Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Life is too short not to have fun

Life is too short not to have fun

(My Clovis News Journal column for February 14, 2014)

Libertarians usually enjoy a good joke at our own expense. The most amusing jokes are based on truth.

Q: Why did the libertarian chicken cross the road?
A: "None of your business. Am I being detained?"

In today's police state, this humorous response to an all-too-common occurrence lets us laugh at a serious, and growing, problem.

Then there are jokes which probably won't be understood as well by people unfamiliar with libertarians and their ideas:

Q: How many libertarians does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: "None. If the market wants that light bulb screwed in, it will happen on its own."

Of course, libertarians know "the market" is us. If we want the light bulb screwed in, we will either do it ourselves or pay someone else to do it. That is how it happens "on its own" rather than with someone throwing authority around and ordering it to be done.

Some humor is found in the common perception of libertarians, whether it's completely accurate or not:

Q: What is a libertarian salad?
A: "Lettuce alone!"

Personally, I like being with people as long as they aren't pushing me around, but the joke still made me smile.

Turnabout is fair play. The absurdity of both the War on Politically Incorrect Drugs and false authority create the humor in this popular tale:

A DEA officer stops at a ranch in Texas, and talks with an old rancher. He tells the rancher, “I need to inspect your ranch for illegally grown drugs.” The rancher says, pointing, “Okay, but don’t go in that field over there.”
The DEA officer explodes: "Mister, do you see this badge? I have the authority of the Federal Government with me. This badge means I am allowed to go wherever I wish--on anybody's land. No questions asked or answers given. Have I made myself clear?”
The rancher nods politely, apologizes, and goes about his chores.
A short time later, the rancher hears loud screams and sees the DEA officer running for his life, chased by the rancher’s big Santa Gertrudis bull.
With every step the bull is gaining ground on the officer, and it seems likely that he’ll get gored before he reaches safety. The officer is clearly terrified. The rancher throws down his tools, runs to the fence and yells at the top of his lungs: ”Your badge! Show him your BADGE!”

If only everyone recognized such authority for what it really is as well as that fictional bull.

Yes, I laugh at jokes directed at libertarians as well as those directed at our opposition. When you're on the right side, you have nothing to fear from jokes. Life is too short to not have fun.

Signs of freedom

I hang my head in shame and admit I have never shot a road sign. Never even felt tempted to.

Now, probably most people who do shoot road signs aren't doing it as an expression of liberty. They just see something that attracts their attention and shoot it. "Shiny objects", and all that.

Others, just perhaps, are expressing themselves when they perforate those ugly sheets of metal. For them, road signs are an affront; a stand-in for the people who enforce the "instructions" on the sign. It is freedom of expression- "free speech", supposedly protected from State interference by the First Amendment. In that case, shoot away! If it makes you happy (and you are aware of your backstop).

Road signs aren't private property. Their utter destruction, in most cases, wouldn't harm anyone. In fact, they should all (well, all but those which give directions to get from here to there) just be removed forever- and those which give needed information, replaced with signs placed there by the individual who owns the road, using his own money, after the socialist road system dies a well-deserved death. And shooting those individually owned signs would be wrong.

I recognize that destroying a road sign will cost "tax" money when it is (stupidly) replaced. I realize that if a sign gets shot up badly its message- whatever that may be- will not be communicated to travelers. And in the case of ignorant things such as "speed limits"- your ignorance of the "law" is no excuse, and some enforcer who is ignorant of the laws which should eliminate his "job" will still violate you for doing whatever the sign said not to do. But highwaymen have always been a danger for travelers. The solution remains the same.

So, to me, a road sign riddled with bullet holes is a symbol of freedom. If there ever comes a day when the signs have no bullet holes, it will be a clear sign that freedom and liberty have been lost.