Wednesday, December 31, 2008

L4K Year In Review

Hard to believe but I have been blogging for four months now.  And as I look back on my posts, I don’t regret any of them, which was one of my biggest fears when I contemplated starting a blog.  I thought I would cringe a bit when I would go back to read what I wrote and for that reason I had avoided re-reading my posts until this week.  Yeah, I have a few typos and some of the wording could be cleaned up but I think overall the posts stand up pretty well.

Some posts have been very popular and others have been completely ignored.  Based on word searches, here are the top five most popular posts:

  1. Churchill on Democracy quote.  Almost all of the European visitors were the result of this quote.  I am thinking about adding a reference to Churchill on all my future posts.
  2. Yertle the Turtle book review
  3. Among the Hidden book review
  4. Anti-federalist post. Most searches for this one included the words "anti-federalists" and "kids" so I like that they were looking for educational material for kids.
  5. Tree House post.  Still no walls. People who search for tree house don't find a lot on the Internet which surprises me.

 And here is a list of some of my favorite posts (in no particlular order):

Most of the non search traffic to my blog was the result of VoxDay adding L4K to his blogroll.  Thanks, Theodore.  I also have received a surprisingly large number of visitors because I posted a comment on the Young Americans for Liberty blog.  I guess libertarian students have a lot of free time.  I also get a few visitors when I make a comment over on Tal Bachman’s blog

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Yuletide Ramblings

I had hoped to review many children’s books before Christmas but life got in the way.  My reviews of Yertle the Turtle and Among the Hidden have been popular for people Googling reviews of these two books.  So in the coming year, I will try to write more book reviews even though I am not particularly good at it.  I am even thinking about contracting out the writing of book reviews to my eleven year old daughter and niece.

On Christmas Eve I usually go to a bookstore to pick up a few books for my daughters.  I always enjoy the hour or so I spend there - why is it that the coffee at a bookstore is always so good?  While there I noticed a graphic novel on the Constitution.  I don’t remember the name of the book or the author.  I almost bought it as parts of it were extremely well done but after spending a few minutes thumbing through it, I decided to pass.  I mostly based my decision on how it treated the second and tenth amendments.  If you don't get those two right, then you don't get the Constitution right.  While the author made an attempt to present the Constitution as a document that fundamentally limits the powers of government and promotes the liberty of individuals, the main thrust of the book was to present the Constitution as a living document.  Lesson learned - examine all children's books that discuss the Constitution for a political agenda.

Is Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe becoming a new Christmas Eve tradition like It's a Wonderful Life?  I hope so.  I prefer it over It's a Wonderful Life as I have never been a huge fan of the Jimmy Stewart movie.  However, last weekend I took my family to downtown Knoxville to see the movie at the historic Tennessee Theatre.  It was nice to see it in a setting like most probably saw it when it was first released.  It is hard to imagine that Narnia could have as a successful run as It's a Wonderful Life.  I just hope the drop off in ticket sales for the Prince Caspian movie doesn't mean the other Narnia books won't be made into movies.  The Narnia series is probably my all-time favorite children's books and the first two big screen adaptions were well done.

I finally get it – gold is an excellent gift but not as jewelry.  And platinum bullion bars would appear to be an especially good buy at the moment.

I have noticed some atheist bloggers have gotten into the “true meaning of Christmas” theme this year.  To say the least, they don’t get it and many come across as being quite angry.  If only they could find a Way to turn all their hate into love.

Merry Christmas


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Am I being a scrooge for not wanting to be taken for a sucker? Part II

Surely you didn’t think my last post would be my last word on this subject.  But instead of “bashing” those who would scam the social welfare system, I want to bash those businesses that think we are all suckers.  You know the ones I am talking about, the financial industry, the auto industry, the housing industry, and, I kid you not, the gambling industry.  I saw a news story on some cable channel this morning on Las Vegas wanting its part of the bailout money.  And the gambling industry’s representative was trying to make the case as to why Vegas should get some of the loot.  It is at times like this when we need someone to ask as Alan Colmes asked the funeral protesters, “What is wrong with you?” 

But the more I thought about it the more I realized that what the gambling industry does is not that different from what those on Wall Street do.  Some free-market apologists (I like using the term “free-market apologist” because the Washington Post columnist Colman McCarthy called me that when I took his sociology class on non-violence many years ago.) think that when something happens in the private sector, we are supposed to automatically defend it because to do otherwise would mean we support government intervention.  Unfortunately, many of these free-market apologists end up defending some pretty despicable actions and people.  Many of the complicated financial instruments these financial institutions created were worthless paper holding up a house of cards.  In a true free market, they would be punished but not in our current system that protects big and powerful companies who are able to buy big and powerful senators and congressmen.

Earlier I listed a few of the industries that think we are suckers.  Well, I forgot one industry - the legislative industry.  Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich was more crude about it, but make no mistake what he tried to do happens all the time.  Our elected officials use the US Treasury to buy power and reward friends.  Read Atlas Shrugged and you will recognize your senator and congressman.  Just like I ended my first “scrooge – sucker” post by saying that as good stewards we should practice due diligence, we should do likewise when dealing with our elected officials when they treat us like suckers.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Am I being a scrooge for not wanting to be taken for a sucker?

A few years ago when I worked for Boeing, each department would adopt a family to buy Christmas presents for.  The “worthy” families were selected by state Social Services and we were told they were screened to make sure the families were truly needy.  I was surprised when a co-worker told me that he doesn’t participate in this annual charity event.  That he would not participate seemed out of character so I asked him why.  He told me that he had been burned too many times like one Christmas when they collected old bikes throughout the year and, on their own time, stripped down the bikes in the factory’s shops, repainted them and reassembled them with many new parts.  He delivered the bikes that year.  He said the kids didn’t seem grateful.  One kid noticed that his bike was not new and threw it down and said he didn’t want a used bike.  I commented that one bad experience shouldn’t ruin his Christmas spirit.  He responded, “It wasn’t just one year; it was like that every year.”

So our department adopted a single mother with three young children.  I noticed the three children had three different last names.  So the mother had been making bad decisions but that was no reason the children shouldn’t have presents for Christmas.  I was part of the group that delivered the presents.  I was surprised at how young she was; she couldn’t have been more than 20.  As we entered her apartment, she had MTV’s “Yo! MTV Raps” on the TV and all three children were watching and she didn’t bother to even turn it off when we arrived.  She simply motioned where she wanted us to put the presents.  Needless to say, we never got a thank you card.  That family had plenty of electronic babysitters but apparently very little parenting.  I hope she stopped at three children and was able to become a good mother.  But the odds are not in her favor. 

The next year we adopted a family that lived in the country.  When we called the family, we were told that we could only come when the children were not home.  Which was fine, I could understand the parents not wanting their children to know that others had bought the presents.  When we arrived, there was an expensive ski boat in the drive-way with an equally expensive 4X4 truck.  As the five of us carried the 20 plus presents into the house, we were met by a huge mound of presents in the floor.  In my life I had never seen as many presents.  It looked like a mall Christmas tree made up of presents.  It must have been 5 feet tall and 10 feet round.  They certainly were not poor.  And they were probably hitting numerous adopt-a-family programs.  I then understood why Ricky didn’t participate anymore. 

The next year I suggested to the community outreach committee that we do something else instead of adopting a family which had been picked by Social Services.  I suggested we buy presents for the Serenity House which is a shelter for abused women with children.   My suggestion was accepted and that is what we did.  I am all for giving, but I am against giving just to make me feel good.  I prefer to give to my church or other Christian charity organizations.  But that is just me, there are plenty of good charities out there but you really do need to do some due diligence. 

As someone who tries to be a good steward of my money, I hate being taken for a sucker and these people thought we were suckers.   

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Remember when they laughed at him?

I remember when Ron Paul was belittled and laughed at during the GOP debates. Republican voters were told by the establishment and the media (especially Fox News) that Ron Paul was a crackpot. Looks like he was right all along.

This video is worth watching. If you hear someone ask, "Why didn't anyone warn us?" I suggest you direct them to this video:







Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Are your instincts telling you that it is wrong?

I think for most Americans the answer is "yes." We know what the government is doing is wrong.

And it is true that we don't always do the right thing in our personal lives even when we know what the right thing is. This is true for people that have a well defined moral code as well as for those that fly by the seat of their pants ethically, but we sometimes get it right whereas it seems the government rarely gets it right even though it has a well defined code called the Constitution. But of course, most elected officials ignore the Constitution when it is convenient. They prefer to interpret the Constitution like a Unitarian interprets the Bible - for maximum convenience and with no regard to the actual text.


In Ilana Mercer's WND column, "Your Godless Government At Work,"
she states,

Whether you're a Democrat or a Republican, your instincts tell you that such promiscuous spending is criminal.

Your gut tells you that your government is not only economically bankrupt, but morally bankrupt too – detached from any ethical moorings.

Alas, "figures don't lie, but liars can figure."

The experts say the complete opposite: The values and virtues ordinary mortals hold themselves to don't apply to government. The macroeconomic and microeconomic solitudes are governed by separate codes of morality. Never the twain shall meet – or so the money mavens claim.

Whereas you'll pay dearly for your profligacy; the government's recklessness will be rewarded. Whereas your debt will wipe you out; government debt will lift us all up. The latter is "stimulating"; the former sapping.

Hopefully you won't buy this – nor should you. Reason and decency dictate that your government is up to no good.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Give a Hoot, be Climate Change Astute!

When I was in elementary school, there was a national anti-pollution campaign called "Give a Hoot - Don't Pollute!" and in Tennessee there was an anti-litter campaign called "Tennessee Trash" which ran a very funny PSA on TV showing a guy in an old convertible throwing out trash. The tag line for the Tennessee Trash PSA was "There ain't no lower class than Tennessee Trash." I think both were effective. But there is a difference between these anti-litter campaigns and today's anti-global warming campaigns. Give a Hoot and Tennessee Trash were aimed at encouraging people to act responsibly, not to encourage political activism.

Scholastic, the world's largest publisher of children's books, publishes a book that is used in many elementary schools today called Down to Earth Guide to Global Warming. According to this book, the first thing kids can do to help prevent global warming is to "
Write a letter urging your mayor to sign the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement to reduce carbon emissions in your town."

If you are concerned that your child is getting only one side in school, there is a book out that claims (I have not read the book) to present an alternative to the current global warming orthodoxy, it is called The Sky's Not Falling!. The book is written by natural resources management expert Holly Fretwell and is for children 8 and up.



You may also want to visit the demand Debate website for a few other resources.



Friday, November 28, 2008

The Ten Cannots

Presbyterian minister William J. H. Boetcker's talks on hard work and character were summarized in his 1916 pamphlet The Ten Cannots:
  • You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
  • You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
  • You cannot help little men by tearing down big men.
  • You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.
  • You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.
  • You cannot establish sound security on borrowed money.
  • You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.
  • You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than you earn.
  • You cannot build character and courage by destroying men's initiative and independence.
  • And you cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they can and should do for themselves.
Amen, Rev. Boetcker. Why is it that the simple is so hard to understand? Or is it that the simple is so hard to live by?

HT:
Citizen Outreach

Monday, November 24, 2008

Civics Quiz

An online civics quiz is being discussed a lot on blogs and talk radio. You guessed it - yet another study showing just how ignorant Americans are of basic (okay, maybe not basic as some of the questions are much tougher than the typical Jaywalking question) American history, government and economics.

According to the Intercollegiate Studies Institute,
More than 2,500 randomly selected Americans took ISI’s basic 33question test on civic literacy and more than 1,700 people failed, with the average score 49 percent, or an “F.” Elected officials scored even lower than the general public with an average score of 44 percent and only 0.8 percent of all surveyed earned an “A.”

So I decided to let my eleven year old daughter take the quiz. She answered correctly 18 out of 33 (55%) with absolutely no help from me. Not bad.

Here is a screen shot of my score:




Addendum: Here is what Walter Williams said about the consequences of such lack of understanding of Constitutional principles as displayed by this quiz.

"With limited thinking abilities and knowledge of our heritage, we Americans set ourselves up as easy prey for charlatans, hustlers and quacks. If we don't know the constitutional limits placed on Congress and the White House, politicians can do just about anything they wish to control our lives, from deciding what kind of light bulbs we can use to whether the government can take over our health care system or bailout failing businesses. We just think Congress can do anything upon which they can get a majority vote."

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Political Santas

I am one of those people that get irriatated when stores put up Christmas decorations before Thanksgiving. I have always thought that it somehow diminishes the importance of Thanksgiving as it gets children to start thinking about Christmas when there are a lot of good messages and family times to be had on Thanksgiving. And don't get me started on Black Friday. Addendum: I was at Nordstrom's the day before Thanksgiving and saw a sign that said Nordstrom's won't be putting up Christmas decorations until after Thanksgiving. The sign said Nordstrom's believes in celebrating one holiday at a time and wished everyone a "Happy Thanksgiving." I wished other stores would do the same.


Having said that, here I go with a Christmas-related post before Thanksgiving. But it really doesn't have anything to do with Christmas. It has to do with a political cartoon.




The above cartoon recently appeared in the Boston Globe and here is Don Boudreaux's response:

Editor, The Boston Globe

Dear Editor:


Dan Wasserman's cartoon today depicts countless gloomy Santa Clauses queued up before a "Unemployment Benefits" office. 2008 will indeed be a sad year for shopping-mall Santas, but other Santas are quite jolly.


I speak of politicians. Like shopping-mall Santas, their job is to entertain requests from strangers for goodies. These strangers (like those on the laps of shopping-mall Santas) give no thought to who pays for the requested goodies - so their requests are childish and ample. Politician Santas are naively taken at their word that they can create wondrous things for all good boys and girls. Assisted in the magical Capital City by self-abnegating elves, who need only avoid giving gifts to the naughty, Politician Santas promise the nice a wonderful bounty.


Alas, one important difference between a shopping-mall Santa and a Politician Santa is that the former immediately forgets each child's request the moment that child pops off of his knee. The Politician Santa, in contrast, works hard at the impossible task of making the magic come true.


Sincerely,

Donald J. Boudreaux

Chairman, Department of Economics

George Mason University

Well said Professor Boudreaux.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Meet the New Mason Mascot


This is what the mascot of a university looks like when they are called the Patriots but the school wants to be politically correct:



Bye bye, Gunston.

So after eight years of living with the big green Muppet-like mascot, a mascot that actually looks like a patriot was introduced this week.



While many students liked Gunston, many of the alumni at George Mason University did not. I am going to give credit to the alumni who posted on the sports message board CAAZone.com. Well done Zoners. The Patriot is a more fitting mascot for a team that has made it to the Final 4 and the #1 Up-and-Coming School in the country.

Now let's get back to the Final 4 soon.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

How to raise entrepreneurial children

Over at The Austrian Economists blog, Steve Horwitz asks about the relationship between parenting and entrepreneurship. His post touches on some of the problems with “helicopter parenting” I made here, or what he calls “hyper parenting.” While I don’t have any great insight on this subject, it is nonetheless relevant to the mission of my blog. So, I am going to post some of Steve’s comments and, if you are interested, you can go to the original site to read more. There are also some really good comments to Steve’s original post so be sure to check those out as well.

What many developmental psychologists argue is that the ideal parenting strategy is to raise your kids in ways that make them "feel safe in taking risks." That might seem contradictory, but the idea is that kids need to know that they can take risks by exploring new things or people and that they will both reap the rewards of doing so and bear the costs of doing so, at least short of something catastrophic. The idea of "feeling safe in taking risks" is what true psychological attachment is about, rather than the very mistaken notion of "attachment" that is in vogue with "attachment parenting," which is just another name for the over-involved parenting that is the problem.



Well-attached children feel safe in exploring the world because they know that they can always return to the "secure base" of their parent(s).


It has always seemed to me that well-attached children will be much more able to exercise entrepreneurship than those who have been hyper-parented. They are used to exploring the world and exercising their own judgment, and understand the relationship between risk and reward. And if their parents allow them to fail and to feel the consequences of that failure (again, short of severe injury and the like), they also understand that failure is one of the great motivators for succeeding and for learning. Constantly shielding our kids from taking risks and possibly experiencing failure will be likely to lead to adults who are similarly risk-averse and who cannot understand why failure is a part of learning and growing.

Steve is quickly becoming one of my favorite bloggers. He consistently blogs about stuff I care about, his take on a subject is often thought provoking, and he writes with passion.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

A Story of Childlike Innocence and Wealth Redistribution



Why Can't We Just Spread the Wealth Around?

by www.liberty4kids.blogspot.com

Gracie and her dad liked hiking. They enjoyed the beautiful scenery and the energizing exercise. But most of all, they enjoyed the time together. It gave them time to talk and be themselves. They never referred to it as hiking; it was always “going on an adventure” for they would seek to find something new every time – even if it was the same trail they had been on many times before.

While Gracie was only seven, she was an excellent hiker. She was also very inquisitive. She would ask her dad about all sorts of things she had heard at school, on TV or at home. For such a small child, her questions were thought provoking. Her dad always was impressed with her questions for they taught him to look at life through a child’s eyes. Her innate sense of justice was pleasing to him. But just like many adults, her prescription for correcting an injustice was not always well reasoned.

On this particular Saturday, Gracie had questions about some things she had heard on the news. (Now her parents don’t normally allow her to listen to the news because it is often filled with pictures and words of an ugly world that they wanted to shelter her from for at least a few more years, but sometimes she overheard things.) It turns out that she had overheard a news story where a presidential candidate had said that the rich weren’t paying their fair share of taxes and how he was going to spread the wealth around. That there are rich people when others are poor simply didn’t sound right to a seven year old.

Her father asked, “What would you have someone do?”

She said, “I would tell the rich to pay more taxes. Why can't we just spread the wealth around?”

Her father replied, “That sounds good, but it might lead to unintended consequences.”

“Unintended consequences? What’s that?” exclaimed Gracie.

With a little bit of shame, Gracie’s dad explained, “Sometimes when we do something – even with the best of intentions – we make the situation worse. Like when I helped you build an Indian dwelling for your history project but I did most of the work. I meant well, but by doing all the work, you didn’t really learn what your teacher wanted you to learn about Indian life. I cheated you. The unintended consequence was that you were not able to explain how you had constructed the dwelling in front of your class.”

“It’s okay Dad, next time I will do my own work. But what unintended consequences might result from making the rich pay more taxes?” Gracie asked.

“Well,” her father answered, “it might lead to fewer jobs and more poor people.”

“Why is that?” Gracie asked.

Her dad attempted to explain, “Owning a business is risky. Many business owners fail many times before they succeed. By taxing successful people more, you would be reducing the incentive someone has to succeed.

“Here is an example that might help you to understand better. Suppose some parents didn’t feel it fair that some children in your class get C’s and D’s. There should be more A’s and B’s given regardless if the children did the work. So the teacher takes some of the points from the successful students and gives them to the poor performing students.”

Gracie interrupted, “But that wouldn’t be fair for Ricky Johnson to get some of my points – he doesn’t even try. Why should I be punished for doing well?”

“That’s right,” her father continued, “likewise progressive taxation isn’t fair either. If a successful businessman is asked to pay more taxes because others have less money, then he is punished for doing well . . . just like you.”

“But some kids do try and still don’t make all A’s and B’s,” Gracie said.

“Under the system of grade distribution, these children would be punished the most,” Gracie’s dad said.

“Why is that?” asked Gracie.

“Those kids that worked hard but still couldn’t make the A or B honor roll before will soon realize that with grade distribution they could get points added by doing less work, but might actually give up points in a few subjects if they continued to work hard.” Gracie’s dad said.

“What have I always told about hard work?” Gracie’s dad asked.

“You say that you would rather have a child that works hard than a smart child that didn’t have to work hard because he might become bored or lazy.” Gracie replied.

“There will always be a reward for hard work as long as the envious don’t use the government to punish hard work. When hard work is punished, like through tax policy, then even hard workers will become reluctant to work hard. When that happens there will be no one to take money from and we all will be poor.” Gracie’s dad said sadly.

So Gracie and her dad walked along the path saying nothing for a few minutes while she took in the lesson her dad was trying to teach her. Then she asked, “Why would a presidential candidate support a policy that is so unfair?”

Her dad said that many people confuse fairness with outcomes and not process. “What does that mean?” Gracie asked. “Well, some people think fairness means everyone gets the same grade, for example, regardless of effort. But fairness doesn’t mean that at all. In fact, it means just the opposite. Fairness dictates that your teacher not show favoritism and grades be awarded based on merit.”

“So the teacher’s pet shouldn’t get special treatment?” Gracie asked.

Her dad smiled for he knew that Gracie was the teacher’s pet and responded, “I didn’t say that . . . maybe special treatment is a reward for being a good student that works hard and obeys the rules? But the teacher should grade your paper, uh, I mean, the teacher’s pet’s work just like she would any other kid.”

“Oh, she does!” Gracie exclaimed.

As they headed back home up a big hill Gracie and her dad held hands and enjoyed the beautiful day. Gracie asked, “Dad is it fair that we get to enjoy this beautiful day and my sister can’t?” Gracie’s sister was born with a birth defect that prevented her from enjoying these long walks. “No.” Her dad said somberly. “It isn’t fair. But she enjoys it when we go on shorter walks and I give her a piggy-back ride. And she doesn’t feel sorry for herself. She finds enjoyment in other things that her disability doesn’t prevent her from doing, like writing and music.”

“Would it be okay if the government helped her?” Gracie asked softly.

Her dad did not answer at first. He thought of how nice it would be if the government could buy his younger daughter a motorized wheelchair that could go off-road so the three of them could hike together. But then he answered Gracie, “No it would not. A possible unintended consequence of the government spending $25,000 to buy all disabled children a special off-road wheelchair might be that research dollars were diverted from helping find a cure for your sister’s birth defect. You see, government taxation to fund such programs soaks up private savings at the expense of private investment, including investment in research. Or more likely, the increased taxes needed to buy these expensive wheelchairs forced other families to make cuts in their budget so that their children couldn’t take a vacation to see their grandparents this summer. The bottom line is your sister is our responsibility. If we look to the government to take care of her then we will become dependent upon others to provide for her. Your mother and I will not always be here. She will need to learn to provide for herself. If a person was born short then it wouldn’t make sense for that person to dream of playing professional basketball, would it? Abilities have not been distributed evenly. Some are smarter, some are prettier, and some are more athletic. We must develop those abilities that we have been given.”

Gracie added, “Maybe if she wasn’t limited by her inability to get about, she would not have become such a wonderful writer and pianist?”

Her dad smiled. His child had impressed him once again. And made him proud.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Quote: Churchill on Democracy and the Average Voter

The best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with an average voter.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Major Parties Colluding to Keep Third Party Identifiers off Ballots

Here is the Tennessee presidential ballot. Lot of candidates, but notice what is missing? The third party candidates have not been identified by their party. Why? Because the Democrats and Republicans know that, if a voter can't readily identify which "independent" candidate represents which third party, it will reduce votes for third party candidates.



Addendum:

From a FoxNews article on the Two-Party Monopoly:

Bob Barr has no chance of winning the election. But regardless of what you may think of his politics, or that of third-party candidates like Ralph Nader or Chuck Baldwin, this system is rigged. The two major parties have effectively cemented their grip on power by creating laws that make it virtually impossible for upstarts to compete with them. They have effectively done with campaign laws what federal business regulations tend to do in the private sector — protect the behemoth, entrenched dinosaurs that dominate the industry by making it too expensive and difficult for anyone to challenge them.



Monday, November 3, 2008

Teach them early that there is a monopoly in elections in America


This morning on the way out the door, my two daughters told me that there was going to be a mock election at their school today.  I asked, "Are you voting Barr or Baldwin?"  My oldest daughter said something to the effect, What if they don't have the third-party losers on the ballot?  I explained that according to that line of reasoning only one candidate should be on the ballot because it does not appear that McCain has a chance either.

Anyway, on the ride home tonight, I was told that, sure enough, they did not have any "third-party losers" on the ballot.  The kids could only vote for Obama or McCain.  I gather my kids' school used some national Internet school mock election site. 

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Then why vote?

In my last post I made the point that my one vote will not be the deciding vote in a presidential election. Then why vote?

Here are a few of my reasons for voting:

  1. It is my tribute to those who gave their lives so that I can. I know that that probably isn’t technically correct. And I realize that the Constitution does not specifically give me a right to vote, it none the less does establish the framework of a democratic republican form of government. And the concept of voting for your representatives is very much part of what makes up a democratic republic. And while most (all?) of the wars this country has fought had nothing to do with me retaining my “right to vote,” the Revolutionary War certainly set the stage for a government by the people.
  2. It is my duty as an American. I believe that people have the duty to do certain things even if there is not an obvious benefit. Voting is one of them. So what if the costs (lost productivity, transportation to and from, etc) of voting greatly outweigh any expected benefits. Now keep in mind, it is also your duty to vote for candidates that will truly “uphold and defend the Constitution” and that means voting for candidates that understand the limits placed on government by the Constitution. If you are a Jaywalker, either become more informed or DO NOT vote.
  3. Since I typically vote third party, I am sending a message - however small -that I took the time to go to the polls but didn’t like either of the two major party candidates. If you don’t vote, they will just assume you are apathetic and, therefore, they can do whatever they like once elected. It is my small protest against our current two-party system that constantly gives us slick politicians with no real substance or understanding of the meaning of the Constitution. They all seem to especially have trouble with understanding the Tenth Amendment. You know, the one that says, ”The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
  4. By voting third party, I am registering a vote for principled positions as opposed to the person. Very often I have never even heard of the candidate I vote for. All I know is he has aligned himself with the positions of a particular party. And almost without exception, third parties have not been corrupted by the coalition building of the two major parties in their attempts to get the most votes. If a candidate loses by 20,000 votes and a third party candidate received 21,000 votes, maybe the major party candidate will get the message that his position on certain issues were the reason.
  5. It feels good. It also feels good when I take part in a meaningless online poll. Sure there are more costs to actually voting, but I enjoy doing it.