You Are Not An American

Sometimes I wonder how many times a string of words or strings of words that are similar in content needs to be said. I’m aware of how powerful cognitive dissonance is. After all, who wants to redefine what we already know? Or what we think we know? What we think we understand? For some reason, the vast majority of people are afraid of change. On one level, I guess I can understand this. Humans are animals that look for patterns, for recognition purposes. When something new enters, the patterns we think we know are disrupted. We don’t really know how to handle it. However, humans are also very adaptable to change. When the new thing enters the pattern we used to know, we are able to adapt, and sometimes relatively quickly. Another way to put this is, humans are resilient.

Knowing that humans are able to adapt to changes in patterns, that we are resilient, it makes me wonder why people are so resistant to the ideas of liberty. I know that I cannot force these thoughts, and that I can give all the information I can, and yet, the words that I say go over heads. Or they are met with the fiercest resistance I have ever seen. I don’t know why this is. I can’t grasp why people are so in love with the idea of the state. I have never believed in the idea of the state, really. Even throughout the indoctrination of school, I was doubtful. I knew politicians were liars. I knew none of them could be trusted with anything. Even so, I had never heard the ideas of liberty until about a year and a half ago. Everything immediately clicked in my head. Things made perfect sense to me. The thoughts I had had in the back of my mind were given names and definitions and people said things in ways I never knew how to.

Since I fell so easily into these ideas of freedom, I have a hard time understanding any other perspective. When I bring up certain thoughts and ideas, and truths that have evidence, people still deny. Deny deny deny. If people refuse to see truth and reason, what am I supposed to do with that? I grow frustrated and angry. Angry that maybe I am not saying things properly. Frustrated that people hold firm to their blind reverence to a destructive system.

Is indoctrination really so thorough? Why didn’t it work on me? If it means that I am broken for this, I am glad to be broken. I am ready to learn new ideas, to have conversations with people that understand the same concepts that I do. Talking with people who refuse to concede a point even with evidence staring them in the face is a waste of time. I suppose, maybe, it sharpens my debating skills, even if I’m never going to convince people that the idea of the state is the worst concept to ever be. My heart is heavy for how bad things have to get before people let themselves start to see. Aren’t things bad enough already?

Why do people believe that you just need to vote the right person in? Is that going to change anything? Where’s the hearts of the revolutionaries that dumped tea into the harbor? Of those that fought for what they believed in? No, I do not advocate for actual fighting to change things. There are peaceful ways. Civil disobedience. Peaceful non compliance. I mean, that’s what schools train you for, right? To be obedient? Never question authority? Did you know that the new DSM considers that a disorder in children? As an aside, the psychology field is now nothing more than an entity to do as the government bids, and exists for the drug companies. I’m glad to be rid of it in my life.

Americans today are not Americans. They wave their little flags and chant USA without really knowing what it is they’re advocating for. It’s okay for drones to kill children somewhere else in the world as long as we have “freedom,” right? All in the name of the flag. For your country. For you to sit on the couch and get fat. That’s freedom, right? The activists that dumped tea in the harbor actually knew why it was they were doing what they were doing.

You know, I don’t even care for the term “American.” The concept of borders is an evil one. There’s nothing good about it. But if you’re going to call yourself an American, and be proud of it, you damn well better know everything that it stands for. Everything your beloved government does in your name. Everything they do to you, everything they take from you, everything they do to people all across the world. You better recognize the truths of what they do, and not gloss over them. Anything less, and you are NOT an American. You call yourself a patriot? I guess you want tyranny, because you allowed this to happen. If you deny the truth, you cannot call yourself an American. It’s a lie.

Want to get paid?

I know, I know. That sounds like some sort of phishing scam, doesn’t it? You might not even read this, since that’s such a horrible title. Oh well. But I really can tell you the future of getting paid for the content of what you put out on the interwebz.

If you’ve blogged on Xanga, or if you’ve blogged for quite a while, you know (or, maybe you don’t..) that big time bloggers get their money from ads. How do ads work? What’s the model that they run on? How do you get your money?

Well, the most common form is CPM, or Cost Per Impression. Let’s use Google Adsense, since I’ve used this before (and we can also share how they fucked me over). What Google does is scan your content for keywords. They use these keywords to determine which ads to put on your website. This is important, because you want ads that are relevant to your content. What sense does it make to have a website dedicated to cars, but the ads on your page are for dating websites? I don’t know, maybe grease monkeys have a hard time getting dates.

Anyway, once Google scans your site for keywords, they place ads on your site that are relevant. CPM is a method in which you get paid based on how many people visit your website and simply see the ad. The problem with this method is that you don’t get paid very much, and you have to have tons of traffic to your content. For a thousand page views, you may get a few cents.

Another common form of payment through advertising is pay per click, or PPC. What this method does after placing relevant ads, is that you get paid for every time someone clicks on an ad on your page. For this, you also need very high traffic to your website. Because, how often do people click on ads? Really, it’s not very often. When I had Google Adsense, I was quite a popular blogger (seriously not tooting my own horn here..it’s important information to note). I had quite a bit of traffic, and every day I would check my Adsense. I got MAYBE 5 clicks a week, adding up to about a quarter of revenue. Google Adsense used both of these methods on my page, and I earned less than $50 in a year and a half of having it. For those that knew me on Xanga, know that I was frequently on the front page with my posts..so it’s easy to see how this model of getting paid for the content you produce isn’t very effective unless you’re someone like Perez Hilton.

The reason I lost my Google Adsense? Apparently, it’s against the TOS (really, who reads those things?!) to blog about sex, masturbation, and adult toys. I sometimes blogged about these things. The email I received cited a post I had done BEFORE getting approved for Adsense (umm. wut), several I had posted about a year prior to the email (so when my Adsense was relatively new), and some more recent posts. I was pissed off, because they’re allowed to have racy ads on my page (some of those Zoosk ads weren’t exactly appropriate!) but I’m not allowed to post racy blogs. Oh, and one post they cited was of some erotic fiction.

Before I move on, I should mention how YouTube pays their content creators for ads. You know when you watch a video, there’s a 15 or 30 second ad? Sometimes you can “Skip this ad,” but some you have to watch. Well, the content creators only get paid when you watch the entire ad. I don’t have any experience with this model, but it seems that you have to have high traffic to your videos for this to be effective as well, because most people I know (including myself) don’t watch the entire ad when they can help it.

So, now that I’ve said all of this, you must be wondering what my purpose is. As most of you know (since I’ve been blogging about it), I am a bitcoin enthusiast. I love the concept of them and how they work. A really awesome feature that you can have with bitcoin is a bitcoin tip jar. It’s a bitcoin address you set up where people can send you tips for content that they appreciate. For an idea about what this looks like, we can go to Porc Therapy, one of my favorite podcasts. On the left sidebar, you can see where it says “Donate Bitcoin” and “Donate Litecoin.” Free Talk Live has a bitcoin tip jar, as well as Soyryn Tech, who has a bitcoin address on his photo. Not to mention, Let’s Talk Bitcoin. They create a new bitcoin address for each episode they release, as we can see with their latest episode. This is a good way for content creators to see what their audience appreciates the most, and you can further narrow down topics according to people are tipping.

The examples I’ve given are for podcasts, but bloggers can obviously use this as well, and anyone else who creates other forms of content on the web. I think it’s important to let people know that their content is appreciated, and this is a great way to do it. As more and more people start getting into bitcoin, I think this will be a great way for bloggers and other content creators to get paid for what they produce, and much more effective than getting paid through advertising.

How can you get a bitcoin tip jar? You first need a wallet, which you can create at blockchain.info. Then you can go to coinwidget.com, where it’s really easy to set up a widget to add to your site. I tried messing with this a little, bit apparently you can’t use script in WordPress, you can only use HTML, and coinwidget gives you a script to use. I’ll play with it some more and see what I can come up with for WordPress..but you can certainly use coinwidget to put a bitcoin donation widget anywhere on the web you can have script.

Financial Security

We all know that identity theft is a very large, and real concern. Here are some frightening statistics I found:

*”Approximately 15 million United States residents have their identities used fraudulently each year with financial losses totalling upwards of $50 billion.”

*”7% of all adults have their identities misused with each instance resulting in approximately $3,500 in losses”

Source

How do identity thieves get this information? Well, much of it comes from the hacking of financial and government data. Why is this sensitive information so easily hacked? Well, this has to do with encryption of the data. Sensitive data is “protected” through SSL, or Secure Sockets Locker. Depending on the level of encryption, the “security” can be hacked. Really, it’s up to the company running the website to determine how much encryption to use, how well it’s implemented, or the company sources out the security protocol work to a third party.

What does this mean for you? It means that whenever you put your financial data out there, or use a financial institution that has your data in a central server, you have absolutely no idea how secure your information is. You have to trust that all these companies have the highest level encryption. When you think about it, there’s LOTS of companies that you interact with on a regular basis regarding your personal data. The fact of the matter is, many companies use lower level encryption, making it easy for your data to be stolen. For the highest levels of data encryption, even the world’s fastest super computers can’t crack the code. A quantum computer might, but every day hackers (or, called “crackers,” hackers that hack for nefarious purposes such as to steal data for personal gain) do not have access to a quantum computer, and they aren’t exactly being used yet in any real sense.

So what can you do to take control over your personal and extremely sensitive financial security? You can use bitcoin! There are ways to make sure that your bitcoins are absolutely secure from hack attacks. You have control over how your money is handled, and you aren’t leaving it up to other companies to hope they are using good data encryption protocols. Blockchain.info encrypts the data within your browser. Meaning, your data is not stored on their servers. So if Blockchain’s servers are attacked, your information isn’t in danger. However, it’s still not a good idea to keep all of your bitcoins in an online wallet such as Blockchain. The best idea is a paper wallet. This is where everything is printed on paper, and you have to secure the paper somehow. Blockchain has instructions as to how you can do this.

One thing that does need to be said about bitcoin security is that you never want to keep any money in a bitcoin exchange for very long. With bitcoin exchanges, the data for your money is stored on their servers, and is susceptible to hack attacks, and many of the exchanges HAVE been attacked. An exchange is a service you use to change your USD into bitcoins (BTC), such as Mt.Gox or other exchanges. As soon as you have your bitcoins from cash on the exchange, you’ll want to move them to a more secure bitcoin wallet where you are controlling your security.

I hope this has been useful to helping maintain your financial security, because it is something that is very important in our daily lives. As always, if you have any questions, be sure to ask!

Mining Bitcoin

I got a request to talk more about mining. With mining, we can also talk about the network itself and confirming transactions. I started doing research, and realized there’s not a lot of information out there to discuss what mining is and explaining it in broad terms. I know basically how it works, but I wanted to make sure that I got my tech terminology right, and it can be a little hard to find. I ended up using good ol’ Wikipedia.

So what’s bitcoin mining? As an aside, I recently listened to a podcast in which the hosts debated the terminology of “mining” and whether or not it’s a good term. I can explain, and you can decide for yourself, but the more I think about it, the more I don’t think it’s accurate. But anyway, bitcoin mining is essentially your computer solving math problems. Sounds simple, right? Sort of.

The math problems are computed using blockchains, or long strings of blocks. As a computer works through the numbers of the algorithm (the math problem), it passes through an individual block in the chain. When a blockchain solves the problem, the reward for the work is a bitcoin, and the computer that receives the bitcoin is the computer that had the last block in the chain. Now, the reward might seem to be large, but it’s actually not. When a computer is mining, it’s actually part of a pool of miners. The miner that receives the reward has to split it up between all the miners in the pool.

As far as how often a bitcoin is generated as a reward for the computer work, it’s about every ten minutes. Sometimes it’s longer, sometimes it’s shorter, depending on how long the blockchain ends up being. So this brings us to computing power. Mining bitcoin is very taxing on a computer, meaning it takes a lot of energy. Bitcoin miners have high electric bills at the end of the month because of it. I’m sure you’re asking yourself if it’s worth it to mine at this point. The answer is, it depends. If you’re just going to use your computer, I would say no, at this point it’s not. A new technology has emerged, and that is ASICs (pronounced ace-ick), which stands for application-specific integrated circuits. It’s a special chip that has very high hashing power, or how fast your computer can move through the blockchain. These are very powerful, and makes a regular computer obsolete and ineffective at mining, and here’s why.

Mining bitcoin also generates and perpetuates the bitcoin network. The bitcoin network, and through mining, is also what confirms bitcoin transactions. As the math problem is traveling through the blockchain, so are payments. The transaction is moving through the individual blocks, and this is how they are confirmed. This is why a transaction is confirmed within seconds, versus 2-4 days at a bank. The way it works for transactions, is that a person who puts a small fee (pennies) on the transaction is a transaction that is given priority to be confirmed in the blockchain before transactions that have no fee. The reason for this is that bitcoin miners also receive these fees in addition to new bitcoins as proof of work as a reward for perpetuating the network. Even after all 21 million bitcoins are “mined,” there will still be a reason to have people mining. Receiving the transaction fees is incentive to continue creating blockchains, thus keeping the up network (which is important, because without miners, there’s no network..without the network, no one could transact bitcoins).

So you have the entire bitcoin network that you’re generating through mining. Now, the more computing power you have in the network, the higher the difficulty of the math problems the computers are solving. The bitcoin code has a feature written into it that increases the difficulty (referred to as simply “the difficulty” to those who regularly discuss bitcoin) of the math problems for a reason. It’s a way to control the output of bitcoins as rewards and not flood the market with new bitcoins. As more and more computing power comes online, this is what makes regular computing power obsolete. If your computer has to use regular hashing power to solve increased difficulty, it’s not going to get very far.

ASICs can be very expensive, starting somewhere around $3K, and getting more expensive as you buy more powerful chips. If you are interested in mining, you can get involved in something called cloud mining for a lot cheaper, though I honestly don’t know what they charge. But the basic idea is that you create a contract with a company who already has mining technology, and you pay to rent the space and it also helps with the electric bill of the person who has the mining hardware, and you can be involved with mining.

As far as myself, I mined a little bit over a year ago and got very meager returns. I didn’t do it much or often, because it took all the power of my computer to do so, and this was even long before ASIC technology came on board. The shipping of ASIC chips is actually pretty new, because the companies who produce them just started shipping not that long ago. Even if I could afford it, I probably would not be interested in buying mining hardware. Depending on the chip you buy, you can see returns just a couple months after starting to run it, but I still wouldn’t be interested. I support the idea of those that do invest in this, because supporting the bitcoin network is very important, but not something that I personally want to do.

I hope this post was easy to follow, because bitcoin mining is actually kind of complex and hard to understand. I didn’t even go into all the other tech stuff, which I honestly don’t understand all of it! If you have any questions, or something is unclear, just let me know, and hopefully I can clear something up!

As an afterthought, I thought I should mention how bitcoin differs from other crypto currencies. Other currencies (also referred to as “alt coins,” or alternative crypto coins) use different criteria to generate their coins. Most of the ones I know about use different algorithms and math problems, and one example is primecoin, which is a coin that’s generated by looking for very large prime numbers.

Bitcoin: An Introductory Post

As a bitcoin enthusiast, I listen to the Let’s Talk Bitcoin podcast. I’ve learned a lot about bitcoin and cryptocurrency in general, but by no means am I an expert. I’ve heard about the amazing products and services that people are thinking of, and millions of dollars have been flowing into the bitcoin space, by venture capitalists and those looking to start businesses that cater to this amazing currency. I’ve been meaning to write some blogs about bitcoin for a while, and a couple of people I know have recently wondered what it is, and said they’re confused.

I understand that if you’re not a “techie,” it can quickly become confusing when people who talk or blog about it start using jargon, and perhaps not fully explaining what things are and what they mean. There is also a lot of misconception and misinformation coming from the mass media, so it’s important that people get the truth. I’m going to be writing more than one blog, so if you’re more interested in the tech side, I will eventually get into that too. This post will be just a basic guide to what bitcoin is, how you can get some, and how it can be used.

What is bitcoin? Or, more broadly, what is cryptocurrency? Because bitcoin is just one cryptocurrency; there are actually many. This is actually a two part answer, but this first is this: cryptocurrency is a currency that exists on the internet. That might throw some people off because you can’t physically hold it in your hands. However, let’s think about this for a moment. How many of your transactions are online? More and more, people are using the internet to transact money, no matter what currency it is. Online banking, paperless billing statements, and online bill pay are very popular ways of transacting money. PayPal is a major player in online money transactions. And, there are more internet dollars than paper dollars. What does this mean? It means that if every single person and business with money in an account were to go to the bank and withdraw their funds, there wouldn’t be enough paper dollars and coins to give. I think that speaks to the volume of online transactions that are made in the world today. So, the fact that it exists on the internet really isn’t that big of a deal. We will come back to the second part of the answer in a little bit.

How does bitcoin work? This is where it can start to get jargon-y, so I’ll try and keep it simple. Just like gold, bitcoin is mined. However, unlike gold, it’s digital mining, and there is also a finite amount of bitcoins that can be mined. Part of where bitcoin differs from other cryptocurrency is how many of the currency will be mined. For bitcoin, it will be a total of 21,000,000 bitcoins. That doesn’t seem like much, but it actually is. The reason it’s a lot? Bitcoin goes out 8 decimal places. So with the dollar, you have two decimal places: $1.00. (Fuel, for some reason, goes out a third decimal place, but it’s unusual in any other instance.) With bitcoin, the smallest amount looks like this: .00000001. So you can visualize it this way: when BTC (bitcoin) is fully mined, it will look like this: 20,999,999.99999999 + .00000001.

I’m not going to go into the technical side of mining here, because that part isn’t really pertinent to being able to use it. Having a basic understanding of where bitcoin is coming from is relevant information, but it’s not necessary to understand the tech side of it. So, other than being a digital currency, it’s also decentralized and it’s open source. Open source, for those that don’t know (not that long ago, I had no idea what open source meant!), means that the digital code that writes the software, the meat of the program, if you will, is completely visible to anyone who wants to see what the code says. Why is open source important? I’m not saying that all open source software is safe, but the more reputable people that know coding look at it, the more we can trust the computer nerds that it’s a good program. People can check and see if the NSA has built in a backdoor, and they can also check the code for anything malicious, such as viruses and trojans. Now that we’re talking about the coding of the program, I can also tell you that if it’s deemed necessary, more decimal places can be added to the code, so that we have more than 8 decimal places to work with. However, there can never be more than 21M full BTC.

So now that we know some of the background, we can talk about how you can use it. First, you need a wallet. You can download the bitcoin client, but that will literally take days. I’ll have to tell you in a moment why that is. However, I would recommend an online wallet. I would highly recommend blockchain.info for this wallet. The wallet is encrypted in your browser. Encryption is very important, because without it, you’re very vulnerable to hacker attacks. Since the encryption takes place in your browser, it’s not saved on anyone’s server, and you’re taking control of the security of your money. When you get your wallet, you have two “keys”: a public key and a private key. The private key is the one you never, ever want to share with anyone. This is how you log in to your account. The public key is the one you use when you want to receive payment, or your bitcoin address. You can create multiple bitcoin addresses within the same wallet. Using different addresses within your wallet is helpful for maintaining anonymity within the bitcoin space.

The reason this is important is because every transaction is visible on the network. Your identity isn’t tied to your bitcoin address, but what people see is the from address, the to address, and how much the transaction is for. No one can see any other information. So using different address for different purposes is helpful in maintaining some semblance of anonymity when doing transactions. Going back to why I wouldn’t recommend downloading the client is because every transaction ever made is visible to the network, and therefore, all transactions need to be downloaded to your computer. There have been so many transactions on the bitcoin network, it literally takes days to download. An online wallet is much easier and faster.

So now that we’ve gone through how to use bitcoin, we can go back to the question: what is bitcoin? Not only is it a currency, it’s also a payment system, as we’ve seen from how it’s used. Transferring money is contained completely within the network, the protocol, or how we transfer the money, makes it a payment system as well as a currency.

Back to a little technical here, but what makes this better than any other currency? The ease with which money is transferred. It’s instantaneous if you want to pay a very small fee that literally equals pennies. The reason a fee is required for instant money transfers is technical, so I’ll bypass that for now. But if you don’t pay a fee, it could take quite a while for the payment to show up in the other person’s wallet, from hours to a few days. With bank account transfers, you have a 2-4 day window with which payments are processed and cleared, even if you’re doing a completely digital money transfer or with a credit/debit card. You don’t have the option to pay a tiny fee for instant money transfer.

This has actually gotten quite long, and longer than I intended for an introductory post, but I can’t think of anything I should cut out of it. I actually wish I could add more! But, there is one more important factor to discuss before I leave this post: and that’s how you can acquire bitcoins. It’s not always easy to get them! Because of laws and regulations, most companies that offer the service are having difficulties. Previously, the government hadn’t made a determination as to whether or not bitcoin is a currency. Recently, a court somewhere determined that it is, I don’t recall the case. But now, services that offer to take other currencies and give you bitcoin for them have to register as money transmitters and with FinCEN. This has created a lot of problems, because the company has to seek expensive permits in every single state, because the laws surrounding money transmission are different in each state. Most of the bitcoin exchanges are therefore having difficulties. But there is one place you can get bitcoin, and you don’t even have to link your bank account! You can go to cashintocoins. I’ve heard very good things about it. Just follow the instructions, and you get your bitcoins to your bitcoin wallet no more than 4 hours after sending the email!

I think that should be all for now! If you have any questions, let me know! I will get more into detail on some things in later posts 🙂

What’s the definition of insanity?

Albert Einstein said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. It seems that’s a fairly valid assessment. It frustrates me when people keep talking about the issues we face politically, but everyone says the same thing: we just need to vote different people into office. Well, how well has that worked in the past?

The fact of the matter is, power corrupts. Most people would agree to that. If you put human beings (who are fallible, imperfect, with faults) in charge of other human beings, the human beings in charge have a selling price. They will do anything to maintain that power, including being bought by wealthy people to write laws and regulations that benefit them and their corporations. How do you think corporations got to be so powerful? There are people that are allowed to rule over other people, who have the power to make corporations powerful. The true disparity between the rich and poor is the ability for politicians to writes rules and regulations. However, I slightly digress. The main point is that the powerful people have already won this battle. They aren’t going to give up control. The people in political office have already been corrupted beyond repair. Voting someone else into office isn’t going to work. They don’t work for you. They work for the people that give them money.

The conflict in Syria isn’t about humanitarianism. That’s a convenient label to stick on it. This is about the proposed oil pipeline. It’s the resource of land. Why do you think Russia threatens to bomb Saudi Arabia if the US goes after Syria? Saudi Arabia and the US are allies. The only reason I bring this up is because it’s further proof that the government does not have your best interests at heart. This is an arms race to control resources, because people in power love to control resources. How does that have anything to do with protecting the liberty of the People that it claims to have governance over?

People wanted hope and change after they tired of the wars that Bush has started. So a guy with pretty language with lace filled speeches came along, and people gobbled it up, including myself. I am happy to report that I didn’t actually vote for the guy, because I now realize that you can’t vote corruption out of the office. I’m sorry to tell you, it’s there to stay. He hasn’t fulfilled any of the promises he campaigned on. Guantanamo Bay is still open, with innocent people still there, still being tortured. Children are murdered by his drone strikes. It’s not fair to say just children, because innocent men and women are murdered too. It seems like with this Syria situation, people are finally waking up to the fact that their federal government just doesn’t care. At least, I hope so.

I believe the next step in human evolution is cognitive, in the mind. People need to start looking around them, and seeing politics for what they are, and what it represents. We don’t need an armed revolution (29% of polled voters believe that armed revolution is necessary). We need a peaceful evolution. A change in thinking. A change in ideas. Government is an idea. What gives it legitimacy? There are other ways to solve problems, and not through a system that’s rotten to the core. I really hope that a peaceful evolution is on the horizon, because we DO need change. But not through politics, politicians, or those in power.

Logic?

It’s important to use logic and rational thought in discussions. Thus, it’s important to check your premise. It’s my premise that it is morally wrong to take something, be it the fruits of your labor or the private property bought with those fruits, if it doesn’t belong to you. No one else has the right to take that which you own. Can we agree on that premise?

A robber comes into your home and steals everything of value: your gold and diamonds, your TV and computer, your iPod, iPhone, and iPad. That’s wrong, is it not? If anyone came home to find your home ransacked, you would feel outraged, vulnerable, angry, sad, depressed, and other negative emotions. The same if a pick pocket stole the wallet from your purse or back pocket. That’s a horrifying experience!

And yet. People argue with me when I say that taxation is theft. How is it not? You went to your job, you worked those hours. What moral right does the government have to take your money? And it’s no small amount!

Taxation is also slavery. If freedom is where the slave master takes 0% of the fruits of your labor, and slavery is where the slave master takes 100% of the fruits of your labor, at what point does it become slavery? Would it not stand to reason that the moment someone claims the “right” to take what is yours through your labor, it’s slavery? Does it matter the percentage?

With the premise that it is wrong for anyone to take what’s yours, it’s easy to see how taxation is both slavery and theft. But is it so easy to see? The level of cognitive dissonance regarding this matter is astounding to me.

Why is this? Well, the thing that gets brought up the most is what tax dollars go towards. Everyone brings up the roads, schools, police (or security), helping the poor, etc. Name whatever you wish that tax dollars go towards that you agree with. Because that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? So long as you agree with it, it’s okay. What about the other things that your tax dollars go towards? Funding the CIA so they can have agents go in to other countries and meddle, and then when the people that live in that country and get angry, they attack the US, and then that attack is the so-called “justification” for war or furthering the police state USA. Do you agree with the tax dollars that go towards that? Because that’s where most of it goes. And the tax dollars from your children. And your children’s children. Or how about the tax dollars that go towards droning US “citizens”? The tax dollars that fund Guantanamo Bay and all the people that have never been tried and consequently convicted of a crime because there’s no evidence?

How about the tax dollars that go towards this?:

drone-strike-suspectedTerrorist

Well. It’s okay. Because your roads, schools, police, and helping the poor (supposedly) are taken care of too. The young son of a human being being torn apart is of no consequence.

What people fail to realize is that there are alternatives to these same services that the government provides that cost less (In which a government road costs 20X less than privately fixed). What people also fail to realize is that things like security and schooling are more expensive in the private sector because the government has a monopoly on these things, and subsidizing actually makes things more expensive (due to a high lack of efficiency among other problems). You’re paying various levels of government bureaucrats to see and oversee and oversee the overseers and regulate and enforce, and while all of this overseeing is going on, things somehow fall through the cracks.

It’s no secret that the school system in America is failing miserably, what with 90% of New York kids not ready for college. A one-size-fits-all education system clearly does not work. But that’s what the government public schools are, right? Not everyone learns in the same way, but that’s what’s expected from a student.

In Detroit, the police stopped responding to 911 calls. However, a private security firm stepped up to the plate. Can we stop looking towards the government for solutions yet? Can we unwrap our heads from the box that’s there, and look outside the box? In a world where no one takes what you earn to pay for what you may or may not agree is a good idea, can’t we pay for the services we find worthwhile? The government makes it hard for you to do that at the moment, because in most places it’s illegal or very expensive to feed the homeless.

But, according to people with cognitive dissonance, none of this matters. Taxes go to pay for the things they agree with, while willfully ignoring what they don’t agree with, including enforcing laws that put people behind bars for trying to do the right thing, such as feed the homeless. It doesn’t matter what the taxes go towards, because it’s still morally wrong in the first place.

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