Wisdom from Tom Woods – 1/7/2019

January 7 is my mother’s birthday. Today marks repetition 102 of that event. Lilyan Bachrach passed away about 6 months after her 98th birthday.

Like Tom Woods she had an opinion on everything, but as best I know never used violence to impose her opinion on anyone, unless you consider voting to enable the government to do your bidding using violence.

In honor of her birthday, here is an email from Tom Woods I received on 1/7/2019.

The teensy-weensy problem of humorless libertarian automatons

Today you may say, “Woods, you send me such powerful arguments on important topics on such a regular basis — so why are you focusing on this boob?”


(1) Because it’s fun.
(2) Because it genuinely clarifies what libertarianism is.

The other day someone reproduced one of my Facebook posts from two years ago. It read:

Two things about this.

First, I know you all disagree with me about untucked shirts, and that I am fighting a losing battle. I see it as part of the general trend of having men look more and more like slobs with each passing year. I am not winning popularity contests with this view. I get that.

Second, I assume virtually everyone gets the playful nature of the post. It’s just a fun New Year’s post, right?

In walks the Libertarian Automaton.

You know this guy. You may not know this particular one, but you surely know the type.

My reply:

Why do I bring this up?

Well, it’s bad enough when our opponents caricature us. But I think this guy considers himself a libertarian.

Libertarians are opposed to the initiation of physical force. That’s it. You can be a full-blown libertarian in good standing while still thinking some fashion trends are better than others, some ways of living are more desirable than others, or some personal habits are superior to others.

You can likewise be a libertarian and criticize the way a business firm conducts its affairs. Duh.

For some reason, this guy thinks libertarianism means taking no position on anything anyone else does. He thinks it’s a form of relativism. As in: don’t be “judgmental,” dude!

(Why don’t people who criticize “judgmentalism” rebuke themselves for standing in judgment of my judgments?)

You can be as “judgmental” as you want and be a perfectly good libertarian.

Also: I never liked the formulation, “I’m a libertarian because I don’t know how to run your life.”

I’m not saying I know how to run every individual’s life, obviously. But I do think that lazy people who do nothing to improve themselves would be better off if they got some ambition. I think people who lie should tell the truth, and I think people who gossip all day would form better relationships and be happier if they stopped.

In other words, there are plenty of knuckleheads out there whose lives are a mess, and for whom it doesn’t exactly take a genius IQ to figure out what the problems and solutions are.

For the libertarian, the point is this: even if we did know how to run your life, we oppose the initiation of physical force that would be involved in making you run it differently.

We are in no way committed to the proposition that all ways of living are equal. We simply don’t want to put politicians — the worst people in the world — in charge of everyone’s moral uplift. That won’t end well.

Another thing: I don’t even think being a libertarian necessarily means being an “individualist,” whatever that term is supposed to mean. You can be very attached to your family, your community, your church, or — yes — even your culture, and as long as you don’t advocate the initiation of force, you’re a libertarian.

And lastly, you can be a libertarian and have a sense of humor, though sometimes I understand why people wonder.

By far the biggest concentration of socially competent libertarians anywhere, with nary an automaton to be found, is in my secret group.

You’ve been meaning to join, right?

No time like the present (and I’ll see you in there):

Tom Woods

How Kavanaugh Should Have Replied

Nothing Brett Kavanaugh said at his hearing would have changed anyone’s vote. If I am at a job interview in the future, this is what I would say:

Asking questions about what I did or did not do 30 plus years ago is irrelevant to the decision you are trying to make. You are not trying to decide if I should receive a life-time good conduct medal.  None of us are the same person we were 30 years ago. What is important today is can I / will I do the job at or above the expected performance level.


Hertz Arena

Who should decide the color of Hertz Arena?

My answer:

It is their property and their money, let them make it a landmark.

If the abutting neighbors think it is annoying, Hertz could paint most of it their corporate yellow, and the parts that neighbors can see from their homes the  traditional Estero colors.

Make Hertz buy a bond that would pay to have it repainted when either they are no longer the sponsor or they go bankrupt.

Why you should vote against the Lee County schools tax

The News-Press published an opinion article by Jane E. Kuckel. Kuckel is a Lee County School Board member on September 16, 2018 headlined: I tell you why you should vote for Lee County schools sale tax

Here is my rebuttal point by point: (Ms. Kuckel comments in blue)

The School District of Lee County is projected to grow between 1,500-2,000 students per year over the next 10 years. That is the equivalent of one new high school each year. The average statewide cost of a new high school is more than $65 million.

The average cost of a new high school has grown to more than $65 million because school boards are willing and able to pay that much. If we give the Lee County School District more money they will be willing and able to pay even more.  If the number of students are growing, than the number of families moving to Lee County must be growing. Each of these families will be paying taxes. If the schools don’t get their share, it is the fault of other government officials not the general public.

While the district student population has grown exponentially, the money to build and maintain schools has declined exponentially, from $318 million in 2007 to $118 million last year.

The decline in capital funding from $318 million in 2007 to $118 million last year is not due to the general public, and certainly not due to the tourist who would have to pay the extra sales tax. Why look for a remedy from the taxpayers, when the decline is due to the priorities set by government officials.

The capital fund must also pay for:
Technology purchases and upgrades.
Everyday maintenance and repair for 110 school facilities.
Purchase and maintenance of a 700-plus bus fleet
Safety and security improvements — our first priority.
Debt retirement.

Again, whose fault is it that the capital fund must pay for the items she listed.

Last year, the district spent $52 million in “mortgage” payments for previous schools which had to be built with borrowed money due to inadequate capital funding. That’s $52 million of taxpayer dollars that went to pay back loans rather than to our students.

When the “mortgage” was started, the School District must have ear-marked a revenue stream to pay the debt service. Whose fault is it they chose an unreliable revenue stream, certainly not the taxpayers.

We have nearly $80M in needed building repairs and replacements, like HVAC systems and roofs, and we do not have the money to replace them.

Responsible purchasers of assets, understand there are funds needed to maintain the assets. A revenue stream for meeting those maintenance costs should have been established when the schools were built. If that was not done, it is the irresponsible government officials who did that not the taxpayers.

we need six new schools, just to keep up with previous growth. Right now, we have 177 trailers serving as makeshift classrooms for students in high growth areas across the district.

The School District has a static view of what is needed for education. With the advent of the internet, it is proven that high school students do not need to go to school everyday. As technology improves it should require less brick and mortar schools to serve the public, not more. It is the concentration of students in school buildings that create the safety and security issues that the government is now trying to fix by making schools armed camps. We need new solutions, not new sources of money.

We are not in this position because we have mismanaged money. We are not in this position because we have spent unwisely. We are in this position simply because our growth is outpacing our funding.

If other school districts in the state and country are providing adequate education with the tax money they have been given, that might be an indication that the Lee Country School District could better manage their money.

The quality of schools is the biggest economic driver in any community because:  

  • It impacts the ability to attract high wage businesses to Lee County.
  • It impacts the District’s ability to educate students so that we can provide highly skilled employees to our local employers.
  • It impacts your property values.  

The purpose of the School District is not to encourage more economic activity in the community. Many Lee County residents don’t welcome more economic activity. The effect on the economy should not be a reason for increased funding of the schools.

There are only five other Florida counties that are growing like we are, yet we are the only one that does not have a surtax.

My mother told me that “everyone else is doing it” is not a good rational for trying to steal more money from the public.