Monday, September 9, 2019

2 PARAGRAPHS 4 LIBERTY: #228 "THE LIBERTY TO SEE THE USA!"

My wife Grace and I have spent the last ten days on a trip first to Portland, and then on a cruise on the Columbia and Snake Rivers (which explains why you did not receive last week’s edition of this series).   We have such a rich and interesting history here, like what we saw and envisioned with the Lewis and Clark Expedition, so why go anywhere else?  As a result, this week’s edition simply recommends that all of us often take time to pause and reflect how truly fortunate we are to be who we are, live where we live and have what we have.  We are genuinely blessed – and all the more so if we appreciate that fact.
                Among my blessings is the fact that I have been able to travel the world quite extensively – but there is nowhere more interesting or beautiful than our US of A!  Most of us actually have the Liberty to be able to go where we want – no walls with the barbed wire fences facing inward instead of outward like were present in East Germany and now are in North Korea!  But I recommend we more often use that Liberty to see the beautiful places in our great country.  No passports, no changes of currency – and many times no changes of time zones.  Good stuff!  So why go anywhere else?

My favorite Winston Churchill story:  Frequently before he would give a speech, Churchill would go to the men’s room to relieve himself so he would not be uncomfortable during his presentation.  But it happened that one time he was doing just that at a urinal when his political nemesis, Clement Attlee, came in right beside him.  So when Churchill stopped doing his business and moved over to one urinal away, Attlee said to him “You’re getting a bit prudish in your old age aren’t you Winston?”  To which Churchill responded: “Clement, I know you, and any time you see something that is big, private and works well, you want to nationalize it.”

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


Please listen to our weekly radio show entitled “All Rise! The Libertarian Way with Judge Jim Gray” as we discuss timely issues, and show how they will be addressed more beneficially by employing Libertarian values and approaches.  You can hear it every Friday morning at 7 Pacific/10 Eastern by going to www.VoiceAmerica.com, clicking on the Variety Channel and then upon the word “live.”  You can also hear past shows on demand as well.  And, by the way, these 2 Paragraph columns are now on Facebook and LinkedIn at judgejimgray, Twitter at judgejamesgray, 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.

Monday, August 26, 2019

2 PARAGRAPHS 4 LIBERTY: 227 "HOW WE TREAT OUR PRISONERS"

Between 10 p.m. and midnight Pacific time last July 4, I was interviewed by George Noory on his “Coast to Coast” national radio program about the criminal justice system.  During the interview, we discussed the failed policy of Drug Prohibition; the inappropriateness of people having to have money to make bail pending trial if other reasonable alternatives are available; Community Courts for the homeless, veterans, drug addicted and more.  Thereafter, I received through my website of www.JudgeJimGray.com letters from four inmates incarcerated in various places around the country.  Three of those letters argued that they had been falsely convicted, and one of those I forwarded to the FBI for possible investigation because the letter purportedly enclosed a sworn declaration from the principal witness against him that recanted that testimony.  But I also responded to three of the four asking if they would agree to help me write a magazine article about what life in prison is like.  Why?  Because I think we all should know.  And if their treatment is inhumane, or below certain standards of decency, health, nutrition and safety, we should, as citizens of our great country, work to improve those conditions. 
Of course, prisons should not be “country clubs,” but even if that were to be the case for low-risk prisoners, they would all still fully realize that they have been deprived of their liberty.  Of course, now many people are focusing hard upon the recent jail death of Jeffrey Epstein, and if there was foul play, we certainly want it exposed and those involved held responsible.  But to me, it doesn’t matter if we have “Bill Cosby” in our custody or “Jack the Ripper,” reasonable efforts should be made to keep all people in our custody safe and at a reasonable standard of health.  In fact, I still haven’t gotten over the brutal killing of James “Whitey” Bulger, who was an 89-year-old gangster from Boston who was killed within hours of being released into the general prison population in a West Virginia federal prison well known for being one of the most violent prisons in the country.  Bulger was bludgeoned to death with a sock that contained a metal padlock – or, as is said in prison, “He died of natural causes.”  Fyodor Dostoyevsky once famously said that "you can judge a society by how well it treats its prisoners.”  So how will we be judged?  Join me in helping that judgment to come out as being humane.  (And I will send you a copy of our article once it has been published.)
Great name for a yacht: “Seas the Day!”  


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


Please listen to our weekly radio show entitled “All Rise! The Libertarian Way with Judge Jim Gray” as we discuss timely issues, and show how they will be addressed more beneficially by employing Libertarian values and approaches.  You can hear it every Friday morning at 7 Pacific/10 Eastern by going to www.VoiceAmerica.com, clicking on the Variety Channel and then upon the word “live.”  You can also hear past shows on demand as well.  And, by the way, these 2 Paragraph columns are now on Facebook and LinkedIn at judgejimgray, Twitter at judgejamesgray, 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.

Monday, August 19, 2019

2 PARAGRAPHS 4 LIBERTY #226: “ALL RISE! THE LIBERTARIAN WAY WITH JUDGE JIM GRAY”

As some of you are aware, for the last 18 weeks I have hosted a radio podcast show on the VoiceAmerica Network entitled “All Rise!  The Libertarian Way with Judge Jim Gray.”   It is broadcast every Friday morning at 7 Pacific/10 Eastern, and also available around the world.  Except for the introductory show, I have always interviewed a guest during this hour-long show about timely issues that give my audience some insightful information.  The subjects so far have included School Choice with the Executive Director of EdChoice; our Medical Care system, with Dr. Clarke Smith, who is a long-time practicing medical general practitioner; the Death Penalty with Mike Farrell, who played BJ Hunnicut on MASH; tips about how to be a great administrator from former Chapman University President Jim Doti; Judge Mary Kreber, who discusses the successes achieved in Homeless, Veteran’s and Drug Courts; a former public defender, who discussed successful ways both of reducing crime as well as the misery that often accompanies it; as well as the executive directors of the Libertarian Party, the Reason Foundation, Institute for Justice and Students for Liberty.
                Each of these episodes has been exciting, and has shown how employing the Libertarian values of “Live and Let Live;” social and financial responsibility at all levels of society, including personal, group, corporate and governmental; the Free Enterprise System combined with the enforcement of legal contracts and warranties; and Liberty as well as Equal Opportunity for All allow us to “All Rise” together.  More specific information about past shows and how to tune in is set forth below.  So please join us, consider the excitement contained in some good things that are happening in our world, and share those thoughts with your friends and family.  One easy and productive way to listen is to tune in on  your cell phone while you are driving.

                Thank you for your consideration!  Life is Good!

Judge Jim Gray
Yacht name of the month:  “Seas the Day!”



Please listen to our weekly radio show entitled “All Rise! The Libertarian Way with Judge Jim Gray” as we discuss timely issues, and show how they will be addressed more beneficially by employing Libertarian values and approaches.  You can hear it every Friday morning at 7 Pacific/10 Eastern by going to www.VoiceAmerica.com, clicking on the Variety Channel and then upon the word “live.”  You can also hear past shows on demand as well.  And, by the way, these 2 Paragraph columns are now on Facebook and LinkedIn at judgejimgray, Twitter at judgejamesgray, 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.

Monday, August 12, 2019

2 PARAGRAPHS 4 LIBERTY: #225 "FREE TRADE ENRICHES US ALL"

         Because of my research for our new musical “Convention: the Birth of America,” which is about the 1787 Constitutional Convention, I have become quite familiar with the beliefs of our Founders.  And one of those beliefs, which was enshrined in Article I, sections 9 and 10 of our Constitution, was that there would be no tariffs imposed on trade between or among the states.  Can you imagine the harmful effect it would have had if, for example, Virginia had been able to have imposed tariffs for goods it imported from Maryland?  Such tariffs would have been deeply destructive to our nation’s economy.  As a result, Virginia, Maryland and all of the other states since that time have been able to focus upon what they did best, and also derive the benefit of receiving goods and services from other states that were derived from what they did best as well.  And this accrued to everyone’s benefit.
          But today it is far easier for businesses in our country to trade with China, India, Germany or any other country than it was for Maryland to trade with Virginia in the 18thCentury.  And trade barriers among countries have the same effect as they would have had among our states.  So let China, Mexico, Japan and Indonesia focus upon what they do best, and let our consumers here benefit by being able to purchase high quality products for reasonable competitive prices from those countries. All the while the businesses in our country will be able to focus upon what they do best, with the same result.  And, besides, this will also bring numerous other additional benefits.  For example, countries have a deep tendency not to go to war with their own customers, so this will reduce military strife.  And if the people in Mexico, Guatemala and Indonesia are better able to profit from producing goods in their own countries, their economy will be stronger, with the result that not so many people will feel the necessity to emigrate from their country to ours.  So, once again, Liberty works!
The two best signs in my memory that were held up by fans at sporting events:  First, I was listening to a Dodgers’ broadcast on opening day in about 1962 from Shea Stadium in New York when the Mets were not playing good ball when Vin Scully started laughing on the air.  He then explained that he saw a fan holding a sign up in the right field bleachers that said: “Wait Til Next Year!” And this was on opening day!  The second was at a UCLA Basketball game, when a young man stood up in his seat while holding a big sign then said: “The People Behind Me Can’t See.”

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





Please listen to our weekly radio show entitled “All Rise! The Libertarian Way with Judge Jim Gray” as we discuss timely issues, and show how they will be addressed more beneficially by employing Libertarian values and approaches.  You can hear it every Friday morning at 7 Pacific/10 Eastern by going to www.VoiceAmerica.com, clicking on the Variety Channel and then upon the word “live.”  You can also hear past shows as well.  And, by the way, these 2 Paragraph columns are now on Facebook and LinkedIn at judgejimgray, Twitter at judgejamesgray, 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.

Monday, August 5, 2019

2 PARAGRAPHS 4 LIBERTY: #224 "A DEATH PENALTY OBSCENITY!"

              I do not hide the fact that I am unalterably against the death penalty, arguing that, regardless of anyone’s philosophical beliefs, it simply doesn’t work.  Instead, it makes pawns of the victims, seldom gives them finality, and often requires them to relive the tragedy that occurred many years ago through retrials.  So now the present administration has announced – as the 2020 presidential election is getting into full swing – that it is reviving the federal death penalty.  “Hey I have an idea, let’s cater to our base in this election and get more votes by killing five people” is the message.  And, I hope every civilized person in our great country would agree, that is an obscenity!
                If the current president had originally campaigned upon implementing the death penalty and had won the election and had then proceeded to re-establish it, I would have disagreed but would not have argued that the action was political.  But that is not what has happened.  And even if the president was of that belief, why wait until the upcoming election season?  No, it is inescapable that this life and death issue is being used simply in an effort to attract votes.  Can you imagine anything more corruptive to the American name, and to what we stand for?  So, please, hold this administration accountable for this decision!  Take it upon yourself to write to the White House, every member of Congress you can come up with, as well as the media, and stop this wrongly-conceived policy in its tracks, at least until after the 2020 election.  We will not use death to garner votes – at least not on my watch!

Motto for the week:  “Never grow a wishbone where a backbone ought to be.”

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


Please listen to our weekly radio show entitled “All Rise! The Libertarian Way with Judge Jim Gray” as we discuss timely issues, and show how they will be addressed more beneficially by employing Libertarian values and approaches.  You can hear it every Friday morning at 7 Pacific/10 Eastern by going to www.VoiceAmerica.com, clicking on the Variety Channel and then upon the word “live.”  You can also hear past shows as well.  And, by the way, these 2 Paragraph columns are now on Facebook and LinkedIn at judgejimgray, Twitter at judgejamesgray, 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.

Monday, July 29, 2019

2 PARAGRAPHS 4 LIBERTY: #223 "WHO BEST SETS PRICES?"


     Maybe I have been somewhat remiss in this series by not speaking enough about why the Free Market System tends to be so successful.  Of course, it is based upon free choice, private property rights and incentives.  But probably the most important aspect of this successful system is that it sets prices at a rate that both the buyers and sellers agree upon.  If not, the products and services won’t sell, so adjustments will be made.  In a socialistic system, the prices are set by central planners, who have little incentive to learn about, much less respond to, the needs and demands of the consumers.  So who is in a better position to decide how many red cars or electric cars or flat screen televisions to manufacture and at what price, a seller whose business relies upon successful sales, or a bureaucrat?  Everyone will – or at least should – agree that the manufacturer is better placed and motivated.
                China still has government control over many manufacturing businesses, but has been increasingly successful since the death of Mao Zedong in allowing individuals within the companies to make those business decisions.  Otherwise, virtually every other place that has ever tried to have manufacturing and pricing decisions made by central planners has ended up in misery, if not starvation.  So why do we not celebrate the Free Market System more fully and broadly?  Because people like us tend to be quiet when other people who get carried away by emotion sing the praises of socialism.  Literally, they don’t know what they are talking about.
Spirit of Optimism: “If you think you can do something you are more likely to try.”  Anon

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



Please listen to our weekly radio show entitled “All Rise! The Libertarian Way with Judge Jim Gray” as we discuss timely issues, and show how they will be addressed more beneficially by employing Libertarian values and approaches.  You can hear it every Friday morning at 7 Pacific/10 Eastern by going to www.VoiceAmerica.com, clicking on the Variety Channel and then upon the word “live.”  You can also hear past shows as well.  And, by the way, these 2 Paragraph columns are now on Facebook and LinkedIn at judgejimgray, Twitter at judgejamesgray, 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.

Monday, July 22, 2019

2 PARAGRAPHS 4 LIBERTY: #222 "WORDS TO LIVE BY"

                As often stated in this column, we often cannot control the events that confront us, but we virtually always can control our responses to them.  So this brings me to something I would often relate to people on the few occasions when I was presiding as a judge in Traffic Court.  We all know that sometimes when other drivers cut us off, or are otherwise rude in their driving behavior, some of us (mostly males) respond by glaring or gesturing at the offender or, worse yet, trying to cut him off in return.  And often the initial recipient of the bad behavior would be the one who received the traffic citation.  So what did I say in court on those occasions?  What if you knew that the driver who cut you off was under the influence of methamphetamines?  Always the answer came that we would hold back and let that person have his way (almost but not always it was a male).  Just leave me alone!   
                So my advice to that person and everyone else in my courtroom was to treat all drivers who are involved in aggressive and rude behavior when behind the wheel as if they were on meth.  (And frequently you will probably be right!)  In fact, I myself have followed my own advice on several occasions after having the (mostly male) impulse to respond more aggressively.  And maybe that has saved me from harm.  So I believe these are words to live by.  If you agree, pass them on.


Quote for the week:  “Any publicity is good, except in the obit section.”  Dennis Rodman


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





Please listen to our weekly radio show entitled “All Rise! The Libertarian Way with Judge Jim Gray” as we discuss timely issues, and show how they will be addressed more beneficially by employing Libertarian values and approaches.  You can hear it every Friday morning at 7 Pacific/10 Eastern by going to www.VoiceAmerica.com, clicking on the Variety Channel and then upon the word “live.”  You can also hear past shows as well.  And, by the way, these 2 Paragraph columns are now on Facebook and LinkedIn at judgejimgray, Twitter at judgejamesgray, 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.

Monday, July 15, 2019

2 PARAGRAPHS 4 LIBERTY: #222 "RESTORATIVE JUSTICE"

                Yes, lots of bad things are happening in the world, and we seem to be hit in the face constantly with that reality in our media and elsewhere.  But there are also lots of good things that are happening, and this edition will discuss one of those, which is the movement called Restorative Justice.  The fundamental basis for this approach is to bring the victim(s) of an offense and the perpetrator together, face to face, in a meeting monitored by a therapist.  The emphasis is basically to show the offender what effect the incident had upon the victim(s), on the one hand, and to explore the concept of forgiveness by the victims, on the other.  The intent is both to humanize the act in the eyes of the offender and to begin an important healing process for the victim(s).  And we are seeing success a great amount of the time in both of those areas.
                The idea of the criminal justice system is not to punish the offender, but is instead to reduce crime.  A big example of this is in the area of domestic violence.  If the batterer (mostly but not always a man) is forced to focus upon the position of the victim, as well as the physical and emotional trauma he has inflicted, statistics show that he is not nearly as likely to re-offend.  In addition, the healing and self-esteem process often get a jumpstart with the victims, which enables them more fully to get on with their lives.  But, all importantly, the victim is consulted by the court at time of the sentencing of the offender and, if leniency is being considered, this almost always requires the consent of the victim(s).  Happily, the approach has also been found to work well with burglaries and even assaults and batteries.  (But it doesn’t seem to work with tax offenses. . . .)  The lesson?  Like in many other aspects of life, humanizing the interactions among different parties can go a long way toward reducing friction and harm, and increasing empathy.  So progress is being made in the criminal justice system, and I thought you should know. 

Quote for the week:  “Between stimulus and response there is a space.  In that space is our power to choose our response.  In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”  Viktor E. Frankl


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






Please listen to our weekly radio show entitled “All Rise!  The Libertarian Way with Judge Jim Gray” as we discuss these and other timely issues, and show how they will be addressed more beneficially by employing Libertarian values and approaches.  

You can hear it every Friday morning at 7 Pacific/10 Eastern by going to www.VoiceAmerica.com, clicking on the Variety Channel and then upon the word “live.”  

You can also hear past shows as well.  And, by the way, these 2 Paragraph columns are now on Facebook and LinkedIn at judgejimgray, Twitter at judgejamesgray, 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.

Monday, July 8, 2019

2 PARAGRAPHS 4 LIBERTY: #221 "ISideWith.Com: WHERE DO YOU STAND?"

               Here is a poll that I strongly suggest you take.  Go to www.isidewith.com, answer its questions and see where you stand on a wide ranging number of political issues.  It won’t take long, it’s fun and I think you will find the results to be interesting (although it should have included more free market questions).  Of course, most of life is more complicated than “yes or no” questions, but this test is fairly sophisticated, and allows for gradations of responses.  So I truly think that it has merit.  (The poll is private, but you can share the results with others if you wish.  It’s completely up to you.) 
                After the isidewith program digested my answers, it told me that am a slightly left of center Libertarian, and that I agree with Governor Gary Johnson about 85 percent of the time.  (That’s pretty good, because I don’t even agree with myself 85 percent of the time. . . .)  But none of this surprised me because, as I have frequently written in this column, I support Milton Friedman’s concept of a national stipend for people who make less than a certain amount of money (and then doing away with all other welfare, except for those with truly special needs).  But try it yourself, and I anticipate that you will surprise yourself about how Libertarian you are!  As such, you may very well join me in believing that the Libertarian Party is the only real mainstream political party in our country today.  Socially we support a “Live and Let Live” policy, and financially we support responsibility at all levels of society, including individual, group, corporate and governmental.  This makes us the only political party that would actually confront our nation’s deficits – which are the biggest threat both to our nation’s security and to our children’s financial future.  (So take the poll and see where you fit.  I’ll bet you a hamburger that you are much more Libertarian than you thought!)


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



Quote for the week, told to me directly by a retired stewardess from Southwest Airlines: “On occasion our plane would hit hard on its landing.  So when I saw the chins of the passengers in the first few rows touch down to their chests, I would get on the microphone and say: ‘Yes that was a hard landing.  But I want you to know that it wasn’t the crew’s fault, and it wasn’t the plane’s fault; it was the asphalt.’”

               Please listen to our weekly radio show entitled “All Rise! The Libertarian Way with Judge Jim Gray” as we discuss timely issues, and show how they will be addressed more beneficially by employing Libertarian values and approaches.  You can hear it every Friday morning at 7 Pacific/10 Eastern by going to www.VoiceAmerica.com, clicking on the Variety Channel and then upon the word “live.”  

              You can also hear past shows as well.  And, by the way, these 2 Paragraph columns are now on Facebook and LinkedIn at judgejimgray, Twitter at judgejamesgray, 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.

Monday, July 1, 2019

2 PARAGRAPHS 4 LIBERTY: #220 "A P"

     Historians tell us that poverty was the pervasive norm all around the world before the Industrial Revolution.  Before that remarkable achievement, most people lived off the land, and if their crops failed they often starved to death.  In addition, there was little clean water and less sanitation for sewage, disease was rampant, and giving birth was a dangerous situation for both mother and child.  That situation began to change with the Industrial Revolution, which resulted in more people moving into cities, gradually having refrigerated and canned food to eat, more safety slowly coming to the workplace, diseases beginning to be more understood and addressed, and generally people’s lives becoming safer, healthier and longer.  Of course, poverty in the 1800s and 1900s still widely existed, but the quality of life for those in poverty was demonstrably higher.
      So what does poverty look like today?  Most people at least in our country have a roof over their heads, indoor plumbing with clean running hot and cold water, enough food to eat, a cell phone and a color television set, access to emergency medical care, and their children get free K-12 education, along with a free lunch when needed.  Yes, there still is often found a wide disparity between the wealthy and the poor, and that doesn’t address the plight of the homeless,* but the life of the poverty-stricken today is far better than that of most of the wealthy people of the 16th Century.  Of course, that does not mean that people of good will should not continue their efforts today to help the poor, but everyone, including the poor, should also keep a perspective about what poverty today truly is.  Far better to live now than before the Industrial Revolution – which was brought to us by the Free Enterprise System along with Private Property Rights.  Without those highly successful approaches, many of us would probably be starving right now.

*As previously stated in these pages, I suggest the homeless issue be addressed institutionally, instead of occasionally having governments throw money at it, by having a safety net for every adult citizen and holder of a green card in our country, which would consist of a monthly stipend of a certain amount of money – except for those who truly have special needs.  Then we could abolish all other welfare systems and let the Free Market take over from there.

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




Quote for the week: “It’s never too late to be what you might have been.”  George Eliot

Please listen to our weekly radio show entitled “All Rise! The Libertarian Way with Judge Jim Gray” as we discuss timely issues, and show how they will be addressed more beneficially by employing Libertarian values and approaches.  You can hear it every Friday morning at 7 Pacific/10 Eastern by going to www.VoiceAmerica.com, clicking on the Variety Channel and then upon the word “live.”  You can also hear past shows as well.  And, by the way, these 2 Paragraph columns are now on Facebook and LinkedIn at judgejimgray, Twitter at judgejamesgray, 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.

Monday, June 3, 2019

2 PARAGRAPHS 4 LIBERTY: #219 "THE TEACHINGS OF 'I PENCIL'"

     “I Pencil” is an essay by Leonard Read that was first published in The Freeman in December of 1958.  The full title was “I Pencil: My Family Tree as told to Leonard E. Read.”  The point of the work is to provide a first person account of how a pencil is manufactured by first harvesting and then refining the raw materials of cedar, lacquer, graphite, ferrule, factice, pumice, wax and glue, and then assembling them into a pencil.  Obviously large numbers of people are involved in this process, including the person who sweeps out the factory and the lighthouse keeper who guides the shipment into port.  But none of those workers are directed or forced to cooperate.  They do so because of the “Invisible Hand” of working for their own economic benefit.  Ayn Rand described this phenomenon by saying that “Greed is good!”  Unfortunately, that comment has been misconstrued, and Libertarians have thus been tarred for generations as approving of greedy people – which is a totally different concept.  But instead this means that, to the degree possible, creative energies should be left uninhibited so they can be productively harnessed – for the benefit of the actor, and of us all.  Or, as Leonard Read encouraged us, “Have faith that free men and women will respond to the Invisible Hand.  This faith will be confirmed.”
                Actually this is basic economics, which focuses upon supply and demand, and is based upon the incentives of allowing people to be able to profit from their own labors and creativity.  But this concept is vastly under-taught and misunderstood in our society today. In fact, in many ways, it is vilified.  But, as Dr. Milton Friedman taught us, no society has ever raised itself up out of poverty except through a system of free enterprise combined with private property rights.  So how can this historically beneficial system be under attack today?  Because numbers of politicians are simply pandering to the voters.  Why?  Because in politics, reality is irrelevant – it is only the voters’ perception of reality that matters.  So that leaves it to the rest of us to stand up and proselytize the teachings of “I Pencil.”  And if you do, you will be performing a great service for our country and, especially, our children!  

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


Please listen to our weekly radio show entitled “All Rise!  The Libertarian Way with Judge Jim Gray” as we discuss these and other timely issues, and show how they will be addressed more beneficially by employing Libertarian values and approaches.  You can hear it every Friday morning at 7 Pacific/10 Eastern by going to www.VoiceAmerica.com, clicking on the Variety Channel and then upon the word “live.”  You can also hear past shows as well.  And, by the way, these 2 Paragraph columns are now on Facebook and LinkedIn at judgejimgray, Twitter at judgejamesgray, 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.

Monday, May 27, 2019

2 PARAGRAPHS 4 LIBERTY: #218 "GOVERNMENT-CREATED POVERTY"

     One of the biggest traps of our day that keeps people from prospering is their reliance upon the government.  This may be counter-intuitive, but it is broadly true.  And this is true despite the fact that the federal government alone last year spent about $700 billion on more than 100 separate anti-poverty programs, of which 70 provided numbers of direct benefits to people in lower economic communities.  And this is added to another $300 billion that was spent by various states and local governments.  So since President Lyndon Johnson began his vaunted “War on Poverty” in 1965, we have spent about $26 trillion dollars (in 2018 dollars) fighting poverty.  And what has been the result?  Poverty remains on the increase.
      So what should we do instead?  Except for those with truly special needs, instead of throwing money at people of lower means, we should concentrate upon changing the things that governments do institutionally to make and keep people poor.  First, we should reform the criminal justice system that keeps people who have made mistakes, and paid for them by serving time in jail or prison, from being able to get a job.  (The recidivism rates for former inmates who find employment are five times lower than for those who have not.)  Second, we must bring choice and competition into our public school system – which is deplorably failing children nationwide in mostly the lower economic areas.  Third, we must reduce the cost of housing.  Most estimates show that about 35 percent of the cost of a new house, condominium or apartment is spent in attempting to comply with governmental zoning and land-use regulations and policies.  And fourth, we must reduce the numbers of jobs that require governmental licenses.  Does someone really need a government license to braid hair, trim trees or work at a child care center?  Many of the present licenses also require additional schooling which is not actually necessary to do the job, but they restrict job entry.  And further, many of those licenses automatically disqualify people with criminal convictions.  How can people climb the economic ladder if they are not even able to get up on the first rung?  Instead, require workers to be bonded, which will encourage safety and reliability by bringing the private sector into the mix.   Then let customers decide whether the workers are productive or not.  Throwing money at people simply reinforces a victim mentality.  But this is not an accident with today’s politics, where results don’t really matter.  The only thing that seems to matter is providing promises that continue to get politicians elected – whether the promised approaches work or not. 

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


Please listen to our weekly radio show entitled “All Rise!  The Libertarian Way with Judge Jim Gray” as we discuss these and other timely issues, and show how they will be addressed more beneficially by employing Libertarian values and approaches.  You can hear it every Friday morning at 7 Pacific/10 Eastern by going to www.VoiceAmerica.com, clicking on the Variety Channel and then upon the word “live.”  You can also hear past shows as well.  And, by the way, these 2 Paragraph columns are now on Facebook and LinkedIn at judgejimgray, Twitter at judgejamesgray, 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.

Monday, May 20, 2019

2 PARAGRAPHS 4 LIBERTY: #217 "WE THINK IN WORDS"

 We all think in words.  Thus if people do not understand the shades of meaning between two (or among three or more) different words, those people do not understand the concepts.  For example, I heard that there are more dialects in languages around the world that do not draw a distinction between the word “enemy” and the word “stranger.”  As a result, if I were to stumble out of the wilderness into your remote village, and you didn’t understand this distinction, I would automatically be your enemy.  Imagine how much needless violence, or at least lost opportunities, have occurred just from this situation alone!  Similarly, when we are driving our cars in the countryside and see the sign “Slow Traffic Keep Right,” what often goes through our minds?  “Oh, I’m not slow traffic, so I’ll stay in the fast lane.”  But if, instead, the sign were to say: “Left Lane Only For Passing,” our thoughts would more likely be: “Oh, I’m not passing, so I’ll move back to the right lane.”  Same intent, but different result.

                Other common but neglected differences in words that I find to be interesting and even fun are:

·         May vs. Can: permission as opposed to ability.

·         Imply vs. Infer: Speakers imply and listeners infer.  So many problems occur when the implications are different than the inferences.

·         Solution vs. Resolution:  Most human problems have no solutions.  If you want a solution, become a mathematician.  Human problems almost always are limited to resolutions, but they allow people to put those problems behind them and move on with their lives.  (I use this illustration often in my mediations.)

·         You’re welcome vs. No problem:  The former implies that the doer was happy to help; the latter implies that if it had been a problem, the doer wouldn’t have done the good deed.

·         Need vs. Want:  We want to be alive, but don’t need to be.  But we do need oxygen to be alive.  (Or, in a political context, a “need” is just a “want” that you should give me.)

·         Love vs. Like:  We can Like many things, but Love is special, and should be thought of in that fashion.  

·         Education vs. Indoctrination:  Upon reflection, that difference should be apparent.

·         Risk vs. Gamble:  Almost all things we do have some risks to them, but they can be controlled – think going for a swim.  Gambles cannot be controlled – think roulette.

·         Rule of Law vs. Rule of Man: The former strives to provide Equal Justice for All; the latter is often used to rewards one’s friends and punishes one’s enemies.
There are many more, and I think they’re both fun and important.  I hope you agree.

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






  Quote for the week:  “We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.”  (And speaking of traveling, I will be on vacation for the next two weeks, so there will be an interruption in our series.)  And, BTW, last week I recommended people boycott the movie “Long Shot,” but this week I recommend people see the movie “A Dog’s Purpose.”  It was wonderful, and much redeeming social value!



Please listen to our weekly radio show entitled “All Rise!  The Libertarian Way with Judge Jim Gray” as we discuss these and other timely issues, and show how they will be addressed more beneficially by employing Libertarian values and approaches.  You can hear it every Friday morning at 7 Pacific/10 Eastern by going to www.VoiceAmerica.com, clicking on the Variety Channel and then upon the word “live.”  You can also hear past shows as well.  And, by the way, these 2 Paragraph columns are now on Facebook and LinkedIn at judgejimgray, Twitter at judgejamesgray, 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.