Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Tolerating government not a virtue

Tolerating government not a virtue

(My Clovis News Journal column for July 18, 2014)

Tolerance. It is sold to us as some sort of virtue when it's nothing of the sort. It's simply putting up with something, or someone, you hate.

I don't want or need any government, but how much could I tolerate?

I could tolerate a government which coordinates the construction and maintenance of roads, but not one which hires enforcers to patrol those roads, collecting money for government in the process.

I could tolerate a government which provides courts to intervene for victims facing their violators, but not one which makes up laws which run counter to Natural Law, and pretends government can be the victim.

I could tolerate a government which trains volunteers to defend from invaders; not one which sends invaders to other places around the world.

I could tolerate a government which offers services and products in competition with the free market; not one which enforces it's own monopolies in defense, postal services, justice, or "protection".

I could tolerate a government which draws lines on a map it calls "borders", designed to prevent other liberty-destroying governments from expanding their territory farther; not one which enforces those borders against travelers and migrants going either direction.

I could tolerate a government which doesn't penalize anyone for choosing to opt out of any of it's programs or services, at any time, for any reason; not one which forces people to pay for and use things they don't want and can't afford.

I could tolerate a government which coordinates, not one which enforces.

I could tolerate a government which billed me for services I voluntarily agreed to pay for, not one which taxes anyone for things they don't consent to- including any of the things on this list I could otherwise tolerate.

I could tolerate that sort of government, but I still wouldn't support it. Mainly because I don't need it, and I know you don't either.

Sure, once government has socialized some product or service it becomes difficult for most people to admit this isn't the only way it can be done. People stop being able to imagine better ways. Often, they deny any other way is even a possibility. This is flawed thinking; not reality.

One thing I could never tolerate is a government which metastasizes into a State. A State invariably becomes, by definition, all the things above which I couldn't tolerate. Tolerance can only be stretched so thin before it breaks.

All States, without exception, will eventually collapse because they all grow beyond those things which can be tolerated or sustained;, becoming top-heavy, fragile constructs. Stop being dependent now, to avoid the pain if the inevitable collapse happens in your lifetime.


Requesting donations- shameful or just annoying?

If you are one who doesn't enjoy reading posts about my personal finances, this post isn't for you. See ya tomorrow, I hope.

For anyone else...
Most of my life I have had "real jobs", even if they weren't high-paying jobs. There were good things and bad things about every single one of them- just as there are with this job. Probably the worst thing about this job- besides the pay- is the isolation. But, when I can, I get out and interact with people. (Money helps that, too.) The best thing? I love the emails of support I get, and the occasional in-person appreciation!

But, even my "real jobs" have not always gone smoothly, as far as bringing in the money.

Once I was working for a place which got into some financial trouble, due to some dishonesty from a relative of theirs. I didn't get a paycheck for at least 6 weeks, but I wasn't in dire need at the time, so I kept working without complaint, listening to the assurances that "soon" all my back hours would be paid. Finally I said I had to start getting some money, or I would need to find a different job, therefore I would only keep working if I got paid in cash at the end of the day. I hated mentioning it. So, that's what happened- and finally I started getting paid for the back wages, too. (I still got stiffed for one whole week of work- my claim was disputed, so perhaps I was wrong... but I was keeping up with what I was owed, and what I was being paid, pretty carefully).  If I hadn't asked for the money I was owed, I doubt I would have ever gotten it.

Well, the recent commenter who is "embarrassed for [me]" and my tin cup rattling obviously feels I either don't deserve to be paid for the writing I do (except, perhaps, for the newspaper column, which is only 1/7 of my writing), or that I am paid enough already. Or maybe that only certain work, under certain traditional conditions, deserves to be paid. And that is his perfectly valid opinion, so I can't dispute it. That doesn't guarantee I wouldn't end up asking for money, either, but I guess I wouldn't be bothering you (or him) about it.

I have some very generous subscribers and donors, and I can't begin to express how grateful I am for their support, but unless I mention a need I rarely get any "out of the blue" donations. And I really do need those extras to make ends get sorta close to meeting- or at least being in sight of one another.

So, why should I be ashamed to mention the need?

I have donated money to certain blogs/projects/people, myself- not as much as I would like to, and not usually when I am feeling the need to do some begging of my own (although I helped one person out in an emergency, which made me have to ask for donations afterward- but I would have helped her regardless of what happened to me in that case).

I have never been offended by others asking, even if I feel bad that I can't help. That's my problem, not theirs. The "job" landscape is changing, and it is still a bit chaotic and unsettled. And it may get worse before things settle into the new "normal".

I love William N. Grigg's "Pro Libertate" blog, and even though he ends every single post with a request for donations, and even though I don't believe I have ever donated a cent to him, his requests don't bother me at all. He is awesome and works for- and richly deserves- every penny he gets.

Recently Chris Muir's "Day by Day" comic strip ran a multi-week fund raiser where he requested a specific amount and kept beating the drum until he got it. And, once again, I didn't donate anything, but his request didn't strike me as crass or that he was asking for "money for nothing". He obviously works hard to produce his strip and I believe he should be rewarded for the work he does.

And, I could mention other examples, too.

Do I think I am as good or important as either of those examples? Heavens no! If you'd rather donate to them- or to no one- it's none of my business. But, if they can ask, why can't I? What makes me different? That I am not famous?

It does bother me to ask- sometimes a lot. Does it bother others to ask? I have no idea. But, often, asking is what makes a difference. In the past I would say I have usually gotten donations about half the times I make a request. And for that I thank you all.

But then, maybe I am not "good enough" to ask for donations. That would be a perfectly valid reason to object to my requests- if I seem to be saying I "deserve" something I don't. Only you can judge that.

I thought long and hard after feeling I had been scolded for asking for donations- on a post where I wasn't asking for donations, but running some product ideas past my readers. After that happened I considered making a commitment to myself to never ask again.

But, you know what? I have nothing to be ashamed of. I have never resented someone telling me they won't or can't donate to me. I have never tried to make anyone feel bad for not donating when they try to explain why they don't. I put a lot of work into this blog, and when I need money I ask, but if you don't want to donate, for any reason, don't. It doesn't bother me. You don't "owe" me anything. No explanations necessary.

If I ever get to the point where I am regularly getting at least $600 per month, total, I don't think you'd ever see another request for donations- unless some unusual crisis crops up. Until then, I hope you don't mind if I post the occasional reminder. If you do mind, I'm really sorry. I don't want to drive anyone away, and I hope the rest of my content is worth the occasional bleg you can just skip over without giving it a second thought. If it's not, it isn't your fault.

And, yeah, I could really use some donations right now.