Censorship, Vegas, and Convention Craziness

This is my first article in a few weeks because as you might know, I’ve been busy working on getting my new book, The God Bet, released.  The premise of the book is that I will bet anybody a million dollars on which party God would vote for.  It is getting good reviews, but so far I have been unable to add it to my “shop” page on Facebook.  They rejected it and you won’t believe why.  Here is the reason that they sent me: 

“It looks like we didn’t approve your item because we don’t allow the sale of adult items or services (ex: sexual enhancement items, adult videos).”

Now, here is a link to the book.  https://www.amazon.com/dp/1735532916

As you can see, there are no sexual enhancement items or adult videos related to the book cover.  As most of you probably know, the cover is taken from Michelangelo’s famous painting The Creation of Adam, which is on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.  It depicts God reaching down to give life to Adam, but on my book cover God is reaching out to cast a vote on stone tablets for the party He would support.  There is a butt in the painting but it is entirely artistic and non-sexual.  In fact, when I looked at the community standards that Facebook has posted it shows a bunch of examples of sexually suggestive pictures that are unacceptable, and then a picture that they say is artistic so it is acceptable.  The acceptable example; a picture of Michelangelo’s nude sculpture of David. 

The other thing that kept me busy this week was a trip to Las Vegas to visit some friends.  It was very interesting to see how the casinos and the people inside were reacting to a disease that is only slightly more likely to kill you than a sharknado.  The good news is that nobody was afraid of the coronavirus.  People were mingling with each other, dancing together at the bar with a live band, high fiving, gambling, and drinking together.  There was only one fear going around Vegas and I agree that we need to fight to end it.  The real disease to fear is government licensure.  You see, the way that the government controls businesses and takes away freedom is by issuing licenses to conduct business and then threatening to take those licenses away if they don’t do exactly what the government wants.  This is why so few restaurants and bars are able to stand up to the government and open without restrictions.  If they do, many states threaten to take away their liquor licenses, and most of their profits come from liquor sales.  Proponents say that licensing is to protect the consumer, but in reality the free market already does that.  If there really was a disease worth being afraid of and you opened your business, people would voluntarily stay away.  Think about it.  If there was a business that said they were open to people with ebola, would you need the government to take away a license to keep people away?  No.  And I doubt there was ever a very long waiting list to vacation at a leper colony.

The funny thing is, the people who actually push for licensing are the people who are already in those lines of work.  As the brilliant economist Milton Friedman said, “If the real true function of licensing was to protect the consumers, you’d expect the consumers to be lobbying for licensure, but you will discover that it’s always the plumbers or the beauticians or the morticians… there isn’t an occupation you can name that hasn’t been down to the Statehouse trying to get licensure.”  Why would businesses want licensing?  Because it is a barrier to entry, so it keeps out competition.  Less competition lets those who are already in control stay in control.  The people who are hurt by licensure are competitors wanting to enter an industry and the consumers.  In Las Vegas, the consumers are hurt right now because the casinos are afraid of losing their gaming licenses, so they are forced to require a bunch of silly rules.  The one I thought was funny was that to walk through the hotels and casinos they required that you wear a mask, but if you were smoking you could keep the mask down.  In a related story, I now smoke three packs a day. 

The other big thing that happened this week was the Democratic Convention.  I must admit, I didn’t watch it.  I already knew what they were going to say.  Trump is bad.  Then the media would fawn over each speaker.  I do have 2 observations, though.  First, the media narrative that Republicans are turning on the president because John Kasich spoke is ridiculous.  John Kasich spoke because he has a fragile ego and President Trump hurt his feelings 4 years ago when he beat him in the primaries.  All his speech shows is that his hurt feelings are more important to him than his principles.  He claims to be pro-life, but if he’s supporting Joe Biden he is not.  He claims to be a fiscal conservative, but if he supports Joe Biden he is not.  He has completely lost any respect from conservatives.  If he had any backbone he would handle it differently.  Ted Cruz, for example, has proven that he actually cares more about doing what is right than his ego.  President Trump ripped on Senator Cruz relentlessly during the primaries 4 years ago.  I’m sure his feelings were hurt by some of the brutal personal attacks, but Senator Cruz cares more about America than holding personal grudges, and has put the campaign behind him and become a strong ally of the president in conservative policies.  I have gained a lot of respect and confidence in Cruz.  John Kasich should toughen up and stop crying about sour grapes from 2016.

The second observation is that the Democrats actually did it.  They nominated a guy that they admitted was corrupt just months ago.   It wasn’t even the Republicans who were accusing Biden of being corrupt.  It was his own party, the same Democrats who just picked him to top their ticket.  You may not remember it because that isn’t how they framed it in the media.  They framed it this way.  “President Trump should be impeached because he tried to gain an advantage over his future political opponent, Joe Biden, by asking Ukraine to investigate him.”  Think about what that’s saying.  If Joe Biden didn’t do anything wrong, how would it be an advantage to President Trump to clear him?  It wouldn’t.  The only way it would be an advantage is if an investigation would uncover corruption.  Democrats can’t have it both ways.  Either they are saying that they impeached the president for trying to clear their candidate of wrongdoing, which doesn’t make sense, or they’re saying that their candidate is corrupt.  Yet they chose him as their best.  Remember that when you vote.

Imagine: Crime and Punishment in Our Leftist Utopia

In 1971, John Lennon wrote the iconic song, Imagine, about his dreams of a leftist utopian world with no religion, countries, or possessions.  The song is beautiful, but as many wise conservatives have explained, terribly blind to the horrors its prescriptions would lead to.

We are now at a point in our country where the left is trying to pitch new ideas to build their utopian society.  This time they want to change how we deal with law and order.  Once again, their views are naïve and dangerous at best.  A great way to imagine the ideas of the left in practice is to take a look at a story and compare how it would play out using their positions as opposed to how a conservative thinks it should happen.  First, let’s tell the story with a conservative vision.

Michelle is walking home one night.  Suddenly, out of the shadows, a large man grabs her and drags her into a dark alley.  She struggles and manages to pull the gun she carries from her purse.  Bang!  She shoots the man dead.  Shaken, she calls the police.  They arrive at the scene and follow the evidence, which corroborates Michelle’s story.  The next day there is a story on the news about the brave girl who fought off an attacker.

Now, let’s look at the same story in the fanciful world of the left.

Michelle is walking home one night, thinking about how wonderful life is now that her city disbanded the police force.  Sure, there have been some minor problems, like a precipitous rise in the murder rate.  And yes, the murder rate in the black community has quadrupled, but that’s a small price to pay to save black lives.

Suddenly, out of the shadows, a large man grabs her and drags her into a dark alley.  As she struggles, she has the vile thought that it would be nice if she had a gun now, but she quickly remembers how bad guns are and why the government banned them.  Fortunately, out of the corner of her eye she sees a whiskey bottle that must have been left in the alley by one of the many homeless people who had flocked to the city since they began their program to help the homeless.  Michelle grabs the bottle and swings as hard as she can, smashing it over the man’s head.  Shaken, she checks his pulse.  Dead. 

“It’s ok,” she thinks, not because the evidence would exonerate her of course, because that’s beside the point.  She is a woman and you have to believe all women unless they accuse a Democrat presidential nominee.  As she pulls out her phone to call the coroner to come get the body, the light from the device gives her a closer look at the deceased, and a look of horror comes over her face.  He is black!  The realization hits her that she is not the victim, but instead a racist and a murderer.

Michelle breaks down in tears.  “How could I have not seen the signs?” she cries.  “I used to like Drew Brees and he had the audacity to say that people should respect the flag.  I am a modern day Bull Connor!” 

Feeling guilty and dejected, Michelle goes to the former police station, now the Office of Social Justice, and tells them what happened.  The official is shocked at her bigotry and tells her that they are going to throw the book at her.  “Oh no!” she exclaims.  “But you outlawed the death penalty!  Are you going to send me to prison?” 

“Of course not,” he responds.  “Prisons are draconian and punitive.  We only use those for people who continue to think differently than they should.  You will be sent to a conformity school, where you can relearn the right things to think.”

The next day the leading story in the news reads, “Unarmed Black Man Killed by White Woman.”

There you have a look at how crime and punishment would work in our parallel universes.  I should add a disclaimer here because people will twist the meaning.  I am in no way conflating this story with Derek Chauvin’s killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.  What he did was wrong and he deserves to be punished, but not because of race; because of the facts.  The point of the story was that justice based on evidence yields much different results than “social justice” based on skin color.  There is no reason for thousands to take to the streets in protest of something that we already agree on, that racism is bad and people should be treated fairly regardless of skin color.  Too bad John Lennon didn’t imagine people being judged by the content of their character and not by the color of their skin.  I think somebody else did, though.  Imagine that.

Updating History

America has a rich, long history of inspiring speeches and eloquently written documents.  As I sat here contemplating this history, it became apparent to me that most of those words are out of sync with the values of our country today.  We need to update them to reflect the enlightened views of modern America.  After all, the coronavirus should teach us that these ideas are far too risky to let stand the way we learned them as kids.  They often even led to people dying!

Let’s start by updating a short one so you get the idea.  Some of you probably know the state motto of New Hampshire.  It actually comes from a quote by Revolutionary War General John Stark.  “Live free or die:  Death is not the worst of evils.”  Obviously, that concept is terribly dangerous, but we can fix it.  Instead, “Live free and you’ll die.”  With just a slight, barely noticeable adjustment, New Hampshire license plates go from being a reckless endangerment to a somber warning.

If you aren’t an expert on American history you might not even notice some of the subtle changes.  See if you catch this one from the Declaration of Independence.  “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their government with certain Rights that may only be rescinded if exercising those Rights carries any risk, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

A lot of that crazy fringe of people who still want to do things have been using a famous quote by Patrick Henry.  They fail to point out that life expectancy back in that era was only about 38 years, so people wouldn’t have lived to be old enough to die of coronavirus anyways.  That means his words are obsolete and need an update.  Possibly, “Give me a mask or give me death!”  It now becomes a practical health advisory instead of a dangerous demand for freedom.

Here’s one for the kids to recite before they watch school on the computer.  “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with social distancing and unemployment benefits for all.”  And while we’re on things that you stand up for unless you’re a washed up quarterback, we also have to change the last line of our national anthem.  Actually, sports aren’t allowed anymore so we don’t need to worry about that.

The next one comes with some challenges.  Did you know that the inscription on the Liberty Bell comes from the Bible?  It currently reads, “PROCLAIM LIBERTY THROUGHOUT ALL THE LAND UNTO ALL THE INHABITANTS THEREOF LEV. XXV X.”  Coming up with the rewrite is easy enough.  “PROCLAIM STAY-AT-HOME ORDERS THROUGHOUT ALL THE LAND UNTO ALL THE INHABITANTS THEREOF.”  In fact, since we obviously have to change the name of the bell, we might as well call it the Stay-At-Home Bell and people can ring miniature replicates to report their neighbors who are playing at the park.  Now, the hard part.  You might think the difficulty would be telling millions of Americans that their Bibles are wrong, but that has been a favorite pastime of Democrats in our country for years now.  The real problem is figuring out how to change the inscription on a 267 year old copper bell that has already been cracked once.  Fortunately, figuring stuff out is only for the scientists now.  Maybe Dr. Fauci can handle it.

This brings us to probably the two most famous speeches in American history.  The first one is a big problem.  I don’t think Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech can be salvaged.  He speaks far too much about freedom ringing.  If we censor out all of that unsafe talk about freedom, the speech would sound like The Wolf of Wall Street edited for network televisionIt just cannot be done.  I think the whole thing has to be stricken from the record.

The other one can be rewritten, and it was a short speech so we can do the whole thing.  Just picture the Great Emancipator, President Lincoln, when he first said these words at the battlefield in Gettysburg:

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived to protect us from ourselves, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure.  We are met, six feet apart, on a great battlefield of that war.  We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live safely hidden in their homes.  It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate – we can not consecrate – this ground.  The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract.  The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.  It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced.  It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us – that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion – that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain – that this nation, under the experts, shall have a new birth of dependence – and that government instructing the people, monitoring the people, and regulating the people, shall not perish from the earth.

I will leave you with this one.  For those of you who are not sufficiently scared by coronavirus simply because the odds of dying from it are incredibly small, you need to remember what President Franklin Delano Roosevelt said in his first inaugural address, “The only thing we have to fear is being around people!”

The Four Types of People

I have observed four different types of people when it comes to the coronavirus quarantine.  Type 1’s are people who are genuinely scared.  They think that we need to hide in our houses because otherwise they, or many of their friends and family members are all going to die of coronavirus.  I mostly feel bad for these people because, as I discussed before, their fears are completely irrational if you look at the odds.  Unfortunately, type 1’s sometimes overlap with the worst group, type 2.

Type 2’s are the people who are spreading the fear.  They consist of those overlapping type 1’s, politicians, and the media.  The driving force of this whole debacle is, by far, the media.  They have a couple of reasons to blow things out of proportion and scare people.  The first is attention and power.  Bad news equals ratings.  When they scare people, those people keep listening to them.  Members of the media love to feel important and affect our lives.  If the media scares enough people the politicians jump on board because they are scared by scared voters.  Plus they also love power over people’s lives.  Second, the media sees it as a chance to take down a president that they have been trying unsuccessfully to destroy since before he took office.  It very well may work.  Every person who dies, every business that closes down, and every person who loses their job is a good thing for Democrats come November.

Some of the many tactics that type 2’s use are: 

  1.  They give seemingly large numbers without providing any perspective.  The new estimate of 60,000 deaths may seem big, but the media doesn’t tell us that about that many people die every 8 days in the United States.
  2. They use models to predict future outcomes.  Later, when the actual numbers don’t match their predictions they simply update the model to reflect the new data.  They expect us to accept their models as truth even though we have seen them be incorrect time and time again.
  3. They tell us about celebrities who test positive for coronavirus.  They have to put a face to the disease and they realize that since almost none of us will personally know anybody who dies of the virus, they have to tell us about Tom Hanks, Kevin Durant and Idris Elba catching it to scare us into compliance.  The thing is, celebrities have always gotten sick.  It just normally is not reported.
  4. They lie about the death rate being much higher than the flu.  Considering the current reported numbers, combined with the fact that for every reported case there are likely 50 to 85 unreported cases, the death rate for coronavirus is hovering in the 0.066% to 0.1% range.  In other words, right around the same as the flu.

Type 2’s are also the people who feel the need to attack and shame anybody who dares to question the wisdom of giving up our liberty or, God forbid, doesn’t socially distance.  You see them on social media posting grim stories about how everybody is going to die, or complaining about people who aren’t wearing masks, or are playing tennis in the park, or want to attend church services.  They mock people as morons or say they have a death wish if they are seen with other people.  Unfortunately, type 2’s are the people you hear the most from.

Type 3’s are the people like me who think that the fear of coronavirus is irrational because the numbers do not justify it.  That does not mean that they think it isn’t real.  It certainly is, and the sick and elderly should stay at home.  Young, healthy people should be allowed to choose for themselves if they want to quarantine or not.  It should be up to that individual instead of the government.  Type 3’s still value individual liberty.  Some ignore social distancing rules, yet stay alive at a massively high rate.  The reason has nothing to do with them.  It is simply because the survival rate is massively high in general.  Type 3’s realize that it is dishonest when people are led to believe that there is a binary choice between quantity and quality of life.  The real choice is between a long, lower quality life and a long, higher quality life.  They choose the latter.  Unfortunately, type 1’s and 2’s are probably lost causes, and they outnumber type 3’s and control public policy right now.

This leads us to our last group, and possibly our last hope.  Right now public opinion is solidly in favor of the quarantine.  I know I’m in the minority, and the type 1’s and 2’s are not going to change their minds because the odds don’t matter to them and liberty is a disposable value to them.  Their numbers are relatively small, though.  The reason the polls still favor the quarantine is because of the type 4’s.

Type 4’s are the largest group.  At this point, they are in favor of the quarantine.  They are simply being cautious.  Their motto is, “better safe than sorry.”  While they are very averse to risk, they are also logical people who look around and don’t see the scary results that the type 2’s keep touting.  I have heard, more times than I can count, things like, “this doesn’t seem that bad, but let’s play it safe and see what happens.”  They observantly notice that nobody that they know is dying.  They also see that the few people they hear about who do catch coronavirus are surviving.  They see the numbers, and the fact that they just don’t match the gloom and doom predictions they heard from the media.  Most importantly, they do see the damage that the quarantine is doing.  They see a third of the country out of work.  They see kids missing out on proms and graduations.  They see people becoming depressed because they are lonely and barred from doing the things they love.  They will start to miss restaurants, sports, and live music.  The reason that they are our last hope is because at a certain point reality will start to become clear and they will begin to feel safe enough to want freedom again.  As type 4’s get more courageous, things will get better. 

As we move forward we will see that type 3’s were right all along.  There will be deaths, but not in the numbers we were warned about.  Frustratingly, the type 2’s will claim that it is because the quarantine worked and stopped people from catching coronavirus.  In fact, it’s likely that more people actually get it, or already had it, but it’s just much milder than how it was portrayed.

What type are you?