25 June 2009

Part 2, gas tax digression

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Part 2, gas tax digression 

This one was on my hypermileing forum, and began as a question about gas taxes.
That quickly degraded into an argument about taxes in general, and from there fell further to a general condemnation of government.
Since it was the off topic message board anyway, I decided to weigh in:

(original, including what I am responding to, here: http://ecomodder.com/forum/showthread.php/over-80-oppose-raising-gas-tax-8319-6.html)


Of course 80% oppose raising gas tax. Not because they think it won't work, but because they personally enjoy the luxury of driving an inefficient vehicle. It has nothing to do with the cost of a hybrid. Trucks vans and SUVs make up 1/2 of new car sales, and all of those buyers knew they were buying gas guzzlers. It would cost less money - not just in gas, but upfront - to buy a small (non hybrid) car.

I am for the freedom of choices that we all have in this country. In my opinion, you cannot tell me what to do if I am not hurting anyone else.
1 You do have total choice if gas prices are raised. You can choose to buy whatever car you want. In fact, even if CAFE standards were raised you would still have choice, because they only refer to fleet average, not individual models. The only way anyone's freedom is restricted is if it became illegal to buy a car that got less than XX mpg.
2 Buying a big car DOES hurt others. In addition to the fact that they do far more damage in an accident, there is this little thing called "global warming" (to be honest, I am not 100% convinced, but it is undeniable that burning fuel does environmental and health damage to all living things, including ourselves.)

I oppose all taxes. period.
Forget about social programs and libraries.
Government pays for things which are not profitable, and which the free market could not provide, or which are essential and the free market could not provide equitably. Things like roads, harbors, airports, bridges, military, police, fire services, courts. How long do you think it would take for private security to turn into mercenaries? If you want to go back to living in teepees, maybe, but giving up government in the real world means who ever has the biggest gun and most friends gets to do whatever they want.

Originally Posted by theunchosen View Post
(because 50% of government spending goes to those programs).
Last I checked, the top three uses of federal tax money was:
1 the military (we spend literally as much as the rest of the world combined)
2 payments made to private health care companies (contracted medicare and health care for government employees)
3 interest on the debt.
(Social security is basically a mandatory savings account. You get back more than you pay into it. It isn't counted as part of the federal budget; although unfortunately in order to pay for massive budget deficits the government has been illegally "borrowing" from it which is why the fund is in trouble)

The last one; anarchists this time

Thursday, June 25, 2009
The last one; anarchists this time 

I posted my essay equating the free market with anarchy on a discussion board for anarchists. The following is the comments it generated.

(I am David Craig Hiser. All the other comments are various random anarchists. Many comments were off topic, and are not shown here.
All of the comments, as well as my original essay, are here: http://www.anarchistnews.org/?q=node/7038


Is this fellow trying to say that capitalism (with leaders and all) and anarchy/anarchism are all one and the same? Cuckoo Cuckoo.


More or less, yes.
Capitalism has no leaders.
Capitalism has only the market.
Democracy (or rather, what we call democracy, actually a republic) has leaders.
Our political system is the only thing which stands between our (the US) system and true capitalism / free markets.
Each move toward deregulation is a move toward economic anarchy.

Capitalists, libertarians, and anarchists; oh my!

Thursday, June 25, 2009
Capitalists, libertarians, and anarchists; oh my!

I have been arguing with anarchists and libertarians lately.

I can not think of a good way to consolidate my arguments without the context of responding to something specific, so it occurred to me that, given how much I've already written, it would be simple to just use what I already have.

I feel that given how much influence these ideas have had on the direction the US has gone in over the past few decades, and that we are the most powerful nation on Earth, this topic is one of the most important social issues there is.

Because there is a lot, I am breaking it up into several pieces.

The first (actually the last chronologically, but the first I am posting) was a blog essay which an anarchist friend sent me a link to attacking democracy. (He mentioned the caveat of not supporting the market economy. I have already written before here about how a market economy will naturally arise in the absence of government regulation.)
While the arguments here are not necessarily universal among anarchists, libertarians, and capitalists, some of them are common, or are at least similar.

I don't have the responses here, but that's mainly because there really weren't any substantial responses, just general insults and links to other people's writing. If you are interested, you can read both the original essay and all of the comments here:

14 June 2009

Like with pie

  • Jun 14, 2009

Like with pie

"Sometimes there's a third, even deeper level, and that one is the same as the top surface one.  Like with pie."

For the guy he was referring to, it was accurate.  The layer beneath the surface was all fake.  He was just as shallow and vacuous inside as he seemed to be.
But the same went for the one who said it.  As Billy, he came across as sensitive, his diabolically evil personal a secret identity.  But the guy in the laundromat was behind and underneath Dr. Horrible all along.  Whatever is to come after that door closes can be attributed to that sensitivity.

I think we are all like that.
We have our public personas, our secrets, our masks.  But our surface is actually a reflection of what is inside.  The in-between parts, the person that we tell ourselves we "really" are, the stuff of self-help books and therapy sessions, the things found in religion or meditation - like with pie, they are all just filling.

The very deepest level of all, it is made of the same stuff as the crust.

02 June 2009

Mission Accomplished

  • Jun 2, 2009

Mission Accomplished

Back when I began I set a totally baseless "goal" of 25mpg.

That would make my (CAFE exempt) 2.5-ton full-size commercial truck more fuel efficient than the average passenger car on the road today.

The changes since I last posted:

-Replaced mechanical vacuum pump with an electric one (from the wrecking yard - they don't have a list of cars, and most of the insignias have been pulled off, so I had to check each one.  I found it in the very last row, after having gone through probably 200 or so)  This allowed me to remove the alternator belt altogether.

-Replaced belt driven radiator cooling fan with an electric one.  It has a thermostat, so it only goes on when its actually needed.  It also weighs about 1/10th as much, so it doesn't require as much energy to turn.

-Added an underbelly pan from the front bumper to around 1/2 back to smooth out airflow beneath the vehicle, along with little spoilers in front of the front tires (they were big spoilers at first, but they rubbed the wheels at highway speeds and wore away) 

-Removed the windshield wipers to make it a little more aerodynamic.  They, along with the alternator belt, live inside the cab now just in case I need them unexpectedly.  They de/reattach with no tools in just a couple seconds.

-Replaced the grill tape with a sheet of coroplast (same stuff the belly pan is made from) so it can be removed easily in hot weather. The engine runs better warm in general, but the new fan isn't quite as powerful, and between that, the grill blocking, and driving (faster than usual, 65mph) in the hills during the brief hot weather we had last week, it did overheat once, so I thought it better to make something that could quickly and easily be removed and replaced later.

-Removed power steering pump and replaced steering gear with a manual steering gear.

I've also added a solar panel, changed my aux driving lights to 5w LEDs and moved them to inside the grill.

The average brand new passenger vehicle (inc. cars and light trucks) gets 26.7mpg.

On my last fill up my 1983 commercial truck got 26.85mpg