Socialism is a system where government uses force to tell people what decisions they can and cannot make. There may be degrees of freedom within different socialist systems, just as a prisoner may be treated better or worse by different wardens, but if you are not free, you are not free.
Capitalism is an economic system that allows people to make choices free from government intervention. All government intervention is backed by the threat of violence — if it were not, it would not be a government policy, but rather a voluntary recommendation, or a rule of a voluntary association. The fact that one cannot avoid taxation and obedience to a government without physical consequences proves that it is not a voluntary institution, but rather one backed by force.
— The kind of stuff I get sent when I argue with libertarians
My sister called from Colorado and said a bobcat was drinking from the small fountain in their back yard. We'd seen it before, but not since the news that someone in the area may be trapping them. In April, two cats showing signs of being caught in a leg hold trap were found about mile from our place.
So it's a good sign to see this one still roaming.
I spent most of the last two days away from the computer, biking, reading a book under a tree, giving blood, attending a board meeting, having lunch with a friend, watching the Twins and cleaning up the errand bike for painting. It was so rusty after multiple winters that I didn't bother to lock it. It had been neglected for far too long and was on a seemingly irrevocable downhill slide.
Come to think of it, all those other things had been neglected, too, and that's not the entire list.
Lately, I've been sparring with libertarians over how the Collectivist State is determined to squeeze the juice out of us, drink it all up and then make us watch as the bureaucrats piss it down the drain. This seems to me a peculiar way to go through life in the most free country in the world, give or take — being annoyed that you aren't freer, and believing that the likes of Citibank and Exxon would call a better tune because they don't have police powers.
Peculiar, too, that the folks who pine for such freedom seem to miss that when government guns have literally been trained on its citizens, capitalist interests were most likely to have been what was being defended. If instead of police power, we get the Pinkertons and Blackwater to enforce contracts, collect credit card bills and keep protesters away from the oil spills, I'm sure it will be a big improvement.
Meanwhile, a sort of morally based, voluntary system will educate kids, dispense charity and keep bicyclists off the toll roads. They've already got tribalism in the Middle East, so I don't know why we're still trying to bring them this shitty democracy thing that only ends with higher taxes and bureaucrats telling you to put a muffler on your ATV.
The Founding Fathers would've saved everyone a lot of grief, if on the first day of the Continental Congress, they'd just declared "Go shopping" and adjourned forever.
I'm not looking for a philosophical discussion right now. I'm not even trying to be coherent. Instead, I feel like rubbing some more rust off some spokes and getting ready to put the pieces of an old bike back together. Then I'll have another nothing-and-tonic and imagine a bobcat may be sneaking through our ravine right about now if it hasn't met an angry man looking to feel free.