Dialogue with a Drone

[Foreward: No actual names or places are mentioned to protect the identity of the person deemed a drone (in my opinion). This is not an attempt to disparage any person; it is simply my own account of observations based on what took place and drawing conclusions within my own generation’s cultural beliefs which are perceived by many to be ‘progressive’, in the sense of the correct meaning of the word.]

Recently, I had a semi-conversation with someone I graduated with—4 years ago this June. It’s most likely a standard dialogue to hold with someone you’ve not spoken to, at least since high school and personally, even then I hardly talked to this person. For someone that holds similar principled beliefs that I do (these aren’t hard to deduce reading my info and writing or the links I post) this kind of conversation I’m going to describe with someone my age is typically frustrating.

To all my fellow conservatives and libertarians, my evening tonight will not cease to amaze you any more than it has any time you’ve found yourself in the same situation. Whether it’s in class, at home, over a friend’s house, the gym, at a party or in the bar—drones always outnumber us. As I’ve previously discussed the reason for this in my note, “Uncommon Knowledge: To All Open-minded People”, I won’t get into it again here. Suffice it to say, this is the perfect prototypical conversation:

The topic of the discussion started out regarding the lottery, leading to the well-known fact that much of the winnings (in NJ) are taxed, at least 25% in federal income tax and as of 2009, 3% in state taxes is withheld. Someone reminded everyone who believed lottery money came out of thin air, that the government uses tax dollars to set up a lottery in which they tax the same money for a second time. Then I pointed out the next obvious statement and said, “That’s because government doesn’t produce wealth it can only redistribute it.”

Then the drone chimed in. I’m sure you can predict the word vomit which escaped from Drone 2,328,487’s mouth. (And by drone I mean a person who doesn’t think for themselves, or bother to educate themselves on anything beyond generalities; that hold historically proven failed economic and governmental systems as a belief that it benefits society, rather than what it actually does which is produces an equal share of misery, not wealth.) As I paint a more accurate picture of this person’s background, you’ll begin to imagine Drone 2,328,487 perfectly, as someone you undoubtedly know.

“That’s the ideal situation!” exclaimed the happily unemployed drone. You see he was happy because as he explained to me minutes earlier, he had more time to drink beer, smoke pot and eat junk because he had more money, due to the fact that his unemployment checks were higher than what he got when he worked. What a life! This is the life he’s been living, iPhone and all, for 7 months now. (I now regret not asking any further questions into what he used to do and whether or not he planned on looking for another job, at this point I was already certain I had an entitlement-mentality-lazy-child-man sitting next to me.) Drones believe that the doctrine equality of outcome rather than equality of opportunity, leads to everyone (even them, though they’re a drain on society) becoming equally wealthy. This belief has been proven economically unsustainable and false throughout history; the truth of it is that it leads to everyone (except the political elites and their friends) becoming equally poor.

Not surprisingly, his response to the notion of the “redistribution of wealth” led me to point out that that idea has never worked and never will; I also said another obvious fact that rich people create jobs not poor people. To ever be jealous of a person who appears better off than you is childish, especially in a country where all men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights to Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness, where the principle of America is equal opportunity.

For example, Apple is a huge business and is extremely wealthy (due to the computer and the internet being new technologies which remain largely free and unregulated by government and therefore have been the most prosperous and innovative), they also employ millions of people and provide consumers with products drones value despite their resentment for the rich and big business. As Frederic Bastiat wrote, “By virtue of exchange one man’s prosperity is beneficial to all others.” This is a principle people must recognize, if you are willing to pay for the product being produced by mutual consent, than the value of said product can never exceed the demand for it. Unless, by force of law protectionist regulations are put in place by the government to arbitrarily set prices, then the virtue of exchange no longer remains virtuous or beneficial to all others.

It’s what every sane economist will tell you and what Margaret Thatcher put so practically, the problem with socialism is that eventually the socialist (and communist and fascist) government always runs out of other people’s money (pretty much any society in which the government controls the means of production, distribution and exchange). And as recently demonstrated in our current society, what has evolved over the last century is called crony capitalism or corporatism, is an unsustainable fiscal path for America to take and to continue on if we all wish to retain our current standard of living for our children and grandchildren. ‘Reality Check on the Record of Big. Bad Capitalism’ shows the fallacy of laissez faire capitalism being to blame.

Nonetheless, this empirically proven truth has no consequence to Drone 2,328,487, in fact, the drone had the ignorance and audacity to reply, “You think the government is evil?” (Drones, especially ones comfortable with living on the means provided to them by taxpayers, must always defend the all-caring government they hold so infallible.) At this, I rolled my eyes and after a mere three second pause in which I spoke at most two words, their attention was diverted to what someone across the room was talking about, displaying no interest whatsoever to listen or inquire further into what held me to assert this point of view opposing their own.

A drone’s indifference to conflicting opinions is quite symptomatic; they avoid learning or thinking on their own (as well as hearing out and logically considering statistical, empirical facts based on rationality not emotion), they get their information from the “mainstream” media, drive-by journalists or indoctrination schools and universities. It’s like they purposely believe whatever pill is the easiest to swallow because seeking the truth puts too much responsibility on their shoulders, let’s face it their “life is already like, so busy and it’s not like it affects” them anyway!

When the leftist politicians and media go out of their way to slander conservatives, whether they be well known publicly or are the millions of regular American’s of the tea party movement (who happen to consist of more than just conservatives and republicans), it makes no difference to ideological purists; they are openly displaying their willful pursuit of power and control, or if you’re a drone demonstrating the willful pursuit of remaining manipulated, misinformed and lobotomized by the statists. You see the left always advocates diversity, despite the fact that America is already the most diverse country on the planet, yet they disdain and defame anyone who thinks differently then them, they as usual appear well meaning but inevitably demand conformity and in turn are the ones who are really intolerant.

In closing I want to affirm that by no means am I advocating anarchy simply because I rightly hold the truth that yes, government is a necessary evil, as Thomas Paine wrote. And yes, I agree with George Washington (and many other brilliant people who said the same thing in different words) that, “Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force; like fire, a troublesome servant & a fearful master. Never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action.” I have already written at length about morality and the role of government and the consequence of relying on government for anything beyond the enumerated Constitutional limits, creating a social-dependency within the culture—breeding rapidly within my own generation unfortunately.

Self-reliance vs. Social-dependence

Life experience is accumulated not only in one’s own lifespan but throughout all of human history. So I will submit to some who may be my critics and say it is true I am young, and have yet to climb out of what is considered the poverty income tax bracket and actually overcome being part of the 47% of the population that pays no federal income taxes. Let me suggest that I do not have to rely solely on my own life experiences to know the difference between right and wrong, good and evil. Luckily, I have access to the guidance of the brightest minds that ever lived. I believe that knowledge is the most essential tool to protecting freedom, and so intellect more than age determines naivety. To know what freedom is and to understand why it’s worth defending in the only country ever to be conceived in liberty, does not require a background in owning a business or getting audited by the IRS. It is no coincidence that a nation born of equal opportunity for all would require self-reliance and not government hand-outs to become the wealthiest in the world and generate the highest standard of living to the most people.

Moreover, I would encourage you to think further and reflect upon how much more unlikely the prospects of having the same opportunity for prosperity in a society becoming increasingly more dependent on the federal government will be. No society can retain our current standards of living under a centralized bureaucracy, where instead of countless free individually driven interests, the state arbitrarily decides the priorities and societal value of a persons life based on a bureaucrats sole prerogative. As the great Milton Friedman asked, “Is it really true that political self-interest is nobler somehow than economic self-interest? Just tell me where in the world you find these angles who are going to organize society for us.”

Friedman went on further:

“The world runs on individuals pursuing their separate interests. The great achievements of civilization have not come from government bureaus. Einstein didn’t construct his theory under order from a bureaucrat. Henry Ford didn’t revolutionize the automobile industry that way. In the only cases in which the masses have escaped from the kind of grinding poverty you’re talking about, the only cases in recorded history are where they have had capitalism and largely free trade. If you want to know where the masses are worst off, it’s exactly the kinds of societies that depart from that. So the record of history is absolutely crystal clear: that there is no alternative way so far discovered of improving the lot of the ordinary people that can hold a candle to the productive activities that are unleashed by a free enterprise system.”

How much better a situation we all would be in, if the hack politicians running this country today read and comprehended the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States of America, and especially the Federalist Papers! The Federalist Papers were written by who is considered the father of the Constitution, James Madison, he so eloquently warns of the dangers of centralized power:

“But the great security against a gradual concentration of the several powers in the same department, consists in giving to those who administer each department the necessary constitutional means and personal motives to resist encroachments of the others. The provision for defense must in this, as in all other cases, be made commensurate to the danger of attack. Ambition must be made to counteract ambition. The interest of the man must be connected with the constitutional rights of the place. It may be a reflection on human nature, that such devices should be necessary to control the abuses of government. But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself. A dependence on the people is, no doubt, the primary control on the government; but experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions.”
-The Federalist #51

Therefore, when those who become complacent with dependence on the government sacrifice liberty for the false promise of security, the inverse of a government set to depend on the people develops, and society inevitably degenerates to a form of despotism. Of course, in the beginning these false promises may somewhat be fulfilled, but not for long after the productive wealth is drained dry by the unproductive. I’d like to address those who claim to hate the “rich”, has a poor person ever provided you with a job? It is our civil duty as citizens of this great nation to know the truths our founders held as self-evident, so it is our responsibility to elect those who share our views and value the principles which have made America the most prosperous country. We should not be striving to emulate Europe. We should be striving to learn that which makes us all the luckiest on earth to be living in America, and as Abraham Lincoln once famously said, “that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

Do you realize that there is already a 150,000 doctor shortage facing us in the next 15 years? This is why the government taking over the student loan industry (passed within the healthcare bill) is something to be concerned about. Not only will the government be more inclined to dictate curriculum. It will lead to the government telling medical school students where to practice, determined on where they are needed most, care will be rationed no doubt with the estimated extra 32 million people covered. It will be relatively easy to push students into primary care since they federalized the student loan industry, although individuals can still apply for private bank loans, without collateral it is unlikely a young person will get approved for a loan that is preferably without government strings attached.

The problem is primary care isn’t necessarily a specialty despite what this doctor in the Wall Street Journal says, “We’ve tried to make sure the attitude of students going into primary care has changed,” said Dr. Wheeler. “To make sure primary care is a respected specialty to go into.” However, this according to Dr. Michael Brennan admits the truth, that primary care doctors are not making as much money as specialists because it’s not a concentrated field, otherwise they would be earning much more, “As a specialist physician I will suggest that until primary care physicians can earn 70-80% of what most specialists make without killing themselves, there will be no incentive for the best and the brightest to go into primary care.”

It’s hard to imagine the consequences of the legislation that has already been passed because much of it has not come to fruition yet so it is all theoretical–but that does not make it a reason to believe that the quality of care in medicine won’t be effected in negative ways. Plus, we already have plenty of examples of negative consequences of government involvement in health care (far worse than those “big bad profit seeking” insurance companies, which are actually not that profitable being ranked #86). Access to medical insurance coverage does not guarantee access to care. (See government run insurance: Medicare, Medicaid, VA, SCHIP) Fifteen years from now, so much for being able to see a specialist for the liver disease you have in a timely manner, join the waiting list which will increasingly resemble the ones you see in Canada and Britain, or take a look at Massachusetts: “Such skimpy plans are known to decrease access to care, and provide little financial protection in the face of a prolonged and expensive illness. The Massachusetts reform failed to address the problems of these so-called underinsured.”

With more and more people covered and less and less doctors, there will be a need for primary care physicians as they are the fist step to receiving medial care. The government will incentivize students who have taken federal loans to go into primary care by giving them credits and exemptions from paying back a portion of the loan in exchange for determining their profession and directing them where they are needed. This will create a decrease in medical students who choose to go into a specialty and require more school, leading to a shortage in specialized physicians and long waiting periods. As the brilliant Ludwig von Mises stated: “Socialism knows no freedom of choice in occupation. Everyone has to do what he is told to do and to go where he is sent.” Remember when Ronald Reagan asked Gorbachev to “tear down” the Berlin Wall, which was a physical symbol of Communist barbarization used to keep the citizens of East Germany from emigrating, and two short years after, the world witnessed the collapse of the Soviet Union and the proof that Communism, another form of socialism, is a failed system and provided the vindication of capitalism. Mises goes on, “The social system of private property and limited government is the only system that tends to debarbarize all those who have the innate capacity to acquire personal culture.”

There is no right to enslave a man to provide for the ‘needs’ of others if life is your highest value and standard. A right doesn’t exist because of a politician’s pronouncement. What about the rights of doctors? What about the doctors who don’t want to be government doctors whose every move is scrutinized and balanced against the current year budget allowance? Are they to be denied the right to practice medicine according to their own judgment? Are the doctors to be compensated according to the dictates of a medical pay czar? According to the plans of the President’s Health Policy advisor; the end goal is complete government control of medicine with all possibilities defined by bureaucrats. Destruction of the medical profession will be the result of further government intervention in medicine.

Again, the free-market is needed to address the problems and costs of health insurance, not the government, which can’t even run a postal service on a surplus. If the healthcare reform used the Commerce Clause correctly, it would allow for insurance companies to sell across state lines and for individuals to get the same tax credits for purchasing private health insurance as employers do. This way, a person would not be tied down to a job and a location in fear of quitting and moving and losing their insurance coverage. Also, allowing for insurance companies to compete and for people to pick their own plans, much like car insurance works, will bring prices down and give people transparency in costs and an incentive to watch their health and their money more closely. No one spends other peoples’ money as wisely as their own.

Another big omission in Obamacare is TORT reform, these slip-and-fall lawyers are breaking the banks of doctors, and in turn the patients they claim to represent because the extra money a doctor is forced to pay in malpractice insurance to protect against lawsuits, gets passed down to the patient by physicians that must practice defensive medicine. Unfortunately, the American people are not the constituents of the Democrat party any longer, but TORT lawyers, public sector union bosses, illegal aliens, and terrorists seem to be. As John Goodman has pointed out, many of the planks Obama and Democrats pushed their bill on behalf of, including covering pre-existing conditions and preventing a drop in coverage after getting sick, are all already existing laws! In essence, the bill is nothing more than a government power-grab keen on regulating and controlling one-sixth of the economy, insurance companies, doctors and patients, nothing could be farther from the Constitution.

The country has not yet tipped over the edge into socialism, slightly more people still pay federal income taxes–yet the cumbersome tax code speaks for itself when it gives tax credits to people who don’t pay federal income taxes and punishes those who do (most of whom own businesses and need those tax breaks to be able to expand and create more jobs). We are becoming a society of two classes, the tax payers who foot the bill for benefits (which were supposed to be for the truly poor and needy) and then the free-loaders who with the help of the government are literally incentivized to be lazy. The ladder is becoming a bigger and bigger voting block for the Democrat party to stay in power, this is hardly an accident. We have allowed the government to define what is considered to be “poverty” and this is dangerous and has had a negative impact on our society. “Poverty” in America is considered to be a family with regular T.V’s instead of flat screen HDTV’s, a PS2 instead of a PS3, one car instead of two. Normally, the poverty one witnesses in third world countries and envisions when hearing the word, would be defined as someone who is depraved of essential things like food, clothing and shelter. Yet, unless you’ve been to one of these poor countries and have seen first hand what true poverty is, you would think by all the rhetoric from politicians that we’ve let millions of people go malnourished and rotting in ditches in the shadows of America. Americans are the most charitable people in the world, those who need help do not need to depend solely on the government as most politicians want us to think.

There is nothing wrong with a safety net for those who legitimately need the help, but for the net to catch and entrap people who are simply unwilling but completely able to support themselves only further encourages and exasperates that exact kind of behavior and burdens the tax payers even more, taking away sustenance from their own families’ needs and future well-beings. Thomas Sowell has a great piece on the effects of President Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty, he talks about how the levels of crime, teenage pregnancy, venereal disease, murder and among African-American families in particular, single-parent homes all increased after the government began throwing tax payer dollars at the problems. The so-called “war on poverty” is perpetual and the more amount of money the government spends is corollary to the increase in poverty that is actually created–yet the Democrat party knows this and they use it to their advantage. The more people that are living off the government programs, the more votes they attain. It’s not about the ‘poor’ or the ‘children’ as they would have you believe, it’s all about power and staying in power.

It’s everything those genius men who founded this country and others who have experienced a powerful centralized government, have written extensively about to warn future generations. They knew that being self-reliant is the best way to prosper, the government does not create all the wonderful products and inventions we enjoy today, individuals freely pursuing their dreams do. This is not the first time in American history and certainly not world history that there has been a battle between liberty and tyranny, it’s an ongoing war and it is one that we can choose to ignore and remain neutral at our own peril.

“Used to the conditions of a capitalistic environment, the average American takes it for granted that every year business makes something new and better accessible to him. Looking backward upon the years of his own life, he realizes that many implements that were totally unknown in the days of his youth and many others which at that time could be enjoyed only by a small minority are now standard equipment of almost every household. He is fully confident that this trend will prevail also in the future. He simply calls it the American way of life and does not give serious thought to the question of what made this continuous improvement in the supply of material goods possible.” -Ludwig von Mises