lessons and opportunity

In the first news stories I read about the horrific October 5th blizzard in South Dakota and neighboring areas, it was pointed out that it was especially bad because it coincided with the government shutdown. Funds were limited to only “essential services,” such as erecting barricades at the World War II Memorial and Mount Rushmore. Situations like this typify the convoluted reasoning behind unreliable government programs.

An editorial in the Hampton Chronicle praised the Honor Flight assistants and Park Police who helped the vets past the barricades. It may have been too close to press time to mention the rest of the story. Thousands of vets, many of them members of Oath Keepers, staged a march Sunday the 13th. They called it the “Tear Down the Barrycades March.” While Park Police looked on, the vets tore down the barricades and piled them against the White House fence. Then Michele Bachmann did an interview. Boy, is she ever there for us.

Oath Keepers, by the way, is an organization of public employees who have sworn to honor the oath they swore to uphold. It is not a unique idea, just a forgotten one, and they tend to get into trouble with the ones who forgot to honor the oath they swore to uphold.

This all seems very complicated, but what about something even more complicated? If the federal government is short of cash they could sell the barricades and let people visit the monuments.

Taking it a few steps further, they could rediscover freedom and transition back to a country where people were responsible for themselves and helped those in need without the giant sucking sound of government bureaucracy turning that help into just a glimmer of its original intent.

Notice the commodity markets have been trading without government reports to distort them. Combines roll, store shelves are full, no mass poisonings from non-inspected food. We might be finding out we can do it without orders from on high. By that I mean from government employees who seem to think their imagined necessity is real. The other “on high” is the real One, the One who gave Moses the Ten Commandments.

Ah, those Ten Commandments. Does it ever seem as though we should have a much bigger guilt trip to deal with, with the government under our employ? I remember a public TV promo that said, “If we didn’t do it, who would?” My answer, insurance.

Insurance is the tool that could get us out of this mess. I mean real insurance, not welfare branded as health insurance or crop insurance or unemployment insurance. Insurance should be paid for entirely by the potential beneficiaries. That way if the activity or property costs too much to insure, it will be abandoned. Why does the federal government fund flood insurance? Because no one else will. It is dumb. Private insurance is the free market path to real risk management.

The October 5th blizzard was an extremely rare event. Low premiums by ranchers over the years could have funded claims by those ranchers. Instead they sit and wait for government handouts. One rancher, trying to protect his cattle from the snow drove them into a corral where they smothered. We had one cow die this summer from a strange ailment called wooden tongue. It was heart-wrenching. I cannot imagine losing 350 out of 400 cows in one day, never knowing if what I did caused those deaths or prevented 50 more.

So the news stories had it right in one regard. The federal shutdown and terrible storm were a disastrous double whammy. But the dependence on federal help was never right to begin with. It is not necessary nor dignified to depend on theft to manage risk.

Fritz welcomes comments at 4selfgovernment@gmail.com and offers other tidbits at http://www.alternativebyfritz.com

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