9-27-14 Hodgepodge

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Why Stay?

A list of the ten states most dependent on the federal government is interesting to me on many levels besides just the states that appear. Consider the write-up for Mississippi:

Along with its neighbors Louisiana and Alabama, Mississippi is heavily assisted with federal dollars. So much so, that WalletHub's calculations place them at the top of the list for the most dependent on Washington for subsistence. Mississippi suffers from some serious socio-economic issues, including having the highest poverty rate and one of the lowest income rates in the country.

These are issues that have plagued the state for a long time, and there doesn't appear to be any hope for change in the near future. There are a few things that capture federal funding that add to the state's total, including several military bases, but the major issue appears to be the lack of jobs and opportunity suffered by the state's citizens. [ad links removed, bold added]
Nowhere is there any hint in the article of any question as to whether the government should be maintaining infrastructure or serving as a charity funded by loot -- let alone performing its proper functions differently. The case of Mississippi begs the following question of its poorest citizens: Why not leave? (Many did, to find employment, a little over half a century ago.)

On top of the money being forcibly taken from others, one has to consider the enormous waste of human potential the government is financing by making it possible to remain idle, by stunting initiative -- which in this case might start with a question like, "Can't I do better somewhere else?"

I grew up in Mississippi and was always baffled by the government's practice of dumping money into a place that is overall best suited to agriculture, forestry, and other enterprises that typically do not lead to population influxes. Journalists egged this on, too, making a big deal of the state's "brain drain", as if its most promising youth were somehow to blame for the accidents of its history and geography.

Weekend Reading

"[P]ets bring a value to the human condition that other humans, as important as they are, just can't provide." -- Michael Hurd, in "Life's Little 4-Legged Perks" at The Delaware Wave

"From a purely psychological point of view, however, there is compelling evidence as to why physical punishment is generally not appropriate." -- Michael Hurd, in "To Spank or Not to Spank" at The Delaware Coast Press

In More Detail

In his piece on spanking, Michael Hurd brings up a few things that often seem to be missing in the ongoing debate over child discipline, including when a parent might have to use force against a child:
There are exceptions. If your child is in a physical altercation with another child, you might have to use force to end the fight. If your daughter refuses to go to bed, you may have to pick her up and make her do it. If your son is about to do something harmful, such as touch a hot stove or throw Cream of Wheat at his sister, you should use physical force to restrain him. A smack on the wrist or a pull on the shoulder may be the only option under such conditions.
Crucially, Hurd notes that these are exceptions, and more crucially, why. It is a breath of fresh air to see such issues discussed within the full context of what a parent is supposed to be doing, as opposed to what I often see: intrinsicist arguments either for corporal punishment for any (read: no) reason, or against it at all times, regardless of the situation.

Modern-Day Monument Building

Here's a fine snapshot of just how close to outright barbarism the world really is. In a decision "justified" by multiculturalism and, in addition, almost certainly tainted by bribery, Qatar was selected as the host of the 2022 World Cup.

Fortunately, there is hope (for many reasons) that this decision will be changed, but if true, the following, alone, should suffice:
Since Qatar only has a population of 278,000 (and many are wealthy, making Qatar the nation with the wealthiest population per capita), most of the labor to build the facilities was being imported from poor countries such as Nepal, India, Sri Lanka, and the Philippines. Due to the long hours of labor plus the extreme weather conditions, 1,200 workers had already died by May of 2014. At that rate, the total death toll for the project would reach 4,000. Additionally, there have been allegations that workers have had their passports claimed by Qatari immigration, effectively making these people prisoners/slaves. [link in original]
That this hasn't generated an enormous outcry is no accident in a world where governments -- including those in the United States -- finance the construction of stadia as a matter of course. As Ayn Rand noted in her essay, "The Monument Builders":
When you consider socialism, do not fool yourself about its nature. Remember that there is no such dichotomy as "human rights" versus "property rights." No human rights can exist without property rights. Since material goods are produced by the mind and effort of individual men, and are needed to sustain their lives, if the producer does not own the result of his effort, he does not own his life. To deny property rights means to turn men into property owned by the state. Whoever claims the "right" to "redistribute" the wealth produced by others is claiming the "right" to treat human beings as chattel. [bold added]
The frivolity of the engineering projects in question only serves to underscore the enormous wrong of central planning.


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