Where Were You the Day Oswald Was Framed?

I know that was a loaded question, but bear with me.  Do you believe the official story?  Or are you one of those conspiracy theorists?  Neither one sounds very good does it?  Did Oswald act alone, or was he framed altogether by one of myriad powerful cabals?  I frankly have no idea who shot Kennedy.  My only knowledge of the JFK assassination comes from the Oliver Stone film and a couple of History channel documentaries.  Given that it is Oliver Stone after all and given the ubiquity of Ancient Aliens, I'm not sure either of my two sources are reliable.  I do consider myself a skeptic, which puts me in the official story camp.  But, I am also a libertarian with a strong distrust of government, aligning me with many of the conspiracy theorists.  So I clearly don't know what happened that day, and I am comfortable never knowing.  What I do know is that conspiracies, while difficult to execute and keep secret, happen every day.  Look at 911, that was a relatively large conspiracy.  On the other hand there are a ton of crazy theories out there that are given the general blanket of "conspiracy".  But I think attacking something as a conspiracy theory is kind of a cop out.  To me, there are theories for which there is strong evidence, and theories for which there is not strong evidence.  We do not need further distinction.

Physical Rhetoric and the Non Aggression Principle

The Non Aggression Principle, LibertarianismI was telling a friend last night about the Non Aggression Principle.
I said, "I don't think there is a moral basis for any government institution as it currently exists or has ever existed to the best of my knowledge.  I believe this because there is always an explicit or implicit initiation of force as the basis of every government action.  It is that initiation of force that I find morally repugnant."

"How did you come to the conclusion that the initiation of force is wrong?" He asked.

"It is not a conclusion.  I hold it as axiomatically true."

"Oh, well in that case we are going to have to agree to disagree."  He replied.

"Oh, so you won't mind if I ..."

It was then, mid sentence, that I socked him right in the gut.  I didn't do it too hard, just enough to prove a point.  It turns out he agreed with me all along.

A Simple Life Lesson

It seems to me that the single most common mistake people make, especially in their youth, is to assume that anyone knows what they are talking about.  This is an unreliable assumption regardless of the person's social status, academic title, professional training or other credentials.  Most people are faking it; the rest don't know that they are.

Upstart - A New Approach to Funding Education

A few months ago (it feels like years for some reason), I wrote about a novel idea I had to change the way education is funded.  I still have not fully developed the concept, but basically, instead of paying tuition the student would agree to pay back to the educator a certain percentage of future income.  This morning, I read in Reason Magazine about a similar approach that is being applied on the loan side of the equation.  Instead of getting a risky loan from the government or some other institution, a student would enter into a contract to pay back a percentage of future income to their benefactor.  This bolts on to our current system much more readily than my idea.  Good luck and God speed to them!

Oh and to those who said it was foolish... well... you know what to do...

State of Pennsylvania Voter ID Request Advertising Campaign

So, in upcoming elections the state of Pennsylvania is going to ask voters to show their ID when they come to the booths on election day.  Voters will not be required to show ID - it is entirely optional.  Ok, big, fat, hairy deal right?  Wrong!  The state has seen it necessary to spend tax dollars on an ad campaign, which runs constantly on local television, letting us know that we will be asked but not required to show ID on election day!  Geniuses, I think I could have dealt with this optional program on the fly, with no prior notice.  I do not need to be mentally prepared to be asked to show ID on a voluntary basis.  I really cannot decide what the worst part about this is.  Is it that I am constantly annoyed by these useless advertisements?  Or, is it that I have been forced to give money to the state so that they can tell me that, if I choose to show up on election day, someone might - gasp - ask politely to see my ID.
State of PA Voter ID Commercial
State of PA Voter ID Commercial

Saturday Morning Spooner - Part 3

Lysander Spooner from “No Treason — No. II. The Constitution.”
The Constitution certainly supposes that the crime of treason can be committed only by man, as an individual. It would be very curious to see a man indicted, convicted, or hanged, otherwise than as an individual; or accused of having committed his treason otherwise than as an individual. And yet it is clearly impossible that any one can be personally guilty of treason, can be a traitor in fact, unless he, as an individual, has in some way voluntarily pledged his faith and fidelity to the government. Certainly no man, or body of men, could pledge it for him, without his consent; and no man, or body of men, have any right to presume it against him, when he has not pledged it himself.
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