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Free Beer in Slabobia!

beer-introIn the alternate country of Slabobia, suppose I have this great idea for helping the poor: free beer. It’s delicious, high in calories, and gone should be the days when self-respecting Slabobians had to beg for their beer. So I contact my senator, who likes the idea, and, lo and behold, a bill gets passed providing free beer for everyone beneath a certain annual income. The streets are alive with drunken celebrations, and living in Slabobia has never been better (provided you’re making less than the certain income). Meanwhile people above the certain income start to feel jealous, especially those who are teetering on the line. They realize that, when comes December, if they were to just turn down that seasonal job, they’d more than make up for the difference with free beer. Plus they’d get a whole extra month of vacation!

So annual incomes drop, demand for seasonal jobs increases, alcoholism reaches an all-time high, drunken fistfights are everywhere, and the tax-payers’ completely fruitless expenditure on beer is tanking the economy. Free beer, it turns out, was a bad idea. So I call up my senator and ask him to try to repeal the act, but he responds, “No can do. The Free Beer Act guarantees millions of votes for me and my party.”

While it was an honest mistake, everyone knows that bureaucracy never dies, so rather than griping about the past, I’m just going to pick my battles and move on. Beer, I realize, was not a need. What the poor need is good, nutritious food. So I call my senator, who likes the idea, and once again, lo and behold, a bill gets passed providing free, healthy food for all Slabobians beneath a certain income level. By taking their vouchers to grocery stores, the poor are entitled to all the spinach, celery, and rutabagas they could ever want.

The only problem is that no one actually wants spinach, celery, and rutabagas, and when the grocery stores realize this, they also realize that they’re missing out on some serious revenue from government reimbursements, so they collaborate with local manufacturers to invent three new products that will technically meet the governmental standards: spinach ice cream, deep-fried celery chips, and rutabaga beer.

The products are a huge success, so much so that obesity among the poor reaches an all-time high. On the up side, this means there’s a major spike in the health industry, but on the downside, because these are the poor we’re helping, none of them actually pay for their services, so once again the economy is tanking.

My benevolent idea, it turns out, resulted in some unintended consequences. Perhaps it was due to loopholes in the text, and the senators should have hired better lawyers. Regardless, because passing a new bill is so much easier than repealing an old one, I decide it’s time to look at the bigger picture in determining what the root causes of poverty are. I decide that everyone, not just the poor, should have free health care and free college educations. So I call up my senator, and once again he likes the idea, and lo and behold, a bill is passed providing exactly what I wanted.

Though the lines get long … really long … everyone gets the primary care they need. Because of the government’s increased bargaining power (they’re flipping the bill for everyone, after all), they can get the lowest bids from medical professionals, so our taxes only rise by a bout 400%. The down side is that half of the doctors in Slabobia are no longer able to pay their bills, so they move off shore, and many of the high-tech medical developments and pharmaceutical research firms are dissolved due to limited funding, but that’s okay, because there’s all those other countries (like the U.S.) that haven’t turned socialist yet. At least they’re still producing good stuff.

And hey, free college! Now that everyone’s got a fraternity or a sorority to join, and the minimum university class size is in the hundreds, campus life has never been more packed with parties and free from education. Of course, we’ve effectively inflated the education system, making the high school diploma beyond worthless and the bachelors degree a prerequisite for flipping burgers, but at least everyone now has the chance to flip burgers. But then there’s the other down side: now that it takes seventeen years of education to qualify for burger flipping, young adults aren’t expected to move out of their parents’ basements until well into their thirties, an unpleasant reality that leads to an even faster halting of the Slabobian population growth. With fewer and fewer people to pay into a welfare state that doesn’t pay back, the economy is once again tanking, and the general quality of life is looking dismal.

For a moment I wonder if government intervention could have had something to do with Slabobia’s problems. I decide that it has. So I call up my senator with a great new idea for a social program to help people who has suffered from the effects of government intervention. And until that bill gets passed, at least there’s still free beer.

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Socialism, Capitalism, and Parenting … What I’ve Learned

monopoly-manIf ever you’re in question of whether capitalism or socialism is the better system, I suggest the following experiments:

Experiment 1

  1. Have lots of babies; the more the better.
  2. Wait a few years.
  3. Tell your children to clean their room.
  4. When, instead of cleaning their room, they lie on the floor, pout, and procrastinate for endless hours, motivate them by offering a guaranteed and fixed allowance, your generous and non-discriminatory compensation for the working class, for which they, of course, should be grateful.
  5. When, after they receive their allowance, they continue to lie around and do nothing, motivate them with speeches about the good of the family and the evil of the individual. Promise them more and bigger benefits of which they’re fully entitled to solely on behalf of their births, and urge them to zealously give back to the welfare family.
  6. When, after receiving said perks, they continue to lie around and do nothing, and you realize that your house is sinking into a bog of chaos, it’s time to administer some good, old-fashioned discipline. So as to prevent them from predicting patterns, inconsistently switch between guilt-inducing talks, vociferous shouting, and endless varieties of chore charts. Of course, all the while continue to pay them their allowance, of which they’re fully entitled to in your enlightened, egalitarian household.
  7. When you grow exhausted of policing your children and discover that your tactics have only made their behavior worse, still continue to pay them their allowance, buy them whatever they demand at the grocery store, and show your kind-hearted benevolence by letting them essentially rule your household, because after all, the working class should have the say. Accept that they will grow up to be brats and propagate the abuse cycle.

Experiment 2

  1. Complete steps 1 – 3 of Experiment 1.
  2. When your children don’t clean their room, don’t pay them.
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Utahans Are Stupid and Dumb – A Revolutionary Rant in Which I Expose Both the Stupidness and Dumbness of Utahans (who aren’t me)

The facts are in. The debate is over. Utahans are both stupid and dumb. Unlike everyone else (trust me, I’m an expert on everyone else), Utahans live in a bubble of ignorance, completely unaware of the REAL world (which, if you haven’t heard, is everywhere but Utah).

Point Number One: Utahans are bad drivers. Have you ever been cut off on the high way by a guy in a Ford truck with a menacing look on his face? Yeah … Utahan. Despite the fact that studies like this report Utahans as being among the best drivers in the nation, numbers have been known to lie. And it’s not like people in other states accuse their own cultures of producing bad drivers. This is clearly just a Utah phenomenon.

Point Number Two: Utahans are ignorant. We all know that Utahans don’t think for themselves but act as drones beneath the tyranny of their religious leaders. Nevermind the fact that putting one’s faith in the wisdom of others is in itself a cognitive exercise. Utahans are clearly the only people in the world … excuse me, the not-real-world … who do this.

True, according to Wikipedia (which obviously can’t be trusted), Utah ranks among the top 10 states for percentage of high school diplomas attained and is above the national average for attained bachelor and advanced degrees. True, as reported by The US Department of Labor, Utah ranks among the top 10 states for lowest unemployment rates (though it doesn’t take great minds to get real jobs). True, America’s Health Rankings reports Utah as among the top 10 most healthy states (big deal; all sorts of intelligent people have unintelligent diets). True, as reported in this study on a respectably progressive website (which could have been manipulated by conservative hackers), Utah has among the nation’s lowest teenage pregnancy rates and is one of the few states that mandates both sex education and medically accurate information. But all of these statistics are beside the point. I’m talking about that certain annoyingness in the way Utahans express themselves, that attitude that says, “I’ve been brainwashed” (unlike us non-brainwashed people).

Point Number Three: Utahans are counterprogressive. Utah has always voted Republican, which, by definition, makes Utahans heartless, money-hoarding, misogynistic, white-supremacists. It’s as if they somehow question the de facto benevolence of big government and the all-American values of Marxism. Despite the fact that CNN Money reports Utah as the #1 most charitable state (by far), there’s something egotistical about people who insist on voluntarily giving their money to others instead of letting the government do so for them (while taking its fair share). Despite the fact that Utah was the second state to grant women’s suffrage, the state’s sexist mentality that women have some innate biological preference toward motherhood over a business career is unacceptable.

Despite the fact that reports Utah as among the top 5 safest states, who in their right mind would support the 2nd Amendment, as if defending one’s self inspired a greater sense of safety than the protection of the NSA?  Despite the fact that the Wall Street Journal reports Utah as having the overall lowest health care costs in the nation, what kind of heartless monsters would oppose a government takeover of the healthcare industry, as if a free market that inspires competition and innovation could somehow produce better results and lower costs than a single monopoly with fixed prices? Despite the fact that lists Utah as among the top 5 best states for starting a business, innovation, self-reliance, and problem-solving are poor substitutes for a humble and altruistic reliance on government assistance.

Point Number Four: Utahans are bigoted. Despite the fact that reports Utah as the least neurotic and “most agreeable place in the country“, everyone knows that Utahans are intolerant of people who are different. What kind of ignoramuses would cling to their own world views and traditional values over the latest consensus of morality? Clearly such thinking is a product of hate. It’s as if Utahans, in their political and social uniformity, think unity is somehow a greater value than diversity. True, also reports the Provo-Orem area as the overall happiest area in the United States, but happiness is no substitute for social justice.

I mean, what kind of close-minded jerks sum up entire groups of people by stereotypes?

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Thoughts on the States Petitioning to Secede from the Federal Government

I spent enough time crafting this response for a Facebook discussion, I’m counting it as my journal entry for today:

Well, I completed my assignment and read that very long article ( It was actually really good, outlining the genius of the constitution, the haphazard conditions in which it was passed (reminding me of today’s climate), its principles of limited government, and our responsibilities as citizens of morality and civic duty in order to maintain a limited government. I didn’t, however, find anything to suggest a need for a constitutional overhaul other than an admittance that it’s an imperfect document, to which I agree. I could readily list a bunch of improvements I’d like to make to the constitution. The problem is, often those who are the most passionate about “revising” the constitution wish to make it more like the Communist Manifesto, to which I add this quotation:

“And that is what the Constitution is all about – providing freedom from abuse by those in authority. Anyone who says the American Constitution is obsolete just because social and economic conditions have changed does not understand the real genius of the Constitution. It was designed to control something which has not changed and will not change – namely human nature” (The 5000 Year Leap)

First, the debate is to whether or not the federal government has strayed far enough from the constitution to justify action against it. I hold that it has. Consider this quote from the article, outlining the bill of rights, which grants us, “the freedoms of speech and press, the right to be secure against unreasonable searches and seizures, the requirements that there must be probable cause for an arrest and that accused persons must have a speedy and public trial by an impartial jury, and the guarantee that a person will not be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law.” Now consider federal acts such as the Patriot Act and the NDAA. Did you know that the federal government is building a massive data center in Utah for the purpose of breaking transmissional encryptions? There’s no saying the extent of the surveilance anyone and everyone could be under.

Second, the debate is to whether or not the states rallying against the federal government is a good approach. I know of no better approach than starting with petitions. Consider this quotation from the article: “In a day when it is fashionable to assume that the government has the power and means to right every wrong, we should remember that the U.S. Constitution limits the national government to the exercise of powers expressly granted to it. The Tenth Amendment provides: ‘The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited to it by the States, are reserved to the States respectively or to the people.'” We have the power, right, and constitutional provision to defend and maintain the rights that the federal govrnment has tried to usurp from state governments.

Fourth, as to religion, I was hesitant to bring it up (1) because there are non-LDS people in this thread. (I’ve directed my recent comments to you because you’re my Man Brother, and I know you won’t be offended by debate.) (2) I still hold that the religious quotations have been vague. You wrote, “What is vague about ‘this is now a time for Americans to come together’ or about ‘We invite Americans everywhere, whatever their political persuasion, to pray for the President, for his administration and the new Congress as they lead us through difficult and turbulent times.'” Do you really think this is an admonition of the First Presidency for all Americans to abandon their political principles and accept whatever comes their way in the name of democracy? I could quote all sorts of church literature about the ncesessity of defending the constitution and opposing corruption in the name of civic duty. I see the thousands of people signing petitions in all fifty states as an act of “coming together”. We should absolutely pray that the president and the administration should make the right choices, but ultimately, the people of this nation are soveirgn, not the president, and we don’t have to accept whatever is forced upon us through “legal” channels.

I was hesitant to cite religion because it’s not going to get us anywhere in a public debate. In the Civil War, both the North and the South extensively quoted the same bible to arrive and dramatically different conclusions. In our last General Conference, I remember one of the apostles stating that while the church is officially neutral in politics, it will, from time to time, take stances on moral issues. Is this really the case here? There seems to be a consensus that God is against this modern issue, but is not that the definion of “taking the Lord’s name in vain”? As for me personally, I never inferred that religion is not the primary basis for all of my thoughts and opinions, including political.

But in response to your quotation from Mosiah 29, here’s some Heleman 5: “For as their laws and their governments were established by the voice of the people, and they who chose evil were more numerous than they who chose good, therefore they were ripening for destruction, for the laws had become corrupted.” What should the Nephites have done in that situation? Gone with the democratic flow?

You can have the last word. I’m ready to respectfully bail out. It’s been a pleasure and a good learning experience.

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The subject of politics – banana eyes

On the subject of politics, I adore this quote by Heber J. Grant:

“I regret exceedingly that in political controversies men seem to lack that courtesy and that respect for their opponents that I believe all Latter-day Saints ought to have. I have never yet hear

d a Democrat make a political speech that I felt was fair to the Republicans. Being a Democrat, I shall not say anything about what I think of the speeches of Republicans regarding Democrats…From my own personal contact with dear and near friends, Republicans and Democrats, I have not been able to discover the exercise of what you might call charity, if you like, for the opinions of others who oppose them politically; at least not as much charity as should exist among our people.”
On a more serious note, tonight my brother Eric came over, and we dared ourselves to put banana chunks in our eye sockets, and go to neighbor’s houses saying, “Hi, I have banana eyes,” using silly voices. Teresa was very much against this to the point of hiding the bananas. I succeeded in stealing a banana, however, and Eric and I went in spite of Teresa’s threatenings and rash avowals. When we got to the neighbor’s house, and it was almost 10:00 PM, I’m proud to say that Eric chickened out first. In retrospect, it’s probably best that we didn’t do it. Teenagers pulling pranks like that is cute, but 29 year old guys could give people nightmares.
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State of the Union Address = stink

Ah, the State of the Union Address, very possibly the most obnoxious event ever fabricated by man, the pinnacle of political theater, the crux of patriotic mumbo jumbo, the crowd mentality at its worst, the epitome of empty rhetoric, the festival of demagoguery. I am of the opinion that Jesus, who publicly denounced the hypocrites of his time and all their pomp would say boo to the whole affair. “Your actions speak so loud, I can’t hear what you’re saying” (Ralph Waldo Emerson). What if these ridiculous events were more like General Conference? Cut the relentless applause, cut all the facades, and tell the people what they need to hear instead of what’s calculated to win the best PR. That’s the world I want to live in.

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Decline of a once great nation

I have nothing great to say for today, but my brother Mike did, so I’m posting a rant he sent me:

Since the Patriot act, the executive branch has been immune from public scrutiny. The executive branch has been trying for 200 years to find a word that would allow them to bypass the courts. They failed with “witch”, “Mormon”, “communist”, and “hacker”, but finally succeeded with “terrorist”. Now they can prosecute without a trial in the name of national security, and can legally gag anyone who tries to expose them for it. We have no idea to what extent they abuse this power. Politics is no longer a viable solution because this magic word allows them to bypass all checks and balances in the government. Even law-makers are unaware of what they are doing because they are exempt from ever disclosing it.

The very day the Patriot act passed, all these other infringements on personal liberties were inevitable, and greater infringements yet remain inevitable while it remains law. It does no good to point a finger at the executive branch and call them “evil”. They’re just doing their job. It is we, inhabitants of “the home of the brave”, who handed over our liberties so they would protect us from “terrorists”.

In our moment of panic, we headed down a one-way path that we are certain to regret. We will not retake those liberties without bloodshed. Yet, even that will not happen in the near future. The spirit of rebellion is all-but-dead among the spoiled children of the wealthy generations that followed the rebels of moral integrity who made this nation great. Modern-day Americans think they cannot live without paying $30/month for a cell-phone contract with a company that will stab them in the back at the first opportunity. They won’t even stop posting personal information on social networks. This generation deserves what it’s getting, and it deserves the greater humiliations that are yet to come.

There was a time when supporting the United States of America was implicitly supporting the good of the world. Those days are gone. When this empire falls, it will be a plague to the world as it tries to prop up its glory days at everyone else’s expense. Consider these signs that its demise has already begun: A fallen empire believes it has a right to greatness based on its blood lines. Copyright trolls now range over the whole earth claiming that everyone owes them rent for work they did years ago. The nation is in a tizzy about locking down our borders and ensuring that only natural-born-citizens receive of the bounty of this nation. We have protestors in every state representing the 99% of people with no economically-viable skills claiming that they deserve a comfortable life and a big salary too, and that the nation must provide it. The last act of any tyrant is to rob the treasury. Congress is inflating our currency, effectively taking money right out of our bank accounts, and using it to “bail-out” its friends. The nation is unjustifiably deep in debt, and continues to argue about whether or not it has an obligation to pay it off. It continues to make new promises that it cannot afford, even while it accuses people who paid social security taxes their whole lives of pulling down the nation with their attitude of “entitlement” for the benefits they purchased. While tetering on the brink of financial disaster, it behaves as though it has billions in excess to throw at these problem, and to fund wars with no justifiable basis.

Pledging allegiance to this centralized force of corruption is no longer an affirmation of support for freedom or bravery. Pledge your allegiance to something worthy of it–perhaps liberty itself–and prepare for the pending fight against the great power that will battle against liberty in the future

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God's Political Affiliation

You know those bumper stickers that liberal Mormons slap on the back of their cars that say “God isn’t a Republican?” Well, judging by What God himself has to say on the matter, they’re probably right:

6 Therefore, I, the Lord, justify you, and your brethren of my church, in befriending that law which is the constitutional law of the land;

7 And as pertaining to law of man, whatsoever is more or less than this, cometh of evil (D&C 98:6 – 7).

I’d say he’s more of a Libertarian. Betcha he’d vote for Ron Paul.

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Money corrupts

I’ve been thinking about the digressing state of our nation and the fingers of blame that are pointed from both sides of the aisle. One side argues that money corrupts. It corrupts those in power, such as the heads of corporations. These twisted fat cats selfishly hoard our nation’s resources, abusing the poor. The other side also argues that money corrupts. They also argue that it corrupts those in power. It corrupts government officials and bureaucracies who are swayed by lobbyists. Its cushy and powerful nature promotes a focus on immediate “needs” and wants, inspiring reckless spending and delaying of inevitable consequences. Maybe both sides are onto something. Maybe money corrupts. Maybe it corrupts everyone, not just the rich and powerful.

Could poor people possibly be corrupted by money? When there’s a financial incentive, could a desperate person be inclined to do something he wouldn’t otherwise do? Could a poor person who’s simply given money possibly be corrupted by reaping what he hasn’t sewn? And if everyone’s just inclined to be corrupted by money, could there not possibly be something also corrupt in a corrupt government official taking money from a corrupt corporate executive, and giving it to a corrupt poor person?

What if it was utterly corrupt for anyone, in any position, to declare any stewardship over anyone’s money but his own? And if the masses followed this principle, where would our nation be?