Living in the Voting Age

Speaker Pelosi’s proposal to extend the franchise to 16-year-olds has superficial merit even as it is deeply and fundamentally flawed.

It’s true that at 16 today a person is as likely to be aware of the latest in politics and have the same access to data as any 60-year-old, making us all as well informed as we are willing to be. Many at 16 and younger work and pay taxes, and the notion of “taxation without representation” is considered to be anathema to American traditions.

So why stop at 16? I’d much rather spend time with a 14 year old adult than a 40 year old child. People mature at different rates, and while many people at 16 or 19 lack the life experience or maturity to properly evaluate their vast body of knowledge, others are more capable. Voting is an awesome responsibility, often literally involving life and death questions, and age, as an arbitrary compromise, is a poor measure of maturity.

While neither a Democrat (in the sense of Cleveland, Carter, or Clinton) nor a democrat (in the sense of Marat, Marx, or Mao), I recognize that democracy is America’s national religion and I will address those predilections. Rather than the magic numbers of 16 or 18 or 21, I would repeal the 26th Amendment altogether and instead define other criteria: Citizenship (naturalized or “birthright” is a separate argument not relevant to this one), literacy in English (or the personal charm or financial wherewithal to coax or hire interpreters and advisors), and documented evidence of net tax-payer status (call it your “voter card” which you renew every decade perhaps, and surrender to get food stamps.)

For millennia, Jewish boys would declare on their 13th birthday that, “Today, I am a man.” They meant it and their families and communities believed it and they expected these newly minted men to act accordingly and mostly they did. “Teenagers” are a recent invention, the residue of capitalism and technology, but their minds have been stunted by decades of infantilization perpetrated by government schools and the welfare state.

“Commuter Crunch” (981204, Honolulu Advertiser)

setup 190202: I’m cheap, so I don’t regularly patronize the papers I pester. Hence, I don’t know whether a lot of what I send out ever sees print. I expect much of it does not, though I can’t imagine why. The Honolulu (Star Bulletin, r.i.p.) Advertiser was flown fresh every morning to the neighbor islands, so I was abreast of events downtown.

The most effective solutions to Oahu’s traffic dilemma have been left out of the debate. Neither light rail nor additional traffic lanes will adequately alleviate congestion.

Socialized transportation, through Federal interference and state regulation, is the author of Oahu’s commuter crunch. More of the same will simply aggravate the problem. Subsidized mass transport is not a bargain and highways are not free, but to consumers they feel that way. Because there are no highway entrance fees, drivers have no incentive to conserve them. If we perceive something to be free we will use it and use it and use it up.

The Libertarian solution is the free market solution. If new traffic lanes are needed, let the private sector build them. Tolls, adjusted for vehicle weight and peak use, remind us that the system isn’t free. This will promote car-pooling, trip consolidation, and mass transit. Second, complete deregulation: If TheBus can support itself on ridership alone, so be it, but let it compete freely with taxis, vans, or Rent-a-Bikes.

Finally, no more Federal funding. Our Democratic delegation is quick to take credit for delivering pork, but they seem to forget that every Federal dollar comes with a multitude of strings attached.

update 190203: Having departed the islands about a decade ago, I’ve lost touch with the ground transportation market. I expect it’s about as bad as I remember, though Uber et al may have brought some relief. My brother and I lived in Catlin Park, across the highway from the Honolulu International Airport. One day we had just missed the bus, and were looking forward to a wait. Soon a cab pulled up and propositioned us. We began to demur but he pointed out, “You can wait one houah and pay da bus one quahtapiece, or I take you Ala Moana fo’ dollah.” Singin’ Truckdriver and I looked at each other, nodded, and climbed in. Even in 1970 a buck for a cab ride from Catlin Park to Ala Moana was a bargain, even if a fourteen and eleven year old getting into a stranger’s car may not be so advisable. But “Larry” was no predator, just a motormouth hack with an empty seat on his way downtown who could afford to give a break to a captive audience. And even if he were up to no good, we outnumbered him, I was big and articulate (and cocky) for my age, and we were both good at identifying weapons within arms’ reach. So no huhu. We go wikiwiki downtown and plenty time for shop and catch bus home.

Concealed Carry (190316)

Marching to a familiar drummer, correspondent DL (“Concealed carry… is frightening”) is taken in by the logical fallacy of the seen versus the unseen.

It is certainly apt to consider what eventual consequences may follow Governor Blevins’ signing Kentucky’s new concealed carry measure. If some future Kentuckian misjudges or otherwise misbehaves and misuses a firearm it will be known, and DL’s misgivings will be vindicated. On the other hand, when a lone jogger elects to flash iron at would-be predators, we’re unlikely to hear about it. In many jurisdictions what she has done is illegal, so she’s probably not spreading the news. And the punks who decided that rape was not such a good idea after all? Cowards and punks and posers are uniformly disinclined to signal their true colors, so the good news goes unreported.

War Criminals, part 190311

Representative Tulsi Gabbard declines to parrot the party line that “Bashar al-Assad is a war criminal.”:
If MI-5 and HaMossad could only persuade their underlings at Langley to convince El Donaldo that Assad is gassing villagers (“again”), just when it is least tactically helpful (again), and most strategically damaging (again), maybe he’ll murder more Syrian janitors (again).
That’d show her!

Nyet! Neutrality!

The underlying principle behind “Net Neutrality” would also bar Disneyland or Kings Island from selling “fast passes.” It’s just not fuh-fuh-fair that some people can afford, and are willing to pay for, cooler stuff than I can. This analogy is super apt. You don’t “need” to watch NetFlix or display your virtues on FaceBook any more than you “need” to ride The Beast or Space Mountain. History is replete with examples of the tragedy of the commons, usually leading to depletion of resources, deforestation, and starvation. Today’s lefties would inflict similar damages to net freedom.

We witness it almost everyday on the socialist road system. When there is no apparent cost to enter and max out your consumption, people will enter when they wish and max out their consumption — getting the goods before their greedy neighbors catch on. With toll roads and net freedom, people will assess the costs of their consumption without the assurance that casual users are subsidizing their cherished hobbies, and actually think about the cost of their goods and maybe consider alternatives to peak use periods.


update 171222:  correspondent EA ignores my point and enquires after my empathy. Then she wishes for me to experience the soul crushing anguish, apparently, of waiting on line and seeing those who can afford the fast pass blow by me and my family. Unfortunately for her presumed designs on my misery, I was actually there at the time and it didn’t bother me in the least. I knew the deal going in, and I hope I took it like a grown up. I don’t recall my daughter’s reaction at the time; it seems to me she was just mainly delighted to be there. EA goes on to opine that those who do hold such perks are “spoiled brats” endowed by their “parents’ inheritance” or their ability to “thrive off… minimum-wager[s.]”

Based on her broad sneers at “the rich,” correspondent TE expresses grave concerns about the ideological environment in which EA raises her children and wonders what this might portend for their future lives. This apparently makes him a “Neo-Nazi”, or likened thereto (EA), or at least “discourteous” per correspondent ML.

Gentle Gene scratches his head and ponders that one.

Correspondent EA goes on to warn us that without the protections of “Net Neutrality”, we face as much net access as North Koreans.
Correspondent GP warns that without government oversight, service providers will price us all out of the market. Correspondent RW points out that competition will work against such fantastic monopoly scenarios. GP steps up her objections to net freedom by citing examples of “corporate” insiders paying off legislators and regulators. I thank both EA and GP for their concessions in re state control and regulatory capture.
Correspondent BA wonders whether government should treat the net as a “public utility” and correspondent ML points out that the net was created by the government, and is therefore still the property of government and therefore in its proper sphere of control.

I’m willing to concede that FedGov got there first. But it is in the nature of techno-geeks that they’re going to play with their toys. Propelled by the twin advantages of plunder funding and suffocating regulations for the rest of us it is not a surprise that Leviathan wins again. So what? Since darpa-net, thousands of additional servers and millions of man-hours have been devoted to it and it has grown well beyond the nursery. More private hours and private resources have been devoted to develop what we know as the net today and what we may not yet imagine for the future than was initiated in Al Gore’s garage.

I’m even willing to concede that early growth took place over cable systems that were controlled by government enfranchised monopolies. Again, so what? Despite its corrupt origins it is still private property. Throughout history rights in real property have been created by homesteading and development and negotiation. To suggest that all the results belong to those who only planted the seed is to ignore the years of skull-sweat, tedium, and toil that went into our present good fortune. (That was also the excuse of the Ante Bellum slave-master and the East German border-guard.)

“Net Neutrality” was a cruel hoax that helped to solidify the positions of entrenched insiders (as all regulations do). It was a response to a problem that didn’t exist, and the horror stories that attended its demise will soon fade from memory.

update 171224:  I thought that was a fitting ending, above, but correspondent ML invites me to a more thorough discussion of the issues in a less vituperative environment, and challenges me to address “the disconnect”, though he declines to clarify what that might be.

I respond — Not to worry, after four decades and more of advocating peace, freedom, and personal sovereignty, I am well accustomed to being belittled, berated, and reviled. So far, my delicate little feelings seem to remain uninjured.
This latest crop of invective (spoiled, stupid, disingenuous, lacking empathy, magic, and Neo-Nazi) seems fairly tame. Well, okeh, I guess throwing “Neo-Nazi” was a little nasty, and so far has been neither recanted nor renounced. I’ll wait.
Meanwhile, Happy Xmas and Shalom!

update 171226:  For the record and to his credit, correspondent ML apologizes for “magic”, stands on “disingenuous” and attempts to mitigate EA’s “Neo-Nazi” remark with a weak “he started it” defense. Also for the record, I still love ML and EA, but so far only respect, admire, and enjoy TE (as we’re mostly strangers). Upon reflection, I think maybe TE believes now that he should have known better. Warning parents about the physical, moral, or ideological dangers they expose their children to rarely works out well. I believe his intentions were benign, and I expect that if he didn’t recognize the petit gaff himself, then Mrs Colonel Potter has clued him in.

Yeah, I support the troops. I’d rather not…

..but the alternative is prison.
There’s a big chunk of support taken out of my every paycheck, and it is long past tiresome.
I find it particularly annoying to still be supporting such filth as Robert Bales and Nidal Hassan. If it were all I ever had to pay again I’d cheerfully kick in for two last bullets.
Although you can recycle rope, so I shouldn’t be so hasty.

Organized Child Abuse

Leftie hysterics assured us that if President Trump were to install Betsy deVos as Secretary of Education that she would destroy public education in America. If only. Two years in and the nightmare of organized child abuse (a.k.a. “public education”) continues to terrorize and warp the minds of the helpless. Leftists can’t seem to keep their promises.

But let’s give Mrs deVos some credit. Her new educational tax credit plan would allow those of us who are presently sickened by our involuntary support for tyranny, murder, and graft to divert some of our stolen money from President Bushbama’s friends at Halliburton and Solyndra to help out Jean and the Kids at the Freedom School.

Let the shrieking commence.

The Old Red Con

The Old Red Con, the Green New Fail, and the Green Leap Forward are all too easy. They’re all good and they’re all apt, but Green Leap is best as it evokes Chairman Mao’s heroic efforts to centralize Chinese agriculture (modeled no doubt on Tovarishch Stalin’s Ukrainian Triumph) resulting in the deaths of tens of millions. In so doing, the Helmsman edged out Uncle Joe as America’s second favorite mass-murderer (“Honest” Abe stands second to none, even as his body count pales in comparison to such giants.)

What’s a Nine Digit Word for Rubbish?

The nine digit ZIP Code is utter nonsense.
The original proposal for the Zone Identification Postal Code had merit. With just five digits, potentially a hundred thousand discrete locations, you can get a letter or a package to the nearest post office.

For decades, on the outsides of my correspondence, I have put only my name (or usually just my initials), my street address, and the five digits. Never a problem. For a couple of months in 1976 or ‘77 I sent it out with addressees’ explicit city and state lacking, as those data are supposedly subsumed by the ZIP Code. But, because the Post Office employs human beings (who are idiots) they couldn’t figure out how to read their own allegedly superior system, yet they somehow managed to get it back to me, marked “undeliverable”.

Insofar as the USPS can’t be relied on to take itself seriously, and those extra four digits only allow for ten thousand locations within each Zone, it is clearly inadequate to the urban scene, and irrelevant to the rural.