Tag Archives: TANSTAAFL

We’re All Just Renters Now

You might think you own…

But you don’t in the mind of liberals, Democrats, the Supreme Court or the federal government.

The original concept of the United States under the Founders was that it would be a group of states mostly populated by yeoman farmers along with small scale business owners and service providers plus a handful of religious communities living pretty much their own lifestyles. Each man would be his own master, like a little lord. Most, if not all, adult males would own their own property or aspire to. Property owners had the exclusive right to vote in some places. It was kind of a “having skin in the game” approach.

In that construct, the individual is powerful. The individual has primacy. Government serves the individual and is devolved to the state or county level while minimalized at the federal level and when individual and government come into conflict, the individual should win out. The approach is to err on the side of the individual. In fact, local government would be made up of those individuals, rather than a faction of professional bureaucrats and politicians. That was the theory, anyway.

That was the theory, I should say. Of course no battle plan survives its first encounter with the enemy — just ask the farmers of western Pennsylvania, c. 1791.

Individual power has been eroding for centuries. One might start with the Whiskey Rebellion. It certainly took a turn for the worst with the Civil War. It’s been noted that it was there that the United “States” became the “United States,” that the agglomeration became the unitary; the needs and desires of the federal government overrode the powers of the individual states.

After a few post-Civil War decades, with some starts and stops with Teddy Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson restarted the centralizing machinery. Once Franklin Roosevelt was installed, the die was set.

We are no longer masters of our world. We are viewed as serving the government. We provide its room and board. We are subject to its interests. When the individual comes into conflict with the government, the government wins. The government has to win.

An irresistible government increases its power daily, hourly, all at the expense of individual liberty.

Land owners are no longer able to determine what they want to do with their land. Dozens of agencies (and third-party activists conducting lawfare) claw at the land owner, overseeing everything he does. Examining every detail: determining what can and can’t be built, grown, tended to, stored, modified, etc.; thwarting attempts to improve it, make it profitable. You don’t own your land. You might pay taxes on it but it is controlled by someone else. You can’t will it to someone without being relieved of a portion of it. In reality you’re really just a tenant. And you best behave or you could be forced to give up that land.

Businessmen find themselves filling out numerous forms at all levels of government; subject to diktats, licenses and inspections from all levels of government near and far concerning employees, finances, operation, practices, performance, materials, services and products. Erring even once can produce devastating, even fatal penalties though most of the encumbrances are niggling; rather of the parasite tick living off the host variety. But a hundred ticks can bring down even the strongest animal.

And government-empowered third-party activists find businesses to be a fruitful feeding ground.

This is not new. Thomas Jefferson wrote of King George III in the Declaration of Independence: “He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.”

It’s as true today as it was in 1776. Seemingly most everything in the Declaration of Independence is applicable in these times. Have we come full circle?

We are, in essence, now just fleeting passengers on the ship called United States. We occupy a room or two and when we pass away, someone else will occupy that space. We don’t own it, can’t will it to our children or chosen ones without the ship’s crew’s approval. Our ability to decorate it or make it ours is severely curtailed by the ship’s crew and even some of the louder, bossier, better organized passengers. We do not decide, they decide.

Or perhaps we occupy a location on a bench in the galley called United States. We galley slaves row our oar and as long as we row the government tolerates us and provides us with some food or “benefits.” Disrupt that routine and the eye of authority opens onto you. It does not blink and does not think twice about punishing you. You are its subject. Submit or be tossed overboard.

That we might own our own boat and go our own way, supporting ourselves and our family and friends without the big government ship or its crew is inconceivable to the galley master. “Why it would be chaos! Think of all those ships polluting the ocean, getting in the way, what would be the point? Think of all those galley slaves who don’t have a boat of their own — it just wouldn’t be fair. If not everyone can have a boat then no one can have a boat. And the boats must be equal, as well. No one can have a better boat, that wouldn’t be fair either.”

When King Barry famously said “You didn’t build that” he could have also said, “You don’t own that.” (For a little fun go to the Wiki page for ‘You didn’t build that’ and read all the sophistries trying to argue that Obama didn’t say what he, the greatest communicator evuh!, clearly said.)

This Is What Tyranny Also Looks Like

I’ll admit, I too chuckled when I first heard the story of Westchester County, N.Y. being forced to knuckle under to federal housing major domo HUD diktats concerning public sector housing. Few things amuse me more than seeing rich liberals forced to live under the policies they demand for the rest of us but usually (surprise!) exempt themselves.

Those of a certain age will remember how court-ordered busing was all the rage when it was confined to the South. But when that bludgeon was then turned upon northern cities such as Boston, suddenly it was outrageous and the momentum for busing died a quick death after that transgression.

But I mustn’t succumb to (too much) schadenfreude. Scott Johnson at Powerline has some of the story and I touched on some of the heavier elements here.

Perhaps the same demise will happen to HUD’s Obama-powered grab for the power to dictate where each American will live and what they will live in.

The simple assumption is, according to our wise bureaucrats at HUD (and many other places,) that racism explains housing patterns rather than, say, income. Not many blacks (or Indians for that matter) can afford to live in Westchester. I certainly couldn’t afford it, either, but I’m ‘white’ so I don’t count). Yet HUD seems to have decided that every county, city, subdivision in America must meet some kind of formula of HUD’s devising. And if it doesn’t meet that formula, then RACISM! At this point it’s looking HUD will forcefully take action to make racial numbers match what it deems they should be, whether it makes any economic or social sense at all.

The “black” population of the United States is around 13%. So, does every state have to have 13% of its population as black? Montana, Vermont and Idaho each have less than 1% so will they have to import scads of blacks? Mississippi has the highest proportion at 37% (admit it, you thought Mississippi was majority black, didn’t you?), with Louisiana and Georgia following behind at 31% each. Maybe those states could send some to the other states? Could there be bidding wars?

What about every county? Would Jefferson and Claiborne counties in Mississippi, Macon and Greene counties in Alabama, all with 80% or more black citizens, force citizens out if it could not entice enough folks of other hues to come live in them? Would HUD simply round up folks at gun point and ship them around the country in rail cars to achieve the balance it deems as equitable? What about individual cities, towns? Suburbs, neighborhoods, streets, cul de sacs? Buildings and multifamily units? How do you put 13% in a duplex equation? Maybe break up a family and reform it with nonfamily members so the numbers work out?

Do these bureaucrats and politicos expect people to settle as evenly as a gas disperses? The scary thing is that they might. HUD should be shut down and the federal government needs to get out of the housing business (and don’t think Fannie and Freddie shouldn’t be on the chopping block either).

This is another example of centralized government overreach. The people behind these commands desire to control every aspect, every minute of our lives — and they expect to be compensated nicely for the job. Frankly, these things are none of their business and the Supreme Court didn’t help, thanks Anthony Kennedy, with its idiotic decision on the “disparate impact” case. I’m sure Kennedy is completely surprised that by letting the camel’s nose under the tent, we now have camels crowding in. We will be eventually crowded out by them.

ADDENDUM: More from Powerline on some efforts to kill the monster: Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH).

The Glorious Future of the Apple Minternets

Here’s a little note that came out just ahead of Apple’s WorldWide Developer Conference (WWDC) this week: Apple is thinking about building out its own content delivery network.

In English that means that the consumer products manufacturer so beloved by liberals is planning its own branch of the Internet to guarantee that its audio and video streams get to the consumer in decent shape.

Rewind to last year — when so-called “Net Neutrality” was all the rage on the left — the idea that a company could pay the titans of the Internet a little extra to make sure that their digital audio and video streams arrived to consumers in one piece was considered the height classism. The peak of snobbery. A brutal drubbing of the wretched poor’s noses in the digital dirt.

It was apparently a shocking idea, that some people might pay more for better service. Whoah! What kind of crazy talk was that? Pay more for better service? Not in our wonderful Socialist future! Everybody pays the same (except those that don’t pay anything or those living on subsidies) for the same – from a granny only wanting to check her grandchildren’s Facebook pages once a day to a hardcore multiplayer online gamer to a vast corporate with workers in a hundred different places. There will be no differences allowed!

Net Neutrality Forever! crowed one Barack H. Obama, Democrats far and wide along with a phalanx of “consumer” groups such as Public Knowledge, Free Press, etc. Everyone must have the same Internet packet speed because lack of high-speed broadband, with every packet of data delivered in the same way, was the only thing keeping the less fortunate down. If they had access to broadband Internet then they’d get college degrees, start businesses, cure cancer and vault into the lucrative high-tech future, they sang.

Of course so many of these technocratic experts had no idea what they were talking about (and the ones that did were snowing the gullible). I’ll let you in on a little secret. There already is a data packet hierarchy. It’s been around pretty much since the modern Internet began. It’s about the only way it can function without clogging.

For instance, your email packets aren’t high priority so they can wander around the Internet, be reassembled and you don’t notice the fragmentary seconds in delay. But if your video or audio packets did the same, you’d end up with chatter, hitches and lock-ups. In fact, it’s because some packets are more equal than others that your Verizon FiOS, AT&T Xfinity, et al, flow so smoothly. For your beautiful hi-def cable TV, it’s Net Neutrality-Shmet Neutrality under the hood.

But for the eternal envious grasping of the Free Stuff crowd, such things must not be allowed! They think that they’ll be able to force the big telcos/cable companies, the main builders of the fiber optic infrastructure, to cut prices and still keep building out expensive infrastructure. And that they’ll be able to control the final consumer price structure as well. It’s all about control and making other people pay for things that you deliver to your supporters (often in the name of ‘fairness’). These companies aren’t stupid. If Net Neutrality becomes the controlling facility, they’ll suddenly find reasons to stop building out high-speed fiber-optic networks. We’ll all be treated to an Internet trapped in amber – kind of like Cuba and its fleet of 1959 automobiles. Except…

Except companies like Google and Apple will build out private networks, if they have to. These superhigh-bandwidth broadband Minternets (a neologism of mini and Internet) will be built in the more affluent ZIP codes and will be essentially unregulated (because once regulation starts it will only grow, if only to placate the baying of the populists and socialists). The Minternets will be joined by the growing semiprivate IP networks being constructed by a handful of universities to create an elite computer network that will be capable of handling virtual realities and 8k television/movies. This will be while everyone else is scraping by on a slowly decaying public Internet trapped in mid-2010s technology. You’ll be able to thank the Net Neutrality folks for that.