Sunday, March 12, 2017

2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: #108 “The 10th Amendment — For Liberty”

judgejimgray_ocregister            Harsh reality: most politicians (and voters) are outcome oriented, which means that they often first make up their minds about what their goals are and then try thereafter to justify those outcomes with doctrinal support.  Accordingly, when politicians are out of power nationally, they tend to support the 10th Amendment, and when they are in power, they tend to ignore it.  As I hope (probably in vain) that everyone knows, the 10th Amendment expressly provides that all powers not delegated by the Constitution to the federal government are reserved to the States and to the People.  So, for example, conservatives argued during the Clinton Administration that the federal government could not command the states to enforce a federal regulatory gun control program.  The feds could try to enforce it themselves, if they so chose, but the states could not be commanded to cooperate.  (See the 1997 United States Supreme case of Printz v. United States.)  But now that conservatives are in power, liberals are now “seeing the light” and arguing that the 10th Amendment supports their establishment of so-called “sanctuary cities,” where the feds cannot command state and local governments to cooperate with the federal government’s immigration programs.  Liberty is consistent and agrees with both arguments.  In fact, Liberty would expand them to cover the federal government’s inability to command state and local governments to help enforce federal marijuana laws.  (The Supreme Court has made it clear that federal law can prohibit marijuana under the commerce clause [See Angel Raich v. Ashcroft.], but it still cannot command the states to help enforce those federal laws.)

As Justice Scalia said in Printz, the federal commandeering of state governments goes against the text, structure and history of the Constitution.  So if we are to be true to our Constitution – and to our principles – we will enforce the provisions of the 10th Amendment regardless of the outcome.  Without question our Founding Fathers disagreed upon many things, and often were forced to compromise on many of them.  But virtually without exception, each delegate at the 1787 Constitutional Convention agreed that the most important duty of government was to protect individual liberties from their encroachment by government!  (The second-most important was to keep us safe.)  As a result, most of them felt that the Constitution was so clear on this point that the 10th Amendment was unnecessary because it was redundant.  Once again, that doesn’t mean that the federal government cannot attempt to enforce its laws on its own. But it does mean that the states cannot be commanded to enforce laws with which they do not agree.  That is a fundamental freedom set forth in our Constitution, and the Founding Fathers are depending upon us, for our own Liberty, to honor it!

Judge Jim Gray (Ret.)
2012 Libertarian candidate for Vice President,
along with Governor Gary Johnson as the candidate for President

Please forward this on to your circle of friends for their consideration.  And by the way, these columns are now on Facebook and LinkedIn at judgejimgray, Twitter at judgejimgrayOAI, and wordpress at judgejimgray@wordpress.com.  Please visit these sites for past editions, and do your part to spread the word about the importance of Liberty.




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Saturday, March 11, 2017

2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: #107 “Liberty Is A Beautiful Thing”

maxresdefault          Recently my wonderful sister sent me a message entitled “When God Shows Off,” which follows below.  I think you will agree that it contains pictures of some truly beautiful creatures.  But in many ways Liberty is just as beautiful and, as the prior 106 editions of this “2 Paragraphs” have tried to demonstrate, achieves far better results than government can in so many things like education, healthcare and the economy in general.  In that regard, Milton Friedman was right: If you think that government can best raise the standard of people’s lives, where have these so-called “Angels of Government” been so far?  And why do we think they will materialize in the future?  Generally, individuals are much better positioned to promote their own interests and welfare than is the government, which is simply made up of other people with their own biases and political goals.

So all of this reminds me of the story in which a farmer put up a fence in an attempt to keep birds from eating the apricots on his trees.  There was nothing wrong with the fence, it simply was the wrong remedy.  Most often the Conservative remedy in that situation would be to put up a sign saying “No Trespassing, and All Violators will be Punished!”  Liberals would respond instead by saying that birds have to eat too, so let them have their fair share.  But Liberty would encourage the farmer to pick his crop earlier, and then let the apricots ripen on their way to market.  Which remedy do you believe is more effective for society?  I vote for Liberty!

Judge Jim Gray (Ret.)
2012 Libertarian candidate for Vice President,
along with Governor Gary Johnson as the candidate for President

Please forward this on to your circle of friends for their consideration.  And by the way, these columns are now on Facebook and LinkedIn at judgejimgray, Twitter at judgejimgrayOAI, and wordpress at judgejimgray@wordpress.com.  Please visit these sites for past editions, and do your part to spread the word about the importance of Liberty.


Probably the most impressive “Pictorial” I have ever seen and perfectly named Too!

WHEN GOD SHOWS OFF  !!!!!!!!!!! 

I simply cannot pick out a favorite !




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Monday, March 6, 2017

2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: #106 “Liberty In Education”

05.david.judgegray.0141711.av                Two easy questions.  First, who is in a better position best to choose where and how a child should be educated, the child’s parents or the government?  Never have I heard any answer except the parents.  Second question, what is the goal of our educational system, to educate our children (What a concept!), or to protect below-average teachers?  (Guess what we are doing today!)  So how should we go forward?

The answer is to empower parents to choose where the government’s money will be spent for the education of their children.  The answer could be public, private, religious, military, vocational, charter, or online schools, or even homeschooling.  Of course this will require monitoring to ensure that  basic requirements are met, and allowances should be made for special needs.  But implementing this system will bring competition into the educational field.  Competition has brought us such things as quality cell phones, computers and automobiles at lower prices, and it will do the same thing for education!  I am a product of public schools, and do not want at all to undermine them.  But they are positioned to thrive, because they already have their institutions in place.  However, if they do not produce, one of two things will happen: either they will get better – to which I say Great – or they will go out of business, which will allow another institution that will produce to come forward – to which I also say Great!

If parents in lower economic areas were to understand the possibilities, they would demand this change to take place.  People in the higher economic areas have had “school choice” for decades.  How is that?  Either they move to a neighborhood that has good public schools, or they pay their child’s tuition at a private school.  But lower economic areas have been caught.  How is that?  Because if teachers are not producing they are inevitably moved to lower economic areas, where the parents neither have the resources to go elsewhere nor the political power effectively to object.  That is why there are so many schools are failing our children in poorer economic areas – and this is as outrageous as it is unnecessary!  But with school choice, or “backpack funding,” parents in all areas will be empowered to effect positive change.  That is what has happened in Milwaukee and New Orleans, and also many places in Indiana and Florida.

In this system the right things happen.  Parents will demand – and receive – excellence; good teachers will be in demand (so they are paid better); many teachers either who have been handcuffed by all of the bureaucracy or have gotten lazy because they were protected from not having to perform will get better; and schools that were top-heavy in administration will start spending  a larger share of their resources on classroom instruction.  So the only ones who lose out are the below-average teachers who are either unable or unwilling to get better.  Thus children everywhere will have better schools – to which all caring people should say Great!  Yet another example of how Liberty Works!

Judge Jim Gray (Ret.)
2012 Libertarian candidate for Vice President,
along with Governor Gary Johnson as the candidate for President

Please forward this on to your circle of friends for their consideration.  And by the way, these columns are now on Facebook and LinkedIn at judgejimgray, Twitter at judgejimgrayOAI, and wordpress at judgejimgray@wordpress.com.  Please visit these sites for past editions, and do your part to spread the word about the importance of Liberty.




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Monday, February 27, 2017

2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: #105 “Liberty Can Create A Safety Net”

judgejimgray_ocregister          After last week’s edition, several readers asked me about how Liberty could create a safety net, so that things like welfare, minimum wages, etc. could be replaced.  So here is my proposal.  We should find a funding source by replacing the current income tax system with a graduated flat tax.  In this new system, with these numbers used only for illustration, no one would pay any taxes on their first $30,000 of income in a year – not you, me or even Bill Gates.  Then everyone would pay 10 cents for every dollar they earned between $30,000 and $100,000, and 18 cents for every dollar earned between $100,101 and $500,000.  For those fortunate enough to earn above $500,000, they would pay 25 cents in taxes on each of those dollars.  All distinctions among earned or interest income, capital gains, etc. would be abolished and there would be no deductions.  As a side benefit, taxpayers would save billions of dollars each year simply on income tax preparation.

Now for the safety net part.  All people 18 years of age or older who are citizens or legal residents and who earn no income at all would receive a stipend from the government of $15,000 per year, broken up into monthly payments to their ATM accounts of $1,250 per month.  It wouldn’t matter if they were students, just lost their job to automation or were even just plain lazy.  However, for every dollar those people earned between one and $30,000, they would lose 50 cents of their stipend.  That not only means everyone would always have an incentive to earn the extra dollar, people also could less fearfully pursue a new career, start a new business or work in the arts or public service for little or no pay.  As a result, income in the amount of $30,000 would be the cutoff point at which people pay no taxes nor receive any stipend.  This approach would also very likely remedy the homeless problem because, with access to $1,250 per month per person, the private sector would quickly supply modest room and board facilities to those people.  So how is Liberty involved?  Because this is a system that we would voluntarily implement, because that is who we are.  And I believe it would work – for everyone!  What do you think?

Judge Jim Gray (Ret.)
2012 Libertarian candidate for Vice President,
along with Governor Gary Johnson as the candidate for President

Please forward this on to your circle of friends for their consideration.  And, by the way, these columns are now on Facebook and LinkedIn at judgejimgray, Twitter at judgejimgrayOAI, and wordpress at judgejimgray@wordpress.com.  Please visit these sites for past editions, and do your part to spread the word about the importance of Liberty.




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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: #104 “Liberty And The Minimum Wage”

maxresdefault           One of the beauties of Liberty is seen by transactions that are consummated by willing buyers and willing sellers of their legal contracts.  But often this beauty is tarnished by government intervention.  As an example, take the minimum wage laws.  If an under-educated and low-skilled worker will accept a job for $10 per hour, and an employer will benefit from hiring that worker, both parties benefit.  But if the laws require the employer to pay workers a minimum wage of $15 per hour, the lower-skilled workers will lose their job opportunities both to higher-skilled workers and to automation.

Furthermore, think of it this way.  In many ways, the greatest threats to civilization today are not global warming or terrorism, but instead they come from youth joblessness.  And that is problem is exacerbated because young people usually are less marketable than older workers.  So minimum wage laws protect jobs for older, more experienced workers.  And they put the young, who often tend to be more hopeless and violent, out of work.  How can young workers climb the economic ladder if they can’t even get onto the first rung?  So minimum wage laws are a mean trick for many young people and, from a security standpoint, for the rest of us as well.  Socially it is far better to have 100 people working for $10 per hour than 65 people working for $15 per hour.  We can, and for many reasons should, have a safety net below which we do not allow anyone to fall, but that should be addressed separately.  The government should let willing buyers and sellers alone, for the benefit of us all.

Judge Jim Gray (Ret.)
2012 Libertarian candidate for Vice President,
along with Governor Gary Johnson as the candidate for President

Please forward this on to your circle of friends for their consideration.  And, by the way, these columns are now on Facebook and LinkedIn at judgejimgray, Twitter at judgejimgrayOAI, and wordpress at judgejimgray@wordpress.com.  Please visit these sites for past editions, and do your part to spread the word about the importance of Liberty.




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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: #103 “Liberty According To Chunga”

untitled            When I was in the Peace Corps in the small town of Palmar Norte, Costa Rica, I stayed in a set of upstairs cubicles where the other “professors” in the high school stayed during the school year, and which was on the second floor of the only place in town that could hold a dance.  It was run by a man named Chunga, who had left Mainland China when Chiang Kai-shek was overthrown by Mao Zedung in the late 1940s.  During one of my conversations with Chunga I told him that I had noticed that almost all of the shops in our town were run by Chinese, and asked him if there was a reason for that.  He responded to me that, of course, after Mao’s revolution many anti-communists fled to Taiwan and others kept on going to Hawaii.  But many others also continued all the way to the West Coast of most countries in the Western Hemisphere.  But when they arrived in their new land, they followed an ancient custom.

The custom was that many Chinese towns were informally run by a group of elders who had been successful businessmen.  And there was a mentoring and support tradition that encouraged young men (certainly not women!) who had ideas for businesses to come to the elders with what amounted to an oral business plan.  The elders would listen and, if impressed, would both make suggestions and also donate the seed money to get the project started.  Chunga stressed that this was not a loan, so it would not have to be repaid.  But it could only be done once, and if the young man was not successful he would probably have to leave town because he would be in such disgrace.  As a practical matter, each of young men hoped that some day, if they were successful, they too could join the group of elders and continue the process.  So that tradition had been carried on in Costa Rica, as well as most of the towns and cities on the West Coast of the Americas.  This is free enterprise at its best, and is just another example of how Liberty works better than government.  (About ten years after I finished my Peace Corps service I heard that Chunga had died of lung cancer from his years of smoking.  But that is another story.  In addition, to a limited degree, I have since then tried to get other minority communities to establish this tradition in their towns, but that is another story as well.)

Judge Jim Gray (Ret.)
2012 Libertarian candidate for Vice President,
along with Governor Gary Johnson as the candidate for President

Please forward this on to your circle of friends for their consideration.  And, by the way, these columns are now on Facebook and LinkedIn at judgejimgray, Twitter at judgejimgrayOAI, and wordpress at judgejimgray@wordpress.com.  Please visit these sites for past editions, and do your part to spread the word about the importance of Liberty.




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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

2 Parapgraphs 4 Liberty: #102 “There Is A Cost to Revolutions”

100_1437                Revolutions!  Arab Spring!  Throw Out the Colonial Powers!  Liberty for the People!  For many movements throughout recent and past history these have been rallying cries, and often for good reason.  But almost always there is a cost to revolution, and often it is unacceptably high.  For example, and as stated in the “World in 2017” edition of The Economist, this year is the 100-year anniversary of Lenin seizing power from the Bolsheviks in Russia, which led to a lengthy succession of tragedies: Stalin’s rise to power, the death of more than 20 million people as a result of the collectivization of agriculture and forced industrialization and, in many ways in reaction to communism, the rise of Hitler, Mussolini and Franco.  The French Revolution soon gave rise to the active use of the guillotine, and Mao’s revolution in China also imposed collectivism that directly led to the deaths of millions.  Unfortunately, with the increased popularity of populism, which has resulted from the large disparity of wealth in our society, many of the same seeds are present today that gave rise to those failed revolutions.

So, how can these seeds be neutered?  By reminding the world, first, that free trade, property rights and Liberty have delivered millions of people out of poverty and, second, that the leaders of the world who oppose these successful approaches are mostly paper tigers.  One of these, expressly, is Vladimir Putin, who presides by fear and fraud over a country whose economic power is stalling and whose people are plagued by poverty, ignorance and illness.  North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela and Zimbabwe are other current examples.  Yes, Liberty is a good and successful thing, but some places are not yet ready for it. The United States of America in was a truly unusual example, but basically our revolution was fought so we could secure our rights as Englishmen.  We should continue to uphold and fight for Liberty here and abroad, but should be slow to expect that it can take root where the soil is not as fertile as it was here in 1776.  Ask present-day Syria, Libya and the Sudan.

Judge Jim Gray (Ret.)
2012 Libertarian candidate for Vice President,
along with Governor Gary Johnson as the candidate for President

Please forward this on to your circle of friends for their consideration.  And, by the way, these columns are now on Facebook and LinkedIn at judgejimgray, Twitter at judgejimgrayOAI, and wordpress at judgejimgray@wordpress.com.  Please visit these sites for past editions, and do your part to spread the word about the importance of Liberty.




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Tuesday, January 24, 2017

2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: #101 “With Liberty And Justice For All”

Screen Shot 2012-06-01 at 1.05.41 PM                I will fly my flag today, as it is a celebration of Martin Luther King’s Birthday.  Dr. King stood then, and still stands today, as a representative of Liberty and Justice for all.  As such, I salute him.  As brought home by the current movie “Hidden Figures,” it was not that long ago, the 1960s, when numbers of places in our great country still had “Colored” bathrooms, drinking fountains and even coffee pots.  Now we look back in wonder, but it was Dr. King who literally led the march and stood for a society that treats everyone equally.  And in so doing, he caused millions of Americans to understand the wrongfulness of segregation.

It is truly difficult to change the direction of an ocean liner, and it takes time, distance and energy.  The same thing is true with cultures.  To my discredit, I still remember thinking and even saying in the early 1960s when I was at UCLA that “negroes should be patient in pursuing their civil rights” (I know myself pretty well, and totally doubt that if I had been black, I would have been patient), and accepting what the adult advisor of our fraternity told us was the rule that we couldn’t recruit any members who would not be accepted by all of our chapters nationwide (i.e. no Blacks of Jews).  I deeply regret my acquiescence.  So today, in remembrance of Dr. King, his spirit and all of the great things that he still represents, let each of us in our everyday lives reaffirm and continue to cultivate in our own way our great nation’s heritage of Liberty and Justice for all!  Amen!

Judge Jim Gray (Ret.)
2012 Libertarian candidate for Vice President,
along with Governor Gary Johnson as the candidate for President

Please forward this on to your circle of friends for their consideration.  And, by the way, these columns are now on Facebook and LinkedIn at judgejimgray, Twitter at judgejimgrayoai, and wordpress at judgejimgray@wordpress.com.  Please visit these sites for past editions, and do your part to spread the word about the importance of Liberty.




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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: #100 “The Liberty To Move Forward”

0                Several things to celebrate.  First, this is the 100th edition of our “2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty,” and I thank you for your interest in stimulating and promoting thought and discussion on the issues of our day.  That is the express goal of this series, and every time I get feedback and hear that recipients have forwarded these articles on to more people, I feel that our goal is being realized.  Second, this is a New Year, and it will certainly be an interesting one.  But throughout all of the recent elections and commentaries I continue to be reminded that, in a republic like ours, we get the government we deserve.  So it is genuinely our responsibility to keep our hands on the reins of government by continuing to be engaged.

                With those thoughts in mind, we must decide how best to move forward.  Should we protest new developments where the old and outdated businesses and interests are being threatened?  Or should we face change (and reality), and actually embrace it?  Yes, technology, computers and robots are causing lost jobs, but automation also brings new and often more interesting jobs.  So far computers still need maintenance, and still do not have social skills.  In fact they need armies of support staff and technicians.  Foreign trade does take away some jobs, but it also creates and sustains others.  (Plus it provides consumers with lower cost and higher quality goods.)  And we will always need creative people in all phases of our lives, including work in medicine, the arts and personal assistance for our aging population, not to mention work with three-dimensional printing and aeroponic food production.  All of these results are consistent with Liberty (as well as reality).  So as we begin this interesting new year, let’s all resolve to embrace the changes and new challenges that will certainly come with it. Life is Good!

Judge Jim Gray (Ret.)
2012 Libertarian candidate for Vice President,
along with Governor Gary Johnson as the candidate for President

Please forward this on to your circle of friends for their consideration.  And, by the way, these columns are now on Facebook and LinkedIn at judgejimgray, Twitter at judgejimgrayoai, and wordpress at judgejimgray@wordpress.com.  Please visit these sites for past editions, and do your part to spread the word about the importance of Liberty.

 




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Sunday, January 8, 2017

2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: #99 “The Liberty To Be Left Alone”

100_1437            Clint Eastwood once said that “I don’t see myself as conservative, but I’m not ultra-leftist. You build a philosophy of your own. I like the libertarian view, which is to leave everyone alone. Even as a kid, I was annoyed by people who wanted to tell everyone how to live.”  That was also the basic belief of our Founding Fathers, who literally believed that the most important feature of government is to secure individual liberties.  (The second most important is to keep us secure from foreign threats and from each other.)  Therefore, government should set up police, military and judicial systems to keep us safe, enforce voluntary contracts and warranties, and provide a system that encourages accurate information to be placed in the marketplace so that we adults can make informed decisions.  So of course the government will need to tax us for those necessary activities.  But otherwise, government should basically leave us alone.

Inevitably there are always people who use their positions of wealth or power to tell us how to live.  If that is done by persuasion, fine – but if is done by government power, it is not, unless our actions wrongly affect other adults to have the Liberty to live their lives as they choose.  Creating a dependence upon government not only robs people of their self-esteem, it also robs them of their incentives and their drive to be successful.  Yes, we should have a safety net below which people should not fall, not because we have to, but because that is who we are.  But otherwise people’s needs should be met by the people themselves.  (Of course, this can and will be augmented by the voluntary assistance of others.)  This is the system that is in our nation’s genes (i.e. our Constitution), and this is what works. So once again philosophy and pragmatism are successfully combined in Liberty. Happy New Year!

 

Judge Jim Gray (Ret.)
2012 Libertarian candidate for Vice President,
along with Governor Gary Johnson as the candidate for President

Please forward this on to your circle of friends for their consideration.  And, by the way, these columns are now on Facebook and LinkedIn at judgejimgray, Twitter at judgejimgrayoai, and wordpress at judgejimgray@wordpress.com.  Please visit these sites for past editions, and do your part to spread the word about the importance of Liberty.




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Saturday, December 24, 2016

2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: #97 “Reason Foundation’s Stand for Liberty”

rsz_judgegray      People who believe in Liberty should be aware and proud of the Reason Foundation.  Here is how it describes its mission:  “Over the last fifty years, global trade, technological innovation, and capitalism have lifted more than a billion people out of poverty.  Consider what that means.  It means that a poor person in Africa with a cheap cell phone and Internet access can exploit vast amounts of knowledge.  It means that the odds of dying violently at the hand of another man have never been lower.  It means that people around the globe have access to food, clean water, and a greater standard of living than the generations that preceded them.  These changes have come about because of the libertarian principles of individual liberty, free markets, and the rule of law.  At Reason Foundation, we advance these principles using journalism and public policy research to influence the frameworks and actions of journalists, policy makers, and opinion leaders.  As we enter the presidency of Donald Trump, our challenge remains the same: to develop, apply, and communicate libertarian principles to a growing and influential audience.”

I also just read an advertisement by Deloitte, which stressed that “The key to good government: Treat citizens like consumers. . . .  As long as government requires businesses to get licenses and permits, pass inspections, pay fees, and comply with other regulations, it’s in government’s interest to help make those transactions as painless as possible.”  In a different way, that is what Reason is saying.  We citizens are the consumers of government.  So government should be asking, “Who are we?  How do we behave?  And what do we want?”  Individual liberty, free markets, free trade and the rule of law have delivered those billion people out of poverty, and brought wealth to billions more.  That is what consumers want.  So please spread the word, because what the Reason Foundation does matters.  For example, as he started reading about the results of this philosophy in Reason magazine, John Stossel started seeing life differently, saying: “Suddenly, I saw the wonderful things that happen when government leaves us alone.”  In the coming year and beyond, Reason Foundation deserves our help as it promotes our principles of Liberty.

 

Judge Jim Gray (Ret.)
2012 Libertarian candidate for Vice President,
along with Governor Gary Johnson as the candidate for President

 

Please forward this on to your circle of friends for their consideration.  And, by the way, these columns are now on Facebook and LinkedIn at judgejimgray, Twitter at judgejimgrayOAI, and wordpress at judgejimgray@wordpress.com.  Please visit these sites for past editions, and do your part to spread the word about the importance of Liberty.

 




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Sunday, December 18, 2016

2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: #96 “Share a Smile With People Who Need It”

image         From my involvement in Juvenile Court and also on the Mental Health Calendar, I have learned, among other things, that people with mental and physical disabilities simply want to be treated like everyone else.  But, as a practical matter, so often when we encounter these people whether they are in wheelchairs, are missing limbs or have obvious mental disabilities we turn away from them (often so as not to stare).

But don’t!  I strongly recommend that we all look them in the eye, smile and say something like “Good Morning,” “How are you doing?” or other suitable greeting.  We are truly blessed, living (mostly) in Liberty in the United States of America.  So as the Holiday Season is upon us, and even during the rest of the year, remember to treat all people as if they are human beings who have feelings and pride: Because they do!  And for those of you who share my faith, also don’t be hesitant to say “Merry Christmas!”

 

Judge Jim Gray (Ret.)
2012 Libertarian candidate for Vice President,
along with Governor Gary Johnson as the candidate for President

Please forward this on to your circle of friends for their consideration.  And, by the way, these columns are now on Facebook and LinkedIn at judgejimgray, Twitter at judgejimgrayoai, and wordpress at judgejimgray@wordpress.com.  Please visit these sites for past editions, and do your part to spread the word about the importance of Liberty.

 




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