Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Tempering our tolerance...

   We have a two and a half year old grandson that doesn’t have a lot of tolerance for his six month old sister. I don’t suppose that’s an unusual situation, and we’re convinced he will warm up to her presence eventually. I probably wasn’t as tolerant of my younger siblings as I should or could have been in my younger days. That’s why I’m not convinced tolerance is something we are born with. I think it has to be taught and learned.
  I grew up with seven brothers and sisters, so the tolerance we didn’t learn for each other on our own, we were taught out of necessity by our parents. I also learned a lot about tolerance from my parents when my old buddy Stinky Wilmont would come over to our house for a visit. Stinky quite often behaved outside of the accepted social norms that Mom and Dad had established for the immediate family, but my parents seemed to tolerate worse behavior from him than they would from us. I figured out later that sometimes toleration is influenced by expectations. I guess Mom expected better behavior out of her offspring, so she tolerated less bad behavior.

  You never know where or when tolerance is going to show up or run out. Sometimes we seem to be more tolerant of questionable behavior from people we don’t know than we are of those we know. I imagine most parents at some time have said “I’d never tolerate that from my kids!” upon witnessing something outrageous from somebody else’s child, but in reality I think most of us are more tolerant and forgiving of family, even when they don’t live up to our expectations.

  Being of the Libertarian persuasion, I tend to be more tolerant of other people’s social behavior than perhaps some of my Republican and Democratic cohorts might be. I don’t see the need for a lot of laws regulating peaceful interaction and dealings between consenting adults. That’s not to say that I approve of all of their peaceful interactions and dealings. It just means as long as they are not forcing their opinions and actions on anybody else, I can tolerate it.

  While we Libertarians are more tolerant of people and their choices, the other parties have a leg up on us when it comes to being more tolerant of government. Republicans and Democrats add about 40,000 new laws and government regulations each year to the two million or so that are already on the books.

  Generally speaking, Republicans are usually more tolerant of new laws and regulations that are passed when they are in control, than they are of the new laws and regulations that are passed when the Democrats are in control. And generally speaking, Democrats feel the same way. Of course, once a new law, regulation, or program gets on the books, both parties seem to get more tolerant about it. Generally speaking, of course.

  Our nation is currently involved in a discussion as to whether the President of the United States has the power to execute an American citizen without formal charges, without a trial, and without any public justification. The President and his aides claim that he does. And since the President is a Democrat, the other Democrats seem to be tolerant of White House position on the matter. Again, generally speaking. I suppose the Republicans’ tolerance on the issue stems from their belief that they will regain the White House someday, and retain the same power.

  As a Libertarian, it makes me wonder if there is anything the government could do that they wouldn’t tolerate.

Take that...

  I read today that the Indiana Legislature is looking at drug testing welfare recipients before they give them "their" benefits. It's been done in other states, usually with Republicans arguing that it needs to be done to ensure that the recipients aren't misusing the money, and Democrats arguing that it violates the recipients rights and ultimately costs the state more than it saves.

  I wouldn't argue either point, because neither point addresses the real issue.

  Both sides assume that somebody has a pre-existing claim to your money. They don't. I should decide on who qualifies to be the recipient of my charity, just as you should decide who qualifies to be the recipient of yours.

  I admit I would probably be a little hesitant to give assistance to someone who continually makes crappy decisions, but that's my choice. It shouldn't be the governments.

Either way.

Friday, February 15, 2013

License to steal...

  I've never tried to hide the fact that I want a lot less government than we have currently. Sometimes it needs to be reduced because it is too expensive, and sometimes it needs to be reduced because it is too intrusive. Sometimes it needs to be reduced because it is both.

  I've never been a fan of government licensing. I figure I ought to be able decide who I want to cut what's left of my hair, or serve me a beer if I ever decide to drink a beer, without that person having to get permission from the government first.

  I'll probably pay a little more attention to the credentials of a lawyer or a doctor should I ever require the services of either, but beyond those credentials, I put a lot more stock in past performance and customer satisfaction than I do in a government issued license.

  I'm sure there are people out there who would feel better if the people they hire have a government license of some kind, and if they choose to make that a requirement before hiring that person, I'd have to say go for it. But I also think anybody that wants to hire another person to perform a service based solely upon their own research and observations should be able to do that too.

  I heard on the radio yesterday that Illinois was considering raising the licensing fee for doctors from $300.00 to $700.00.

  They claim they need the money so that they can hire more people to issue licenses.

  It's a vicious circle.

Saturday, February 02, 2013

If I had a hammer....

  I remember one particular recess back at Millville Grade School, when my old buddy Stinky Wilmont asked to borrow my new Louisville Slugger bat so that he could practice his swing. Unbeknownst to me, he was practicing out in the driveway in front of the schoolhouse, hitting rocks over the road and into Orbin White’s hay field. Now, I’m not sure what tool should be used to hit rocks over the road, but when Stinky handed my bat back to me full of dents, dings and missing sections of wood, I was pretty sure you shouldn’t use a Louisville Slugger, especially my new one.

  I’ve been a carpenter for over 40 years, and I’ve seen a lot of people misuse a lot of tools in that amount of time. Screwdrivers as chisels, levels as hammers, hammers as screwdrivers, and screwdrivers as hammers. Usually it’s none of my business, and I try not to let it bother me, unless it is my tools that they are misusing. Then I’m apt to say something.

  I feel the same way about money. I see a lot of people using money on things I don’t think they should be using it on, but as long as it’s not my money, I generally keep my opinions to myself. Truth be known, I probably use money for things that other people think I shouldn’t be using it for, but as long as we all agree to mind our own business, and don’t use somebody else’s money, it doesn’t seem to cause too much of a problem.

  I saw the other day that there is a bill moving through the Indiana Senate that proposes a new tax on vehicles, supposedly to raise revenue to build and repair the roads. Like most people, I understand that roads cost money, and like most people (although I suspect the percentage is getting smaller), I expect to pay for the roads if I intend to use them. We currently pay 18 cents on every gallon of gas we buy for the Indiana Gas Tax, along with 18 cents for Federal Gas Tax, about 25 cents in sales tax, and a few other taxes that get tacked on as the gas travels from the oil wells to our gas tanks.

  That’s a lot of money over the state and over time, but like I said, we all know that roads cost money. A lot of money. The problem comes when they take our money for the roads and then use it for something else. Out of the 18 cents per gallon that the state takes for the Indiana Gas Tax, less than 13 cents is spent on the roads. The rest is scattered about on other programs and projects, from the Criminal Justice Institute, to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, to the State Police.

  I don’t know if Indiana collects enough revenue through road use taxes to adequately maintain the roads. I do know that before we adopt another vehicle tax, or wheel tax, or excise tax, they need to make sure all of the money we are already paying is used on the roads. If they do that, and find out that it still isn’t enough, then we can talk.

  And if my Grandson Dawson asks to take my toothbrush to the sandbox again, we’re going to talk about that, too.