10 Thoughts for 2016

By Mike Cronin

Instead of resolutions, I suggest these 10 thoughts for the New Year:

Regardless of your party preference or which side of the political spectrum you align with, remember that even the politicians you like are more concerned about getting elected (or re-elected) than they are about representing you or your interests. (props to Thomas Sowell)

Similarly, the mass media news outlets exist make profit.  They do so primarily by selling advertising air time. Keeping you hooked is the goal of their programming tactics: dramatic music, constant movement, urgent tones, “alerts,” scrolling updates, etc. None are necessary to impart information; they are hooks. Keeping you informed is less important than keeping you watching.

Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes popularized the idea that the Constitution is a “living document.” This notion suggests the founders meant for us to interpret their words in the context of our time, not their own.  In fact, the founders did recognize that times change and the Constitution must be adaptable to those changes.  They meant for us to be able to make those changes by the formal process of amending the Constitution.  Getting an amendment passed and ratified is very difficult – on purpose. But it is possible – that’s why there are currently 27 amendments.  It’s a good bet that any party, pressure group, or court that attempts to re-interpret the meaning of the founders words knows it could never see its agenda come to fruition though the amendment process. The Constitution is not a living document, but it is an amendable one!

Confiscatory taxation: When your neighbors and co-workers use the coercive power of government to steal money from you to pay for laws and programs you don’t want.

When you hear about waste in government spending, you are told about “pork” (e.g. ridiculous projects to study cow flatulence, install “modern art” to “beautify” some government facility, build arenas and bridges, or make payments to farmers not to grow food, etc.). Pork barrel spending is certainly wasteful, but I submit that when a politician says we need to cut waste, then offers pork projects as examples, he is attempting to distract us from the most egregious form of government waste: spending money we don’t have on entire government departments, agencies, bureaus, etc. that do not protect anyone’s rights (the only proper function of government) and thus have no legitimate reason to exist.

You cannot reason with a person who does not value logic. (Props to Sam Harris)

Now that women are allowed in every specialty in the armed forces, there have been calls to require women to register for the draft – in the name of equal rights and equal opportunity.  How about we discuss ending all draft registration and disbanding the Selective Service System instead?  The draft is a form of indentured servitude if not outright slavery. If equal rights are the motivation driving changes in military gender composition, then men should have the same right women currently enjoy: to not register for the draft and to not serve against their will!

One definition of a “license:” When the government takes away a bit of your freedom, then allows you to buy permission to do the thing you were once at liberty to do.

Presidential candidates will make all kinds of assertions and promises about what they will do for the economy or crime control or the environment – but, short of invasion or natural disaster, all he or she can legally do in those areas is make proposals, sign bills into law, and direct the executive branch. The president’s real power lies in foreign relations, not domestic ones.  This is why the Secretaries of State and Defense are more prominent than the Secretary of the Interior, for example.

Some people judge Congress by the number of laws it passes. This is absurd.  The more laws there are, the harder it becomes to be law-abiding, and the easier it becomes to inadvertently break the law.  Supposedly, ignorance of the law is not an excuse to break it – but no one can know all of the laws, because there are too many!