Archive for Uncategorized

Charity or Entitlement

Dave Killion — June 10, 2011

I found out that this letter to the editor was published when a nice retired woman phoned me last night to tell me what she thought of it. That was a first for me, and I can’t understand why she cared what I thought nor why she thought I would be interested in her opinion. That aside, I wasn’t doing anything important, and decided to hear her out. The core of her view was that charity was belittling to the recipient, and that a properly organized society would have no need of it.

I was a little befuddled, but after some discussion I asked if she thought resources given through the private sector were charity, but resources distributed by government were not. She acknowledged that that was what she was saying, but hadn’t realized it until I pointed it out and might have to reconsider her position. We chatted a bit more, and then wished each other goodnight.

Strange as her argument sounded to me at first, I think that many of the people who benefit from the welfare state view what they receive from the state as an entitlement, and would be shocked that anyone thought they were receiving charity.

Supercool

Dave Killion — May 26, 2011

My son, who spends a fair bit of time online, tells me he hasn’t seen this, which suggests to me YOU might also have not seen it. So for today only, here is something that has nothing at all to do with libertarianism –

The Market Never Rests; Newfoundland Edition

Dave Killion — May 17, 2011

I’ve heard it said that in Newfoundland that the chance of hitting a moose with your car is so great that locals joke that a hunting license should be issued to anyone applying for or renewing a driver’s license.

That being the case, it is no surprise that the inventor of “Moosedar“, James Oakley,  is a former Newfoundlander.

You would be driving down a road or a highway in Newfoundland and a light or an indicator would come on in your vehicle saying that there’s a moose within 500 metres. So then you would slow down,” said Oakley.”

Cool idea, but I wonder if the Iphone doesn’t already have an app for that.

Getting Schooled

Dave Killion — May 2, 2011

This video (25:00), combined with evidence from other sources, reinforces my belief that the world is on the brink of a revolution in education. The cost of state-controlled schooling has risen all out of proportion to productivity, and technological advances are such that it is increasingly easy and inexpensive for parents to provide a home-based education that is far superior to the government alternative. I think these factors, combined with parental unrest and increasing global competition, are going to break the back of state schooling. I am very sorry to see little interest in this issue in Canada because the provision of education is a tremendous market, and those nations that are early adopters stand a good chance of establishing strong positions in the marketplace.

Along with the improved quality and lower costs that always attend competitive markets, I would also be particularly pleased to see an end to the pro-state, liberal bias I have found attendant to the government schooling all my children endured.

On the Wrong Road

Dave Killion — April 18, 2011

James Legh, who I am pleased to say is a friendly acquaintance of mine, has a new post up at his blog ‘Amalgamate Greater Victoria‘. Unfortunately for him, those who are opposed to amalgamation (like me) aren’t going to be swayed by his latest argument –

“In the case of one road between Central Saanich and Saanich, trucks over 5500 kilograms can drive up to the boarder in Central Saanich, but cannot drive along the same road once it reaches Saanich…

Why should Saanich care? It will cost money to make any changes and simply benefit a neighboring municipality.”

What the pro-amalgamation bunch overlooks here is very much what they always overlook – the problem exists not just because the road runs through more than one municipality, but also because the municipalities own the road! True, amalgamation would likely create a uniform regulation of the road, but it would do nothing to correct the more serious problem of benefits accruing principally to the road users while the costs are borne by taxpayers. If the road was privately owned, neither problem would exist. So why endorse a half-solution like amalgamation?

Anything Is Possible

Dave Killion — April 6, 2011

I sometimes fret that my dreams of bringing about a libertarian society will never be realized, but it seems that when I am closest to despair I come across something like this

and I am ashamed that I would give up so easily.

Even more “Atlas Shrugged”

Dave Killion — March 28, 2011

I’m on holidays this week, so I don’t have as much time to post. While you wait for my return, here is some dialogue from “Atlas Shrugged” performed by two robots –

More On “Atlas Shrugged, Part 1”

Dave Killion — March 26, 2011

Here is a clip from the upcoming filmed version of “Atlas Shrugged” –

I remember when I read “Atlas Shrugged” that it wasn’t until this scene that I really became engaged with the work. Since then, many other readers have told me they had the same reaction at the same point, and for most of us the pivotal revelation was Phillip’s eagerness to obtain a donation from his brother Hank, despite being embarrassed to have his organization associated with someone whose values they consider unworthy.

I am further intrigued by the moment in which Hank confirms Phillip’s accusation that he, Hank, doesn’t really care about the underprivileged.  In Phillip’s eyes, this will not do. It is not enough that Hank makes a huge donation. He must care.

Libertarians are often accused of not caring about the poor because they wish to dismantle the welfare state. But ask any libertarian, and he will tell you that a libertarian society will be better for the poor. Given that, then even if the accusers are correct, so what? Why would anyone care if libertarians care?

But They DO Look Stylish!

Dave Killion — March 23, 2011

There is an outfit named Carolee that produces jewelry, and I don’t know if the folks over there are idiots or geniuses, but this campaign is likely to get them the attention for which they were aiming;

I can only dream of future ads in which we will be encouraged to admire the fashionable wear of George W. Bush, Barack Obama, Francisco Franco, and Benito Mussolini.

Heh heh heh. Mercy.

Private Sector Superiority.

Dave Killion — February 17, 2011

I wanted to renew my US passport, so I had to go to Vancouver. This trip involves a car drive followed by a ferry ride followed by a bus ride followed by a train ride, just so the Consul can look me in the eyes as I swear with my right hand raised that everything I wrote on the application was true. And then I took all those rides again, in reverse.

You would think that going through all that time, trouble, and expense just so the government could keep tabs on me would have caused me to flip my libertarian lid, but I had my laptop to amuse me while on the ferry and my Kindle to entertain me on the bus and train rides, so I arrived at my appointment in good spirits. It was only once I started actually interacting with the bureaucracy that my disposition soured. It turns out that the US government, having behaved so badly for so long that it is always and everywhere under threat of attack, does not allow electronic devices into the consulate. No cameras, no IPods, no cell phones, and definitely no laptops or Kindles. And here comes the best part – security won’t hold them for you! So there you are, a stranger in a strange city, wondering what you’re supposed to do with $2,000 worth of electronics in the 5 minutes you have before your appointment.

Thank goodness for the private sector. It turns out that since everybody that visits the consulate has electronics, and the government couldn’t care less how much they inconvenience you, a couple of the nearby vendors will happily guard your gear for $10. I handed my stuff over to the manager at the Quizno’s across the street, and headed on in to the consulate, where I was shuttled from one service window to another. I noticed each window had a small, handwritten sign that said something like, “We are sorry, but we cannot accept US coins.” I started to get all annoyed again, but then I calmed down. After all, it doesn’t matter if the US Consulate will take US bills but won’t take US coins.

Quizno’s will.