Some states, like NY, CA, and IL are so generally hellish that it seems the rankings mean a lot. Others, like WY and WA (that have oddball tax structures or something else non-standard about them), tend to produce rankings that don’t mean as much from an individual perspective.
And of course the crappiest state or country can have great pockets of political freedom. And half a dozen members of the Commentariat will rush to declare (rightly) that “freedom is a state of mind.”
Still, do the rankings mean anything at all to you? Would you use them even as a datapoint when deciding to move or advising a friend on making a move?
If you don’t want to ID your state’s rank for privacy reasons, just say “it falls in the middle” or “it’s near the top” or whatever.
I apologize for the “lite” blogging. As you may have noticed, I’m suffering the worst case of winter blues I’ve ever had (compounded by daily doses of the bad news I’m always recommending that everybody else avoid). I’m beat and need renewal.
So I’m going to spend next week mostly away from the computer. Rather than let the blog go dark, I thought I’d preschedule some blogitude every day from Monday through Friday of next week. Here’s what I’d like to do: Pose a different question each morning about the state of freedom today (personal, political, global, First-Second-Fourth Amendment, whatever) and let the you, the Commentariat, have at it.
I’ve got a couple of questions scribbled down, but I’d like to start right now by throwing the “Question of Questions” out to you. What freedomista questions would you like to see discussed, debated, kicked around, and (who knows?) maybe even resolved here by the Living Freedom Commentariat next week?
Maybe there are some topics you’ve been wanting me to address but I’ve been neglecting. Maybe you’ve just got some pressing freedom issue in your life. Maybe you’ve got something you want the chance to expound on. Toss topic suggestions in the comments on this post and let’s see what develops …
Also, Ragnar praises new-made Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence — not just for her acting, which is outstanding, but for her Capital-A Attitude. Amen, Ragnar! Lawrence always comes across as a regular person with a great sense of humor and wacky wit. Likes guns, too. And doesn’t like PETA. And jeez, she’s Katniss Everdeen. How much more perfect can an actress be?
In 2009, her young husband was killed in an accident. After the shock of coping with the planning he and she had left undone, Chanel Reynolds started a website whose name the New York Times is too proper even to print. It’ll help you Get Your Shit Together.
Some people have doubted that the White House can give an interesting answer to one of those WhiteHouse.gov petitions. Think again. (Via several people including S, who offers to build a Death Star for a mere $450,000,000,000,000,000.)
Sorry about the “lite” posting. I’m deadlining this week and next, so “lite” may continue for a while.
Tomorrow I’ll be going on an expedition with a friend as part of the research for the BHM hide-a-gun article. Packing up the rubber boots, shovels, and camera now.
So I thought I’d leave you with something worth pondering for a few days:
What are the five major things you’d like to accomplish in 2013?
Realistic things, I mean. (“I’d like to personally restore the Bill of Rights” doesn’t count.)
I’m a bit stumped on this myself. I’ve come up with three, two of which aren’t things I’d care to tell the world. The other (3. Cut by half the time I spend on the computer) isn’t so much an accomplishment but a laying of groundwork for accomplishment.
So here you go. Hope this helps inspire you toward your own goals in the new year. Maybe you can give me some ideas, too.
The first rule of living on the edge is this: You’re in charge. You’re responsible. If something goes wrong, nobody’s going to come and fix it for you. There’s no point grumbling and waiting for the guy with the wrench, because the guy with the wrench is you.
That brings things to a very basic and vital level. I used to be consumed with worry over things like who was undermining me at the office, or how badly a customer was going to screw me on draft revisions, or how to deal with the next-door neighbor who played his piano at 3 AM and drove my wife crazy. Seriously, I used to brood over things like that. Now I wonder if the chickens will lay enough eggs tomorrow. I worry about the state of my stovepipe. Will the water freeze? Will coyotes take my kitten? Will I have enough firewood?
There are two major differences between the old worries and the new ones. First, the new set of worries are worth worrying about. Those are things that can actually do harm to me and mine. Second, they’re all things I can do something about. I can get more chickens, or kill or separate the one that’s upsetting the others. I can clean the damn stovepipe more often, insulate the pipes more heavily, go out and cut more firewood. Zoe’s pretty much on her own – though she’s napping happily right next to me as I write this.
Those old quotidian worries used to make me very unhappy, because I was always dependent on other people for their solution and I felt helpless against them. Now I’ve got worries about things that can actually hurt me, but they don’t make my unhappy because I can get off my ass and do something about them any time I need to.
So. The county recently had a sale on properties foreclosed for non-payment of taxes.
I’ve never paid attention to such things before, considering any form of tax sale or asset-forfeiture sale to be out of moral bounds.
This time somebody pointed out that two of the parcels up for sale were hilltop acreages near the end of winding dirt roads. Not far from this neighborhood in miles, but a world away in possibilities.
I went so far as to look them up online and do some sighing over them. Of course I didn’t consider bidding. But I admit that was mostly because a) I didn’t have the money and b) I didn’t have time to investigate things like … oh, whether angry, heavily armed owners might still be squatting on them or whether it would cost a zillion bucks just to put in a septic system. You know, the technicalities. Not c) this just wouldn’t be right.
Had I had means to take care of a) and b), I’d have at least been tempted to ignore c) for the sake of d) great, cheap land. Probably wouldn’t have. But I admit to having moments of not feeling like a moral giant.
There’ll be another sale of tax-foreclosed properties next year (assuming the Maya don’t fool us all by turning out to be right).
So … would buying one tax-foreclosed parcel of land be like “being just a little bit pregnant,” or what?
And if you had the chance to pick up five acres of primo forest land, complete with spectacular view, for, say, $5,000 or $10,000 … would you be tempted? Especially if you were somebody who didn’t have money to burn?