Reflections on the Boston Marathon Tragedy

By: George Noga – July 31, 2013
      Sufficient time has passed to allow sober reflections on events surrounding the Boston Marathon tragedy. My impression at the time they were unfolding was that the police have undergone a transmogrification to become much more like the military while, at the same time, the military is being forced to act more like civilian police. These role reversals are disastrous for both institutions as well as the American people.
“Police have become like the military and the military like the police. This is disastrous for police, the military and the American people.”
        Ultimately, the problems with police stem from the fact government has a monoply on the use of legally sanctioned force. Absent strict civilian controls, the natural order of things is the same as in any other monoply, i.e. over time policing becomes more and more autocratic and forfeits the erstwhile support of many citizens. The situation is exacerbated by virtue of police work being a closed subculture that attracts recruits from only a narrow band of society. Once initiated into the police fraternity, there is a special bonding and little openness to civil society.
        That was the situation in Boston. Even before the marathon, Bostonians were under virtual siege. They were hectored about drinking and rowdiness during the marathon, prohibited from gathering on their own porches and roofs and warned there would be zero tolerance. In a true civil society, it should be the citizens who tell the police what conduct is to be permitted. The good people of Boston circa 1770-1776 never would have tolerated such police misconduct.
       It was no surprise therefore when, following the bombing, thousands of police arrived including SWAT teams in armored personnel carriers resembling Star Wars Imperial Troopers. It had the feel of martial law or a coup in a banana republic. They shut down transportation, confined citizens to homes and behaved like an occupying force and all just to find one terrorist. Although I found this garish display of force out of proportion, the people of Boston didn’t as evidenced by their enthusiastically applauding the police when the manhunt was over.
“Private cameras photographed Tsarnevs. Private citizens identified them. A private citizen found Dzhokhar. Government failed Boston.”

      What lessons are we to take away from all this? Following are the top five.

  1. Police should act like police not the army. There must be civilian control and oversight. Non political leaders of civil society must be appointed to exercise the oversight and must resist regulatory capture, i.e. when over time, they become apoligists for the police.
  2. We need to open up police work to a wide swath of society and encourage police not to be insular. Myths need to be dispelled; police are not among the top 10 most hazardous jobs. Citizens are nearly 10 times more likely to be killed by police than by a terrorist.
  3. Government failed to heed Russian warnings about  the Tsarnevs. Government failed to detect they had returned to Chechnya and Dagestan. Boston police lacked photos of the Tsarnevs despite ample reasons to have them. The cameras used to identify the Tsarvevs were private. Private citizens identified the Tsarnevs. It was a  private citizen who found Dzhokhar. The lockdown delayed his capture. Police misallocated resources, focusing more on sidewalk beer drinking than terrorism. Government failed the people of Boston.
  4. In the midst of the crisis, a vast majority of otherwise ultra-liberal Bostonians would gladly have supported enhanced measures to capture the terrorists and to prevent any further acts of terror. This looks for all intents like vindication of Bush’s policies.
  5. To the fullest extent possible, police should operate like a market rather than a monoply. If they were subject to market forces, they would have acted far differently both before and during the marathon bombing. Coercive relationships breed antagonism, defiance and victimhood; one does not coerce a customer – instead one promotes trust and goodwill.

 Note to readers: I am taking a break; the next posting will be September 10-15.

Travels in Blue States

 By: George Noga – July 22, 2013
       Recently my wife and I took a vacation, driving from our home outside Orlando to Cape Cod and then back to the Washington, DC area from whence we took the auto train. We have driven extensively throughout the USA but not for decades in the deep dark blue northeastern states. Everything was copasetic while we drove from Florida through Virginia. Once we hit the blue states however, we began noticing abominations inflicted on motorists by government. Quickly sensing a pattern and understanding that these were not random atrocities, we began to make a list; this posting is the result.
“There was a pattern; these were not random acts of malevolence.”
     The most ubiquitious outrage was the doubling of fines for any reason and often for no apparent reason at all. In Florida speeding fines are doubled only when workers are present. Not so in blue states. All violations (not just speeding) are doubled whether or not workers are present – presumably even for non moving violations such as an expired tag. We encountered all the following signs. (1) “Intense enforcement zone – all fines doubled”; (2) “License suspended for two work area violations“; and (3) “Fines doubled when speed limit is 65 for speeding and other violations“. Fines were doubled for perhaps most of the miles we drove in blue states.
     The second most common ignominy pertained to rest stops, or the lack thereof – a matter of particular relevance to this septuagenarian. Blue state rest areas are few and far between and many (perhaps most) lack facilities. In Connecticut they (laudably) were renovating the rest areas; however, they closed consecutive ones instead of spacing them out. The real horror of the lack of public rest stops was having to exit the interstates to find commercial rest stops. This could require 30 minutes to get off and back on. Have I mentioned that blue state hospitality includes refusing rest rooms to those who don’t buy gas? Some blue states have designated certain rest areas only for vehicles over 5,000 pounds; I still haven’t figured that one out.
      Following are some of my other favorite blue state degradations.
  • You are forbidden to pump your own gas in New Jersey, Delaware and Oregon allegedly to create employment and for “safety“. I guess the other 47 states are dangerous.
  • In some places signs read “Up to $10,000 fine for littering“. Yes, folks, you read it right.
  • In many places there are street signs only for cross streets; good thing I had GPS.
  • There is a police presence in most work areas even for mowing alongside the highway.
  • In MA we encountered a 3-mile line behind a street sweeper, which (you guessed it) was escorted by a police cruiser. They were totally oblivious to the horror they had created.
  • Lanes were blocked off at rush hour for no apparent reason creating monstrous jams.
  • Exits are not numbered by mileage as in the rest of America.
  • Interstate 95 is a toll road in New Jersey.
  • There were numerous places where there was only 200 feet for double merges, i.e. for cars simultaneously entering and exiting limited access roads. This is uber dangerous.
      So, why this jeremiad about asinine blue state highway rules and practices? Granted, this subject is not on a par with the debt crisis or even documenting the similiarities between Barack Obama and King George III as in the last post. My reasons are straightforward.
“Government is a malevolent force in all matters both big and small.”
      This post illustrates the profound differences between red states and blue states even in relatively minor matters such as traffic rules. Second, it shows governments in blue states have run amok and are insensitive (one might say, hostile) to the comfort, safety and convenience of citizens. Finally, it proves yet again that government is fundamentally a malevolant force in all matters both big and small. The bigger the government, the more malevolent it becomes.

Profiles in Cowardice: Trayvon Martin Debacle

Government Failure at Every Level and in Every Branch

By: George Noga – July 15, 2013

     Since I live in Seminole County, I couldn’t escape the media frenzy over the Trayvon Martin case. Mercifully, it ended this weekend but not before it became the poster child for government malfunction in all three branches and at each and every level from the City of Sanford all the way up to the the President of the United States of America.

   The Sanford police initially investigated and concluded not to charge George Zimmerman with a crime – in hindsight clearly the correct decision. For this act of competence the Sanford police chief was unceremoniously sacked. Government failure at the city level – check!

“The media bought into a counterfactual fantasia.”

   Then came the massive media paroxysm. The media bought into a counterfactual fantasia sans independent checking. The media malpractice, combined with outside agitators with prior agendas, caused Governor Scott to appoint a special prosecutor, Angela Corey. I feel certain that, whether implicit or explicit (wink, wink, nod, nod), Scott and Corey understood what was to happen. This was not Rick Scott’s finest hour. Government failure at the state level- check!

   Dante has a special place reserved for Angela Corey. The fix was in from the outset. Corey skipped taking the case to a grand jury because she knew she couldn’t get an indictment. She then charged Zimmerman with a crime that couldn’t be proven, all for political expediency and correctness. Moreover, she and the prosecutorial team withheld evidence from the defense. She deserves severe sanctions for her lese majeste conduct. State level government failure – check!

   Next congress got into the act. The Congressional Black Caucus insisted this should be a civil rights case and demanded the Justice Department (“DOJ”) open an investigation. Government failure at the federal legislative level – check! The DOJ then sent its “community affairs” team to Sanford to stir up the pot and foment trouble. They initiated a civil rights investigation which remains open today. Government failure at the federal executive level – check! Not to be outdone, Barack Obama gratuitously opined that if he had a son, he probably would look a lot like Trayvon Martin. Government failure at the highest level in the land – check!

“All levels and branches of government failed – city, state and federal as well as the executive, legislative and judicial branches.”

   Nor does Judge Nelson come out of this smelling like a rose. It was apparent to any scient person the state could not prove second degree murder. Judge Nelson should have dismissed that charge – although that would have required a heavy dose of courage. No one from any government involved in the case qualified for a profile in courage; instead, they could fill many chapters in a book titled Profiles in Cowardice. Government failure at the judicial level – check! Note: The book Profiles in Courage was not written by John Kennedy even though he received the Pulitzer Prize; the real author was Ted Sorensen. How’s that for a profile in courage?

   Government failure was massive and endemic throughout the Trayvon Martin debacle; indeed, it is difficult to find one instance of a government official who acted properly. There was failure at the city, state and federal levels as well as in the executive, legislative and judicial branches. This case should become the poster child for government run amok. As I point out time and again, government is inherently a malevolent force; this is just one more example.

The Declaration of Independence – Barack Obama Mimics King George III

 By: George Noga – July 10, 2013
       Upon rereading the Declaration of Independence this July 4th, I was struck by the similarities of the complaints listed in the Declaration against King George III and the actions of our current president. George III’s acts were adjudged by our founders egregious enough to revolt against Great Britain and to fight a long, bloody war for independence; what of the actions of President Obama? Following are but five instances where Obama’s actions parallel those of King George. Note: Our founding documents list many “rights” of Americans but only one “duty”. Do you know what that duty is?
  1. The Declaration states: “He (King George) has forbidden his Governors to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance.” Obama has acted to prevent several states (Arizona) from enforcing laws to protect their citizens from imminent harm.

  2. The Declaration reads: “He has suspended laws in their operation until his assent should be obtained.” Obama just suspended parts of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act – unilaterally. Obama also has vowed not to enforce parts of our immigration laws and, in fact, to take actions directly contrary to such laws.

  3. Again the Declaration: “He has dissolved representative houses for opposing his invasions of the rights of the people.” His recess appointments while the Senate  clearly was NOT in recess are tantamount to dissolving a representative house solely because he knew the house (Senate) would not assent. Subsequently, even though federal courts have ruled the ersatz recess appointments illegal, the appointees continue in office and to oppose the rights of the people. This final action goes even beyond any horrors promulgated by King George III.

  4. The Declaration: “He has erected a multitude of new offices and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people and to eat our their substance.” President Obama appointed a multitude of unaccountable czars. His administration directed the IRS to harass his political enemies. He is hiring tens of thousands more IRS agents to enforce his dysfunctional and hated health care law. His EPA, NLRB and HHS  have run amok with countless, mind numbing and prolix regulations.

  5. The Declaration: “He has combined with others to subject us to jurisdictions unacknowledged by our laws.” He advocates US law and US courts taking into consideration rulings by international and foreign courts. He has supported treaties and protocols (UN Law of the Sea Treaty) that subjugate Americans to the UN, to other international organizations and to foreign laws and governments.

Americans Have Many Rights But Only One Duty

      Our founding documents list many rights of Americans – but only one duty. The Declaration states the people have a duty: “to throw off such government and to provide new guards for their future security – when a long train of abuses or usurpations evinces a design to reduce them under despotism (autocratic government).”  As shown supra, there already is a long train of abuses under the present King err, President.
     However, the declaration also wisely states: “All experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they have become accustomed“.
      Apparently, most Americans believe the evils still are sufferable or they eventually will be mitigated at the ballot box. Finally, as the Declaration also states: “Let facts be submitted to a candid world“. To this blogger the facts cited herein demonstrate President Obama is doing one heck of an impersonation of King George III – only he is an elected representative of the American people sworn to uphold the Constitution and not a hereditary sovereign monarch of a foreign occupying power.

Public Choice Economics Explains Government Failure

 By: George Noga – July 1, 2013
       The science of economics, far from being dismal, can be truly exciting; it offers much more than arcane supply and demand curves. In recent years economists have captured the public imagination with books such as Freakonomics, Super Freakonomics, More Guns – Less Crime and More Sex is Safer Sex. They are popular because they use the tools of economics, including rigorous logic and analysis, to reach what often are counter intuitive, but valid, conclusions.
     So it is with public choice economics. In the private sector, theoretically correct economic solutions usually are positively correlated with real world decisions In the public sector however, there is a huge chasm between the correct theoretical (economic) solutions and the choices made by decision makers, i.e. politicians. Public choice economics explains this chasm.
      Many citizens, particularly young people and liberals, have an infatuation with government. They see elected officials as benevolent, dispassionate planners looking out for ideal social outcomes as contrasted with self-interested actors in the private sector. Yet we constantly are bumfuzzled by political decisions contrary to all logic and national self interest.
“We constantly are bumfuzzled by politicians acting illogically.”
     Why is private sector decision making far superior to government? Business ownership and governance do a much better job of aligning business and personal objectives and incentives so that decision makers choose the economically (theoretically) correct decision. In government there is a wide gulf between self interest and public interest.
      In both government and business, decision makers usually decide on the basis of personal risks, rewards and incentives; this is embedded in human nature and is immutable. The private sector understands this. The founders of our country understood this, hence our constitutional system of federalism, limited government and checks and balances. Public choice economics explains why government fails us; consider five tenets from public choice economics.
  1. This comes as no surprise but politicians are far more interested in winning the next election than in doing the right thing. Their desire to win elections far outstrips their duty to the country. Their personal incentives are grossly misaligned with the public interest.

  2. Politics is extremely shortsighted, favoring debt financing over taxes; that explains why we have had deficits in 47 of the last 52 years. Politicians love to make unfunded  promises such as unsustainable pensions and benefits. They want to provide immediate benefits while borrowing, hiding or deferring the costs as far into the future as possible.

  3. Special interest groups and rent seekers (those who extract value from government without giving value in return – such as public sector unions) dominate the process. Politicians always favor highly concentrated and organized groups (that return the favor in various ways) at the public expense and contrary to the public interest. A great example is sugar subsidies where a few growers share nearly $1 billion a year in added profits while all 310 million of us Americans pay $30 too much for sugar each year.

  4. There is a myth that central planning leads to good decisions. This ignores the real world preferences of real people, creates perverse incentives and disincentives and inevitably creates a myriad of unintended consequences. The real world is far more complex and dynamic than any central planner or computer model can ever simulate.

  5. Whereas in business the culture is to quickly recognize and to cut losses, the incentive in government is to deny anything is a blunder and continue to throw more money at it.
      Public choice economics can lead to better decisions if we give it heed. We must recognize  economic science is just as applicable to government as it is to business. We must understand  human nature has not changed since the dawn of time. People are people and they do not suddenly become benighted when they enter public service. We need to return to the system  envisioned by the founders where government is so limited as to minimize the harm it wreaks. Failing that, we must closely align the risks, rewards and incentives of public officials with the long-term public interest – just as the private sector has done so successfully.

Red Light Cameras Increase Death and Injury

By: George Noga – June 24, 2013
        The US Department of Transportation – Federal Highway Administration (“DOT”) has a national study assessing safety of red light cameras (“RLCs”). The study, prepared years ago, was buried (hidden?) inside a misnamed (intentionally?) and prolix report. Having read it, I can see why DOT never wanted it to see the light of day.
      In the US there are 100,000 red light crashes each year with many thousands of injuries and 1,000 deaths. Per the DOT study, the presence of RLCs at intersections actually increased – that’s right, increased – deaths and injuries a whopping 24%!
“Red light cameras are all about money – not safety.”
       If there ever was doubt RLCs are about money and not safety as claimed, such doubt is dispelled by the DOT study. In particular, rear end crashes (but not right-angle crashes) spike as drivers develop dangerously hard braking patterns. Let’s follow the money. In Florida RLCs  generate an estimated $250 million (quarter-billion) annually in 70 jurisdictions.
      As drivers adjust to RLCs however, revenue falls off. In Tampa, state and local authorities responded by shortening the length of yellow lights by 1.5 seconds, lowering the time well below the state minimum. They took this action knowing full well it would increase death and injury – and, in fact, at least one death is attributable to the shortening of the yellow lights.
      It is proven that longer yellow lights make intersections safer although they also make RLCs unprofitable. When the Georgia legislature mandated an increase of 1 second for yellow lights, many jurisdictions in that state terminated their now unprofitable RLC programs. Moreover, most yellow lights are set based on the posted speed limit rather than on the actual driving speed. Simply adjusting the yellow lights to real driving conditions vastly increases safety.
“Governments choose tax money over safety of motorists.”
       In order disingenuously to circumvent numerous safeguards in the US and state constitutions, government jurisdictions treat RLC offenses as civil code violations – akin to not mowing your lawn often enough. This means even serious violations are not reported to insurance companies and don’t count against the driving record of the offender. Ask yourself: is this the behavior of organizations that claim the primary purpose of RLCs is public safety?
     As with many government programs, RLCs are based on lies and misinformation. It is all about the money, not public safety. In fact, as described supra, governments intentionally make driving more hazardous by shortening yellow lights. Governments’ cold calculus values tax dollars much more than the lives and safety of  its citizens. RLC programs are nothing more than unethical, questionably legal (for now) government racketeering. And now, thanks to the DOT study, we know they are dangerous as well.

Lessons From the Bangladesh Tragedy

By: George Noga – June 17, 2013

    Our hearts go out to the victims of the building collapse in Bangladesh; they were hard workers striving simply to build a better future. The government building inspectors and all others who are complicit deserve severe punishment. However, it is crucial we learn the correct lessons from the workers’ terrible sacrifice. The media and their liberal camp followers have been quick to draw conclusions and to apportion blame; among the things they believe are:

  1. Greedy capitalists choose to pay subsistence wages for working in intolerable conditions;
  2. Capitalists’ ill-gotten gains can be used for higher wages and better working conditions;
  3. Desperate conditions in Bangladesh are due to an absence of government regulation;
  4. Globalization and free trade harm the poor and exploit child labor; and
  5. Boycotts of companies that sell products made in bad conditions help the poor.

    Each and every one of the above beliefs is wrong; they are voodoo economics and the consequences of acting on these beliefs is highly destructive. The masses in Bangladesh already are living at bare subsistence; anything that increases the cost of employing them – be it higher wages or better conditions – comes at their expense and results in unemployment. The higher the price of anything, the less will be bought; this applies universally including in Bangladesh.

“Economic Liberty – not government intervention – creates wealth.”

    Everyone desires higher wages and better working conditions for third-world workers. Ignoring the laws of economics (media and liberals) only worsens the situation. To actually bring about such results  requires the maximum degree of economic freedom and the dead minimum of government and outside interference. We have seen time and time again – in Hong Kong, South Korea, India, and now China that within one generation workers are much better off. New factories open with more advanced equipment and competition for labor intensifies leading to higher wages. As wages rise, workers are willing to trade off for better conditions.

Globalization – Free Trade – Child Labor – Boycotts

    Globalization and free trade benefit the poor in particular. To the chagrin of elitists, the poor grasp this viscerally; that’s why, inter alia, they embrace Wal-Mart. The greatest beneficiaries are those who live in poor countries (including Bangladesh) with whom we trade. Voluntary labor – yes including children – and even at low wages and less than ideal conditions – is not exploitative.  Workers choose to work because it is better than what they had before  and offers a path to a better life. This is how they work their way out of poverty.

    Workers (including children) in Dickensian England were better off in the factories than the life they voluntarily left. It was the same in the United States where child labor was common until the early part of the twentieth century. My uncle began working in the coal mines at age six because young children with their small, lithe bodies could crawl into small places.

“Who do you trust to look out for children: government or parents?”

    In England and the US, child labor had vanished well before the passage of child labor laws. As soon as humanly possible, parents remove their children from the labor force. It comes down to who do you trust to have the best interests of children at heart – their parents or government?

   Boycotts are primarily the province of economically illiterate movie stars with too much time on their hands. Even if a boycott could be effective, the greatest harm would befall the displaced workers trying desperately to lift their families out of poverty. Low income Americans also are harmed by having to pay more for many products just to pander to the falsetto angst of Hollywood types who feel but do not think.

   The media and liberals set up straw men, in this case greedy businessmen, and then rail against them. They don’t understand economics and they don’t know what they don’t know. They ignorantly call for boycotts that harm those they seek to help. Then, satisfied they have demonstrated their compassion and good intentions, they retreat back inside their plastic bubble where life is so much simpler than in the real world, where thinking rather than feeling counts.

When Debt Becomes Equal to GDP

By: George Noga – June 10, 2013

     Having blogged extensively about the crisis of spending, debt and deficits, I am constantly alert for new perspectives to present the crisis in terms easier to understand. I have discovered one compelling new way to do this and it is presented herein.

       First however, the media have widely reported the  decline in the projected federal deficit which normally would be welcome news. Please note I referred to the projected deficit; the actual deficit continues its inexorable march to oblivion. The decline is due to two factors: (1) higher tax collections in late 2012 in advance of the Obama tax increases; and (2) payments from Fannie Mae. Both are one-time phenomena. So you may wonder, won’t the tax increases permanently shrink the deficit? If you believe thusly, you have forgotten Hauser’s Law which teaches tax rates may rise or fall, but the overall percent of revenue to GDP remains unchanged.

The Special Mathematics of a 100% Debt/GDP Ratio

    Now for the fresh perspective. As the Debt/GDP ratio approaches 100%, some simple but gripping mathematics come into play. First, a few numbers. GDP now is $16 trillion and the public debt is $12 trillion (75% ratio). At the end of Obama’s term GDP will be $17 trillion, assuming a perhaps optimistic 2.0% compound growth rate. The public debt also will be right at $17 trillion based on continued annual structural deficits of just under $1 trillion combined with the frightening demographics and high annual compound growth of Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and ObamaCare. Please note I use public debt and not total debt; this is because we must pay interest only on the public portion – a key distinction to bear in mind as you read on.

    When the interest-bearing public debt equals GDP, the math gets interesting. Historically, the average maturity of US government debt is 5 years, while the average interest rate is 6%. When public debt equals GDP in 2016-2017, we can make the following observations.

“When debt and GDP are the same, the economy must grow at a rate  equal to the composite rate on the debt to prevent a death spiral.”

    First, the economy must grow at the same rate as the overall interest rate on government debt to keep from exploding interest costs and the deficit. If interest rates revert to the historic average of 6% while GDP grows at 2%, this will, ceteris paribus, result in a 4% larger deficit. At $17 trillion, the annual debt service (interest) will be over $1 trillion with 4%, or $680 billion, resulting from the gap between GDP growth and interest rates. Note: Interest now consumes less than 1% of GDP because of historically low interest rates – which will not last.

    Second, if (miracle of miracles) the interest rate becomes equal to GDP growth, the entire benefits of the expansion of the US economy are offset by and consumed by higher debt service. To put it straight: the US economy never can grow net of interest. One can only imagine the impact of this on unemployment and every other measure of economic well being.

“If both GDP growth and interest rates were at their historic averages, there would be a differential of -2.7% , adding $400 billion a year to the deficit.”

    Third, again using historic data, if the US economy grew at its average post WWII rate of 3.3%  (phat chance) and also experienced its average interest rate of 6%, that would result in a  differential of -2.7%, i.e. debt service would explode by nearly $400 billion more each year compounded. Even if economic growth was high at say 3+%, interest rates would be higher given the concomitant strong economy. Thus, even under such sanguine conditions, debt service would grow much faster than the economy resulting in a debt death spiral.

    I hope the above perspective helps readers better understand why countries whose Debt/GDP ratios blow past 90% of their economies rarely, if ever, recover. These United States of America are headed toward a 100% Debt/GDP ratio by the end of the current presidential term. The only alternatives are: (1) massive spending cuts on the order of 30% which will wreck the social contract; (2) Draconian tax increases which will tank the economy further; (3) runaway inflation; (4) repudiation of the debt; and (5) a lost generation much like Greece is experiencing today. In fact, we are likely to experience several of the aforementioned perils. Avoiding widespread civil unrest and maintaining the rule of law will be no small feat.

Please Print This Email!

By: George Noga – June 1, 2013

      How often do you receive paternalistic, proselytizing and presumptive emails, both personal and commercial, that contain animadversions in the form of footnotes or subscripts exhorting you to “do not print” the email to “protect the environment”? If you’re like me, it’s far too often. This is nothing more than your friends or the businesses you deal with gratuitously foisting their politics on you.

   Friends or companies, who normally would not initiate a political discussion, somehow believe it is acceptable to derogate you thusly. Businesses that do this would not deign to attach email subscripts urging you to vote a certain way. They would not presume to lecture you about abortion, gun control or gay marriage. Yet somehow they arrogantly believe it is copacetic to inflict their somewhat extreme environmental views about paper products on you.

   I decided to fight back. Upon receiving an offending email, I always attach (without comment) my own footnotes to the reply; I have one for personal emails and one for business. The following paragraph contains my footnote for personal emails.

Footnote or Subscript for Personal Emails

    Please feel free to print this email along with all the attachments. Trees are a farmed product grown expressly for paper. It makes no more sense to conserve paper to save trees than it makes to conserve cloth to save cotton. Paper is natural, organic, biodegradable, renewable and sustainable. Working forests employ millions of Americans and help the environment by providing clean air and water, wildlife habitat and carbon storage. There are more trees planted commercially each year (by a vast margin) than are consumed; there are more trees than 100 years ago. In a very real sense, failure to print can hasten the conversion of forests to strip malls and parking lots. Therefore, by all means print this email and take satisfaction in knowing you are doing your part to help the environment and to save our American forests.”

Subscript for Business Emails

    For commercial emails I use the above paragraph, i.e. the same one as for personal emails. Then I add the following paragraph strictly for business.

   Your company’s email contained a footnote admonishing me not to print it for the ersatz purpose of protecting the environment. By doing this you gratuitously injected contentious and argumentative politics into what should be purely a business relationship. Surely, you would not deign to tell customers how to vote; therefore, why do you assume it is acceptable to foist other political views? Politicizing a business relationship is bad business for many reasons:

  1. If your company doesn’t believe this to be a divisive political issue, it is ignorant.
  2. You are wrong; conserving trees grown for paper does not help the environment.
  3. Even if I agreed with your politics, I would deeply resent your presumptive and unwarranted intrusion into my personal life.
  4. Inasmuch as I both disagree with your politics and resent your intrusion – I will not do business with your company and hereby demand you remove my name from all lists.
  5. Injecting politics into business always is a losing proposition. Do your shareholders
  6. know about this and do they approve?”

  You have my permission to use or to modify the above language without attribution. If you disagree with the “do not print” warning or even if you are agnostic or supportive but don’t like people cramming their political views down your throat, then – by all means – fight back!

Note to readers: During the summer months some (but not all) of our blog posts may be updates or revisions of earlier posts – usually from years ago. Our potential readership now is in excess of 100,000 as a result of various electronic journals, websites and other blogs that routinely pick up and republish our posts. Therefore, over 95% of our readers have never seen these posts before and they are just as relevant now as when originally published.

Liberals Live In a Plastic Bubble

Defining Liberalism – Part 3

By: George Noga – March 20, 2013
       Liberalism has much in common with the 1976 movie The Boy in the Plastic Bubble. The movie’s hero, Tod Lubitch, was born with an improperly functioning immune system; contact with unfiltered air could kill him. Hence, he lives inside a protective bubble insulated from the outside world. Similarly, liberals have a malfunctioning belief system that can’t handle contact with the truth; they live in intellectually isolated, segregated enclaves, i.e. inside a plastic bubble. Most live their entire lives without ever conversing with an evangelical Christian, conservative or tea party supporter. Note: Lyrics are from Eiffel 65: Living in a Bubble.
Living in a bubble baby
A bubble’s no reality
You’ve gotta have a look outside
Nothing in the bubble is the way it is supposed to be
And when it blows, you’ll hit the ground
      Liberals become more isolated than conservatives because of schools, government, media, the workplace, pop culture and even religion. They can’t relate to their fellow Americans in fly-over land. They believe to visit New Mexico you need a passport, visa, interpreter, inoculations, water purification pills and currency exchange. In contrast, conservatives, who also must endure all these liberal institutions, have an in-depth knowledge and understanding of liberalism. The following details how liberals construct their plastic bubble.
     Education: Most everyone attends K-12 public schools and colleges which are highly liberal government institutions. A liberal curriculum written by liberal professors is taught by liberal unionist teachers. Political correctness and liberal mythology permeate everything. They are taught that there are no universal values except that there are no values. It is like Lake Wobegone, without winners and losers and every child is above average.
     Media, Pop Culture and Religion: The ultra left wing media solidify liberal lies and myths. Businesses always are portrayed as despoiling villains while crusading journalists and government activists are saviors of the planet. Pop culture and the media are symbiotic. Even most (non evangelic) religions have mutated their beliefs to accommodate liberal statism.
The bubble doesn’t make you but it’s you that makes the bubble
And you better try to remember that it’s in your head
The bubble is a very tricky thing all full of hype and it is not easy
To try to see the way things are they’ll always be
       Government and Workplace: An ever bigger share of Americans work for government at all levels; it is now approaching 17% of all workers. Public sector workers now are heavily unionized and see their interests diametrically opposed to the private sector. Most everything government does promotes the liberal agenda. Political correctness, speech codes and sensitivity training now have hit the workplace resulting in a highly liberal work environment.
      The ubiquitous and powerful combination of schools, universities, media, pop culture, government, religion and the workplace, along with physical isolation, create the bubble. Once inside, escape is nigh impossible, nor do the denizens of the bubble even realize they are in a bubble. It is like they exist in a parallel universe. They do not know what they do not know. No one they meet and nothing they ever read or see forces them to confront their ignorance.
Living in a bubble baby
But it’s not the place to be
Cause it’s a place of lies and hype
Don’t believe the bubble cause it’s nothing  but a dream
And when it blows you’ll be alone
       On those rare occasions when liberals are confronted by truth, they don’t know how to react; they don’t realize how isolated they have become.  Just like Tod Lubitch, the boy in the plastic bubble, contact with unfiltered truth could kill their liberal beliefs. Consequently, their first instinct is to deny the truth; after all, nothing in their bubble has prepared them for it. Their next instinct is to call the speaker of truths racist, homophobic, sexist, ignorant and evil.
      Tod Lubitch finally left his bubble, but few liberals ever do. After all, life is more comfortable inside the  bubble than venturing out into the real world where things are not so simplistic and dogmatic and some thinking is required. Liberals don’t know what they don’t know. They prefer life inside the bubble even though that life is a lie because liberalism is a lie.