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Monthly Archives: April 2013

This past week the country, and Major League Baseball in particular, celebrated ‘Jackie Robinson day’. And in the spirit of the occasion I would like to offer up my perspective on just what it means to me to celebrate and enjoy this event. The Majors celebrated it with a huge league wide celebration, all the players across the league wore the number 42, and a new movie starring Harrison Ford just premiered.

While this day is important, and while I acknowledge and even appreciate what Jackie did and his legacy. I sometimes wonder, just what is the point?

While this question may sound flippant it really isn’t because in the modern-day quest of acceptance of many people, many people are turning to their organizations and governments to ‘do the right thing’. To legislate certain activities that some consider to be unkosher, that some others have no problem with. That some are trying to force themselves on certain organization that may not accept all their extra curricular activities. And on, and on, and on, and on it goes.

In other words, we could stand to learn a lot from Jackie Robinson, Branch Rickey, and even from the Negro Leagues. How they comported themselves, how they reacted to the world around them, from their failures, and their triumphs.

The principle lesson that should be learned, the first point that needs to be made, is that all of these people, all of the individuals, all of the organizations, were private. Unless there was some Government involved in the process behind the scenes. And in fact in many cases the Government were making laws that helped to prohibit and make it more difficult for the Major Leagues or the Negro Leagues to conduct business.

In the end of the day the story of Jackie Robinson was a series of bold and dramatic choices. Major League teams at the time, for their reasons, did not have colored people playing. The Negro Leagues saw this situation and decided to start their own business to appeal to a customer base hungry for the product they could provide, mainly black Baseball players. And then Branch Ricki, for his own reasons, decided to start a bold experiment and let Jackie Robinson play ball for the then Brooklyn Dodgers.

That was basically it. No one forced anyone to do anything. No one forced Branch Rickey to take on Jackie Robinson. No one forced the Negro Leagues to open their doors and provide a product their owners thought was lacking. No one forced Jackie to play baseball in the Major or Minor Leagues. And no one seemed to force MLB to go along with the scheme in the first place since, while his playing was contentious, he was still allowed to play.

The only force that was applied, it would seem, was from the racist ball players and fans who booed him, tried to bean him, or just prevent him from playing.

But other than that this was a private partnerships engaged by individuals and groups of individuals.

Now on the flip side of the equation the Negro Leagues did allow white baseball players to serve around the same time Jackie Robinson did. (Source) And as that same source points out the Government in the South made it next to impossible for white players to take the same field with black athletes.

The only force in the situation was being applied, by Government, to prevent businesses from practicing.

So what is the lesson here?

That if you do not like what some organization does the best solution might not be to force them to do something against their beliefs, for you could be in the same position when the Government forces you to do something against yours, but maybe to form your own organization. Maybe to start meeting in private home groups of neighborhood and city blocks and go camping and practice good manners and good leadership out in the woods and the trails of the US. Or to form your own religious organization where you can do whatever the heck you want when it comes to joining two people. Or your own Hotel chain where…well I think you get the idea.

And as for those other organizations? Well maybe you can wait them out. Be forceful, be polite, state your opinion, engage on the battlefield of ideas but if they do disagree, then let them.

And if they do disagree instead of thinking they have taken away some fundamental human right go out there and seize it on your own. Go out and love, go out there and associate, go out there and form your own businesses and organizations. They did it, why can’t you?

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I am stuck in the position that I often find myself in of having so many blogs and ideas I want to discuss that I am not exactly sure where to begin. But this is something that is the most recent, and maybe the most heart-felt, so maybe I should start here eh?

To a lot of people (statists of varying degrees) it is impossible to separate the idea of morality from ideas on law and Government. The two ideas are indistinguishable from one another, as are culture and society and what a people ‘want’, this is all reflected and even intimately linked with Government. And while I do agree with that to a certain, very small extent compared to a lot of others, I have been forced to wonder how one can promote two, in this case seemingly contradictory ideas, at the same time. After all if something is the right thing to do, the definition of a word, or even the moral ideal then should we not put it into law that things should be this way?

If it works for me why shouldn’t it work for everyone? After all the Government has successfully given me benefits and insurance and has kept a roof over my head or kept my kid from eating dog meat or has helped the sick and the elderly. Without these benefits we would not have a thing.

This is the argument that helps justify the mantra: Bottom line Government does have a role and a large and important role to boot in making sure people are safe and fed and cared for.

Then the counter argument becomes, since society, culture, morality, and law are so closely entwined in this scenario, the argument becomes if you do not support these programs, if you do not think the Government should be enforcing a standard of living in this regard then you must want kids to starve, or are in favor of the things we want the Government to be involved in (Gay Marriage).

Whatever I feel on these issues specifically on a case by case basis it is possible for me to not like something, but not want the Government to touch it. To be moral on our own without having to wait for the Governments permission or sing songy approval.

It is possible for me to be, for argument’s sake, against Gay Marriage but not want the Government to interfere.

The reason? Well as obvious as this is I am not God. Nor am an especially great and upstanding individual. I don’t think this needs to be said one of my forms of entertainment is to blabber on a WordPress blog at obscene hours of the night instead of doing more normal things.

So I am not God, I am not a fantastic person, good maybe, but I am still trying to figure out many of life’s mysteries.

And so is the vast majority of humanity.

And yet we feel comfortable in enforcing our morality on others? Even if it says so in a book we hold dear? We feel the need to go out and be busy bodies and try to enforce our morality on others when we have issues, problems, when we can be corrupt or make bad decisions because of our desires?

No, I generally am very uncomfortable with doing this. And I am also uncomfortable when people do this on my behalf. When politicians start doing things I support and consider a good idea I generally reconsider the idea.

In at least a short aside from my Mass Effect stuff, oh and hi btw, but in a short aside I really have to get this off my chest. Kinda commenting on this issue in the time and since once again Gay Marriage is in the news. And in the Political arena, and is something that should be talking about.

But…I hate it. In the past I have talked about my dislike of this issue. Not because I hate gays or Christians but because this issue just should not be. We have bigger fish to fry, other issues that are at stake. And the solution, one way or another, for this problem is patently obvious. And yet people spend most of their time just yelling at each other and not focusing on trying to solve anything.

So as a result I tend to shut down on this issue, sure I have talked about it but I have shut down on this and probably a lot of issues. For one reason or another. But again if I don’t speak out, maybe no one else will. Which could be the whole point of this blog.

So here I was, here I sit, getting angry, getting miserable, wondering what to do. So I went to Facebook and explained my issue: That the solution to this problem is for both sides to shut up, have a reasonable debate, respect each others rights…both of you!

And well I built that Facebook post, and well I did get some support from it.

So I built, and they came.

Here I was thinking that I was virtually alone in this issue when the two sides in this political debate seemed bound and determined to tear each other apart at the seams for not believing what they believed, for either wanting to change the definition of the word marriage, or to take away the ‘rights’ from a group of Americans.

And this has left me with a sense of unerring depression and angst that two groups of people could do this to one another and potentially put the country in greater jeopardy when we have so many other massive issues to worry about then this. We are risking a borderline Civil War in some respects, one group of the country or the other absolutely not agreeing with the other, over a disagreement on definitions and rights. And people wonder why I dislike Government?

But I took a stand, I got tired of it and since the issue is in the national consciousness again I made a ‘mini blog’ on Facebook. Not exactly something I am proud of, Facebook probably is not the best medium to engage in something like this. Not even sure if WordPress is the best place to engage in something like this.

But then something quite remarkable, though not unexpected happened People responded to the post, and they were agreeing with me, that government should get out of marriage and leave it up to the individuals and organizations involved to worry about it.

Jared Tapia and Scott Lehner made a comment in support of this idea.

Austin Petersen made a comment on his own Facebook in support of it which other fellow Libertarian commentators came on in support.

Now knowing Libertarians like I do this should not have come as a surprise. Yet it was heart warming. That here I was making a bold post or what I thought was a bold post and then more and more people came out to support it.

Jared made a bold post, and then people came out to support him.

Austin had people who supported his views.

I built it, and people came. We may surround them after all.

But for all of these people there are still people out there who want Government meddling in marriage. Because, well to paraphrase in a very simplistic manner, that we are too dumb. Or people are too dumb sometimes to know what they are doing, what they are getting into, and have no way of knowing how to get out of it. So we all have to suffer. Not by strengthening the individual, but by forging a stronger Government.

They are entitled to their opinion, and on some level they might be right.

But I built it, I took a stand, and people gathered around me. Letting me know where they stood, either as allies, or as…well enemies might be a strong word…but as opponents to my ideological preferences.

And this ultimately, is good.