Get Out of My Garbage!

Wow. This article. Seattle. I’ve never been to Seattle. I’ve heard it’s a beautiful place. But no thank you.

Dumpster Diving Unconstitutional

Here’s an excerpt:

“Under the program, nine full-time solid waste inspectors as well as contracted waste haulers tagged trash cans with more than 10 percent compostable material, providing those residents with educational material on how to improve. Residents also were told that breaking the rules would come with a $1 fine for single-family homes and $50 fine for businesses or multi-family units.”

Conformity. Is it the government’s job to force conformity?

It’s so easy to see what’s happening. The growth of government is continually pushing its boundaries, continually growing and expanding at a happy radical rate because … just because. That’s what governments do. They grow. And as they grow, the privacy rights of citizens shrink.

Call me old fashioned but I thought it was the government’s role to insure order and peace so that the citizens can individually pursue their own real of happiness without the government sticking its nose in everyone of our concerns.

Poking around in a person’s trash is beyond violating. But what else is happening? Who’s poking around in our trash bins on our computers? Who’s videotaping every movement we make in the mall, in the park, in the … insert place here.

What is needed are politicians who will protect the privacy rights of citizens. What Seattle has are a bunch of politicians who side with conformity over the privacy rights of citizens. I’m almost surprised that a judge was found who would throw out this silly ordinance. That’s somewhat reassuring.

But rules like this are only going to increase. They’ll spread from places like Seattle and before you know it they’ll make their way to middle America.

There’s a price for every political philosophy. Where will the citizens of Seattle be in another generation if this represents the current philosophy driving their local governance?

The Land of the Fr—- Regulated

Will government ever stop?

No. Of course not. It reminds me of the John Stossel documentary a few years back called “Illegal Everything.” A DC councilman was bragging about how active he is in promoting new pieces of regulation. Stossel then asked him a question which made the councilman stair into the headlights like a frightened and unsure deer: “Have you ever repealed any laws?”

There was a shrug and a curt laugh before the reply, “No. I don’t think we’ve ever repealed anything.”

The law code in America has ballooned to unprecedented levels on both the federal and local levels.

The most recent issues I’ve come across has to do with renting. Many communities are banning or strictly prohibiting an owner from renting out a property. There’s rules on the percentage of homes in a community which can be rented. Rules on how many rooms can be rented. How many people can stay in a room. Heck, there’s a regulation in Pittsburgh that prohibits homes from putting a couch on the front porch of a home.

We used Airbnb last year when we were touring in Europe and absolutely loved the service. We got to stay in some beautiful homes and apartments which were wonderful for our family. They were in great locations and improved the quality of our trip in tremendous ways. Airbnb is a revolutionary way to travel and a great way for owners to make a little extra cash – unless you live in certain communities. Some communities are cracking down on rentals for less than 30 days, effectively banning Airbnb from operating.

It’s shameful. We are supposed to live in the land of the free, but “as government expands, freedom contracts.”

It’s a saying that you must ponder this year – a presidential election year. I am always looking for the candidate who will fight for people to live the kind of lives they want to live without interference from the government.

That is, in essence, what the Founding Fathers fought for.

But we are sadly losing it.

A Jaunt into Philosophy 1: Freedom vs. Determinism

I’m no philosopher. But I like to think of the issue and give my two-cents every once in a while. I worked through some of the major philosophical issues a while back by writing a series of short essays. Nothing groundbreaking here, but I thought I’d share my understanding and thoughts on them. Here’s the first one on Freedom vs. Determinism.

Freedom vs. determinism. Are human able to make our own choices and decisions?  Do we truly have free will to change our actions or is our behavior merely the outcome of a series of other actions, which were caused by previous actions?  Philosophers differ in their beliefs and understanding of this issue.  Burr and Goldinger break down the different views into the determinists and the libertarians.  Determinists believe that humans have no free will and that we are merely the sum of our environment.  Everything we do is predetermined. Just as the natural laws of physics and biology apply to our world, there are human laws which govern our actions even if we cannot articulate what those are (30).

Those who doubt the determinist point of view are called libertarians. Libertarians believe that humans are free beings – able to decide what to do in any given situation. The issue of having free will is crucial for libertarians, for without it, they believe personal responsibility is no more. In their view, without free will and personal responsibility, humans cannot be faulted for any actions they do whether benign or criminal because it could not have been helped. If everything is predetermined then criminals should not be punished or heroes rewarded (Burr and Goldinger 31).

Determinists counter by arguing that no other living creature has free will, so why should humans?  They point out that the personal responsibility argument is invalid and perhaps unnecessary. Nagel explains that bad behavior pre-determined or not is just that – bad behavior which in turn may come with consequences (54).

People seemingly do random, unexpected things every day. Suppose this very minute I was to walk out to my street and punch my neighbor in the nose. That would be random and seemingly out of character. I don’t believe that I shall do this thing, but I am physically able and capable. If I did it, would it prove that free will does exist? Or would it merely serve as a reminder that I have been building up to this point all my life and finally my philosophy course drove me to the edge and made me randomly punch my neighbor just to prove that I can. There seems to be a conflict of interests. Our actions can’t be pre-determined if there is free will, yet it seems that our actions could possibly be explained using either argument. Perhaps this is the dilemma to which Nagel refers. He seems unsatisfied to accept that all our actions must have some underlying cause without making ourselves nothing more than puppets; On the other hand, he seems also perplexed to say that our actions are ours without something within us causing them to be so (58). It is this perplexing question that has fascinating and complex consequences on how we view the world around us.

So which is true? I guess it’s all about perspective.