Adults without Children to be Banned from Playgrounds in L.A.

mitch-farrell-ban-single-adults-playgrounds-laAh, the familiar refrain of politicians explaining why they want to take away our freedom. It’s so the children will be safe. It’s all for the children. Chirp, chirp, chirp.

The city of Los Angeles is considering banning adults without children from playgrounds.

Ok, first the real reason for the ban. They want an excuse to roust homeless people. But that’s beside the point. Let’s pretend that the city does want to actually protect children. Why is this potential law so egregious?

What good will it do? Are children actually kidnapped and attacked while they are in playgrounds? I don’t think I’ve ever heard of such a case in my life but that doesn’t mean it is impossible. The vast majority of child kidnappings are perpetrated by relatives, the very people who would have every right to be at the playground. So, not much help either way.

What harm will it do? It will prevent me from walking through parks in my area. Back when I was playing Pokémon Go I was walking around quite a bit and I still like to walk rather than drive when feasible. I walk through parks and playgrounds at times. Lots of people go to the bathroom and drink from water fountains located in such locations. Several men were given citations in New York for playing chess at a table designed specifically for that purpose.

So the law will do nothing to make playgrounds safer and will be a minor inconvenience to park visitors. What’s the big deal?

Freedom is the big deal. Damn it. Pardon my language. But people, freedom.

Every little bit of ridiculous authority we cede to the state in the name of false safety is another step we take toward tyranny.

It’s my freedom that you’re taking with your misguided laws. I’m a single guy and I sometimes like to take walks. Is it a lot freedom? No. But even at that it’s too much. Too much!

Say no to the Mitch Farrell’s of the world.

It’s easy to give away someone else’s freedom for the illusion of safety. Don’t do it.

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Gray Horn
Next Release: For the Gray

Debbie Reynolds is not with Carrie Fisher

debbie-reynolds-carrie-fisher-minShe’s not. Debbie Reynolds might well have believed when she died she would be reunited with her daughter but she wasn’t. There’s a lesson here. For all of us, Atheist or no.

Debbie Reynolds was with her daughter. She raised Carrie Fisher to be the woman she became, flaws and all. She was with her every day of her life and she made a difference. She influenced Carrie Fisher. She shaped her. Carrie Fisher was her own woman but she was also a product of those who influenced her, and Debbie Reynolds was one of the most important.

You are a product of your life’s experiences but you are also your own person. You make your own decisions. We make your own way in this world and yet all those decisions, all those results are based to some degree on our friends, our family, our mother.

I’m an Atheist. I know there is nothing after life. There is nothing. Carrie and Debbie have not been reunited. Some might consider me a cold-hearted bastard. Perhaps I am. That doesn’t stop me from knowing that Carrie and Debbie are bound together, as are we with those we love. Those we admire. Those who influence our decision.

Does it make you feel better to think that Reynolds has been reunited with Fisher? Why?

Such fantasy does not soothe me nor will it ever.

Life is what we have. Make the most of it. As did Reynolds and Fisher.

That is what I conclude from events of the last two days. Life is what we have. Live it.

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Gray Horn
Next Release: For the Gray

Christmas Truce a Libertarian Anthem

Christmast-truceTen million men died. Another twenty-seven million were injured or went missing. World War I. In the midst of this unfathomable horror came the Christmas Truce.

Call it humanity. Call it decency. Call it a miracle. Call it what you will. I call it The Libertarian Holiday. This was a moment in history in which men of different nations, for a brief moment, embraced the world as it would be under a Libertarian Utopia.

That moment. Those men, few if any are still alive, represent everything for which I stand. And they represent it in a way, under circumstances, under insanity, which I will never know.

These men decided to stop killing each other. They decided to cross over lines and exchange gifts. To tell each other about themselves. To share common ground beyond the vile Nation State. Beyond the politicians who would have them hate and kill one another. To find that which they shared.

And that is everything I attempt to discuss in my blogs and my novels. Why do Republicans hate Democrats? Why do Christians hate Muslims? I don’t think it’s about politics. About religion. It’s about those who fear people of like interests enjoying each other’s company despite artificial divides. It’s about two people who share an interest. Dungeons and Dragons. Model Trains. Nothing else matters.

No nation. No religion. No political party. Spend your time with those who enjoy doing the same thing as you. That is all. That is the Libertarian Utopia.

After the Christmas Truce of 1914 the powers that were forbade it. They issued strict orders that it should not occur again. The powers that be are your enemy. Those who share your interests are your allies. It matters nothing nation, religion, political party.

Those who tell you differently are manipulating you. Using you. Twisting you to their own ends. Be free, my brothers and sisters. Be free.

Be free. Be a Libertarian.

December 25th. Christmas to you. Freedom to me.

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Gray Horn
Next Release: For the Gray

Bad Christmas Tip Burning Empty Gift Boxes to Punish Child Meme

Empty-Boxes-Christmas-MemeThere’s a meme going around Facebook that seems to have tickled a lot of fancies. Not mine.

I probably risk being told that I take things too seriously and that I’m a grump but I find the entire thing nonsensical. A lot of memes are pretty bad but this one struck a nerve. Well, maybe not the meme itself but the apparent wholehearted support it’s getting from various people.

Let’s examine. First off you are lying to your child. Secondly you are causing temporary (see the next point) emotional suffering with this lie. Thirdly the lie is easily penetrated when the child watches the box burn and sees there is nothing inside, thus you are exposing yourself as a cruel liar. Fourthly you are teaching a lesson that it’s fine to destroy things when you don’t get your way. Fifthly it won’t work. Discipline requires consistency, not one showy event.

This is a horrible idea! Terrible. This is the schoolyard bully punching a smaller victim because they can. The fact that so many people seem to think this is a good idea disturbs me.

What is wrong with people?

Rant over.

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Gray Horn
Next Release: For the Gray

Pharmaceutical Companies and Doctors make Millions for doing what would put you in Jail

war-on-drugsIf you fear that I’ll grow tired of railing against the failed and incredibly destructive War on Drugs then you can rest easy. The War on Drugs has been a total disaster for the vast majority of people in the world and I’m going to tell you why yet again. I’ll also use a news story that is in all the headlines to illustrate my point.

The War on Drugs was designed to stop illegal drug use and make illegal drugs harder to get. From a purely practical perspective it has failed completely. More people use drugs than ever before and they are more readily available than ever before despite flashy news stories about huge drug busts.

Our government has locked up huge numbers of adults for voluntarily purchasing drugs or selling drugs to an eager and willing market. Meanwhile doctors and pharmaceutical companies are doing exactly the same thing and making millions, nah, billions of dollars. More people die overdosing prescriptions drugs than illegal drugs.

Our police officers have been turned from heroes of the community into jackbooted thugs because of The War on Drugs. They tear families apart and terrorize the citizens of their communities. They degrade themselves. They subject themselves to horrible dangers and not infrequently die or suffer terrible injuries that need never have happened. The War on Drugs has not only torn apart the community but the entire police force. The police are forced by City Hall to rely on seized money to fund themselves. This too is a product of the War on Drugs. Police officers no longer say they “Protect and Serve” but merely they “Uphold the Law”. That’s bad for the community and horrible for the officers.

I speak out against the War on Drugs on the behalf of officers. If only they could go back to Protecting and Serving. They would be all the better and so would we.

And while all this horror is going on the doctors and pharmaceutical companies get rich. Rich! Stinking rich. Doing what? Selling drugs that are exactly the same chemically as those arbitrarily made illegal and sold at a huge markup to willing and eager customers. I want law enforcement officers to think about that. You police officers out there who are inclined to get angry at me for my rantings against the War on Drugs. Think about that. The government is using you to suppress competition for doctors and pharmaceutical companies from cheap alternatives to their cash cows. And it’s killing you. Killing your friends. Killing them!

While you’re risking your life to increase the profit of a pharmaceutical company the executives are dining at fancy restaurants and laughing at you. Ask yourself, brave and dedicated officers, why aren’t you busting doctors for selling far more of the exact same drug than any street dealer you will ever encounter? Why are you risking your life for them? Because only when we the people, and that includes you officers, decide that enough is enough will it stop.

We must end the War on Drugs. What an adult does with her or his body is up to them. Perhaps it is detrimental. Perhaps it is stupid. Perhaps it is deadly. But it is their decision.

There is no justification for what is happening and this story illustrates the point yet again.

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Gray Horn
Next Release: For the Gray

Why is Christian McCaffrey Skipping the Sun Bowl?

Christian-McCaffreyThere’s a big story in the sports world and it’s generating a lot of passion on both sides of the proverbial ball. One of the top college running backs, Christian McCaffrey of Stanford, has decided not to play in the Sun Bowl. People seem to be of two minds and both express their point of view with vigor.

One side seems to think that McCaffrey has betrayed his teammates, his fans, his coaches, and the people who will attend the game, for which he was a star attraction. The other expresses the idea that a large payday awaits him in the NFL and avoiding injury in the game could potentially save him a lot of money. I think both sides have their merits but what I’d like to discuss first is the reason McCaffrey has chosen this course of action.

The root of the issue is certainly money. Many players have been injured in such games in the past, this is fact. The position you are drafted when entering the NFL greatly effects the amount of money you make. A first five picks gets a contract worth approximately $8 million more than someone taken eight picks later. That’s a lot of money. That’s what is driving McCaffrey’s decision. If he gets even modestly hurt at the Sun Bowl he could easily drop that many places in the draft. If severely hurt it could be much more.

McCaffrey is enumerated nothing for his participation in the Sun Bowl which pays the participating schools over $4 million. That money comes from television contracts, ticket sales, sponsorship, and other sources. During the week of the game players for both sides will participate in many events which generate money for various establishments in the region. They will sit at tables where people have paid large amounts to be seated near them. They will sign memorabilia that is auctioned for more money. They will be paid nothing for all of this.

This stark contrast in the amount of money McCaffrey gets at college as compared to what he gets after college drives his decision; for good or ill. We cannot ignore the reality of the world. Whether we like these facts or not is irrelevant. Perhaps we think professional players get too much money. Maybe we think college players should get more.

I am not in disagreement with either side of this debate. Leaving his teammates, coaches, and fans without his services in this final game is not a nice thing to do. Risking $8 million or more to play in a game that gives you nothing except potentially negatives consequences seems like a darned bad idea.

What I know as a Libertarian is that McCaffrey is the one who gets to make the decision. Not me. He should do what is best for him. As should we all.

I leave with a final poll. Think about it for a moment before answering.

If the difference between playing and sitting was potentially more than $8 million. What would you do?

View Results

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Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Gray Horn
Next Release: For the Gray

Is Your Grocer Stealing from You? Probably.

grocer-weigh-shortA friend of mine recently posted on Facebook that she’s been weighing her food of late and noticed a trend. Certain grocers systematically short you on weight. Let’s say you purchase a pound of turkey but when you put it on the scale it is .97 lbs. While .03 lbs is a small amount, it adds up over thousands and millions of purchases.

The state of New York recently fined Whole Foods for this practice. The behavior essentially steals a few pennies from consumers each time they make a purchase. If the mistake is random and sometimes the weight is over and sometimes it is under then it should all balance out in the end. However, if the mistake is systematically lower, then consumers are being charged for a huge amount of product they have not purchased. This is stealing. Plain and simple.

If the weight is short again and it again it proves the butcher or whichever employee or machine is doing the packaging is fully capable of measuring accurately and chooses to put in less. This is a conscious and measured decision to steal with the hope that no one will really care enough about the tiny difference to complain. There is no excuse for this behavior. It is illegal and fines of $500,000 like that which the state of New York imposed on Whole Foods is one way to stop it. This method relies on a state that is willing to prosecute. This is a big assumption. Rather than change their practices it might well be in the financial interest of the grocer to simply give out piles of money to politicians in the hopes of garnering favor. It happens all the time.

Another way, a better way, a more Libertarian way, would be to file charges against the person, not the corporate entity, who packaged the meat or the person who programmed the machine that is packaging the item. If that person is found guilty of theft then I find it reasonable to assume that all the other people who are engaging in this practice will stop. I think even just the act of filing charges against individuals would be enough to change the practice nationwide. A few dozen cases of consumers taking matters into their own hands would have a profound effect.

What individual is willing to risk prison for so little personal gain? I do not deny this path is more difficult than relying on the state. We have to hire a lawyer. We have to go through a time-consuming process. But I think the solution is better for everyone. Honest grocers. People buying and packaging.

This is my interpretation of what it means to be a Libertarian in a nutshell. Don’t rely on an inherently unreliable state to protect you. Don’t sue your grocery store. Charge the person who is stealing from you. The person who perpetrated the crime. Not the faceless corporation. This forces personal responsibility upon society. And that is a good thing.

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Gray Horn
Next Release: For the Gray

Pizzagate, Media Accountability, Personal Responsibility

facebook-fake-newsTwitter, Fake News, Facebook, Mainstream Media, Conspiracy Theory, Alt-Right, BLM, Obama, Trump, and on and on. What is real news? What is fake news? What is partially real news? What is mostly real news with a few fake facts. What is a mistake? What is mostly fake news with a few real facts?

Crazy people do violent things based on false news.

What can be done about all this fake news? I’ll tell you what can be done about it but you’re not going to like the answer.

Nothing.

There is nothing to be done about people who spread false information, people who lie. There has never been anything to do about them. Because of enormous advances in the ability of people to communicate with one another using social media; the limitations to disseminating information are largely gone. Anyone can say anything and broadcast the message anywhere instantly. That cat is out of the proverbially bag, if there ever was a bag.

So are we doomed to an endless series of people acting on false information to hurt and even kill innocents? Probably but not necessarily.

There is a solution. It doesn’t involve jailing people who lie or controlling the media. It’s actually relatively simple. Teach children to think critically. Make people understand that facts are important. Teach everyone that you cannot just believe whatever theory you come across because it matches your political ideology.

If you are a critical thinker that is not enough. When one of your friends or relatives puts out false information call them on it. I’ve done so and I’ve been unfriended on Facebook for it. I’ve been attacked. Vilified. I’ve been called all sorts of names, mostly involving my intellectual abilities or lack thereof. So be it.

I give out this warning to all my friends. All my family. All my social media acquaintances. If you say something stupid I’m going to point out the stupidity of your post with arguments. If you post false news stories I’m going to reply with facts. If you don’t like it … well … don’t get mad at me. Get mad at yourself. Or, get mad at me, I don’t care. The only person I can control is myself. I will do so zealously. You’ve been warned.

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Gray Horn
Next Release: For the Gray

Tim Tebow and the Power of Self-Delusion

tim-tebow-patriotsThere’s an interesting story in the sports world about a fellow named Tim Tebow that is drawing a considerable amount of attention.

First a little background. Tebow was a star quarterback in college although his skills did not translate very well to the NFL. Many people predicted that, for various reasons, he would never make it as a quarterback in that league.

He was drafted in the first round by the Denver Broncos well above where scouts had rated him to be picked. His performance with the Broncos was statistically poor although the team won games with him at the helm and went to the playoffs. Eventually he was replaced by Peyton Manning and tried to gain employment with various other teams. It is this part of his story that garners my interest. Tebow was eventually signed by the New England Patriots who are quarterbacked by Tom Brady. Brady is considered by many as one of the greatest quarterbacks in league history.

In excerpts from his soon to be released novel Tebow expresses the idea that he thought he was going to be the quarterback of the future with New England. That he would learn from Brady, take over the team, and lead them to Super Bowl championships. Most people who watched Tebow play and practice consider this opinion delusional. By almost all standards of evidence they were correct. Tebow was cut by the Patriots in the preseason proving those doubters correct. But there’s more to it than that, I think. That’s what I want to examine. Is there something to be said for boundless optimism even if the evidence strongly negates hope?

It’s good to be confident in your abilities and to take on challenges that seem beyond your current skills. People who have this delusional belief in self often end up succeeding where those of a more grounded nature, me for example, would never even make the attempt. Of course, they end up failing spectacularly as well. That is the more general result of taking on a challenge that is beyond your skills.

It’s clear Tebow’s dreams of becoming a great quarterback and winning Super Bowls, just as his chances of being a major league baseball player, were and are extremely unlikely. But the idea of being a player in the NFL was not. He was a player in the NFL. He had high goals but went about achieving them by working at lower level goals. Making the team. Learning the offense. He’s a hard worker. He doesn’t quit easily.

I write my novels and I work hard at it. I’ve written nine. I dream of my books selling millions of copies. I dream of movies and television shows being fashioned from them. Those dreams are about as likely as Tebow’s Super Bowl dreams. But I won’t quite writing. I’ll keep trying to become a better writer. I’ll try to write better novels. I’ll try to promote my novels and my blog.

Dream high but act realistically. Work hard but have alternate plans in case of failure. People who have delusions about their own abilities often succeed beyond all realistic expectations.

You never know, sometimes that self-delusion might somehow result in amazing success. Some of the greatest stories in history were made by people who were more than a bit self-delusional about their abilities.

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Gray Horn
Next Release: For the Gray