Raising kids on the cheap

This is how my wife and save and invest our money for the future. It means not having to go into massive debt when you have children or having to cost an arm and a leg.

Why I am a libertarian by Sophia De tricht

When I was asked to do this essay, I didn’t know how to respond since I am technically an anarchist.  For the sake of brevity and to keep the conversation on track, I’ll explain how I came across my anarchist worldview, which has more in common with Libertarians than either of us wish to acknowledge.

            Douglas Adams once famously wrote “Space is big. Really big. You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it’s a long way down the road to the chemist’s, but that’s just peanuts to space.”  Being at sea on a warship is similar.  It involves long periods where the nearest land is three miles below your feet and the view is slightly less dull than drying paint.  Depending on the ship and the mission, you may get long watches in the night where nothing is happening and you look out ahead of the ship and there is nothing but darkness and stars.  It is like a world that hasn’t been created yet.  You look to the rear and the same stars mix with the bioluminescent algae that the propellers agitate.  It is beautiful, but very lonely.  And then there are flurries of maddening activity in which one can hardly pause to catch ones breath, but mostly it’s a dull, mindless tedium.  This, I think, is why NASA investigates sailors and submariners to understand the effects of long deep space voyages on a social dynamic.  But I digress.

 I don’t know what others did with those long hours where there was nothing to do and all conversation had been exhausted, but I thought.  I was, in my youth, a staunch conservative authoritarian because of my upbringing.  I had never given any thought to the concept of power, as I took it for granted that there are haves and have-nots and clearly I was of the latter persuasion.  One day, I was sweeping the passageways of my ship, I think we were in the middle of the Indian Ocean, a couple thousand miles away from the nearest land, which was Diego Garcia.  We were in the middle of nowhere.  I had had an unpleasant interaction with my supervisor and I replayed it over and over in my head when I was struck with a thought: why did this intellectually, physically, and morally inferior specimen exercise any control over me?  Why?  Because I let him.  And that is how power works.  Government is derived from the just consent of the governed.

 But wait…  That’s not how power works.  Tyrant kings and dictators lose the consent of the governed, but they get kicked out of office only rarely.  Certainly I did not and do not consent to be ruled by this human kumquat.  So is the entire principle of just consent faulty?  No, kings have historically been chosen by a college of trusted religious figures bearing the trust of the people.  Dictators often win fair and democratic elections.  Just consent is the beginning.  It is how the parasite of which I have spoken before [link to other post?] is introduced into the body.

 This begs the question: where does the removal of consent become ineffective?  And the answer that I came up with is complex and dependent upon the individual instance.  In many cases, granting moral authority and trust to a leader is the death knell of just consent.  Because when you object, you become evil.  In our own instance (oh yes, just consent in America is deader than disco), it was when we gave our government the monopoly on deadly force.  Which is not to say that they’re the only ones who can employ deadly force, but when you do you have a lot of explaining to do.  And who do you explain things to?  The government. 

 Expanding that concept, literally everything that a government does carries with it the threat of overwhelming and violent force to compel your compliance.  Traffic lights, for example.  I love a traffic light.  Wonderful things, traffic lights.  But… (you read that the second time in The Doctor’s voice, didn’t you?)

 Look closer.  What happens when you violate a traffic light?  A policeman pulls you over and probably fines you.  And if you don’t pay the fine?  Eventually they’ll arrest you.  And if you refuse arrest?  They subdue you.  And if you fight back?  Well, the fact is that it eventually comes down to the use of overwhelming violence.  Now we have given them the power of life and death over us.  They can compel us to do anything in the service of our master, the State or put us to the blade if we refuse.  We have created, in the words of Voltairine De Cleyre, the Gods of the World.

 Then, I read an amazing short story by Harlan Ellison entitled “’Repent, Harlequin!’ Said the Ticktockman,” in which there is one section of dialog which really stuck with me:

“Not everyone thinks [that it’s a terrible world they live in]. Most people enjoy order.”

“I don’t, and most of the people I know don’t.”

“That’s not true. How do you think we caught you?”

“I’m not interested.”

“A girl named pretty Alice told us who you were.”

“That’s a lie.”

“It’s true. You unnerve her. She wants to belong, she wants

to conform, I’m going to turn you off.”

 Pretty Alice, if you haven’t guessed, is as much of a wife to the Harlequin as people have in this world.  But think for a moment about the implications of that.  A world in which the state has such power over its subjects that minor deviation from their way of life (“After all, his name was Everett C. Marm, and he wasn’t much to begin with, except a man who had no sense of time.”) was enough to cause a wife to become so unnerved she would turn in her husband to be executed.

 We attached a leech to ourselves, trusting it to do the right thing, made the leech our god, and became so beholden to it that we would sell out our family to stay on its good side.  The revelation hit me like a stampede of buffalo on a quiet street outside of the San Diego Convention Center at two o’clock in the morning.

 I could not trust something so dangerous.  In fact, I pledged my enmity to it on that very moment and I became an anarchist.  Position noted on charts, 23.4431S/091.9521E (no, that’s not the actual position, I just picked a random place in the Indian Ocean).  While sailing on a US Navy warship.

The envelope system

Popularized by Dave Ramsey, this method of using a cash based system to keep yourself financially accountable and paying of debt is a method my wife and I have used to pay of our debt. Check out how my wife and I did it. Here are some other article where in I discuss debt: Successful retirement: https://libertariandad.wordpress.com/2013/11/13/successful-retirement/ THe plastic that can devour you: https://libertariandad.wordpress.com/2013/07/24/the-plastic-that-can-devour-you/ AN additional tool to pay down debt: https://libertariandad.wordpress.com/2013/08/06/tool-for-paying-down-debt-mint/

One year after this post, I posted a new video on the Envelope system and I talk about how far my wife and I have gotten and the lessons we have learned. The envelope system in 2014.

B B B Bitcoin

While I may  not be an economist and don’t know that much about the economy I am learning a lot about the way it works by reading and listening to people a lot smarter then me. This has led me down a road that convinces me that physical assets backed by something will actually retain value. This stands in contrast to items that are not will lose value and can be exploited. This is why I am beginning to like Bitcoins and other non monopoly or government controlled money. Bitcoins look to me as a great way to be able to have a semi international currency which can be used almost any where. This article will address how to get and be able to use bit coins in your everyday life.

There are always a number of questions that arise when it comes to a digital currency. Where do I get them? Is it safe? Where can I spend it? Isn’t this currency used to buy drugs and do crime?  How is this different from the dollar? I could go on for a long time about this but most of these questions have relatively easy answers. Let me start of by saying that the majority of this currency is used by legitimate people. Is it used by criminals? Yes it is, however so are most other currencies and there is very little that can be done about that.

 Essentially you set up an account with bitcoin.com and you go in and buy bit coins which can then be used at different places. This is similar to pay pall or using a credit card to pay for things.

 Here is a list of websites where you can sign up:

 www.kraken.com

 www.localbitcoins.com

 http://bitcoin.org/en/choose-your-wallet

 This article has a list of websites that accept Bit coins

 www.takemybitcoins.com

http://mashable.com/2013/03/29/bitcoin-vendors/

 Here are two websites that are essentially fronts that will accept your bitcoins and you can buy convert them back to dollars for you.

 https://bitspend.net

gyft.com

 Here are articles that discuss the Bitcoins:

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-11-07/world%E2%80%99s-first-bitcoin-atm-processes-100k-transactions-its-first-8-days

 Another bit coin article: http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-11-06/why-bitcoin-surging

 Are you going to buy Bit Coins?

The Star Wars Effect

The world is full of complex issues, everything is intertwined with one another. A good example is that a Butterfly which flutters its wings in California can start a hurricane in Japan. This may or not be true however the reality is that everything in the world is connected in some way or another. Nature is complex, but think about how complex human relations are and this is just in our immediate family. We all know that if we say something in a certain way we can make our mom explode with anger or if we dye our hair blue our dad would cry. This is just our immediate family not just the world, where there are 6 billion people each one with different interests and customs. Unfortunately this can sometimes not seem to matter when we deal with others especially when it comes to people who are not of our same culture.
In any discussion of an issue though there seems to be a desire for a simple solution or a one size fits all solution. The reality is that this is rarely the case. There are always multiple facets to any problem. For instance the issue of the debt in the US, we should just spend less. Well that is much easier said then done. It takes legislation, negotiation, votes and time to start cutting the budget of the US government and then in turn start putting money into the debt. But it isn’t just this that would solve it there are many more underlying reasons why we are so heavily in debt. We borrow, we print we tax and lastly we have a mentality that we can spend indefinitely. These are much harder issues to address then just passing a bill to reduce spending there has to be a whole mental change.
The mentality that we can just pass a bill and fix things is what I call the Star Wars syndrome. This is the belief that a man with a light sabre can take on the entire empire by himself and that one lucky shot can take out the Death Star. What George Lucas fails to address in his movies is that there are thousands of rebels sabotaging and fighting the empire, not just one kid with a light saber. However many of us have Star Wars syndrome. We think that a simple solution can solve the problems that face us. A man stops watching tv for a day and goes for a run one time in a month is not going to be healthy. Dropping bombs or killing a person will change the way a group people feel about the US. Passing a bill that requires people to do something won’t change the underlying issue. But we try and try. Sure it is noble, however it is something that fails time and time again because there are so many underlying issues that it takes months and months to fix the issues that surround us.

 Do you think this view is accurate?

Your kids wont turn out the way you think they will (guest post)

This article is written by a guest who will remain anonymous.

Here’s an eye opener for many middle aged people…your kids won’t turn out the way you think they will. They may turn out better or worse than you imagine. They may or may not own your values. This doesn’t make them a bad investment. It DOES make them like any other investment with exception that they have souls. There are risks to investing in having children. The difference between kids and financial investments is that when your kids fail to meet your expectations, hopes, dreams whatever it hurts a whole lot worse then when your financial investments let you down. Of course when they exceed the highs are higher too.

 I can’t tell you the painful stab to my heart at having my daughter wake up one day and say with all her angry heart, “I am an atheist. You all have been lying to me my whole life!” Then find out later she’s mentally ill. Then to trudge the slow path of healing without guarantee she will ever reach healthy self sufficiency, wow I never saw it coming. What did I do wrong? She’s has been so full of promise. Everyone has just loved her. I’ve been praised for good parenting by others who have known her. What the heck is happening? How could I have been a better parent to her?

  If I had known this from the beginning would I have had children? Then the more mundane trials come and the same questions enter in. The answer is always, “There’s no guarantee.” Wow. That’s not what I was told by all those people who said if I parented the right way and did it well my kids would become ____. Now fill in the blank with a litany of good things such as “godly”, “responsible”, “respectful”, “productive,” “self-less”.

 If someone suggests you can guarantee good outcomes with good parenting, don’t buy it. It’s not true. Some people will send their kids to public schools with keys around their necks (latch keys), allow them to self feed on hot pockets and have sex. Those same kids may go to ivy league schools and live fairly upright looking lives, maybe even truly upright lives. Some people will love their kids with great intention through every aspect of every day and those kids will leave the faith, resent their “helicopter” parents and rebelliously adopt a totally different culture of life. Ah, you know it happens. And you may think, “Well, those parents screwed up in such and such way.” We all screw up in many ways every day just by being human.

 How our children respond to our unique failings is unpredictable. Psalm 73 says it all. Our comfort, peace, security blessing etc all comes from one source. Invest in Him. Invest your children in Him. They belong to Him and we are blessed to be stewards. When they go astray…if…we can still say to the Lord, I am a sinner and you know it; I tried to be like the good servant and invest well. Here I stand claiming the name of Jesus. I love you Lord. You are my peace. My rock. The source of all blessings. Amen. My son belongs to Jesus even if my Daughter’s theology is never correct…god forbid…even if it is God’s will that my daughter not be a child of God…my son is the Lord’s. I must rest in Jesus. Very easy to say. Very hard to do.

 Dear reader, may the Lord give you strength for each day to rest in Him and to keep giving your children to Him and to always trust that He is always good, no matter what. And I pray the Lord will multiply your investments in your children in good ways beyond what you can imagine.

Breaking the cycle (how to deal with your children)

Humans are creatures of habit and like their daily regimen. They learn their habits at young age and they carry them with them for the rest of their life. This means that they do not just influence their own life they affect the way they raise their children. This is the effect that grandparents can have on their grandchildren. So if people do not reflect on how they were raised then any kind of ineffective parenting or bad parenting will be transferred onto the next generation over and over. This is then justified by, my parents did it this way and look at me I turned out okay. That may be so, but there is always room for improvement in parenting. Parents can be more compassionate, more loving, more kind and better at dispensing discipline to their children.

There are many ways to improve on parenting that I have seen. Ask a successful parent, look at your friends who have grown children that are successful and ask them what they did with their children. This can help a lot because you are pretty obviously going to get some good advice, sometimes it can be tough though cause there are parents that put a lot more effort into their children then might be possible for you time wise or financially. However over all listening to them can help a lot in the raising of your children. In my experience these parents are generally also effective in criticizing your parenting. Sometimes this can be tough to listen to though, I know that I don’t always appreciate being criticized on something as personal as parenting. One of the next sources can be your own parents or your parents in law, hey you are a success story and your parents did do something right to get you to this point. Also you may not always understand why your parents did what they did and this may also bring about some answers for you.

There are more resources out there, books are a great resource. Peaceful parenting, dr Sears and the list goes on. You may not always agree with what people say in these books especially when it comes to spanking or timeouts however it is always worth a read to see what others say. The internet and forums can be a veritable fount of wisdom and advice. People spend much of their time with children and there are many new ideas that these people are coming up with handling children. These are just some of the resources out there on how to learn ways of raising your children more effectively. What kind of resources do you use in learning more effective strategies in raising your children?

Son did you hurt yourself?

There once lived a young man. He lived in the woods with his mother. She cooked and cleaned the house and he would go to work. Unfortunately the father had died a couple of years earlier and that had forced the young man to go and work to support his mother. They were happy together.

 However one day the young man ran into a beautiful girl and he kept thinking about her. He would ask her to go out with him and she would keep on declining. But finally she said okay I will go out with you. However there is only way that I will go out with you. The young man asked her what it was and she responded that he had to show her that he loved her and would do anything for her. The girl  said that she wanted him to bring her the head of his mother.

 The young man was shocked at this and thought about it on his way home.

 He brought up the courage and chopped his moms head to have a date with the beautiful girl. He put the head into a basket and ran back through the woods as fast he could to the girl. But a tree root stuck out of the ground and caught the young mans foot and he tripped. The head of his mom rolled out of the basket and looked at him and asked, “Son, did you hurt yourself?”

 

 

Health care in the US will be socialized in the next couple of years

One fo the big questions I keep hearing around me about the new health care law has been, why is my premium going up and why am I being dropped from my provider. Here I will address that issue. Furthermore, I know that there is massive opposition from the republicans against this mandate it is very likely that it will force the government to take over the entire health care sector.