Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Exercise vs. Coffee

I did something different this morning.  I skipped coffee and used an Elliptical trainer for 20 minutes instead.  This may be the beginning of something new.

Monday, May 17, 2010

The Mortgage Interest Deduction Trap

Every time I see news on Facebook/Twitter that my friends are experiencing complications from home ownership, I'm glad to be renting. What sucks about that though is that our tax code is rigged to push people into having a mortgage so that you can deduct from your taxes.  And if you think about it, this is completely unfair.

Why must renters subsidize individual home owners?  Yes, I said "subsidize".  Renters pay more taxes than Homeowners, which means we are paying for more government services than homeowners but getting NOTHING in return for that extra money.  Why?

What is the moral justification of such injustice?  What facts of reality make it right, proper, and good?  You may hear answers like "homeowners make better citizens" or some crap like that.  And if you buy into it, you are also accepting the full package of, "government is permitted to initiate force to compel you to be whatever kind of citizen they want, thus government is fit to determine behavior of any of its citizens, thus government may legislate morality (right and wrong, good and evil on an individual basis)".

And *poof*, there goes individual freedom.  This is America, godammit!  Your life is supposed to belong to you.  You aren't supposed to be born into unchosen commitments here.  You don't have to be your brothers keeper here.  That's the whole damn point.

Without the freedom to choose your commitments, there is no freedom.  Without the right to use your resources to act on your thoughts and speech, freedom is meaningless.  If the government can seize some or all of what you have earned by your productive work, then it's not your property and there is no such thing as property - only what the government gives you as a gift in exchange for your life and obedience.  Without the right to property, you can have no other rights at all.

Injustice like this needs to be stopped but before that, it needs to be recognized for what it is:  Government force against those whom have done no wrong, and thus, improper and immoral government action.

Want to learn about a moral government system?
Man's Rights by Ayn Rand

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The South Park Controversy, Revisited

I have had cause to reconsider my position on whether or not to draw.  Ed Cline wrote on the topic of self-censorship. He writes:

As evil as government-enforced censorship is, self-censorship is arguably a worse evil. It means that a government bureau needn’t threaten you with punishment if you refuse to wear its gag; you volunteer to fix the tape over your mouth (or your mind) yourself.

Cline continues:

Islam... sanctions gagging, by lawsuits, by intimidation, or by direct force. And while most Muslims wouldn’t think of sticking machetes into Trey Parker or Matt Stone, they remain silent, for their creed forbids them, under pain of a similar fate, to object to that form of jihad, or because they agree with permanently silencing the blasphemers. Whether out of fear or agreement, silence is a sanction.

To say the least, I have found my reluctance to draw a cartoon somewhat disquieting and I have spent a good bit of time considering the question. You could say that I have already spoken out against violence in my previous piece. But I do not hold out a lot of hope that, as a culture, our sanction of such deep irrationality will stop.

I cherish my life and the freedom of my mind, on which that life fully depends.  And so, I cannot abide such threats to any person for their expressions of free speech, no matter how sophomoric.  This is my protest.  And so, I present to you my cartoon featuring the Prophet Mick-hammed:

I think the beliefs of Islam are ridiculous.  In the same way that I think the beliefs of Christianity are.  It is patently absurd to believe that anyone is a prophet for some god for which you have no evidence of existence.  You might as well believe that Mikey Mouse is a prophet.

My only solace is that most of the Christians and the Muslims that I know hold mixed premises and can be very rational and sometimes incredible friends with strikingly egoistic senses of life.  To my dear friends who hold religious views, please know that I do not denigrate you. But I also don't agree with everything about you.

(FYI - For my caption, I adulterated a line from an Indiana Jones movie.)

So ends my own bout with self-censorship.