TRAGEDY OF THE COMMONS- OUR THOUGHTS

Tragedy of the commons (TOC) occurs when a product or outcome is distributed equally among a group of individuals who act according to their own self interests. Simply put, when people are granted the opportunity to put in the least amount of effort and reap maximum benefits, they slack off and leave the work to the few who don’t. Take, for example, a divided tip among servers. A hard worker is less motivated to do well, because they know that the profit of their hard work will be leached by others who do not deserve it. Likewise, lazy servers know that their effort level will not mirror their paycheck, and will pounce on the opportunity to shirk. However, despite the numerous examples of its impotence, many Americans, led by Bernie Sanders, still believe in this method. “Equality!” they shout. “Spread the wealth! No upper class, no lower class; all people will be brought to the same level.” I have to give it to them; everyone would be equal. But equality’s not always that great, especially when it forces everybody to a lower level.

Bernie Sander’s propositions spell out certain doom for the US, just as similar ideas have laid waste to other nations (Such as Venezuela). Nonetheless, Sanders received 12 million votes in the primary. Not convinced? Here’s another example of real world TOC in America.

Don’t be fooled by the Thanksgiving myth of happy, plump pilgrims, enjoying big turkey meals every night for dinner. For the first few years after the pilgrims arrived in America, they faced famine and starvation. This was because of their system of ownership.

Upon arrival, the pilgrims all worked on a shared unit of land and equally split the crops harvested from it. Consequently, they starved for years until noticing their fatal error. To bring themselves out of this period of famine, they divided up the once-shared unit of land, and gave each pilgrim his own plot- it worked beautifully. This is because, as stated in previous articles, if a pilgrim neglected his duties on his personal farm, he- and only he- was punished through starvation or poverty. Likewise, hard-working pilgrims wouldn’t be dragged down by the lazy ones.

In the “community garden” system of early settlers, a lazy pilgrim scraped by, and dragged others down with him. In the later private system, a lazy pilgrim was a dead pilgrim, and that was plenty of encouragement to prosper.

William Bradford, Mayflower passenger and 30 year governor of Plymouth, states in his journal “After much debate, I, William Bradford, assigned to every family a parcel of land… This had very good success, for it made all hands very industrious.”

Another great example of the Tragedy of the commons was an experiment done by John Stossel. Stossel positioned a small group of people around a circle approximately 1 meter in radius. This circle represented their “shared land.” After letting them design their land, he placed plastic coins in the middle of the group, saying “each coin represents one dollar, but every minute they are left in the middle they double in value to 2 dollars, 4 dollars, etc.” When the signal was given to start, all members immediately pounced on the pile of coins, greedily trying to get as many as possible before they were all snatched away. The outcome: all group members ending up with a scarcity. However, when Stossel divided the circle into even segments of individual “property” and placed an equal amount of coins in each segment, each member of the group waited patiently for their coins’ values to increase.

On a sports team, the term “A team is only as bad as its worst player” is, and should be, true. This, however, should not translate to an economy.

-John

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DONALD TRUMP- MISCONCEPTIONS

As I’m sure you are aware, our president for the next 4 years (as of 2017) will be Donald Trump. When he originally was elected president, I thought there was a racist, sexist, xenophobic jerk in office. I had a friend, my associate on this lovely blog, who was pro-Trump, which I had never encountered before. My whole life, I was surrounded by liberalism, and was taught to villainize republicans. Considering he was my friend, I decided to hear him out. I started doing research, reading articles with biases from both the left and the right, and started thinking maybe his policies aren’t that bad. As I went on, I went from thinking some of his policies are sensible, to thinking all of them are pretty good.(Excluding, of course, his limitations on LGBT and abortions. I don’t like that) I want to see if I can change your views on simple misconceptions about Trump.      First off, I feel it’s important that you go into this with an open mind. Even if you don’t, even if you think it’s all wrong, I have fact-checked all my claims, which I encourage you to do if you are a said skeptic.

Now that we can get to the real meat of the article, I’m going to explain my reasoning as to why I feel like Trump isn’t racist. To start off, he was awarded an Ellis Island Award for helping the Civil Rights Movement. He was given this award alongside Rosa Parks and Muhammad Ali. Another reason being that no one accused Trump of being racist until his presidential campaign in 2016. Another frequent belief about Trump is that he doesn’t like Mexicans. The common reasoning behind this is that he wants to build a wall on our shared border with Mexico. His thought process behind this isn’t that he hates Mexicans, it’s just that we have extremely high levels of illegal immigration from Mexico. Illegal immigration isn’t good for the U.S. because these people are using these resources that are payed for in tax dollars like law enforcement and they’re putting their kids in public schools, yet they aren’t paying taxes. (They do pay the occasional sales tax when they buy food and clothes) As for his supposed racism towards Islam, refer to our very first post.

Another frequent misconception is that he’s sexist. I can understand where people are coming from on this one. Points for this argument are frequently about his,” I grab em’ by the *****,” and that he has said mean things to women. For the first part, it’s just simple locker room talk. I can’t name a single guy I know over the age of 12 that hasn’t made a locker room joke. If you feel like maybe he should be held to a different standard due to his being the president, it happened almost 15 years ago. (2005) As for his being mean to women, he’s a not a nice guy. He’s going to be mean to anyone, regardless of their race, sex, or sexual preference, which, in a way, makes him treat people with more equality. But I judge politicians by their political decisions and the bills that come out of their office, not how “nice of a guy” they are.

I’m aware there are other misconceptions, things like him being xenophobic, and again, refer to our first post where we really dig deep on his relationship with Islam. All in all, I feel like Trump is made out to be a much worse guy than he really is. Also, if you look at things with an open mind, then your entire viewpoint may change, as mine did. I hope this article helped.

-Jacob

MEDIA- OUR THOUGHTS

Just like your local grocery store, the media is a private industry. And just like your local grocery store, they don’t always take your best interests into consideration when making profit-swaying decisions. For instance, a grocery store will gladly sell a line of unhealthy candy bars or potato chips if they know consumers will buy them and that they will profit from it. Similarly, a broadcaster will feed you whatever it takes to get you to flip to their channel.

BREAKING NEWS: A new controversial Trump tweet has the nation contemplating impeachment! Got you didn’t I? Headlines like these draw viewers -and therefore profit-to their respective networks. This is why so many Americans have such skewed conceits on certain topics such as racism, sexism, terrorism, and brutality.

Media capitalizes on oppression, even when it is minimal or nonexistent. For example, if a cop shoots an African-American in an act of genuine self-defense or misconception, leave it to the news to turn a routine error into a hate crime or race war. Yes, although some racism still happens in the US (and will most likely continue to occur to all races alike), according to a recent study, only 9 out of one million black Americans are killed by cops compared to 3 out of one million white Americans. Though it is greater, it’s hardly what I’d call police brutality or oppression. Also, taking into account the extremely high incarceration ratio among African-Americans compared to the rest of the population, a higher death rate during arrest would fit into the equation.

My point is that while over exaggerating small events known to catch viewers eyes, they miss larger, more important stories with not-so-flashy titles. For example, DDT was banned for thinning bald eagle shells. Threatening the American bald eagle population- Now there’s a headline! Millions die due to mosquito-transmitted illnesses which would otherwise have been eliminated with the application of DDT- Not so interesting. Americans don’t want to hear about real problems that don’t fit in with their fixed mindset that has been implanted by big broadcasting networks- and that can be fatal.

Media’s mission has subtly changed over the years from informing the public to stirring the pot, and often use their fear-factor to muffle out scientific research, as seen with DDT. When DDT was banned, tens of millions died from mosquito-carried illnesses, and continue to due to ineffective counterparts. But what politician would get reelected after bringing back the chemical that almost killed the national bird! No politician would; not after the fear that the media imprinted on Americans- so lives continue to be lost.

In no way am I suggesting media to be left up to the government (that would be chaos), nor am I suggesting any change in the current way news channels broadcast. I am merely encouraging people to, before making up their mind, look at the “boring” side of the argument.

-John

ENDANGERED SPECIES- OUR THOUGHTS

The world has, and perpetually will, lose entire species to poaching and man-made intervention. Tigers in Asia, rhinos and elephants in Africa, and (previously) the bald eagle and bison in North America. All of these breeds face– or have faced– endangerment. So, intuitively, big-government must jut out a “helping hand” to nurse these species back to health– or do they? After government induced regulation and millions of dollars worth of ineffective conservation methods, many of these animals still face the threat of extinction due to poachers and habitat loss. There is a solution. A solution which our never-learning government could never grasp. The only way to save dying species is to privatize them.

Let me ask you a question. Are pigs endangered? How about cows? Dogs? Foxes? None of these species are at risk because they are privately owned, sold, bought, and used. Huge puppy mills produce thousands of dogs each year, because producers know they will be bought for companionship. Cattle is farmed and sold for its meat, milk, and hide. What I’m saying is that when there is a need, or demand, its supply will catch up with and exceed it (if allowed to do so). People will see the opportunity of a new industry (and way of obtaining profit) and immediately pounce on it, breeding tigers to produce the byproducts which consumers desire. This was shown by the bison of America.

Bison once roamed America and belonged to no one. When the bison was brought to near extinction by hunters hunting for sport and game, no one cared– and why should they? They belonged to no one. No one could hold them accountable for their irresponsible actions. Later, when bison were put in the hands of the businessman and farmer, the population became stable once more. Now, there are over half a million bison in America, and you can order bison by-products at restaurants and butcheries.

The rhino population in Africa was dwindling. Then, tribes legalized the ownership of rhinos. When tribe members could make money from tourism and controlled hunting, they began to, for lack of a better phrase, give a crap. If a community or state loses a rhino it’s no big deal. You don’t gain or lose anything. But if you lose a privately owned rhino, you– and your income– take the hit.

It’s common knowledge. If something is not yours or does not immediately affect you, you treat it with less care. For example, if you see dog poop in the park, chances are you’ll stroll right by. However, if a dog poops in your yard, you’ll most likely pick it up and go to measures to prevent it from happening again. The same goes for animals.

Private ownership of these endangered animals would also discourage or even eliminate poaching. If a consumer wants to buy a tiger skin rug, why would they risk making the transaction illegally underground when a legal source of the product is readily available?

In conclusion, there is only one way to save the tigers, and the rhinos, and most other threatened species in the world. But to do so, we first must kill them, eat them, and hang their skin on our wall.

-John

ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION/ OPEN BORDERS- OUR THOUGHTS

The American dream of a white picket fence, a steady income, and a big happy family. Everyone wants it. Some, in other countries, are willing to break laws to come here and  get it. this is where illegal immigrants comes into play. They illegally cross over the border here from their rotten, tight-fisted countries, evading taxes and skipping the 2-10 year-long line of law-abiding immigrants waiting their turn in Mexico. Wrong, right? Well, after my recent research on the Libertarian standpoint of illegal immigration (open borders), I shifted my mindset from the Republican view (which I have previously written about on LibertyAffinity), and realized this: what’s the one surefire way to cut back spending on border patrol and completely eliminate illegal immigration? Legalize it, of course.

What are the three main problems with illegal immigration? 1) They are not registered and therefore pay significantly less tax than other Americans. 2) The ratio of criminally involved illegals to innocents is alarmingly high. 3) They take up the room in the States that should be rewarded to the immigrants patiently waiting in line. All of these problems would be resolved or at least diluted should the U.S. switch to open borders.

America’s current strict-border policy only prevents (most of) the industrious, productive immigrants from coming to America. This is why we see such an unsettling ratio of criminals to hardworking illegals. As previously stated in the “Gun Control” post, blanket restrictions meant to limit the dangerous will only disarm- or in this case keep out- the good. Should borders be open to anyone with a passport, more of these good citizens (who are now waiting in line) can become documented, pay taxes, and move closer to the American dream.

As of any good argument, there are cons to this belief, one of which is terrorism. For example, Europe, an area with much more lax borders than the U.S., experiences frequent terrorist attacks, greatly exceeding those in America.

In conclusion, there is no way to expel all immigration related crime in America, but there is a guaranteed way of increasing immigration related success.

-John

 

GUN CONTROL- OUR THOUGHTS

It’s in our second amendment: man has the right to bear arms. However, the left has recently coated this freedom with a ‘protective” layer of regulation, paperwork, and outright bans. Take, for instance, Washington D.C. Not only can you not carry a handgun unless it was registered by the police before the year February 5, 1977, you can’t possess one in your house (most of these laws were deemed unconstitutional in 2008, but are still among the strictest in the country)! Though other areas are more lax, there’s one fault in all of their philosophies: gun restriction does not lead to gun safety.

Here’s the ugly truth: criminals break laws. Making the right to bear arms (a freedom granted to us in the constitution) against the law won’t cause criminals to stop buying/selling guns illegally. It would only take away protection from citizens who would use the guns to fight off said criminals. Gun restriction laws merely disarm the obedient; leaving the predators armed and more powerful than ever.

For example, in Britain— an area with low levels of gun ownership and very strict gun regulation— the rate of “hot” burglaries (when a home intruder attempts a burglary while a resident is still in the home) is upwards of 45%, compared to the American hot burglary rate of only 13% (due to less strict gun policies).

When a criminal is afraid that a victim may be armed, they will be more cautious to attack in fear of backlash. This naturally protects us law-abiding citizens, even if we don’t carry guns. But when “big brother” takes away our only means of defense, things get nasty. In Killeen, Texas, a cafeteria was shot up while Suzanna Hupp and her parents were eating there. The shooter killed many diners, even stopping to reload in between. Because Texas law prohibited Suzanna to bring her handgun (which she left in her truck) into the restaurant, she could not save her parents or the other diners.

Government thinks that people with guns would break into angry gunfire after every lost game of rock paper scissors, but the opposite was shown to be true in a recent study done by John Lott. In areas where guns were made easier to obtain, crime fell by approximately 10%!

The only accomplishment of gun regulation is the granting of the upper hand to thugs and criminals. Possessing a gun won’t suddenly persuade a law-abiding citizen to shoot the next person who skips line at Starbucks. It will, however, arm them against any threats they might face in the instance of a “hot” burglary, dark alley, or shooting.

-John

PRO-LIFE/ H.R.36- OUR THOUGHTS

Those that label themselves “pro-life” believe that all life is sacred- even that of an unborn child- and view abortion as murder. The mindset is deeply persuaded by one’s religious stance, and has gained support from influential figures including Pope Francis, Mahatma Gandhi, and even Justin Bieber. The bill H.R.36 was recently passed,  making the abortion- or attempted abortion- of an unborn child over 20 weeks (the point at which a fetus feels pain) a crime punishable by “a fine, up to five years in prison, or both.” Although it is just a watered down version of what most pro-life activists really desire: full illegality over abortions- it is still a fraudulent invasion of rights.

Until the unborn child has left the womb of the woman carrying it, the child is a part of her body. Do we not have the right to tend to our body as we please; just how we decide which conditioner to use in our hair, or whether to grow our nails or clip them? Think of it this way: when a human gets sick, we are carrying around a living virus inside of us- one that could potentially cause us to vomit, ache, and experience pain (as pregnancy does). We have the right to go to the proper lengths to eradicate this unwanted microbe from our body if we please, and are not forced to continue carrying it around, causing us perpetual discomfort until it naturally goes away. Though a virus and an unborn human are hardly compatible, they do bear the resemblance of causing irritation to one who doesn’t desire their company.

According to a recent study done by the Guttamacher Institute, approximately 75% of abortion patients are low income/poor. Should this 75% be excluded from their right to an abortion, children raised in these poverty-level households may grow up to become criminals (due to the proven correlation between child poverty and crime rates), or receive inadequate care. Furthermore, with the already uncontrollably growing population, willful abortion is the best way to repress action in the United States against population control (such as methods like the “one child policy” in China).

In conclusion, a “pro-life” stance, while focusing on the continuance of the life, fails to account for the quality or effect of it. To insure the best result for the outcome of both the mother and the child, one should be trusted to determine when/whether they can provide the best life and care for their offspring (if they even decide to have a child), and don’t need some inattentive bureaucrat to make the decision for them.

-John

COMPETITION- OUR THOUGHTS

Competition: the root of the free market. When multiple businesses providing the same good must contest for the interest of their consumers, competition is born. This can lead to lower prices, higher wages of employees, and higher quality products. So why is it dubbed “destructive” by both left and right America? Competition is said to close businesses and rip off consumers, but the truth is that competition is only made destructive through government intervention.

Competition is one of the main factors in the strive towards success. Say you run the only bakery in town, until another bakery moves in with lower prices and similar quality. Customers who were previously forced to shop at your bakery will gravitate to the better deal to benefit themselves as consumers. you are faced with two options: match or better the value of your fellow baker’s deals/ better the quality of your product, or be forced out of business by the improved pool of service newly provided to consumers [by the other baker]. In both scenarios, the consumer benefits by the sharpened value of the service they are provided.

So, why is competition viewed as destructive when it offers better deals to consumers and improves the value of services? Most argue that it destroys businesses, and therefore jobs; but I believe the opposite to be true. Government only sees the “bakery” that went out of business due to their unappealing prices/quality, and the jobs lost because of it. They do not see the new and improved bakery which offers better selection and pricing, and decreases the cost of living in its town.

When government disallows pricing that is “too competitive” or only grants the opportunity of starting a business to the wealthy to “ensure the quality of the service” (examples include forbidding the cost of a limo ride to fall under 40$ or making taxi drivers purchase a near 1 million dollar medallion to be certified to drive), this eliminates competing corporations which produce more jobs, and also disallows the average citizen from becoming an entrepreneur. Once again, it’s easy to see the jobs which were created by the wealthy corporations at the top, but impossible to see the jobs which would have been created tenfold without all of the government regulations which push the “small fry” out of the ring.

A pure free market in which becoming an entrepreneur is a cinch creates jobs; government regulation destroys them.

-John

AFFIRMATIVE ACTION- OUR THOUGHTS

Affirmative action is a program designed to rectify previous injustices inflicted upon minorities in the US by providing American minorities with “special treatment” in the education and employment sector. In other words, to make up for the previous racist mindset of Americans (before the late 60’s) and oppression of minorities in the US, government (and private industries) offer opportunities exclusively towards minorities, even if this leads to less qualification. For example, x amount of admission slots to a college are set aside particularly for African Americans, Native Americans, Latinos, etc; most often sacrificing a higher level proficiency for a more diverse image. I do not stand by affirmative action, and here is why.

I would like to start off by saying, I understand why this is enforced and supported. Approximately 53% of poverty is made up by African Americans and Latinos alone. So, politicians thought, if outnumbered groups such as these get special opportunities to excel, poverty decreases, and, at the same time, we get to “repay” them for all of the discrimination their ancestors went through. But once again, these politicians forgot to account for the collateral damage inflicted on non-minorities and innovation.

Affirmative action grants non-minorities, such as the “all-powerful” white male, a disadvantage. While some non-minorities may be more qualified for a position than a competing minority, if all slots are taken except for those set aside for minorities, the position goes to the less qualified minority (this example is only to show what often happens under affirmative action, and the qualification of the minority has no correlation with its ethnicity). In instances such as the “Bakke vs. California” case, which was ruled in the favor of Bakke, affirmative action is proved to be inept. In this case, a man named Allan Bakke, who had applied for Davis Med School but was denied entry while minorities of less mastery were accepted (due to the slots only granted to minorities),  sued the school for discriminating against him for being white. The case was won by Bakke, with affirmative action being called a restrictor of equal opportunity.

In conclusion, affirmative action takes away just as much opportunity as it produces, and should be fully expelled. To truly achieve “equality,” all must go to the same lengths to succeed, and have the same chance of failure.

-John

KNEELING- OUR THOUGHTS

Recently, numerous NFL players have been sitting, staying in, or kneeling during the recitation of the national anthem. Some do so to avoid standing for a country the “oppresses people of color”, others to express disliking towards president Trump for his recent Twitter posts concerning the N.F.L. While this movement has much support, I believe it to be ungrateful and quibbling.

The first to sit, Colin Kaepernick, explained in a post-game interview his motives. “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder,” he stated.

I respect someone’s opinion as much as the next libertarian, and believe Kaepernick has every right to speak out about his what he thinks no matter how much I disagree with it. However, his actions whilst on 49er’s turf is payed for and viewed by the buyers of the tickets. These people came to see a game, not to see their country disrespected in an act of protest. Once those players step off of that field, they can join the KKK for all I care; the point is, people come to games for a relax from current heated politics, not for a controversial serenade.

Some argue that the time before kickoff is not controlled by officials and cannot be punished. Actually, since the protests ticket sales has plummeted. Possibly a visible punishment could rejuvenate the support of previous buyers of tickets, and return the stadiums to their once profitable selves.

Though athletes have altered their protest positions from sitting to kneeling (to show respect towards veterans), these kneeling protests are still thankless tantrums. To shout “racial oppression!” with a net worth of 22 million is crooked and brooding. All races have the same opportunity to succeed in America, and the sooner that is realized, the sooner you will succeed.

-John