Review of The New Road to Serfdom, by Daniel Hannan

In these times of general dislike of the United States, both by foreigners and by many Americans, it's refreshing to read a book by a foreigner which points out some items that can be improved in the United States, but without snobbery and disdain.

Daniel Hannan is a British Member of the European Parliament (MEP). His esteem for the United States comes through on every page of this very readable book.

Daniel Hannan makes two main points: That we Americans don't realize how lucky we are to live here, and that we should not permit our government to become bloated and centralized like that of Europe.

He's right on both counts.  When you consider how bad many other countries are, for various, reasons, it is clear that we are lucky to be Americans. One of the reasons we are lucky is that the solution to the European problems he describes are here too.  Hannan explains why primary elections keep politicians closer to the people that they claim to represent. He explains how our Founding Fathers (all those darn heterosexual white males) provided a system which allowed great liberties, even if not everyone was eligible for those liberties from the beginning.

Hannan is at his best when denouncing those who only focus on American sins. "If we want to bring up slavery, we must refer also to the anti-slavery campaign, and to the huge price its adherents were prepared to pay, including death on the battlefield...If we want to discuss racism, we can hardly ignore the fact that in 2008, Americans elected a mixed-race president."

Nail on the head, Mr. Hannan.  Strangely, there are few voices in American academia or the American mainstream (lamestream) press who will say these things. Likewise, as Hannan points out, one is unlikely to find positive coverage like this in the European or other foreign press.

Hannan also discusses the growth of the size of the U.S. federal government. This is not an early twenty-first century phenomenon; the federal government has been growing in power since the Civil War. The various wars, as well as the Great Depression and the more recent Great Recession, have all done their part to make the federal government more bloated, more distant, and less interested in liberty. Hannan points at quasi-autonomous non-governmental organizations (quangos) in the United Kingdom and in Europe; here in the United States, we are saddled with the various regulatory bodies to whom Congress has outsourced much of its work.

Diversity, in modern liberal use, has come to mean skin color and sexual preference. However, within certain limits, the Constitution's embrace of federalism permits great diversity of government and of lifestyle. Want to live in a very regulated area? Find a major metropolis in New York, California, Washington, or Oregon. Want to be left alone? Find a rural area. Want to live a Protestant Christian lifestyle and be surrounded by those who do? Try the Bible Belt. More importantly, federalism allows states and cities to try their own programs and to learn from each other. Taking that away through more and more federal control will stifle that learning, which is hugely important in these times of rapid technological and social change.

Part of the political anger in the United States can be traced to the fact that many on the left, and some on the right, have chosen to ignore federalism. Abortion is a prime example. To lower the political temperature, shrieking feminists in California and New York will have to realize that abortion is regarded with horror in the Bible Belt; conversely, hellfire-and-damnation preachers and their followers in the Bible Belt will have to realize that abortion is regarded as the cat's pajamas in California and New York.  Because each side wants to impose its vision on the other nationwide, we end up with spectacles such as the screaming protesters barging into Congress to stop the nomination of Supreme Court Justice Kavanagh.  Hannan, unlike the bureaucrats and quangocrats of Europe and the United Kingdom (and their admirers in American academia) gets this; an entire chapter of Hannan's book is devoted to what he calls "the retreat from federalism."

Hannan's examination of the undemocratic nature of the European Union ("A Tale of Two Unions") is also well worth reading.  Hannan starts by contrasting the sizes of the U.S. Constitution and the European Constitution, and notes that the U.S. Constitution"is mainly about the liberty of the individual. The EU Constitution is mainly about the power of the state." Hannan is right to note that the U.S. Constitution was written at a time when there was "maximum emphasis on the freedom of the citizen." By contrast, the European Union was designed to tie governments together so that there would be no repeat of the World Wars. Individual opinion was, and is, regarded as an annoyance by the European governing elite. Hence Brexit and the gilets jaunes (yellow jackets) riots in France.

American democracy works, said Hannan. Despite the differences between the U.S. and the European Union, I wish I could share his optimism. Big business and big government are frequently in bed with each other, to the detriment of individuals.  Homelessness is completely out of control on the West Coast.  Upward social mobility, though not gone entirely, is more difficult than it was for previous generations. The national debt is at $22 trillion and rising, and the U.S. government is contemplating the issue of 100 year bonds, just like that other paragon of fiscal discipline and political stability: Argentina. Does anyone, left or right, really want all of this? I hope not!

I believe that this sorry state of affairs exists because any attempt to put it right would trample upon the political identity of many people at a time when political identity is becoming the most important form of identity for Americans.  The national debt offers a good example. Want to reduce the national debt? The best way to do this is for the federal government to stop spending like a horde of crack addicts.  So what to cut? Social spending? Watch Democrats scream bloody murder. Military spending? Watch Republicans scream bloody murder. For my take on military spending, click here.   

Daniel Hannan writes in a very readable style, unlike the government bureaucrats and politicians that he skewers in this book.  I recommend Hannan's book to everyone, especially those who, like me, are losing faith in the ability of government to function, and losing faith in the value of most government agencies.

74th Anniversary of V-J Day – A National Defense Retrospective

It’s been 74 years and one week since Imperial Japan threw in the towel and ended the most destructive war in human history. 

Since then, the West has glorified those days. Politicians in the United States love to pontificate about how we’re number 1 – as if international politics and national defense are nothing more than some inconsequential sports game. 

However, platitudes don’t stop adversaries.  Hard power and the brains and will power to use that power properly are what stops adversaries, either through deterrence or through the use of that power to so thoroughly whip that adversary that it is unable to pose a threat to the United States.

Uncle Sam has been falling down a lot on the hard power and will power factors lately. Let’s have a look.  Many people have written full-length books; this is only a blog post, so I won’t be able to cover everything.

The proposed fiscal year (FY) 2019 military budget is $686 billion dollars – which fits the definition of money attributed to Senator Everett Dirksen. What are we getting for all of this?  

Let’s look at gold plated weapons systems: The U.S. Navy’s newest aircraft carrier, the USS Gerald Ford, cost $13 billion -- $2.4 billion over budget. An F-35 JSF costs $95 million apiece – staggering, but at least an improvement over the initial cost for the first few aircraft of $297 million apiece.  Why must these cost so much and take so long to bring to the battlefront?

Yes, modern weapons systems are more technologically advanced than older systems.  That’s part of it. There’s also a learning curve in building cutting-edge technology.  There will, inevitably, be mistakes and failures.  But why did it take only four years to bring the mighty USS Iowa from design to deployment and yet it takes modern weapons over a decade to go from design to deployment? Is this difference really caused by working out bugs in high technology, or does it have more to do with lots more red tape, laws and lawyers, frequent design adjustments, and choosing contractors and subcontractors with an eye toward keeping politicians happy rather than rapid production?

It is also time to acknowledge that national security is not just guns, tanks, and warships.  Population growth is a big destabilizing influence in many countries, and that inevitably affects the U.S. or U.S. allies.  One tank’s worth of contraceptives may, in the long run, make the U.S. more secure than an entire armored division.  After all, you don’t have to deter or fight or arrest someone who isn’t born. 

Why isn’t the U.S. doing this? I say it’s a toxic mix of pork-barrel politics and religion. That is, politicians would rather bring a multimillion dollar defense contract that will last several years to their constituents than making contraceptives available to foreigners. After all, those aren’t as flashy and don’t take as long to manufacture.  In addition, many religious people and leaders have a hang-up about contraceptives, because they might (gasp!!) lead to sex between people who aren’t married – as if this never happens in the absence of contraceptives. I ask religious people the following question: if your God hasn’t stopped war and crime and corruption, why do you think your God will object to contraceptives?

One last thing to point out about gold-plated weapons systems: they’re mostly offensive. That is, they are designed to destroy the other side’s warships, tanks, bases, and other infrastructure. However, national defense is also about the home front.  On that, we are failing too. 

Let’s start with infrastructure at home. Everyone, whether regular citizens or government agencies or the big defense contractors depend on regular power, utilities, and telecoms.  A team of hackers, whether nation-state varsity or criminal groups, can wreak the kind of havoc that previously was only possible through sabotage or all-out ground or air attack.  Security breaches, whether in the private sector or in government, are as frequent as traffic collisions in major cities.  Perhaps it’s time for more cybersecurity and less gold plated weapons systems. Helpful hint for policymakers and corporate executives: Better cybersecurity means that the gold-plated weapons systems will be more survivable on the battlefield, because it would be harder to steal the plans of those weapons systems.

Next, specifically military infrastructure.  Bases were closed with great enthusiasm at the end of the Cold War.  In some cases, this may have been justified; for example, a moth-eaten old base with decrepit infrastructure left over from the World Wars may not have been necessary any longer.  However, closing bases with too much enthusiasm means that our eggs will be concentrated in fewer baskets.

Here we come to the conflict of the accountants and the MBAs versus the generals and logisticians.  The accountants and the MBAs think only of cutting costs, especially labor costs – the sort of attitude regularly lampooned by Scott Adams.  These people take healthy infrastructure for granted. They can’t be bothered to give any thought to the need for redundancy, for backup, for resilience. It does not cross their minds that the continental U.S. may be threatened, either by hostile powers or by the forces of nature.  Generals and logisticians, on the contrary, must think in those terms – or lose a battle or a war.  It is, perhaps, time to have more medium-size bases, each with tight security, anti-aircraft and anti-missile point defenses, and plenty of fuel, ammunition, water, food, and other supplies on hand, instead of fewer large, sprawling bases.  Having more bases isn’t for creating employment or allowing politicians to buy votes at public expense.  It’s about resilience.  It’s better to have an asset and not need it than to need it and not have it. Neither nature nor enemies of the United States are forgiving. 

When the U.S. itself is threatened, it is not enough to look to the military.  The people must also be involved. This can range from encouraging basic household preparedness to community training to armed, trained home defense forces.  Traditionally, military and disaster planners tend, with some justification, to regard the public they have to assist as fairly useless. Many people are physically unfit, not always through any fault of their own, and many people seem not to have thought about preparedness at all.  However, Reginald Bretnor pointed out in his essay “Fear and Survival” (available in There Will Be War, Volume IX) that if the United States had a citizen-soldier program equivalent to that of Switzerland, it would be possible to mobilize twenty million armed, trained personnel – more than the twelve million which were the peak of the U.S. armed forces during World War II.  As Bretnor pointed out, this would make the United States much more resilient against attacks or natural disasters.  The common experience of training and the empowering effect of learning how to handle trouble might help to reduce some of the present-day political and racial anger.

Why hasn’t this happened? First, again, there is the addiction to gold-plated weapons systems and foreign adventures. Second, there is a good deal of distrust of the idea of the citizen-soldier.  The Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which protects the right to keep and bear arms, is, to put it mildly, frowned upon by many. For some, the right to bear arms is bad because of the various mass shootings that have occurred; for some in government, the right to bear arms is bad because it makes it harder to control the citizenry.  While the U.S. political system is predicated on distrust of government – hence checks and balances and federalism – a lack of trust between government and people makes it harder for the U.S. to be ready for trouble at home.  When the 2018 National Defense Strategy Summary states that the U.S. homeland is no longer a sanctuary, then it’s time to prepare and mobilize the population.  Invaders or rioters will be stopped by guns, not by candlelight vigils.

National defense is also about financial strength. It’s hard to be strong when you’re the world’s biggest debtor. Weapons, logistics, personnel, infrastructure, energy – all of this costs a lot of money.  In World War II, the U.S. was the world’s biggest creditor.  That happy state of affairs continued for a while afterwards, mainly because the U.S. industrial base remained intact while that of other countries had been devastated.  That is no longer true. Not only do other countries, including hostile ones such as China, have their own industrial bases, it is also easier to outsource work that was once done in the U.S. to other countries.  All of this makes the U.S. economy weaker.  There has been talk recently of the U.S. buying Greenland from Denmark, but how will the U.S. afford this with a $22 trillion national debt? Maybe this is why the U.S. Treasury Department has been talking about issuing 100 year bonds – just like Argentina, that other paragon of fiscal discipline.

The United States can only be strong as long as the U.S. dollar remains the de facto world currency – and doing that requires a strong economy.  Free advice for policymakers: Prosperity comes from cheap energy and freedom, not from financial gimmicks such as quantitative easing.  Freedom to set up businesses, small and large, and energy to power them, and selling physical products, not just services, are the key to prosperity.  “Woe unto the nation that does not weave what it wears, nor plant what it eats, nor press the wine that it drinks,” warned Kahlil Gibran.  If other countries stop needing the U.S. so much, and stop buying so much U.S. debt, then interest rates will go up and that $22 trillion national debt will suddenly weigh a lot more on the U.S. economy.  This is beginning to happen:  Russia, China, and the European Union are making various efforts to set up their own financial links and their own deals so as not to have to go through the U.S. financial infrastructure.  The private sector is also charging ahead with new ways to create and transfer money that will leave legacy banks and plodding government bureaucracies in the dust.  Economic and military strength are closely linked. Lose too much of one, and pretty soon the other will be lost too. That’s why Admiral Michael Mullen, when he was the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, warned that the national debt was one of the biggest threats to U.S. national security.  It’s disappointing but not surprising that many members of Congress noisily claim to revere the military but didn’t bother taking the national security advice of a senior military officer. 

Lastly, in World War II there was more national unity.  To be sure, it wasn’t perfect (Jim Crow). There was more trust in government; that started to go down during the 1960s and has not come back up.  More importantly, people trusted each other more.  These days, political polarization, fueled in large part by social media, have made any kind of unity difficult to achieve. People move to be among those who share their political beliefs, which makes national political bargaining much more difficult.  Kahlil Gibran again: “Woe unto the nation in which each tribe regards itself as a nation.”  None of these problems can be solved by more military spending. 

So, how to clean all this up?  Sadly, the political paralysis caused by the current racial and political anger may make it impossible to clean up the defense procurement process, or to mobilize and prepare the population, or to really think outside the box by promoting more use of contraceptives in high-fertility countries. Nor will there be other outside the box thinking, such as not being so eager to get involved in the disputations of other countries, or in creating more trust between citizens and government – and saving money and manpower for real trouble – by ending the drug war.  The only solutions I can offer are for individuals to lobby for the solutions I outlined here, and to be prepared for trouble. 

Visit to USS Iowa

Some weeks ago, I visited the battleship USS Iowa, moored in Los Angeles Harbor. Iowa and her sisters, Wisconsin, New Jersey, and Missouri – the famous “Mighty Mo” – were the last battleships commissioned by the U.S. Navy. (There were to be two more, but these were scrapped before they were completed.) 

She’s really something to see. From the outside, everything is huge – especially the main battery turrets.  The nine 16-inch (406-millimeter) guns are capable of hurling a shell weighing over a ton toward a target twenty miles away. Each gun can be independently targeted.  The 5-inch (127-millimeter) dual-purpose (anti-aircraft or anti-ship) are nothing to sneer at either.  One of the videos playing was a PR video from the 1950s explaining how the 16-inch gun worked; the announcer said that it was better to give than to receive a salvo from those guns. Yes, indeed.  Of course, that would be considered insensitive in these sensitivity-mad times. 

Inside, everything is cramped. I frequently had to duck my head to go through doors. Passageways were narrow. Warships are not meant for tall people. It’s amazing that over 2000 people served on board in World War II. I like my elbow room; clearly, I would not have thrived in the Navy.  The tour included a glance inside one of the secondary turrets, a visit to the galley and enlisted mess, a glance inside the brig (the on-board jail) and the ship’s laundry room with its gigantic washers and dryers.  The exhibit included Lost at Sea, a collection of pictures and other relics from shipwrecks explored by Dr. Robert Ballard.

The wardroom (where the officers ate and relaxed) had a lot of good memorabilia: the flag of Admiral Chester Nimitz, a map of Iowa’s voyages over the decades, various programs and fliers from events of times past.  The story of Vicky, the ship’s mascot, was entertaining.  (She was once cited for going AWOL.) 

Most officers shared quarters (rooms), but at least they had quarters with only one roommate.  Enlisted personnel were another matter. The bunks stacked three high that are there now were shown were from Iowa’s 1980s tour of duty; the World War II bunks were five beds stacked up on top of each other.  (USS Iowa carried more crew during World War II than during the 1980s.) When President Roosevelt voyaged on board Iowa to North Africa to get to the Tehran Conference, he had his own room. (He also had his own bathtub.)  The only other people who had their own quarters were her captain, or any admiral who was on board. 

Curiously, Iowa never fought an enemy battleship, though she was in action against some smaller ships. Most of her work was shore bombardment during World War II and the Korean War, as well as anti-aircraft duty.  The last of the great battleship versus battleship engagements was the Battle of Surigao Strait, which featured older U.S. Navy battleships, including some that were damaged during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.  Neither Iowa nor her sisters were there.

The Iowa has changed a lot since she was first commissioned in 1943.  The 40-millimeter and 20-millimeter anti-aircraft guns are long gone.  During the 1980s, eight of Iowa’s 5-inch (127-millimeter) dual-purpose secondary guns were removed and Harpoon and Tomahawk missile launchers were installed. In addition, 4 Phalanx Close In Weapons System automated 20-millimeter guns were installed to shoot down incoming missiles.

Common military wisdom says that battleships were made obsolete by aircraft carriers and missiles.   However, one of the tour personnel I spoke to told me that Iowa could be brought back into fighting condition in six months.  It seems to me that there’s something to be said for having a ship that is very strongly built and can throw a heavy broadside, even if the range is limited. Battleships can be sunk, but it takes much effort to do so, especially if escorted by ships prepared for anti-submarine warfare and provided with air cover.  Moreover, with the possibility of electromagnetic pulse (EMP) being used as a weapon against the United States, it may be well to have ships that can function and fight without being overly dependent on fussy and fragile electronics. 

What’s even more amazing is that the time between Iowa’s design and commissioning was only five years. Today, with endless legal reviews, design changes, political shenanigans, bureaucratic plodding and turf wars, and the modern emphasis on legal compliance rather than real accomplishment, such a great ship would take much longer to design and commission.  The most urgently needed weapons system for our country is something to make all the red tape disappear.

Come visit this grand lady of steel. She served for a long time, she sailed many long miles and saw quite a lot, and her current crew (mostly volunteers) keep her in good condition.  She has a lot of stories to tell.  If you’re a World War II buff like me, or you like seeing big ships, this is a great way to spend a day. 


For further reading:


Pacific Battleship, the nonprofit that offers tours of USS Iowa.

USS Iowa Statistics

16 inch 50 caliber Mark 7 gun

Battleships, by Anthony Preston 



Whither Conservatism

The election verdict is in. No blue wave, but the Democrats took the House of Representatives. Conservatives have some homework to do if they want to retain the White House and the Senate, not to mention re-taking the House.  Doing so will require conservatives to modify or to shed some ideas that may once have appealed to most of the American electorate, but no longer do so.

The Republican Party is widely viewed as the party of war.  While national defense is clearly a core function of government, it does not necessarily follow that every budget item labeled “national defense” is a good idea, nor does it necessarily follow that the United States must get involved in every trouble spot around the world.  At the risk of stating the obvious, armed forces are not free. Tanks, guns, warships, and warplanes do not grow on trees.  Unfortunately, there are some people who call themselves conservative who are eager to be skeptical of Democrat social engineering schemes, but who will give a free pass to anything that is even vaguely related to national defense or law enforcement.  This attitude needs to go.  It’s time to return to the wisdom of President Eisenhower, who took seriously the threat from the Soviet Union and yet limited military spending.  President Eisenhower’s farewell address warned about the growth of the military-industrial complex.

The next problem is Prohibition. True, alcohol prohibition ended with the 21st Amendment. I’m referring here to the prohibition of drugs, the prohibition of commercial sex, and the restrictions on abortions and contraceptives.  Let’s look at all of these.

Drug prohibition is a failure.  Despite the establishment of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), many counter-drug units in state and municipal law enforcement agencies, and many, many busts large and small, drugs keep coming in.  This is because many people want drugs, and will go to great lengths to obtain them.  We can say that drug use is self-destructive until we are blue in the face, but that doesn’t make any difference. When the government prohibits the open sale of something that people want, guess who supplies it? That’s right – gangsters. This is exactly what happened during the Prohibition Era.  Al Capone would probably not be a household name today if it wasn’t for Prohibition.  The drug war has led to the corruption of officials in the United States and in other countries. The chaos caused by the drug cartels, who are the bastard offspring of drug prohibition, does not serve the security interests of the United States. Furthermore, the chaos of the drug war is a driver of illegal immigration.  Want to cripple the drug cartels and secure the border? Make all drugs legal. It’s the price premium that prohibition places on drugs that gives drug cartels the power to buy their weapons and buy off officials.

Certainly, the open sale of alcohol comes with problems – namely, that many innocent people are killed and maimed thanks to drunk drivers, and that some people commit crimes, or just make asses of themselves, because they won’t stop drinking.  However, notice the problem we don’t have: shooting in the streets over the production and sale of alcohol. Because alcohol can be openly produced and sold, there is no need to fight over it. The alcohol trade is handled by peaceful entrepreneurs. No one needs to fear violence caused by alcohol sales.  Furthermore, government levies taxes on the consumption of alcohol. In other words, the government makes money from the open sale of alcohol instead of wasting money on futile efforts to interdict alcohol.  The same can be true on drugs. It’s time for government to broaden the tax base instead of wasting money on warrantless surveillance and the militarization of law enforcement.  My fellow conservatives, the drug war is not limited government. It is bloated, out-of-control government.

Next is the prohibition on commercial sex, aka prostitution.  No, prostitution is not and will never be the same as a real relationship.  However, the demand for sex without a relationship isn’t going to go away, just like the demand for drugs and alcohol isn’t going to go away. And just like with drugs and alcohol – attempts to drive it underground mean that the demand will be supplied by gangsters, who really do abuse women. Let’s have an end to the anti-sex puritanism of the feminists and the religious fanatics alike. (Where do these people think they came from?) Away with euphemisms such as “escort services” or “massage parlors.”  Instead, let there be brothels, openly established in properly zoned areas, where the workers have all the protections that workers in any other job would have. Let these establishments be regularly inspected to ensure a safe environment for workers and customers alike.  Women might even own or manage some of these establishments, just as Christie Hefner managed Playboy for a long time.  Again and again: take away the prohibition, and you take away much of the danger and violence. 

Last is the complaining about the availability of abortion and contraceptives. I ask religious conservatives the following questions: If God hasn’t bothered to stop war and crime and fraud, what makes you think that God cares about abortion and contraceptives? (The same question could well be asked about the legalization of commercial sex and of drugs.)  How come abortion providers or contraceptive manufacturers haven’t been turned into pillars of salt, or into something of more strategic value, such as platinum or uranium? Furthermore, making abortions and contraceptives easy to get at home and abroad may mean some reduction of crime, illegal immigration, and terrorism. You don’t have to fight or arrest someone who isn’t born. Someone who isn’t born isn’t going to join a caravan in an attempt to overwhelm the Border Patrol.  I ask religious conservatives to consider how different U.S. history would have been if Osama bin Laden’s mother had aborted him.

It is time to recognize that many of the young people who might be attracted by the conservative message of strong national defense, secure borders, deregulation, and liberty are going to be repelled by the image of conservatives either as warmongers or as busybodies who interfere with sex, contraceptives, abortion, and the choice of whether to get high.  Clinging to an obsolete vision of conservatism will ensure that the GOP becomes a party mostly of the elderly.  Here’s a hint: This is not a winning formula.

It would be far better if conservatives forgo the culture wars and pointless foreign adventures, and instead push programs that really will empower families and strengthen the nation.  These include the following:

1)    Make U.S. infrastructure resistant to electromagnetic pulses, whether natural or artificial.  I warn religious conservatives that an EMP, which would wreck the telecommunications and electrical grids upon which we all depend and result in lawless chaos, would be far more destructive to families than sex and drugs.  Furthermore, strengthening the United States at home means that the United States will be stronger abroad – a key conservative goal.


2)    Mandate that the Federal Reserve target for inflation be 0%. 2% each year, while not horribly destructive like that of Venezuela or Zimbabwe, nevertheless represents a hidden theft of the money earned by working Americans.  The constant debasement of currency, and the resulting need for most families to be two-income families and to work harder and harder to keep up, is more destructive to families than sex and drugs.



3)    Pay down the national debt.  The national debt is almost $22 trillion; in 2018, the interest on that debt is $523 billion dollars. This is money that could be going to achieve objective 1) above, or simply returned to the people. To reduce national debt, the government needs to spend less. Two easy ways to spend less money: End the prohibition of drugs and commercial sex, and reduce foreign adventures. 

4) Create prosperity. This means cheap energy, resources, and freedom. To get the first two, it’s time to restart High Frontier. Returning to space will be far more inspirational — and pay off a lot more — than culture wars and foreign adventures. The establishment of the U.S. Space Force is an important first step. Conservatives, we must keep this momentum going.


Conservatives, the choice is clear: Jettison the culture wars and the puritanism and return to the core messages of strong national defense, secure borders, deregulation, and liberty, or be consigned to the wilderness.  Let’s stay relevant by staying out of foreign adventures and out of people’s personal lives.

A Wedding in Rural Kentucky

A few weeks ago, I took a few days off from my work for my cousin's wedding. Like many others, I spent most of the flight snoozing in cattle class. On descent to Bluegrass Airport in Lexington, Kentucky, I opened the window shade.


Gentle rivers, ponds, lakes, farms, trees, grass on gently rolling countryside, and all of it green and cool and lovely -- so unlike arid Southern California. Everything was warmly illuminated by the setting sun. That's when I knew it would be a good weekend.

I picked up my baggage and my rental car and hit the road. After some blundering around -- highway numbers weren't always on street name signs -- I got on I-64, which took me to the Mountain Parkway, and from there to State Highway 52, which took me to Lago Linda Hideaway, my home for the weekend.

Driving is nice in rural areas. No crowds, no traffic. I was flying down the road in a zippy Nissan Versa. Did I break the speed limit? I take the Fifth!

I stayed in a snug cabin at Lago Linda Hideaway. After unloading the car and before sacking out for the night, I looked at the sky.


Dazzling view -- so many more stars visible than in Los Angeles -- makes me wish our country would take A Step Farther Out to the High Frontier to see what's out there.  (If we don’t, some other unfriendly country will.)  It was glorious. I wish I'd had a telescope or binoculars. 

The wedding took place at Cathedral Domain, just 15 minutes away from Lago Linda. It's an Episcopalian retreat and camp next to the Daniel Boone National Forest. Just like Lago Linda, it was quiet and peaceful.  The American revolutionary Thomas Paine said that the word of God is in the creation we behold, not in scriptures or other writings -- and that is the closest that I come to being religious. 

I enjoyed the wedding ceremony.  The cathedral was a wooden building constructed in traditional mountain style. The main aisle had the insignia of the local Episcopal churches on flags designed after the style of European medieval heraldry. The warmth of the guests was palpable.  My cousin and her husband were very happy. Dinner was generous plates of beef brisket and pulled pork, with coleslaw, and wine and beer and Ale 8 One, the local soda.  Yum!  It’s refreshing to eat food that isn’t low calorie, low sodium, fat free, or gluten free – people should enjoy food without feeling guilty about it.  I took some back to my cabin at Lago Linda to eat for breakfast the next day.  

The next day, my uncle and I went hiking. We explored the Bat Cave on the Cathedral Domain property. It took us about half an hour to slosh through the cave, walking through the stream on the floor of the cave all the way. Yes, there were some bats hanging from the cave ceiling; no, they did not bite us or fly by us. When my uncle and I returned from the cave hike, I put my hiking boots (the only footwear I brought on the trip) out to dry in the Sun, and padded around barefoot -- just like a kid at camp.  We also went to the Natural Bridge State Park.  Then I rounded up my gear and drove to Lexington, where I checked into my hotel near the airport for my last night in Kentucky. 

Rural Kentucky is beautiful and the people I met were good and kind. I'm proud to have relatives there, and I regret not getting to know them sooner. It was with some regret that I boarded my flight back to the madness of Los Angeles.  I don’t know when, but I will return for a longer vacation to soak up the peace and quiet of rural Kentucky. 

And yes, I bought some Kentucky moonshine to take home with me.  The liquor made from hemp seeds was vile, but the traditional bourbon was wonderful – a great cure for travel or anything else that ails you.

Review of High Frontier, by General Daniel Graham, USA

High Frontier is an old book (1983), but it's still relevant.

I first learned of this book while reading Robert Heinlein's introduction to it in his book Expanded Universe. He said that General Daniel Graham’s plan was "as nonaggressive as a bulletproof vest".

High Frontier calls for establishing point defenses of U.S. ground based missiles and then space-based missile defenses to protect the United States and its allies. The idea is to replace Mutual Assured Destruction, which deters attack by threatening military (counterforce) and civilian (countervalue) targets, with Assured Survival, in which U.S. defenses are strong enough to ensure that a first strike will be unlikely to do catastrophic damage to the United States.

Not much was done about High Frontier during the 1980s; space-based defenses were ridiculed as Star Wars. Not much has been done recently. That's a crying shame.

The world has changed a lot since the 1980s:

North Korea is now able to threaten American cities.

China has become much more powerful and dangerous, and is also able to threaten American cities.

The Soviet Union is no more, but Russia still has a nuclear arsenal that can threaten American cities.

All of these can be addressed by High Frontier.

Intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) are the fastest way of delivering a sledgehammer blow against another country, whether by airburst, groundburst, or electromagnetic pulse (EMP). (EMPs can also happen naturally.) Taking ICBMs off the table would force hostile nations to use slower methods such as bombers or Russia's nuclear-armed drone submarine. Doing that will, to some extent, reinforce the protection provided by the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

Moreover, High Frontier isn't just about missile defense. High Frontier also contemplates space-based solar power and asteroid mining. Space-based solar power satellites would have large arrays of solar panels collecting sunlight 24-7 -- no night or weather to interfere.  The energy would then be beamed to receiving stations on Earth. The resources to make these satellites could come from mines on the Moon or the Asteroid Belt. Jerry Pournelle addressed these ideas in greater detail in A Step Farther Out. The space based defenses of High Frontier would serve as a way of protecting space-based solar power satellites, as well as other U.S. space assets. With more and more dependence on GPS and other satellites, and more and more private U.S. investment in space such as SpaceX and Blue Origin, the time to start building the space defense assets of High Frontier is now. Even Neil DeGrasse Tyson takes the idea seriously. (Maybe that will help – Tyson is something of a celebrity, and celebrity endorsements are very important these days.)

General Graham was at his best when he mentioned the importance of the hope that High Frontier can bring. He mentioned teen crime, pollution, the low public savings rate -- issues that are problems today.  In his words: "A major thrust into space would provide the world with clear and convincing evidence that the resources available to the human race are not fixed; that new wealth can be created without depriving others." General Graham also noted that hope "would alter economic realities for the better, more rapidly than any amount of tinkering with social programs or Federal Reserve rates.”  In other words, doing something concrete to provide energy and resources will do more than financial hocus-pocus to employ Americans. Modern politicians would do well to heed General Graham’s words, but that seems unlikely at a time of political polarization. Sadly, High Frontier, the one thing that might end the political polarization crippling the United States, may well be held up by it.

We can't dither forever. If the United States does not take major steps now to establish a permanent space presence, nations hostile to the United States that are not paralyzed by Itchy and Scratchy politics might very well do so. They would then use that presence in space to dictate terms to the United States. Those who are primarily concerned with"social justice" ought to consider whether a United States impoverished and at the mercy of hostile powers would have any room for social justice. There would be none in the event of an EMP.

One might ask how to pay the initial costs of High Frontier. Graham touched upon this when he denounced the military procurement system, which makes contractors and their bought-and-paid-for Congresscritters happy, but is grossly inefficient at getting equipment to front line users. Here are two other ideas to free up some venture capital (the Silicon Valley term) for High Frontier:

End the drug war. Legalize and moderately tax drugs -- all drugs, not just marijuana. End the futile attempts to keep people from wrecking their minds (if any) and bodies. Government should only prevent people from harming and defrauding others; it should not prevent people from wrecking their own lives.  Spend that money on security and prosperity! Spend it on High Frontier!

Less meddling in hostile foreign countries. Jerry Pournelle, another advocate of High Frontier, stated on his website that the United States could have had energy independence for the cost of the Iraq War.  To fund High Frontier, let’s not get involved in the affairs of other countries so much. Every dollar spent on futile foreign adventures is a dollar that cannot be spent on the security and prosperity that High Frontier can provide. 

I enjoyed learning about High Frontier and it is a crying shame that nothing has been done to accomplish the goals in this book. President Trump's call for a U.S. Space Force might be a first step toward taking High Frontier more seriously. Let's hope he also starts pushing High Frontier.  The energy, resources, jobs, and hope that High Frontier can provide are the best way for President Trump to Make America Great Again. 


Further reading:

General Daniel Graham's Biography (Wikipedia)

Everett Dolman, Astropolitik

Robert Heinlein, Expanded Universe

Jerry Pournelle, A Step Farther Out

High Frontier:

Review of The Bitcoin Standard, by Saifedean Ammous

There's been a lot of hype and noise about Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Ammous steered clear of all of this to write a good book about why Bitcoin is unique and what its benefits and pitfalls are.

The author is clearly in favor of Bitcoin, but his book isn’t a slick marketing screed. In his own words:

"Should you come out of reading this book thinking that the bitcoin currency is something worth owning, your first investment should not be in buying bitcoins, but in time spent understanding how to buy, store, and own bitcoins securely." Wise words, given that there have been Bitcoin thefts. Furthermore, time spent understanding is a good investment before buying anything.

Ammous's explanation of what money is and why it is necessary is well written. Hard money has the following characteristics: It should be hard to produce, it should be easily divided into smaller units or combined into larger units, and it has to last (no rotting, radiation, or corrosion). Historically, gold and silver have been hard currency.

Modern paper and electronic currencies, issued by national governments, are convenient in the sense that they can be physically held, easily used electronically or as cash, and won't easily deteriorate. This is all good. However, they lack the key characteristic of hard money: Difficulty of production.  These national currencies can be easily produced, via the old fashioned printing press or by quantitative easing, which is bureaucrat-babble for electronic creation of money. This is much easier than mining gold, silver, or platinum, and then turning these into nice shiny coins or bars.  Governments compel people to use their national currencies to pay taxes and fees, and – until the advent of Bitcoin – people were forced to accept these currencies, even though they are generally mismanaged through mild (U.S.) or insane (Venezuela, Zimbabwe) inflation. 

Ammous paints a damning picture of the destructive effects of fiat currency. He mentions the usual suspects: War, inflation, impoverishment.  Ammous is Lebanese; Lebanon went through severe inflation during the 1980s and 1990s.  It’s no surprise that he takes inflation more seriously than most leaders, and most citizens, in First World nations.  He also blames soft money for consumerism, rotten modern art and the breakdown of traditional families. Undoubtedly there are other causes for the breakdown of families and for the ridiculousness of modern art, but I think that Ammous is right to blame soft money and the resulting problems for the breakdown of modern families.  It's easier to keep a family together when there is a solid economy based on hard money, because the breadwinners will be more likely to find jobs.  Sadly, most political leaders prefer financial hocus-pocus such as “quantitative easing” rather than de-regulation and hard money.

I like Ammous's rapier wit. Unlike traditional academics, he knows how to put some verve in his writing. Some examples:

"Imagining that central banks can prevent, combat, or manage recessions is as fanciful and misguided as placing pyromaniacs and arsonists in charge of the fire brigade."


"The debates of academia are almost entirely irrelevant to the real world, and its journals' articles are almost never read by anyone except the people who write them for job promotion purposes...”

That paragraph neatly sums up why I am not an academic.

So why Bitcoin? No government, so no pressure to inflate Bitcoin to death.  Bitcoin uses a peer to peer setup, so there is no central server that governments can shut down, and no corporate mismanagement to worry about. (Anyone remember Lehman Brothers?) Decentralization also means that users may still have access to Bitcoin in the event of war, accidents, or natural disasters impeding Internet access. Trust is provided by the mathematical proof of work, generally known as mining. (At least your computer is doing the work – no need to get sweaty and filthy inside a real mine!) 

So those are the good points of Bitcoin. The bad points are that you can't hold it in your hand, unlike paper currency or precious metals. There have been thefts of Bitcoin from improperly secured accounts. And Bitcoin, by its decentralized nature, will never be able to process as many transactions as centralized payment providers such as Visa or MasterCard. Nevertheless, Bitcoin provides digital hard money -- that is, hard money, like gold or silver or platinum, but in a form that can easily be sent to others.  The author endorses buying, despite the price volatility, because of its characteristics.

My take? Don't bet the farm on this. Don't use Bitcoin as a get-rich-quick scheme. Just buy a few Bitcoins, or a fraction, as one of many hedges against inflation of your country's currency.

I learned a lot from The Bitcoin Standard. I heartily recommend it.

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The Proposed U.S. Space Force: It's About Time!

President Trump and others have called for the establishment of a U.S. Space Force.

It's about time!!

Science fiction authors led the way on this. Robert Heinlein said the following in his lecture to the U.S. Naval Academy in 1973:

"Space navies will change beyond recognition our present methods of warfare and will control the political shape of the world for the foreseeable future. These spaceships will open up the Solar System to colonization and will eventually open the rest of this Galaxy."

Talk of colonizing the Galaxy is premature; faster-than-light drives are still science fiction. However, colonization of the Moon or Mars is possible. (If Elon Musk doesn't get to Mars, someone else will.) Space-based solar power as well as asteroid mining are just some of the possibilities. Let’s take a look:

Space based solar power (SBSP): Imagine solar energy collected 24-7 (no night, no cloud cover, no precipitation) and beamed down as microwave energy to ground-based receiving stations in the U.S. No more need for coal or other fossil fuel plants, or for controversial nuclear fission plants. (Nuclear fusion plants would also be clean, but they aren't available…for now.) Transport of almost all types except aviation could be electrified -- no more need for gasoline or diesel. No more wasting crop space on ethanol; food is for eating, not for burning. Perpetually thirsty California could use the energy from SBSP to power desalination plants instead of sucking the Colorado River and other rivers dry. Desalination via SBSP could also be used for mining various elements that are dissolved in ocean water, including lithium, which is becoming much more important as electric vehicles proliferate. (This would be a terrestrial alternative to lunar or asteroid mining.) Energy could be sold to other countries via long distance direct current (DC) transmission lines, in the same way that natural gas is sold via long distance pipelines. Lastly, the energy from SBSP could be used for plasma gasification, which would offer a safe way of disposing of waste by reducing it to its atomic components.

It is impossible to overstate the importance of abundant energy. Energy is such a part of our lives that it is easy to take for granted. We use energy to make and power everything, including the device you're reading this article on. We use energy to get around. Energy brings your food to the grocery store, powers your home and workplace, and much more. Power from SBSP could even be used to power lasers to be used for launching spacecraft without using chemical propellants.

Bottom line: The more clean energy we have, the better.

SBSP isn't the only possibility. Earth orbit is the jump off point to go anywhere in the Solar System. The Moon and Mars can be colonized. Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin are close to offering commercial space flights for anyone who can pay the hefty fare. The Asteroid Belt offers good prospects for space mining. Valuable elements can be mined from lifeless rocks in space. No more need for mining on Earth, with the risk of pollution of water, air, or soil.

A larger American presence in space would provide jobs. Asteroid miner, spaceship pilot, cabin crew for tourist flights, satellite technicians, medical personnel, astronomers, physicists, and yes, lawyers too! More jobs, more energy, more resources -- what a great combination!

The U.S. Space Force will be needed to defend all of these activities. Great power rivalry isn't going away; it's getting worse. Hostile nations such as China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea would be sorely tempted to attack U.S. space assets or space commerce to cripple the United States. China and Russia have already demonstrated the ability to shoot down a satellite. (The United States is capable of returning the favor.) Furthermore, a robust U.S. space presence in the form of the Space Force will ensure that no combination of hostile powers will be able to confine the U.S. to Earth.

For too long, U.S. leaders have tried to pump up the economy through financial hocus-pocus such as quantitative easing and artificially low interest rates. By now it should be clear that this doesn't work. Instead, let's have cheap energy, cheap resources, and the manufacturing and scientific bonanza that will result from a reinvigorated U.S. Space program made possible by the protective shield of the U.S. Space Force. It's time for the rest of our country's political leadership to get on board. Those who don't like the messenger should remember that President Trump will not be in office forever, that the United States will still need unfettered space access, and that there are hostile foreign powers that would cheerfully deny that access and that prosperity to us.

For further reading:

Everett Dolman, Astropolitik

General Daniel Graham, High Frontier

Robert Heinlein, Expanded Universe

Jerry Pournelle, A Step Farther Out

Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space

Do you want me to write, research, or proofread for you? Contact me today!

Review of The Real Crash: How to Save Yourself and Your Country, by Peter Schiff

In this hard-hitting book, Peter Schiff tells the truth: The U.S. government, as well as many state and local governments, are up their ears in debt. He also denounces the use of gimmicks such as quantitative easing (the electronic version of printing money) and holding Federal Reserve (the Fed) interest rates artificially low so that people invest and take out loans rather than, God forbid, save money. The economic damage is compounded by a hideously complicated tax code and by laws and regulations that ostensibly help workers, but end up harming them instead. Schiff also trashes higher education for high prices and not much return on investment, and suggests that many people would be better off learning a trade. (This is what I’m doing now: my political science degree didn’t get me anywhere, so I obtained my CompTIA A+ certificate – and now I have a new job!) The text is interspersed with "Crashproof Yourself" hints for readers. It’s also written in a very clear style – no stereotype academic/economist jargon here.

Schiff is absolutely right. Too many laws and regulations strangle individual initiative. Federalist #62, thought to have been written by either James Madison or Alexander Hamilton, warned that “It will be of little avail to the people, that the laws are made by men of their own choice, if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood; if they be repealed or revised before they are promulgated, or undergo such incessant changes that no man, who knows what the law is to-day, can guess what it will be to-morrow.” The sheer number of laws and regulations at all levels of government have made this warning a reality. Excessive licensing requirements are one example of laws and regulations run amuck.

Excessive licensing requirements make it harder for people to find work. Furthermore, there is a national security imperative to getting rid of excess laws and regulations. With less laws, there is less potential for blackmail. If recruiters for the military, the intelligence agencies, and law enforcement agencies had any sense, they would start demanding that the prohibition on drugs and commercial sex be ended, so that they could have a wider pool of talent to choose from.

Schiff's solutions are easy to talk about and politically (not technically) difficult to implement: Allow interest rates to climb, stop quantitative easing, and get rid of many laws and rules and regulations. He also calls for throwing out the income tax and replacing it with a national sales tax (punish consumption, not work and saving), augmented by user fees (such as toll roads) and tariffs.

Out of all these, the most important to tackle is the return to honest money. The Fed should allow interest rates to go up. This will promote saving, which is the true source of wealth. The target inflation rate should be zero, not two percent. Yes, it is government policy to erode the value of everyone’s money – mine and yours -- by two percent every year. Inflation, which constantly erodes savings and the value of a paycheck, is a regressive tax -- that is, a tax which hits poor people harder than rich people. If we must have a tax code and a regulatory state which drives everyone crazy but provides employment for hordes of accountants, lawyers, lobbyists, and various types of government employees (could that be the real reason? Nope – nothing to see here, move along, folks), then at least let it be paid for by sound money.

I wish that his chapter on health care had included a "Crashproof Yourself" section on taking care of yourself. None of us chooses our genes, but we can all choose what we put in our bodies and we can all choose to exercise and get enough sleep. Choosing wisely can save a lot of money!

If Democrats were really interested in helping the poor, they would call for deregulation and sound money. If the Republicans were really interested in helping working people, they would call for deregulation (not just of big corporations, but of drugs and commercial sex) and for sound money. The Democrats are blatantly statist, while the Republicans at least pretend to be in favor of deregulation and sound money. However, I don’t expect that either party will put Peter Schiff’s prescriptions into practice.

I learned a lot from this book. I heartily recommend it. For the record, I am not one of Peter Schiff's clients, nor do I hold any financial interest in his brokerage firm or other enterprises.

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Farewell to the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department, Part II

In my previous article, I wrote about why I left the Sheriff’s Department and shared some of my good memories.

As I said, law enforcement is about dealing with people at their worst, during nights, weekends, and holidays, as well as in bad weather. It’s a rough, thankless business. I like having a regular schedule. I dislike dealing with the public. It’s much easier to deal with a recalcitrant computer.

However, here’s another reason I left: I couldn’t trust the Sheriff’s Department brass hats to back me up. At the risk of stating the obvious, law enforcement means that force has to be used sometimes. However, in these times, almost every use of force, or even of strong language, leads to howling about racism, brutality, and insensitivity, no matter what the circumstances. For brass hats and their political masters, the temptation is strong to sacrifice line personnel who, God forbid, use force without having twenty-twenty foresight. The mission of law enforcement agencies is no longer law enforcement; the mission is to avoid liability and bad press. It’s always easy for those in academia, politics, or the media, many of whom lack a law enforcement background, to be Monday-morning quarterbacks. Living in fear that any of my actions might result in the end of my career is not a good way to live. So I chose not to live that way.

Law enforcement personnel are human beings, not robots. Big surprise: Being tired, hot, hungry, thirsty, or cold may make it harder for law enforcement personnel to be perfect, which is what the public and the politicians want. Law enforcement personnel also don’t like being cursed at, spat at, assaulted, or shot at. If they think you’re endangering them, you’ll be the one being shot at or thumped.

Who knew?

Here’s how William Shakespeare put it in The Merchant of Venice:

If you prick us, do we not bleed?

If you tickle us, do we not laugh?

If you poison us, do we not die?

And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge?

While revenge is rightfully not part of the law enforcement credo, self-defense or defense of one’s partners certainly is. That has been forgotten by those who hate law enforcement. Law enforcement personnel been attacked with increasing frequency over the last few years. Personnel have been ambushed, assaulted, and executed. As Chief Brown of the Dallas Police Department said, society dumps all its problems on law enforcement.

In addition to dumping problems on law enforcement, many politicians like to bash law enforcement instead of considering their own roles in creating society’s problems through ill-considered legislation and regulation. To state the obvious, laws are created by politicians. The more laws and regulations there are, the more matters there are for law enforcement officers to investigate, to hand out citations, and to arrest. All of this leads to more interactions between the public and law enforcement. Some of these interactions, as we all know, end with shootings or other uses of force. Taxpayers are also on the hook for the overloaded courts, the overcrowded prisons, and the need for more and more and more lawyers, judges, corrections officers, and law enforcement officers.

So here’s a crazy idea to reduce public/law enforcement interactions and save money: Less laws!! Before political leaders pass some legislation, or regulatory agencies conjure up more rules, they should ask themselves whether the proposed legislation or rule is really about public safety, or is it about raising revenue or making some special interest group happy at the expense of everyone else?

One example is parking enforcement. Sure, there’s nothing wrong with ticketing or towing those who park on sidewalks or who block driveways or fire hydrants. However, residents of Los Angeles County know that Santa Monica’s parking enforcement is very aggressive. If someone is a few minutes over the time on a meter (a few minutes, not an hour!), is a whopper of a ticket really about public safety, or about raising revenue? The same question can be asked about speed cameras and red light cameras.

Next on the list: prohibition of drugs and commercial sex (prostitution). These should not be crimes at all. Let’s be honest: People want sex and drugs and alcohol. Prohibiting something that people want doesn’t magically make it go away; it simply drives it into the hands of criminals. We should have learned this from the stupidity of Prohibition. The temperance twerps who managed to ram through a Constitutional amendment that reduced freedom didn’t make the demand for alcohol go away. Instead, the demand for alcohol was satisfied by gangsters like the infamous Al Capone.

Nowadays, we have no shootings over the manufacture, sale, and distribution of alcohol because it can be done openly. By contrast, we have the ferocious drug cartels who spread murder and anarchy throughout Mexico and the other Latin American countries, and to a lesser extent here – because drug manufacture, sale, and distribution is still illegal. That’s why I proudly voted for the legalization of marijuana in my home state of California.

For the record, I’ve never tried drugs and don’t intend to. I don’t think that trashing one’s mind and body is cool or spiritual. I simply note that prohibiting drugs doesn’t prevent drug use; instead, it wastes taxpayer money, endangers citizens and law enforcement personnel, and tromps on privacy and civil liberties. The drug war is a colossal failure and it is time for drugs – not just marijuana -- to be made legal nationwide.

The same goes for commercial sex (prostitution). Want to protect sex workers from kidnapping and abuse and squalid working conditions? Don’t engage in feminist or religious rants about sex. Don’t try to use the police to stop commercial sex. Instead, legalize it. Bring it into the light. Let brothels be set up by honest entrepreneurs who will be monitored by OSHA and other regulatory agencies. Maybe some brothels will be run by women. After all, Playboy was run by a woman, Christie Hefner, for over twenty years.

The demand for sex is a fundamental human drive; it’s not going to go away. Let us instead make it safe for the sex workers and for the customers. In a time of more and more automation and outsourcing, the legalization of commercial sex will provide an extra supply of jobs. Why bother with sex robots or dolls when you can get it on with a real person, legally, in a safe environment?

Why should I be a sworn law enforcement officer and risk my life, my freedom, and my career to interdict the sale of goods and services which should be legal? Why should I be a sworn law enforcement officer and risk my life, my freedom, and my career to meet ticket quotas which are about revenue-grubbing rather than public safety? No thanks to both. I’ll deal with computers instead.

Message to the public: The buck stops with the politicians. If you don’t like a law, don’t pick a fight with the law enforcement officer whose job it is to enforce that law. Doing so is a good way to end up thumped or Tasered or shot. If you don’t like a law, write to your politicians to modify the law or get rid of it entirely, and use social media to encourage others to do so. Donate to groups that share your beliefs. You might not be able to give much, but for these groups, every little bit helps. The real threat to liberty isn’t law enforcement officers. It’s their political masters.

Added 08-03-2018: Sovereign Man recently added an excellent post about how too many laws strangle free enterprise. Read it here.

For further reading:

Radley Balko, Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America's Police Forces

Peter Schiff, The Real Crash

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