Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Socialism, the problem
There are many issues with Marxist-Socialism and I will not go into all of them. The great quote by Margaret Thatcher, “The problem with Socialism is that at some point we run out of other people’s money” while poignant is symptomatic of deeper issues.

The real problem is much more fundamental. The human species operates primarily based on our DNA’s ability to determine what makes people look like, think, act, and function the way we do. If you go back to the very beginnings of civilization you will notice that, at some point humans started to live in larger groups, primarily out of convenience and efficiency.
Coinciding with this, humans gave up hunting and gathering for the efficiency of farming and manufacturing. During those early times, one person began to make weapons or grow barley, which they made mildly alcoholic barley water, or whatever. Others saw these more functional items and said, “I see you have a cool knife, I’d like one of those knives for myself.” They turned to the guy who made the better knife and said, “I’ll give you something of value in exchange for one of those knives.” Therefore, the market place was born. That is the beginning of Capitalism. It was also the beginning of civilization.

The marketplace is deeply embedded in our psyche, in our culture, and in our DNA. It forms the basis of human interaction. No organization needs to encourage people to exchange things of value in order to satisfy their needs, wants, and desires. It happens naturally.
Socialism refuses to acknowledge or recognize this basic aspect of human nature. Socialists cannot bring themselves to believe that the marketplace responding to the needs, wants, and desires of human beings is that unique mechanism that has shaped all human interaction.

The marketplace created civilization. It created the orderly and civil interaction between people seeking to satisfy deep needs and desires through the exchange of products and services for items or tokens of similar value.
Out of the marketplace came the very best of human ingenuity. Every innovation in every area of life emerged as a result of the marketplace fostering creativity, ingenuity, and innovation. If you prevent the marketplace from functioning, innovation, creativity, and ingenuity will cease. We only need to look at Socialist countries where the State owns a key industry and see how inefficient it is.

By not grasping the idea that the market is a basic component of human nature Socialism starts out on the wrong foot. By completely misunderstanding human nature it is impossible for Socialism to ever build a successful pattern for human activity. Socialism postulates that human beings are not essentially market driven but are instead motivated by a spirit of cooperation and a desire to subjugate individual needs and desires to the group. Socialism says that human beings have a natural propensity to satisfy needs and desires of others based on the inherent goodness and altruism of humans towards one another. This is a false premise.

Socialism contends that humans are motivated by a desire to share equally with one another and are inclined to submit to a system that regulates that egalitarian sharing. Socialists further believe that social factors and the inherent evils of the marketplace have conspired to discourage us from naturally migrating to that egalitarian, altruistic, and collective way of thinking. They believe that the marketplace is responsible for all of civilizations evils, everything from wars, religions, even epidemics can ultimately be traced back to human infatuation with the marketplace.

Socialists often talk about creating a level playing field. What they mean by this is finding the lowest common denominator of human needs and wants and requiring everyone to play (function) at that level. Trying to create greater wealth or accumulate more than others is counterproductive. It will only lead to strife and envy.
When one person accumulates greater wealth those who don’t have as much (the downtrodden), Socialist contend that the downtrodden should be given some of what the wealthy person has accumulated. This is called wealth re-distribution. Socialists believe that this wealth re-distribution is good for the society.

The reality is that it is giving into a base human trait; envy. Envy leads to jealousy and eventually to violence. If the wealthy won’t willingly part with their wealth the downtrodden masses must take it forcefully. Ill-gotten gain is hollow. Taking something from someone else, someone who has worked hard to get it is a form of theft. The idea of taking something you didn’t work for from someone who did violates the very foundation of human nature and jeopardizes the ultimate success of civilization. Collective sanctioned thievery is the hallmark of Socialism.

In reality the marketplace naturally creates an opportunity for anyone to accumulate wealth for themselves. The purpose of wealth is not to beat the downtrodden but to satisfy our needs, wants, and desires. Capitalism is designed to create wealth for the greatest number of people. This is real common good, the ability to satisfy needs, wants, and desires for the greatest number of people.

Socialists reject this idea. They see wealth opportunity as an evil. It must be expunged from the minds of human beings. Socialists contend that people must be “encouraged” to abandon the marketplace through social engineering. Socialist institutional systems must arise that will generate this new and better cultural norm. Schools, the family, the government all must cooperate to instill this new way of thinking into the hearts and minds of citizens. This economic philosophy is called State-ism or centralized economic planning.
The State represents the highest order. The State is managed for the good of us all by experts. These experts are economically enlightened and are highly intelligent. This group of specialized ruling elite is called an oligarchy.

The concepts of individual liberty and personal freedom are viewed as impediments to Statist approach. Socialists contend that individual liberties and personal freedoms must always be subjugated to the more enlightened centralized system and Socialist policies of the oligarchy.

When people object to the centralized planning of the oligarchy and pursue the marketplace they must be restrained and reconditioned until they see the light. Eventually everyone will relinquish their desire for individual freedom and personal liberty and all the people will live happily together, sharing, cooperating, and willingly submitting to the State. 
Do you see the difference? Humans are naturally market focused but must be coerced to be Socialists. Socialism never happens naturally. There is no genetic pre-disposition to desire Socialism.

Whenever you try to force someone to do that which they aren’t naturally inclined to do you run into problems. That is why Marxist-Socialism and Communism have never succeeded. It is why the various Utopian communities throughout the world always fail. The idea of giving up personal freedom and individual liberty for the so-called common good can never succeed. That’s because there is no such thing as the common good. The common good always degenerates into the common bad.

The founding fathers referred to The Common Good in their writings as the purpose of Government. Most of the founding fathers understood that liberty and government don’t always go hand in hand. However, the Government must protect the people from attacks both domestic and foreign. The government exists to provide a stable platform for the nation to function.

They referred to this stability as the common good. The founding fathers envisioned the least government possible to keep the nation stable and operational. That is why they wrote the Tenth amendment, powers not specifically stated in the Constitution go to the states. They intended for the greatest power and authority to be held and exercised by the individual citizens. The greatest governmental power was to be held by the smallest and most localized governmental institution, that being town councils and local, democratically elected officials.

Beyond that, the next level up of governmental entity was to be held by the individual states. Some try to extrapolate Stat-ism from a very broad definition of the common good but that was never the intention of the founding fathers. Remember, they had just emerged from the evils of an oppressive government so they wanted to create something as far away from that as possible.

When a political or economic system can only be widely adopted at the point of a gun you know the system is inherently wrong. That is the case with Marxit-Socialism. It sounds good, it sounds like it should work and make the world better but when you try to institute it human nature gets in the way.

Humans are so deeply motivated by the desire to be free and participate in the market that they naturally resist Socialism’s best (or worst) efforts. Humans always go back to what they do best, freely exchanging goods and services for items of similar value.
Economists refer to that idea as Capitalism, the free and equitable exchange of goods and services for capital. As people began to accumulate capital their lives changed dramatically. Capitalism is the single greatest social welfare program in the history of the world. More people have been delivered from poverty through Capitalism and a free-market than any other social invention. All the well - intentioned government programs designed to eradicate poverty and create upward mobility pale in comparison to the positive impact of capitalism.  


Thursday, October 29, 2015

As I recall

I’ve been hunting deer for about 10 years and only recently have I had some success. I wasn’t doing everything right but still having fun and learning in the process. Five years ago I got close; stared down some does in a field until they finally moved on. The year before that I spooked a big Whitetail in the NE corner of Washington State. The deer moved so fast I couldn’t even get my gun to my shoulder and it was gone.

Two years I did some Turkey hunting north of Spokane at a buddy’s place. We got a turkey and we saw some Whitetails. We even saw a moose; I knew they existed in Washington State but never actually saw one. A couple of months before the opening of the season by buddy Reggie called me and told me that a friend of his had 250 acres of private land that we could have exclusive access to if we wanted to go. In addition, the land was adjacent 1,000 acres of public land so the opportunities for deer would be good. His friend told us, “The place is crawling with deer.” This sounded like a good deal to me so we began to make plans to hunt the property.

Five years ago I took up hand-loading. Since I own a Weatherby .270 I started out with simple and inexpensive reloading equipment from Lee including their .277 dies. Reloading was fun, a great hobby, and a real money saver. Plus, I could custom load my rounds and learn a ton about ballistics. I took the loads I was going to use for deer season to the range and sighted in my gun. When I consistently got tight groups I packed up the rifle and pronounced myself ready.

We arrived at my Reggie’s home on Thursday afternoon, a day and a half before the opening of deer season. On Friday morning we drove down to the property and met up with his friend; he was actually my buddy’s insurance salesman. He had a nice place on some perfect acreage for deer hunting. Everything you imagine about good deer hunting property; this was it. In addition, there were a few vantage points from which to glass around.

After spending all morning touring the property; “You could hunt here or you could hunt over there.” I point blank asked him, “If it were you, where would you go on this land?” He responded, “I’d go right to that corner over there.” So that’s exactly what we did. After a couple of beers at his house we jumped back in the truck and headed for Reggie’s home and some good eating.

The following morning on Saturday we got up at 4:00 AM. My son Kevin and I grabbed a cup of coffee, a banana muffin, and headed for the property. It all looked a little different in the darkness but we managed to find the access road. At about 5:30 we pulled the truck off the side of the road and walked in the last ¼ mile. Our headlamps barely illuminated the ground below us even though it was a clear sky. The stars were still shining brightly.

Getting over the barbed wire fence in the dark was challenging but excitement was in the air with the opening day of deer season in Eastern Washington. Our mood was upbeat as we found the precise location we had visited the previous day. All we had to do was find a good sitting place and wait for the action to happen.

Kevin blinked his flashlight letting me know just how far he was from my spot. I responded with a blink or two from my headlamp. As we settled in for what I assumed would be a long morning and afternoon the sky began to lighten just a bit and I realized I was sticking out visibly. I adjusted my position and made sure I was behind some large branches, which had fallen to the ground. Kevin was propped up against a tree; I could barely see his blaze orange through the grasses.

At about 7:00 AM, as my back began to get a little sore from leaning forward the old negative thoughts ran through my brain. “It’s going to be just like every year; we sit all day and don’t see a thing. Why do I continue to do this every year?”

No sooner had I the thought crossed my mind and I noticed some movement out of the corner of my left eye. As I strained to look in the early light I could see it was a deer. With great stealth and silence I raised the binoculars up to my eyes. My first thought was that this had to be a doe but as the image crystalized in the glass I could see it was a solitary buck and a big one at that.

Twenty yards south of me my son was leaning up against a large fir. His eyes were beginning to close. He and my buddy had jammed on guitar and drums until late so 4:00 AM came all too soon. I knew he was tired; his conversation was brief as we drove to the hunting spot and walked the quarter mile to the field. His pseudo-nap was about to be abruptly punctuated.

Slowly I dropped my binoculars to my chest. My gun was resting along my right side; the barrel propped up on a branch. I had positioned my Weatherby Vanguard .270 made so I could grab it quickly and get it to a firing position with little effort or noise. As my hands gripped the stock I prayed that the noise I was making would be heard by me and me alone. Almost by magic the large Whitetail buck appeared in the crosshairs of my scope. He was completely oblivious to my presence, his head down scraping some fresh grass off the frosted field.

The deer was angled away from me his head pointing towards the road we had previously walked down, at about 2 o’clock and his tail pointing about 7 o’clock towards my left side. In an instant I aimed just behind his ribcage knowing that the shot would do maximum damage traveling at an angle through his vitals.

With a sharp squeeze I pulled the trigger. The loudness of the shot startled me but I could see immediately that the deer was hit. The big Whitetail buck hit the ground instantly, his legs twitching for a second or two at the most. It was a clean kill; nearly painless I imagine for the animal who never knew what hit him and who lost consciousness in a matter of seconds.

I looked over at where Kevin was sitting. The sound of the rifle startled him out of his twilight zone. He jerked forward and looked over at me with his mouth agape. He was confused as to what had just happened. My fist was pumping in the air and the grin on my face alerted him that the shot was related to our day’s agenda. With my left hand I pointed at the downed deer. He could see the deer on the ground and suddenly his brain computed it to reality.

“I can’t believe it; you got a deer. I can’t believe it, you shot a deer.” Like a broken record he repeated the phrase four or five times. He bounded over to where I was sitting and we high-fived. He was far more ecstatic than I was; he was thrilled for me.

It took me a few moments to get my head around the whole concept. My first deer after 6 years of hunting and he was a big one. All the hard work, buying the gear, sighting in the gun, the long rides over to Eastern WA, the reading, the studying, listening to the experts, and the disappointment had finally paid off.

We walked the 80 yards across the plowed field to the narrow strip of grass by the road we had walked down not two hours earlier. At 7:05 my season was over and my tag was filled. I poked my gun barrel into the deer’s eye but there was no reaction. We could see where the bullet had entered but couldn’t see the exit at this point. Kevin uttered half joking, “Now what do we do?”

While he walked down the ¼ mile to get the truck I suddenly realized that I needed to field dress this deer. It was cold, around 28 degrees. There was frost on the field that we only just noticed. Then I recalled that I hadn’t discharged my gun. Kevin quickly cycled the bolt and popped the trap door to remove the other two cartridges. In the excitement of success I had completely forgotten the rules; cycle another cartridge in case you need a second shot then remove the remaining ammo from the gun. I saved that spent cartridge. I’ll reload it and perhaps it will bring me luck next year.

Now my heart was pounding as reality set in. I wasted no time getting my knife out and began cutting through the underside. I had built a chest spreader out of ply wood; it looked like a giant dog bone. Using a common drywall saw I cut through the sternum and opened it up. In a matter of moments we had disemboweled the deer letting the crisp cold morning air chill the open cavity. It was almost as though I knew what I was doing.

We were so excited we called everybody we knew, those that would care anyway and delivered the great news. Kevin kept repeating, “I can’t believe you shot a deer, this is amazing.” It was a wonderful experience, one I’ll never forget. I felt especially privileged to be able to get a deer of this size. I also felt privileged to be able to hunt with my son knowing that he took a few of his vacation days to spend with me. I am very thankful.

I had never butchered a deer before but my 15 years in the restaurant business taught me a lot about cuts of meat. I spent the next 6 hours learning how. Fortunately my buddy Reggie’s friend Cliff showed up when we got back to the garage and hung the deer. Cliff had taken well over 100 deer from the time he was a boy living in Montana. Cliff was not only knowledgeable but he was eager to guide me along and dive right in. He pulled out his razor sharp pocket knife and made some strategic cuts. In no time we had removed the rib-eye on either side of the backbone. The fraternity of hunters is alive and strong.

I spent the better part of the day cutting every scrap of meat from that carcass. When I had finished there wasn’t much left and the whole thing fit into a single green garbage bag. Kevin and I doubled bagged all the primal cuts and immediately popped them in the freezer. We amassed a large bucket of meat scraps that I knew would make some darn good deer sausage.

Part of me wanted to leave for home the very next morning but Kevin, Reggie, and now Cliff were having such a great time jamming that it seemed right to take Sunday off and enjoy it as a real vacation day; a suitable rest from our busy world and the previous day’s hunting activities.

Monday morning came around too soon. I hated to leave the beautiful log home and the pristine environment that had been our respite for the past few days. I hated to part with the memories of the hunt and the collaborative activities that had made this Saturday in October so sweet.

There may be other deer in my future but none as memorable, as joyous, or exciting as the first. The ride back to Seattle was unsettling because it meant a return to civilization and a hard reminder that the hunting trip was over. Now it was time for the dreaming and planning of next year’s hunt to begin all over again.