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Friday, April 28, 2017

The absurdity of bashing all Millennials

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:00 AM (#)

I saw an article recently describing how Millennials view something or the other, but what caught my eye was where the author said the age range for Millennials is those born between 1980 and 1999. My immediate thought is that this is why lumping all Millennials into one category on any particular issue is absurd.

You simply cannot lump a 37 year old with an 18 year old. They are totally different stages of life. My life at 37 was completely different from my life at 18. Even if you cut off "Gen Y" at 1995, it is still absurd to include people who are 37 years old with people who are 22 years old. Again, these ages represent totally different stages of life for most people.

This does not even address the reality that Millennials (and all previous generations) come from widely different backgrounds. Other important factors include race, economic status, family structure, culture, religion, political beliefs, and so forth. If you were to take a randomly selected group of one thousand people born in 1986, you would have a huge range of life experiences.

We need to stop dismissing an entire generation just because it is trendy to do so. The World War II generation dismissed the Baby Boomers, and both of them dismissed Generation X in the early 1990’s. Now everyone is bashing Millennials, and it is utterly ridiculous. People are people, and this nonsense is the cousin of racism. There are good and bad in every group, so to assume everyone over a twenty year age range is the same is utterly ridiculous. Stop it.


Wednesday, April 26, 2017

What did you think was going to happen?

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:00 AM (#)

Salon is hyperventilating over the "pro-Trump rioters" who brawled with Leftist "antifa" radicals in Berkeley, completely ignoring the reality of human nature in the process. Are some Leftists really this stupid, or are they simply entitled children?

Earlier this year, Leftist radicals rioted in Berkeley because Milo Yiannopoulos was to speak on campus - smashing windows, setting fires and generally acting like thugs and hoodlums who ought to be behind bars. The "alt right" pro-Trump protests were ready for a fight when they held their rally, especially given the history of "antifa" thuggery. There is ample evidence that at least some of the "alt right" protesters wanted to provoke a physical confrontation.

Here are a few questions for Leftist thugs, whether they consider themselves part of "antifa," the "resistance" or other various factions. What did you think was going to happen? Did you think you would just be able to break windows, set cars on fire, assault people so severely they have to be hospitalized, and engage in various other acts of thuggery that at least border on terrorism with no response? Did you think you would be able to act with impunity forever without provoking a response? Because if that is what you think, you are an idiot.

I do not excuse thuggery by anyone. I do not excuse violence by anyone. Those "alt right" thugs who wanted a street brawl cannot be justified. To the extent "alt right" protesters wanted to provoke a violent confrontation, they were wrong. Conservatives must not excuse bad behavior (and especially violent crime) simply because "they started it." But that is my point. Violence begets violence. When one side resorts to thuggery, it brings out the worst in the other side.

What worries me is that this is going to get a lot worse. Instead of bruises, cuts and maybe some broken bones, we are going to see a massacre as thugs on both Right and Left ramp up the violence. This is why Leftists need to aggressively police their own side and make it clear that not only is violence not acceptable, it will not be tolerated and will be reported to the police. It is time for Leftists to stop making excuses for why violence is "understandable" and how they are only standing up for "oppressed people groups." Ramping up the violence helps no one, and will make things much worse as "alt right" thugs respond in kind.


Tuesday, April 25, 2017

City council tramples on property rights again

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 5:30 PM (#)

Printed in the Bloomington Herald-Times April 25, 2017

To the Editor:

We have reached the point in nanny-state laws that we are legislating manners instead of public safety. This was a theme when the city council voted to ban the use of electronic cigarettes in "public places." These "public places" are actually private property. The city is deciding for property owners whether they will allow customers to use a legal product on their property.

One councilor suggested businesses are not currently prohibiting e-cigarettes. That is simply not true. Some places in Bloomington do that already. They did not need permission or a mandate from city government to do that. There is no real confusion about what is allowed.

E-cigarettes are not tobacco products and are far less harmful than smoked tobacco. The "harmful chemicals" are detected in trace amounts. Some on the council do not care about that, saying this law is about "common courtesy." So now we're legislating manners?

Does the sparse crowd, especially compared to 2003, indicate people do not trust the council to listen to them?

Will the council vote to ban someone with a bad cold from public places?

The county commissioners defeated a similar ban earlier this year. The city council should have followed that example.


Monday, April 24, 2017

Helicopter parenting ruins children

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:00 AM (#)

Do you ever wonder why many college students today are pathetic snowflakes who are totally incapable of dealing with opposing ideas? Do you wonder why many college students today must run to a "safe space" to literally cuddle with stuffed animals and play with coloring books when someone is on campus with an idea they disagree with? Most of all, do you wonder why many college students feel "unsafe" when opposing ideas are present? Here is a perfect example of how this mentality is created.

Is it strange for a grown man to be handing business cards to children to direct them to a website to help them learn to reduce their tax burden? Sure. It would be smarter to hand the cards to their parents. None of these kids will remember this in a decade or so when they are in the workforce.

But to involve the police as if this man is some sort of threat is absurd. The proper response, if any, is to roll your eyes and move on, not calling the cops. This creates unnecessary paranoia and divides our society. It creates a fear of the "other" that feeds the mentality that we have to empower government to run our lives for us, severely restricting due process and trampling on our civil liberties.

Worse yet, this is how you instill a "safe space" mentality into a child, so they become hypersensitive crybabies as adults. We fabricate danger everywhere, making children terrified all the time. Eventually, they will learn from our fears. When they are rioting and burning down buildings because they are so outraged that someone would dare disagree with them, we can trace it back to helicopter parenting. These sheltered children were never given the coping skills to deal with life as it comes, to deal with unexpected changes that mess up their plans, or the problem-solving skills to deal with things that Mommy and Daddy always handled for them.

Stop ruining your children. Stop hovering. Stop doing everything for them. Stop being overprotective. Stop seeing danger everywhere. Teach your children the skills they need to cope with life, solve problems and handle things they find offensive. When they are adults, they will thank you for it.


Saturday, April 22, 2017

Speaking against a ban on e-cigarettes

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 8:36 AM (#)

Audio of my speech to the Bloomington city council opposing a ban on the use of electronic cigarettes in public places. The ban passed 7-0, with one abstaining and one member absent.


Friday, April 21, 2017

Charles Murray, hysterical Leftists and the police response

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:00 AM (#)

The protest against "Bell Curve" author Charles Murray was mostly encouraging, though that was due almost entirely to the wisdom of the Indiana University Police Department and other allied law enforcement agencies. I have been consistently impressed with the professionalism and commitment of the IUPD. The IU police did a great job maintaining order and preventing the kind of violence, rioting and terrorist actions we have seen from Leftist extremists at other campuses.

Before I move on, a personal note: "The Bell Curve" was released in 1994 when I was a sophomore in college. This means that very few people at the protest were even born when the book was released. So, yes, I am once again reminded that I am an old man. Now get off my lawn.

Now, we need to be clear about something. Charles Murray is not a "white supremacist." He has argued that Asians are smarter than whites and that Jews are smarter than everyone else. This is not something that a white supremacist would say or an argument that a white supremacist would make. One could argue about whether or not he is racist, but he is not a white supremacist. People making that argument discredit themselves.

Leftists knew they would not be permitted to prevent Murray from speaking at all, so they adopted a new tactic: Since only people with tickets could get in, they tried to monopolize the tickets and then destroyed them in an effort to keep other people from attending. This is incredibly childish, and prevents others from the opportunity to hear the researcher's views. They are therefore infringing on the free speech and academic freedom of other students who are not allowed to attend. If Murray's views are as abhorrent as Leftists claim, then more people should hear them and realize why he is wrong.

Leftists claimed that they wanted to make Murray irrelevant, but with their fraudulent ticket hoarding scheme and loud, angry protests outside of the speech they actually made him much more relevant than he would have actually been otherwise. It was a counterproductive move, especially when you have people acting like idiots and blocking traffic.

Overall, though, Indiana University managed to avoid the humiliation that Leftists have heaped on other universities with their hysterical antics. This is not due to civility or restraint from the Left, but due to smart, prudent and wise planning by university administrators and a show of force by law enforcement making it clear that while free speech will be protected, rioting and terrorist acts will not be tolerated. I have a great deal of respect for the way the university handled this.


Thursday, April 20, 2017

If it pleases the crown...

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:00 AM (#)

So a while back, my son was playing with his Duplo blocks and he asks me: "Can I build a house?"

My response: "Do you have the proper permissions from the Planning Department, and will your house meet the appropriate setback requirements? Is your house in a development that meets the guidelines established in the Growth Policies Plan? Will your house contribute to Urban Sprawl?"

I have to wonder what it says about me that those are the first things that pop into my mind when my son wants to build a pretend house from plastic blocks.

If it pleases the crown, may my son have permission to play with his toys?


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Never forget the massacre in Waco

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:00 AM (#)

Yes, it can happen here. That should be the lesson of the massacre in Waco, Texas, 24 years ago today. It seems unreal that we are almost at a quarter century since the Clinton Administration sent tanks and other military equipment to attack American citizens on American soil. Waco reminds us to never forget that we are only a couple steps away from an authoritarian, oppressive totalitarian government.

The Waco story actually started a couple months earlier, with a paramilitary raid on the Branch Davidian cultists' compound. It was a classic example of excessive force, and was incredibly foolish given that the raid was on a doomsday cult that expected the federal government would eventually come for them. The Clinton administration only managed to confirm this paranoia and make it into a reality. As was pointed out many times over the last quarter century, federal law enforcement could have picked up David Koresh without the need for a paramilitary raid.

The worst, though, would come 24 years ago today. I cannot emphasize enough how shocking it should have been for the federal government to send tanks after our own citizens. If this was a one-off event, that would be disturbing enough, but law enforcement has become increasingly militarized over the last few decades, to the point that even regulatory agencies have SWAT teams. Even the Bloomington Police Department tried to get a mine resistant ambush protected military vehicle more suited for Iraq or Afghanistan than Kirkwood Avenue - something I protested when I was running for city council in 2015.

It is highly unlikely that we will become a dictatorship in one fell swoop from a military coup. However, we have been sliding more and more into a police state mentality through the combination of the War on Drugs and the War on Terror. Too many people are willing to make little compromises here and there in the name of "safety." But when the government becomes all-powerful, how much safety will we really have? Remember, the worst human rights abuses in history have not come from terrorists or criminals, but from governments.


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

I am proudly ignorant

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:00 AM (#)

It blows my mind that anyone would think that it is ever appropriate to stop in the middle of the street to let someone out, blocking traffic behind you. It is a reckless and dangerous thing to do, because no one is expecting you to stop in the middle of the street to allow someone to exit your vehicle. It is also incredibly selfish, because you are putting your personal convenience above ever other person on the road.

This is not difficult, people. If you need to drop someone off, then find a driveway, parking lot, or parking space to safely pull into and allow your passenger to exit the vehicle. If your passenger has to walk an extra few yards, then so be it. The public street is just that, not your personal parking lot. You are not to block the flow of traffic because you are too lazy or stupid to find a safe space to park. People who do this need to get a ticket and a hefty fine.

There is some knowledge I do not want. I do not want to understand why people would think this sort of reckless and selfish behavior is OK, because if I ever acquired this knowledge I would lose 95% of my intelligence. Therefore, I will remain proudly ignorant. I do not need to understand why anyone would think this is OK. I just need people to have just a little bit of common courtesy and realize that a public street is not your personal driveway. Get out of the way, or get off the road.


Monday, April 17, 2017

Why is United Airlines beating up their passengers?

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:00 AM (#)

Is United Airlines trying to go out of business? From their actions and the brutal physical abuse of passengers, one would think that is their goal. I am not sure what they were thinking or how they think thuggery helps their public image.

To be fair, United Airlines does not bear all of the blame. Nonetheless, I am astonished at some of the criticism directed at the passenger who refused to leave his seat. Pundit Matt Walsh said the victim "behaved like an absolute maniac" and referred to him as "a grown man behaving like a hysterical child" and "a grown man kicking and screaming like a toddler."

All of this makes me wonder if Walsh actually watched the video he was Tweeting about. The passenger only started screaming when United Airlines' thugs grabbed him and forcibly dragged him off the plane. To say that he was acting like a toddler, because he screamed while being assaulted, is either incredibly myopic or shamefully dishonest.

I agree that, as much as the situation is unfair, the man should have got up and left the plane willingly and peacefully. Sometimes these things happen, and it stinks. I would be furious if I was told I had to leave a flight after I had paid for my plane ticket. And even if I initially refused to leave, my reaction upon seeing the police arrive would be "yes, sir."

However, it is a perfectly normal reaction to scream in panic when United Airlines sends thugs attack you and physically drag you away. And let's be brutally honest here: The police behaved like thugs. There was no reason to forcibly drag him from the seat, and drag the bloodied man off the airplane. That was ridiculous excessive force.

This situation could have been handled better by both sides. The customer could have been more cooperative. The bulk of the blame, though, is with United Airlines, who sent thugs to bloody and then physically drag a paying customer from a seat he had paid for and was peacefully refusing to leave. There needs to be criminal prosecution for this excessive force.


Sunday, April 16, 2017

Easter 2017

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 10:30 AM (#)

Up from the grave He arose,
With a mighty power o'er His foes!
He arose a victor from the dark domain,
And He lives forever with His saints to reign!
He arose! He arose! Hallelujah! Christ arose!

HE IS RISEN!!


Saturday, April 15, 2017

That McDonald's "hot coffee" lawsuit

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:00 AM (#)


Friday, April 14, 2017

Using straw men and non sequiturs to argue against marriage

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 9:19 AM (#)

But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn. -- 1 Corinthians 7:9

Marriage is a gift from God, and that gift is the foundation of a stable society. People in their twenties are largely abandoning marriage, and some of them have really weak excuses for doing so. This article in Indiana University's student newspaper is an example of that.

First, the "statistic" that fifty percent of marriages end in divorce is a myth. Even if it was true, the statistic is meaningless for specific couples if both husband and wife are committed to making it work. If half of all people who owned a Nintendo 64 in the 1990's smoked crack, that would not make me more at risk to use it.

The author complains that weddings are expensive. No, they are not. They certainly can be expensive, but there is no requirement that a couple must have a huge wedding. An expensive dress, expensive floral arrangements and a huge reception are not mandatory. I know a number of couples who got married on a budget, and some couples who have even gotten married during a Sunday morning church service.

There is no need to delay marriage in order to establish oneself in a career. In many ways, being married can help that process, as one's spouse can be a valuable source of support and advice while building a career. Many people have been greatly helped in building their career by a supportive husband or wife.

"Older generations" are not encouraging Millennials to get married because that is the way it has always been done. They are encouraging marriage because it is a stabilizing force in society, especially for men. Statistically, the most important factor in predicting economic outcomes for adults and the children they produce is a stable marriage. Today's twenty-somethings do not have it figured it in a way that people across thousands of years of history have not. That is the typical arrogance of every generation that scorns the wisdom of the past.


Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Trump supporters need to stop whining about 2016!

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:00 AM (#)

In case you have not noticed, we are in April of 2017. That means the 2016 presidential election is over. Donald Trump is now the President of these United States, and it is foolhardy to continue to litigate the 2016 election - especially the continued whining about #NeverTrump voters from Trump supporters.

There were divisions in the Republican Party in 2016. Most Republicans fell in line and supported the nominee, but a few rebels (me included) refused to vote for Donald Trump. I am not going to re-litigate why I made that decision. I had my reasons for being #NeverTrump and I do not regret my decision.

But with that said, many Republicans who had serious reservations about Trump - including #NeverTrump voters like me - have been very pleased with his performance as President. I did not trust Trump (and I still do not) but it is clear that he mostly knows who his friends are and who his enemies are. He has been very good on policy, and I have been impressed. As it stands right now, I will probably vote for Trump in 2020. If he was up for re-election as I write this post, I would definitely vote for him in the general election. But if people like Dennis Prager want to drive former #NeverTrump voters away (including those who now support the President) then continually whining about 2016 is the perfect way to do it.

Here is the bottom line: You need to get over it and move on. I understand why many Republicans were opposed to and even angry with the #NeverTrump movement. But the #NeverTrump movement is dead. Maybe it will come back in 2020, but I doubt that will happen. It is long past time for bitter winners in the Trump camp to stop fighting last year's battles and focus your fire on Democrats. Continuing to fight with #NeverTrump Republicans (who have mostly abandoned their #NeverTrump status) will only continue to divide the Republican Party and the conservative movement and make it easier for Democrats to win.


Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Appeals to emotion make bad law

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:00 AM (#)

Why do we have the Fourth Amendment? Why do we have civil rights at all? Those laws only serve to stop the police and prosecutors from doing their job and protecting us from the riffraff of society. If I am suspected of a crime, the police should be allowed to enter my home and make sure I am not up to no good. I should submit my smartphone and computer to the civil magistrate to search on command, and I should be happy to do so as I have nothing to hide. Do you object to this? Well, it's easy to talk about rights of privacy and illegal searches when it's not your loved ones who suffered. Have you no compassion?

For those who do not get it (and it is unfortunate that I have to be so explicit) the above paragraph is sarcasm. The italicized portion above is a direct quote from a comment on my letter to the editor a few weeks ago. When it was posted, it was written without a hint of sarcasm.

Sex offenses fill us with a unique form of revulsion, and justifiably so. When someone is sexually violated, it is an especially heinous and evil form of victimization. Therefore, we have (again justifiably) sought special penalties in the law to fight against these crimes and to catch and punish the perpetrators and protect society from them. Many of these protections are problematic, but I want to focus on one specific bad proposal: The mandate that every single person arrested for a felony submit a DNA sample. The DNA would be checked against DNA found at unsolved crimes and then could solve them and bring the perpetrator to justice.

The problem here is mandatory collection of bodily fluids is an especially invasive and personal search, and it is almost certain that the framers of our Constitution would have been appalled at the idea of collecting it from everyone. One not need to expect that we will turn into a science fiction dystopia like the movie Gattaca to recognize why this is wrong.

Furthermore, this legislation casts a much bigger net than simply catching sex offenders or perpetrators of other violent crimes. For example, check deception can be a felony in the state of Indiana. Do we really need to collect a DNA sample on someone who wrote a bad check? Will collecting DNA from someone who embezzled money from his employer be likely to bring forth evidence that will solve a rape or murder? Should this raise red flags? Do we really need to ask these questions?

The answer is obvious. If the police believe that someone's DNA could lead to solving a crime, they can ask for a search warrant to get a sample. There is no need for additional legislation and no need to violate the privacy rights of every single person arrested for a felony. Remember, not everyone arrested is convicted or even charged with a crime! We should not listen to appeals to emotion about loved ones suffering, and instead protect our liberty from an intrusive state government.


Monday, April 10, 2017

Know your role and shut your mouth

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:00 AM (#)

Poverty and shame shall be to him that refuseth instruction: but he that regardeth reproof shall be honoured. -- Proverbs 13:18

I am naturally a very defensive person. I do not like to be attacked and I especially do not like to be rebuked by people who love me. But part of being a man is being willing to admit where you are wrong and see your own faults, so it is important that we are all willing to listen to rebuke and take it seriously.

In our self-absorbed age, we always want to retort with this question: What if the person rebuking us is mistaken or has made a poor judgment? If the rebuke is wrong, then eventually that will come out. But there is absolutely no harm with respectfully listening and hearing what the other person has to say. This is even more important if the person rebuking you is older than you are. They have been around the block a few more times and know things you do not, so shut up and listen. If they are wrong, then that will be resolved.

That is a rare case though, which is why we should listen respectfully. If we are being rebuked by someone who loves us, most of the time that rebuke will be correct. This is because those who love us want what is best for us, and therefore they want us to not engage in behavior or have an attitude that is destructive to us. They do not want us to neglect doing things that will benefit us mentally, emotionally, spiritually or physically.

We can benefit a great deal if we open our ears and close our mouths.


Sunday, April 9, 2017

Look at this no good dirty hippie

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 2:00 PM (#)

This is from a 2013 protest, when Barack Obama was considering military action against Syria. This is still my position, because I oppose President Trump's decision to commit an act of war.


Saturday, April 8, 2017

Why are we helping the Islamic State?

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:00 AM (#)

Note: I sent this to President Trump yesterday.

Dear President Trump,

I am saddened and frustrated by your foolish march to war with Syria, especially since our actions have strengthened and will continue to strengthen the Islamic State. And we must be very clear about the reality on the ground: Weakening Bashir Assad's despotic regime helps the Islamic State.

Furthermore, we need to seriously think about whether we have picked the wrong side. The Islamic State slaughters Christians via brutal decapitations and even crucifixions. Huge numbers of teenage and even pre-pubescent girls have been forced to become sex slaves for Islamic State terrorists. Meanwhile, Bashir Assad has protected Christians from persecution in Syria. While Assad is an evil man, the Islamic State is much worse.

Which side is more of a direct threat to our nation and her people? Bashir Assad is not sending Syrian agents to shoot up nightclubs in Orlando or commit other horrific acts of terrorism across these United States and Western Europe. The Islamic State is doing that. We are enabling them to do it more by attacking and weakening Assad. Whether we intend to do that or not, that is the real-world consequences of what we are doing.

While I am totally opposed to this military action, I do want to encourage you regarding one area where you have been attacked by deranged Leftists. Obviously, you were right to warn Russia about the impending missile strikes. We do not want there to be miscommunications and errors that could lead to a military conflict between two nuclear superpowers. I am not sure if these people are genuinely stupid or so deranged in their anger and hate they cannot see the danger you avoided with that warning. If you must continue this war, please continue this wise, prudent policy.

Mr. President, you were right in 2013 and you were right last year when you said that Syria is not our problem and we should not be militarily involved in that conflict. One of the great hopes I had for your administration is a break from the interventionist policies of the Washington establishment, because this has infected both parties. Please abandon this foolish conflict and return to the wise position you had advocated for the previous four years. Please do not allow the war mongers in the Washington establishment to compromise your principled stand against military adventurism.


Friday, April 7, 2017

Policy disagreements matter, President Trump

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:00 AM (#)

Note: I sent this e-mail to President Trump last week.

Dear Mr. President,

I was deeply disappointed to see the following comment you made on Twitter:

  • The Freedom Caucus will hurt the entire Republican agenda if they don't get on the team, & fast. We must fight them, & Dems, in 2018!

Mr. President, the House Freedom Caucus was elected on a platform that included a promise to fully repeal ObamaCare. One of the concerns that Freedom Caucus members have is that your health care plan is a watered-down version of ObamaCare. Yes, that would be an improvement - a little less regulation, a little less oppressive, and a little less room for government power. But conservatives do not want something that is slightly less bad than ObamaCare, or a marginal improvement over ObamaCare.

We want to be rid of ObamaCare!

You and some of your followers have compared this to the alleged binary choice between you and Hillary Clinton in the fall. That is not the case here. The 2016 election was a one-time vote, and either you or Mrs. Clinton was going to win it and become the next President of these United States. That is absolutely not what we have here. We are not faced with a binary choice of passing the bill that failed in the House or keeping ObamaCare, and you are intelligent enough to know that. There is always another opportunity to draft and pass better legislation.

The reality is that we have multiple options, and we have significant Republican majorities in both the House and Senate that can both fully repeal ObamaCare and replace it with something that is truly better. That is what the legislative process is all about. Ultimately, that is what politics is all about - or at least should be all about: Getting the best policy we can get for the American people within the limits the Constitution places on federal power. We will argue and disagree over policy, but that does not mean we are not on the same team or working toward the same goal.

This is not about you. This is not about your ego or who gets to take credit. You need to take a step back and not make disagreements over policy into some sort of personal slight against you. You need to work with the Freedom Caucus, not against them, to create market-based reforms that will truly lower costs. One of the best options would be to throw regulations back to the states, and let the state legislatures implement their own reforms instead of having 535 people in one city on the East Coast make policy for a nation of 350 million people that stretches across the entire continent.

Mr. President, I am asking you this: Please do not blow up the Republican Party with an unnecessary internal fight that will only make it easier for the Democrats to regain power. Please work with the Freedom Caucus, who are there for the exact same reason you are: To drain the swamp and pass conservative reforms that will truly Make America Great Again.


Wednesday, April 5, 2017

No, taxation is not theft.

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:00 AM (#)

And He said unto them, "Render therefore unto Caesar the things which be Caesar's, and unto God the things which be God's". -- Luke 20:25

It is becoming more and more fashionable in libertarian and Tea Party circles to proclaim that taxation is theft. It is not, and we need to stop saying that. It is un-Biblical, is is poorly considered public policy, and it makes us look so extreme that we are dismissed no matter how good our arguments are on other matters.

First and most importantly for Christians, saying that "taxation is theft" is a direct contradiction of our Lord Jesus Christ. Civil government throughout the Old Testament collected taxes, including to build the Temple, with the blessing of God. Given that God commanded "thou shalt not steal" and God is incapable of sin, taxation cannot be theft. We are not more holy than God, and it leaves our political opponents room to mock us by pointing out that Jesus takes the opposite position than we do.

Secondly, it is bad public policy. Government does need to do certain things. The most obvious Biblical reason is to bear the sword against criminals, which requires a criminal justice system complete with lawyers, police and judges and the support staff for all of them. We also need to defend our nation against foreign aggression, which requires a military. We need to collect taxes to pay for those things. One could argue (as I do) that government at all levels is far too big and needs to be slashed, but even if we shrink government to an ideal libertarian level we will need to collect taxes to run that.

Finally, repeating the "taxation is theft" mantra is politically self-destructive. In addition to the hypocrisy angle for Christians who defy the Lord Jesus, people know that there basic things that government needs to do and that those things need to be funded somehow. So when we say "taxation is theft," we look like extremists and people will dismiss us as fringe. Worse yet, they will laugh at us - and being a laughingstock is political death. Nobody wants to be led by a clown.

A more nuanced view is that taxation is not theft, but taxation can be theft. Corrupt politicians who enrich themselves with money forcibly confiscated from the people, or use that wealth to bribe their way to even more power, may be guilty of theft though taxation. It is not as catchy of a slogan and does not fit on a bumper sticker, but "taxation can be theft" followed by an explanation is a position that can be defended and explained. Let's do the hard work of making that argument, instead of posting cheap slogans on social media.


Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Tomi Lahren, abortion and constitutional conservatism

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:00 AM (#)

Note: This is a slightly modified version of what I posted on Google Plus after the story broke.

Conservative pundit Tomi Lahren stirred up a hornet's nest when she said she was "pro-choice," as conservatives rushed to pronounce a rising star in conservative media is not really a conservative. As is usually the case, this is a case of Internet outrage that would be much better if people would calm down, take a deep breath and think instead of react emotionally.

First, let's actually try to get our facts straight. Lahren did not say that all pro-life people are hypocrites. She said that, as a self-professed constitutional conservative she would be a hypocrite to want abortion to be illegal. She is wrong (more on that later) but that does not translate into believing or saying that all abortion opponents are hypocrites. It is a statement about her own beliefs and what she feels is consistent with those beliefs. It is an understandable, if wrong, position for those who advocate for small government.

I have been called Lahren's "biggest fanboi" and was told I "love" her more than my pro-life beliefs and my allies in the pro-life movement because I pointed this out. Apparently nuance is very difficult for some people. I honestly do not have a strong opinion about Lahren one way or the other, because I and have not followed much of what she says or watched more than a couple of her videos. I do think that she should be afforded the courtesy of responding to what she said, instead of hysteria - something that everyone deserves.

Lahren, of course, is wrong. Banning abortion is not a violation of individual liberty or a position inconsistent with limited government or constitutional rights. The heart of libertarianism is basically this: You can do as you please until you harm someone else. That harm to someone else is the unborn baby dismembered to death without anesthesia by the abortionist. The person harmed has her brain ripped out and her skull crushed. The person harmed is soaked in acid and burned to death.

Banning abortion, then, is no different from making rape illegal. Criminalizing abortion is no different than criminalizing the murder of a three year old child. Because man is inherently wicked and totally corrupted by sin, government exists to provide basic boundaries on behavior and protect the weak from being victimized by the strong. There is no more perfect example of that than protecting the life of a helpless unborn baby.

Finally, Lahren and her defenders would be better off defending her position on abortion than asserting she has the right to her opinion. Of course she has the right to her opinion. That does not make her opinion right, well-reasoned or well-argued. Let's have this discussion. Maybe she can be convinced that she is wrong? That cannot be accomplished by simply screeching at her?


Monday, April 3, 2017

Mike Pence should be respected for honoring his wife

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:00 AM (#)

Leftist radicals screech and shriek at Donald Trump because he treats women badly, but hate Mike Pence because he loves and honors his wife. What a bunch of two-faced hypocrites! It is obvious that Leftist radicals have no principles, only that they hate Republicans and conservatives. They will morph and shape their "principles" around that hate, so they can justify that hate with an appeal to principle.

Pence's commitment to his marriage was been a subject of controversy last week - not because he is another on a long line of politicians who fell into sin and committed adultery, but because of his commitment to honor and respect his wife. You see, Pence has made the shocking and scandalous decision to never have a meal alone with a woman other than his wife. (Family is the obvious exception to that.) It seems unusual in our wicked day, but it is not enough to mock Pence as being too prudish or "behind the times."

Nope. Pence is part of the Taliban. He is a misogynist who actively oppresses women.

Before we get to that, let's address the source of the outrage: People think Pence is moralizing. He is not. He simply said this is how he personally behaves. He did not say everyone must make the same choices he did, and he is certainly not advocating his decision be codified into our criminal code. He simply wants to remove any doubt or temptation. Nonetheless, it is not a bad practice. Imagine if Mark Souder, who served with Pence in the House for nearly a decade, had made the same decision. He would still be in Congress. Souder was forced to resign from office after his adultery was discovered. One could say the same about many other politicians.

Pence harms no one and places a "glass ceiling" over no one. So what if he cannot meet with a female subordinate one-on-one? There is an easy solution to that. For a congressman, include your chief of staff and/or your district director if you need to meet with an employee of the opposite sex. As governor and Vice President, Pence had similar options. This is not difficult to work around. It is amazing how little imagination Leftist radicals have and how they are completely lacking in problem-solving skills.

Mike Pence is to be respected for his commitment. If the fact that Pence refuses to have a meal alone with any woman other than his wife causes you to become enraged, you are the one with the problem, not Pence. You are the one who is being intolerant of other people's life choices, which makes you a hypocrite. You would be smart to shut your mouth and stop making a fool of yourself.


Sunday, April 2, 2017

Three years ago today

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 9:00 AM (#)

Three years ago today, Rob Jeremiah Tibbs was born.

Happy Birthday, Rob!


Saturday, April 1, 2017

SB 322 is a threat to our liberty

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:00 AM (#)

Printed in the Herald-Times, March 23, 2017

To the Editor:

The fearmongering over violent crime is unreasonable. Violent crime is lower now than it has been in decades, and has been sharply declining since the early 1990's. Sadly, fearmongering about violent crime has not abated and has become increasingly loud along with calls to restrict our liberty.

Indiana Senate Bill 322 is an example of this authoritarian mindset, mandating that anyone arrested for a felony submit a DNA sample. Supporters tout this bill as a way to help solve crimes.

Republicans campaign on support of limited government and individual liberty. A critical component of those two principles is due process, which protects the individual and limits the power of government. A corollary to that principle is our constitutional right to be free of unreasonable searches, limiting government by requiring a warrant for searches.

So if collecting DNA is important, why not ask for a search warrant to collect a sample? This is a better alternative to collecting from everyone, and this tool is available right now with no additional legislation needed. Remember, not everyone arrested is convicted of a crime, and sometimes they are not even charged. Collecting DNA from everyone arrested for a felony is a massive overreach.