Borders and Neighbors

I used to live near an Orthodox Synagogue. Because of their religious belief, Orthodox Jews do not drive on the Sabbath; they walk to services every Friday night; therefore, they strongly prefer to live in close proximity to their synagogue.

Since this synagogue was on a major venue, I walked through often, and came to recognize a distinct style, big bushy beards, a certain kind of flat-brimmed hat, the cut of overcoat, the somber colors.

I’m sure, for natural reasons, that these birds do flock together. But there are no hard-and-fast boundaries. If we were to inspect the demographics, we’d probably find many Orthodox families grouped in distinct clusters. We’d also find some areas where Orthodox and Gentile intermingle to some degree.

There was no “border control.” Nobody barred my passage through the neighborhood. It’s quite probable that if I’d taken a shine to some potential mate therein, the family would have steered us apart. There were no artificial barriers to conversation and commerce, but my actual intercourse with these neighbors was slight.

Bordertarians leap from these natural groupings of people to a demand to draw arbitrary lines and borders and post guards to create and enforce physical separation. That’s quite a extrapolation. They’ll go even further, and claim that the mere proximity of people whose hues of skin or ideas or religion differ from one’s own is “forced integration.”

The lack of an artificial border did not prevent my neighbors and I from respecting each other’s person and property. The border controls proposed by bordertarians would disrespect both person and property, and impede voluntary associations and the right to use and dispose of one’s own property.

Talk Early, Talk Often

What can you as a parent do to help your children develop their language skills?

Workbooks? Flash cards? No, my advice is much simpler. Talk to them. Talk early. Talk often. Talk about all the interesting aspects of your life together.

My fans may remember the 30 million word research. Today, I discovered an extensive interview with one of the authors, Dr. Todd Risley. It’s long, but well worth reading or listening to the end.

Doctors Hart and Risley observed very young children – 0 to three years of age – trying to find out why some have rich vocabularies in the preschool years, and discovered something unexpected. Children hear on average 1500 words per hour, but some hear as few as 600 per hour, and some 2100 words per hour. The children whose parents or caregivers talk a lot, come away with richer vocabularies than those with taciturn caregivers.

It’s not just quantity. Ever child hears a certain amount of “business talk” – do this, come here, stop that. These directives tend to be simple and repetitive. The additional talk is varied, complex, interesting, and vocabulary-rich. It entices the child with pictures and rhythm and back-and-forth engagement. It helps to develop important centers of the child’s brain.

You’ll find that the correlation between this sort of speech and measures of children’s reading, IQ at age 3, and academic success is strong. And it does not matter what the socio-economic status is. A poor minority parent who engages with her child – or is able to place her child with such a caregiver at an early age – will impart a great gift to her child; the gift of a rich vocabulary, learned during the crucial early years of the child’s life.

I stress again – this is early development, the development of babies and toddlers. Conversation, back and forth, as you change the baby’s diaper or nurse her or clothe her or take her shopping. You needn’t spend money; you needn’t do any more than converse with your little children. Early and often.


No Such Thing As Free School

Remember the saying? There’s no such thing as a free lunch? This is true for all “free” goods provided by the government. First off, obviously, taxpayers cover the costs. Second, government is seldom or never the most efficient provider of services.

But most importantly, “free” school (the topic of this article) comes packaged with a bundle of problems. Someone else, not you, gets to decide which hours children should attend school; which subjects should be taught; and what the content of those subjects might be. Some one else decides which spin of history and economics and philosophy shall be taught.

It should come as no surprise that, when the government teaches, it happens to teach that government is a positive good, and that without government, there’d be no roads, and we’d all be at the mercy of war lords and other horrible creatures. So shut up, submit, pay your taxes and follow the rules.

We are discovering, however, that many things which were presumed to need government intervention, do not. Parents are teaching their children at home and in co-ops, independent of government. In India, millions of parents are spurning government schools, in favor of parent-funded government-free schools. Millions of customers use ride-sharing services, breaking the stranglehold of licensed taxicab drivers. People are using Bitcoin to transact business. In a myriad of ways, people are discovering that government isn’t free; that freedom works better and at lower cost.

Patriotism and the Pledge

Patriots ought to ask, as I do, what sort of country we wish to be patriotic about. Do we want to emulate North Korea and Communist China, with their mandatory displays of patriotism? What is it about this country (the U. S. of A.) that we most admire?

For me, it’s the ideal of freedom, however much the government itself may abuse that ideal. This meme sums up my feelings about the recent flap about flags and songs. On what side do we wish to stand? As for me, I stand for freedom itself, not for the symbol.



Nativism Self-implodes

I’ve opposed nativist know-nothings for decades, for many reasons. Their theory of wall-building-as-panacea rests on many shifting assertions, including the belief that immigrants necessarily vote for more government, and/or necessarily vote Democrat.

Both parts of that theory have always seemed suspect to me. In addition, the last claim – that immigrants tend to vote Democrat – seems to be a self-fulfilling prophecy. When you spend a great deal of time advertising your dislike of immigrants, are they supposed to happily rush to endorse your pogrom, excuse me, program?

Alex Nowrasteh tackles this fallacious marketing strategy in his commentary Saving the GOP from Modern Know-Nothingism

California’s Gov. Pete Wilson took another path. Facing a tough re-election campaign in 1994, the Republican decided to blame illegal immigrants for all of the state’s troubles. The result was that he and the rest of the state GOP were perceived as blaming all immigrants for California’s woes. Mr. Wilson won re-election but doomed the GOP for decades in that state.

Against Intellectual Property

This will raise the ire of some libertarians, but I can see no merit in arguments that a copy of the product of one’s mental effort is “property.”

Suppose I make a clay pot. Assuming that the clay was mine, and the tools were mine or were legitimately in my hands, and I had no prior commitment to produce the pot for others, that pot is mine.

If a replicator then makes an exact duplicate, the pot belongs to whoever owns the replicator, just as a copy machine produces copies of paper documents. So-called IP laws seek to claim property in copies and even sort-of-vaguely-like “copies” of the arrangement of bits, blobs of ink, or physical stuff. If taken to extreme, you would owe royalties to the first creators of every word you utter, in perpetuity.

There’s a lot to be said on this topic. Recommended reading list:

The Case Against Intellectual Property

Against Intellectual Property 

The Case Against Patents

Cooperation vs. Interventionism

Henry J. Gomez of buzzfeed recently wrote an article about libertarianism. To his credit, he mostly describes libertarian foreign politics as non-interventionist – except for one awful passage: “libertarians believe […] less-interventionist, more-isolationist themes.”

No, no, a thousand times no. I realize that Rothbard used the word “isolationism,” but he was wrong. It is not a synonym for non-interventionism. It’s not even in the same ballpark.

The libertarian – or classical liberal, which is much the same thing – philosophy is about peaceful cooperation. Instead of intervening in the affairs of other nations, instead of engaging in war, libertarians engage in peace. They engage in commerce. They engage in cooperation.

Nobody would ever accuse Switzerland of isolationism; they are home to globe-spanning corporations. This is perfectly compatible with their long-standing policy of non-interventionism; they go not abroad in search of monsters to slay. They’re happy enough to trade peacefully with you and your neighbors.

That’s what libertarian foreign policy is about. Instead of making enemies, make friends. Make trading partners. Make profits without recourse to the violence of trade barriers, tariffs, sanctions, and bombs. Let us wage peace, not war.

South Bay Libertarians Monthly Dinner/Meeting

Greater Los Angeles Libertarian Party Meetup Group

South Bay Libertarians Monthly Dinner/Meeting

6:30 pm:Social Hour & Dinner

8:00 pm: Meeting, Speakers, Discussions

Our featured guest this month is Ray Acosta on "The Tampico Affair and the Occupation of Vera Cruz". In 1914, but before the outbreak of the Great War, the United States took advantage of a small incident in one Mexican port city and escalated it into the occupation of another Mexican port city. This happened during the Mexican Revolution when President Wilson did not like the way General Huerta was running the part of Mexico controlled by said general.

Ray is a long time Libertarian, amateur historian, and the author of "Revolutionary Days: A Chronology of the Mexican Revolution".

Here is a link to our website: http://www.lplac66.wo...

San Pedro, CA 90731 - USA

Thursday, October 19 at 6:30 PM


SFV LP Meeting – Re-Activation Party!

Greater Los Angeles Libertarian Party Meetup Group

It's time to get liberty back on the agenda in the San Fernando Valley... AND YOU'RE INVITED! Time: Thursday, September 28th, 7pm-10pm. Location: El Torito Grill, Sherman Oaks (Just East of Van Nuys)

SPEAKERS: Nickolas Wildstar - Candidate for Governor of CA
Kevin Shaw - Local free speech activist
Ted Brown - Chairman of the Libertarian Party of CA Dinner and conversation at 7pm, program starts at 8pm. All LP members, as well as unaffiliated libertarian activists are welcome!
Please contact me with any questions! -Kevin Shaw

Los Angeles 91423 - USA

Thursday, September 28 at 7:00 PM