abandoned lighthouse, whips himself in remorse for his sins, and gloomily cultivates his garden. But he is hounded by reporters and hordes of intrusive brave new worlders. Guilt-ridden, the Savage finally hangs himself after – we are given to infer – he has taken the soma he so despises and succumbed to an orgiastic debauch.

Give Me A Dose of What is Real

A guest post by David Windmiller

Role play. Pretend you are Neo. Would you take the red pill, or the blue? Personally, I’m taking whichever one will lead me to fulfillment; a happiness of knowing what is… “real”. The one which leads me to all the sensible, responsible, proper, and aristocratic pleasures in life, such as, for example my favorite, stoning adulterers.

We say we want the truth, but is it what we really want? Well, Sometimes… but why then do we delude ourselves?

My friend Julia is a sensitive, caring, curious young woman. Julia confided in me the other day upon hearing that the love of her life, the one she would have given her hand to, was lying to her. He was lying to her and cheating on her. Julia told me what she knew and had heard. I, being my own direct, bold, but also suave self, confirmed her deepest fears, pitched my two cents that she should dump him in the gutter. Despite the insurmountable amount of flack she had on this man’s guilt, it took a considerable amount of psychological sledge hammering by me to help her get out of her cycle of depression and rationalization from her (now) ex lover’s behavior. She knew she was being played for months, even years but still refused to face the facts.

Why do many of us allow ourselves to fall so immensely into our illusions? How are you living — in which ways are you deluding and depriving yourself and ultimately your happiness?

Discovering truthfully what reality is for me and fighting for what I want it to be is continuing to be the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. But, I wouldn’t change a thing… I would rather die fighting on my feet than live on my knees. Give me the dose of what is… “real.”

David Windmiller is a student at Purdue University, majoring in Chemistry, Psychology, minoring in Biology, Philosophy and preparing to enter medical school in 2009. David enjoys critical thinking, meditating, and writing about why we as people push our lives in certain directions and how our life quality can be enriched.

You can read David’s blog at http://www.davidwindmiller.com/.

Your Ticket to Peace and Prosperity

I recently read these words:

Either you can think of life as a series of rights and entitlements or you can think about life as a series of responsibilities.

Most people are quick to criticize and complain about the CEO, but few want his responsibility, because they fear it. The most powerful people in the world own the most responsibility. A mentor once told me that you won’t grow until you step out of your comfort zone and willingly accept more responsibility. That’s why most people aren’t promoted, they are afraid of responsibility and it shows. He said the more responsibility you accept, the more confidence you’ll feel. Confidence does not come from entitlement. Entitlement creates dependency. Confidence comes from inside yourself, by accepting the power you already have. Responsibility is owning your own power.

Take responsibility for your thoughts. To own yourself is to own your thoughts. Your habitual mental mindset is what makes you act and feel as you do. Thought is the root of self-control. Without self-control you’re dust in the wind. Once you make a conscious, deliberate, sustained, effort to control and direct your thoughts, you’ll be amazed how quickly your life will change.

Your first responsibility is to take care of yourself. Some of us miss that one, and try to go directly to taking responsibility for others. It’s a way of ignoring the messes we are making by focusing on someone else’s shortcomings. Always start with yourself, because the only thing that you can control is yourself. All other control is delusional.

What responsibilities are you neglecting?

Do you need to take responsibility…

These aren’t things you have to do, they are wonderful things you get to do. Accepting your responsibilities to yourself is the center of self-empowerment. These are the things you want in life. At the core of who you really are, you desire more responsibility, but our schooling teaches us to fear responsibility and run from it. Responsibility itself isn’t difficult. Pushing your ego and your fear aside is. But do it… Responsibility leads to joy. Don’t resist it, accept it.

Why?

In responsibility lies your ticket to peace and prosperity

Because responsibility is the foundation of true freedom.

The Republican Party – Selling Fear and Failure

 

The Republican Party is crumbling. They lost congress in 2006 and will lose more ground in 2008 because they offer nothing new, nothing original, and nothing positive. We have seen the party of entrepreneurship, small government, and personal freedom become the party of fear, war, and police power. After the party leaders mocked, sneered, and cackled at those of us who believe in a limited constitutional republic, they now ask us to hold our nose and support John McCain.

A Message to Republican Leaders

(FYI – I was involved in the Republican Party for almost 20 years):

John McCain recently said the U.S. Government should step up the drug war. This is indicative of why the Republican Party is crumbling, they don’t think things through and smart people are catching on.
I don’t care if you are on the right or the left, rich or poor, Christian or Atheist, black or white, if you value your personal freedom, it is time to stand together and question these people.

Anatomy of Failure

I have readers asking me why I won’t tow the Republican party line, and support John McCain. I’ll tell you why. I don’t agree with John McCain on much of anything. One of those disagreements is the about the drug war.

We’ve had almost 40 years of failed drug policy. In the past, when it was clear our efforts were failing, the politician’s solution was to escalate the war, increase police powers, and further restrict individual liberty. We’ve seen this pattern repeated for decades… escalate the war, the problems grows, react with more escalation, the problem continues to grow, react again, more escalation…

And now the Republican front-runner tells us, once again, that we need more of what hasn’t worked. Isn’t that insanity defined?

The modern war on drugs officially started in the late 60s. The results are in: Abject failure.

Freedom The First Casulaty of War

Whenever an elected official uses the word war, pay attention, because freedom is the first casualty of war. During the US Civil War, Lincoln suspended Habeas Corpus for the ‘common good.’ After the war ended, it was restored. During the First and Second World Wars, the government suspended almost every personal and economic liberty. After the wars ended, most of our rights were restored.
Those wars had clear beginnings and ends, but today we have wars which never end. How do we win the war on drugs? How do we win the war on terror?

Meanwhile our leaders tell us we must accept every new encroachment on our personal freedom, because it serves a greater public good. Where will this end? How much freedom are we willing to sacrifice for safety? Why isn’t anyone in power asking these questions?

How Many People Will We Imprision?

Right now we have over 2 million people incarcerated in the US, more than any other nation in the world including Russia and China. How many people are we willing to incarcerate to win the war on drugs? 4 million? 10 million? 20 million? We are fast approaching a point when we will imprison more people than Stalin or Pol Pot.

And how much money are we willing to spend? 100 billion? a trillion? 10 trillion? Are we willing to go bankrupt because we are too stubborn to accept that there might be a better solution?

An Anecdote

In Stillwater Minnesota, in the late 1980s, the US Federal Government seized a family home because a fifteen year old boy sold a hit of acid to a friend in his basement bedroom. This was a kid, not a kingpin. His parents worked their entire lives to pay for that home, and while suffering the anguish of their teenage son’s drug abuse, the government showed its compassion by stealing their home. Back in the day, it was big news, because this gross abuse of power was new. Most people knew it was insane, but they did nothing, and today property seizures have become so common the news doesn’t even report them.

The drug war and the war on terror are stripping us of our civil liberties, and when we protest, politicians like McCain sneer and call us dangerous and crazy. You know what’s dangerous and crazy? Quietly accepting a government which steals from it citizens.

Creative Problem Solving 101

There are five high level steps for planning and executing anything:

  1. Define your purpose and your moral limitations
  2. Visualize and communicate the outcome
  3. Brainstorm
  4. Organize
  5. Act
  6. If you don’t get the deisred results, return to #3 and repeat until you do.

With the war on drugs, the US government skipped step #2, #3, and #4 and went straight to #5.

Like this:
1. Drugs appear to be hurting some people. We have a moral responsibility to do something.
5. Police action

And when these actions didn’t create the desired result, did they regroup and brainstorm? No, they pushed for more of the same. If you listen to John McCain you’d think we are failing because we haven’t imprisoned or killed enough people.

Lack of Vision

What is McCain’s vision for the war on drugs? Does anyone know what desired outcome would look like? Is it a world without drugs? Is that realistic? If so, is it a world without every drug or just some drugs? Who will decide which drugs to eliminate from our lives, us as individuals or a committee in Washington? Maybe his desired outcome is a world without drug users? Or a world where every drug user is locked in a cage? Mao would be proud.

My vision is a day when drug and alcohol use is treated as a potential health issue and not a moral failing.

On a closely related note… Some of my Republican readers can’t understand why I’ve said that Barack Obama may be preferable to McCain.

I’ll tell you why…

No New Ideas

The Republican leadership hasn’t adopted a new idea in almost 30 years, and John McCain is the problem personified. He himself said he doesn’t know much about economics and economic policy is the only reason I’d vote for a Republican. I lean libertarian, and McCain fails every test of personal liberty. I can’t think of a single reason to vote for him.

Why Obama seems preferable right now:

  • He is open to libertarian ideas
  • He is open to decriminalizing marijuana
  • He believes the 2nd amendment guarantees the individual the right to own firearms
  • He is open to ending the war in Iraq
  • His election would do wonders for race relations
  • He admits his failures
  • He has vision
  • He seems to understand the problems in our working classes
  • He’s likable

Why John McCain scares the hell out of me:

  • He said we will stay in Iraq a 100 years if necessary
  • He is planning more wars
  • He wants to step up police powers
  • His economic positions seem to favor large corporations, not free markets
  • He has a bad temper
  • He doesn’t offer anything new

This Isn’t an Endorsement of Obama.

I’m simply warning the mainstream Republicans that they are losing the libertarian wing of the party and it may lead to an Obama victory in November. I have not ruled out voting for Obama. I have ruled out voting for McCain and so has almost every other libertarian leaning voter I’ve met.

The Republican Convention

I am
a delegate to the local Republican convention, and I will support Ron Paul, but don’t kid yourself, he isn’t going to win the nomination. Mark my words… when the national convention comes to Saint Paul, the Republican elites won’t even let Ron Paul speak and I predict that Ron Paul signs won’t be allowed inside the event. Ron Paul supporters will be fenced in outdoors blocks away with all the other protesters in the ‘free speech cage.’

I can’t believe I’m saying this, I abhor socialism, but right now, Obama seems to be our best hope for a positive outcome in the ’08 presidential race. Let’s hope it leads to open minds and better ideas in 2012.

Thanks for reading,

Every time I try to wash my hands of politics, it just gets more interesting.

Don’t forget to subscribe to this feed. I’ve got some fun surprises in store.

The Solution to All Your Problems

Do you really want to solve them? Are you in debt? Out of work? Hate school? Having problems in your relationships? Legal issues? Are you out of shape? Unhealthy? Do you worry too much? Are you afraid? Do you lack energy? Are you tired all the time? Is your business failing? Maybe your candidate didn’t win the nomination.

We all have problems and there is an answer to most of them.

I am a student of the Master Key System by Charles F. Haanel , the last book Bill Gates read before he dropped out of Harvard, and as I was skimming the forward the other day, this jumped out at me…

The student who learns that all power comes from within, that he is weak only because he has depended on help from the outside, and who unhesitatingly throws himself on his own thought, instantly rights himself, stands erect, assumes a dominant attitude, and works miracles.

This is another way of saying, “Wake up! Take responsibility for your life, your thoughts, your feelings, and your actions. Quit blaming. Quit letting other people do your thinking for you. Quit waiting for someone else to fix you. The only thing you control is you!”

The other day, I caught myself thinking, if only the kids were a little older then I could do X. I’ve been making these excuses my entire life! If it wasn’t the kids, it would be something else. It has nothing to do with the kids and everything to do with me.

We give other people too much power over our lives. Too often we use other people as the reason we can’t take care of ourselves. Other times we wait for them to fill our needs and expect them to solve our problems, while most of them aren’t even aware of our dependence because we don’t have the courage tell them, so instead of taking charge of our lives, we procrastinate and complain.

Don’t misunderstand, I don’t mean that you don’t need relationships or other people in your life, you do. What I mean is that you shouldn’t depend on them to feel your personal power. You are powerful no matter what others choose to do, be, or think.

We also rely on material things like clothes, cars, titles, or (put anything but yourself here) to feel powerful. Some of us bury ourselves in debt to obtain these symbols of power, but material things don’t grant you power, they are merely reflections of the creative power you’ve already harnessed. They are an effect not a cause. If we need things to feel powerful we will always feel weak and needy.

All your power comes from within you, it isn’t granted to you by someone else, it is you. You are pure power. You just need to accept it, expand it, and wield it with compassion and love. Personal power is a decision, not a welfare check. It doesn’t show up on the 1st and 15th from George Bush. It is available to you whenever you choose to realize it is already there.

If you are still scratching your head…

Ask yourself… Where did everything ever created by a human being come from? Every invention, every mystery solved, every building, every fashion design, every book, every language, every work of art, every song, every luxury, and every so-called necessity? Every human creation began as a thought.

If you searched deep enough inside yourself you may even find the solution to death and taxes.

You are powerful beyond your wildest dreams. Live.

Do American Suburbs Breed Fear?

Christine observed a fascinating difference between suburban and urban parenting. Several times a week, she has the opportunity to observe the beginning of the day at two different Minnesota public schools, one in a suburban setting and the other in an urban setting.

This is what she observed:

Burnsville (Suburb):
A long line of SUVs and buses dropping kids at school. Not a single child walking to school even though the school is surrounded by residential housing. Crossing guards on the corners standing around with nothing to do.

St. Paul (Urban):
Hundreds (literally) of children walking and biking to school without adult supervision.

My first reaction was, “Yeah, but you are comparing different socioeconomic groups. The parents in the urban area don’t have the resources the parents in the suburbs have, like time and transportation.” She said, “No, the school is in Mac Groveland, one of the wealthier neighborhoods in St. Paul.”

So I looked it up:
Demographics in the suburban Eagle Creek neighborhood

Demographics in the urban Mac Groveland neighborhood of St. Paul

While the incomes are a bit higher in the suburb the net worth is almost the same… hmmm, who do you think has more debt?

What makes this even more interesting is the irrational behavior of the suburban parents. While the suburban neighborhood is one of the safest neighborhoods in America, they waste time and energy waiting in line to drop their kids at the front door of the school. Why don’t they drop them on the corner and make them walk half a block? They’d save 20 minutes and a gallon of gas.

  • Traffic is far heavier near the urban school.
  • Total crime risk near the urban school is 6 times higher than the suburban one.
  • Violent crime risk near the urban school is 5 times higher than in the suburban one.
  • There are 13 times the number of registered sex offenders near the urban school.
  • 95 registered sex offenders live within 5 miles of the urban school – one directly across the street.
  • Only 7 registered sex offenders live within 5 miles of the suburban school.

So why the difference? Why are suburban parents more controlling? Anybody want to take a stab at it?

Malcom Gladwell, where are you?

My best guess is…
More suburban parents watch television news and listen to talk radio and it distorts their perception of risk.