Scientific thoughts about the New Year

At midnight, many people will celebrate the passage of a year in the Gregorian calendar. As always, there are many festivities planned in different locations all over the world, with celebrations in each inhabited time zone. The first places to celebrate New Year’s Day were Kiribati and the Line Islands, as their time zone of UTC+14:00 puts them ahead of everyone else in the world. The last places to celebrate the beginning of 2013 will be American Samoa, Niue, and Midway Atoll, with a time zone of UTC-11:00. (While the time zone UTC-12:00 exists, it is used only for two islands that are currently uninhabited, as well as the International Date Line.)

But for a scientist, this is a time to reflect upon the arbitrary nature of New Year’s Day in particular and our methods of keeping time in general. Let us consider the number of moments that we could choose to celebrate. We can choose any day of the year to be the end of one year and the beginning of another year. We can choose any moment within that day as well. While the number of moments that we could choose out of a year is unimaginably large, it is a finite value. This is because the speed of light is finite, and it is impossible for mass or energy to move faster than light in normal space. There is a quantization of length that is related to the Planck length, a quantity derived from the speed of light, Planck’s constant, and the universal gravitational constant. According to the generalized uncertainty principle, the Planck length is in principle, within a factor of order unity, the shortest measurable length. The smallest measurable time, called the Planck time, is the time it takes for light to travel one Planck length.

The NIST value of the Planck length is 1.616199 x 10^-35 ± 9.7 x 10^-40 meters, a value many orders of magnitude smaller than what can currently be measured directly. The speed of light in a vacuum is 299,792,458 meters per second, so a unit of Planck time is 5.39106 x 10^-44 ± 3.2 x 10^-48 seconds. If we invert this, we find that there are 1.85492 x 10^43 units of Planck time per second. If this quantization of time is correct, then we may think of the universe as being “animated,” with a “frame-rate” of 1.85492 x 10^43 frames per second. There are 31,556,926 seconds in a year, so we have a total of 5.85356 x 10^50 moments to choose from when deciding when to mark the boundary between years. To put this number into perspective, Drew Weisenberger of Jefferson Lab estimates that the number of individual atoms on Earth is about 1.33 x 10^50. So from the standpoint of quantum mechanics, New Year’s Day is not so special.

The Hobbit and its significance for libertarians

The Moral Crimes Of Taxation And Their Punishments

Recent events, such as the Fiscal Cliff, are bringing discussion of tax policy into the forefront. But while the establishment media is quite willing to discuss the various tax policy proposals put forward by politicians, they are not discussing the nature and morality of taxation itself. Let us look at the definition of several crimes, see how taxation relates to them, and see what punishments would be inflicted upon anyone who dared to challenge the violent monopoly that the state has on the collection of taxes. The definitions and punishments come from the North Carolina General Statutes, except as otherwise noted.

Armed robbery: Any person or persons who, having in possession or with the use or threatened use of any firearms or other dangerous weapon, implement or means, whereby the life of a person is endangered or threatened, unlawfully takes or attempts to take personal property from another or from any place of business, residence or banking institution or any other place where there is a person or persons in attendance, at any time, either day or night, or who aids or abets any such person or persons in the commission of such crime, shall be guilty of a Class D felony, punishable by 38 to 160 months imprisonment, depending on mitigating or aggravating factors and prior criminal record.
How taxation relates: If a person disagrees with the tax policies of the government and acts upon that disagreement by refusing to pay, then the state will initiate force against that person. If the delinquency persists, then agents of the state (having in their possession firearms and other dangerous weapons) will eventually take or attempt to take personal property from that person as a lien on the tax “debt.” Therefore if anyone else did what the government does, they would be guilty of armed robbery.

Receiving or possessing of stolen goods: The receiving or possessing of stolen goods of the value of more than one thousand dollars ($1,000) while knowing or having reasonable grounds to believe that the goods are stolen is a Class H felony, punishable by 4 to 25 months imprisonment, depending on mitigating or aggravating factors and prior criminal record.
How taxation relates: The conduct of government in collecting taxes meets the definition of armed robbery, and the Internal Revenue Service receives and possesses the tax money. Taxes are frequently levied in amounts exceeding $1,000, and reasonable grounds to believe that the goods are stolen clearly exist. Therefore if anyone else did what the government does, they would be guilty of receiving or possessing of stolen goods.

Slavery: According to the United States Code, Title 18, Chapter 77, whoever knowingly provides or obtains the labor or services of a person by any one of, or by any combination of, the following means— (1) by means of force, threats of force, physical restraint, or threats of physical restraint to that person or another person; (2) by means of serious harm or threats of serious harm to that person or another person; (3) by means of the abuse or threatened abuse of law or legal process; or (4) by means of any scheme, plan, or pattern intended to cause the person to believe that, if that person did not perform such labor or services, that person or another person would suffer serious harm or physical restraint, shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both.
How taxation relates: Forcible taxation on one’s personal income makes one a slave because the state is knowingly providing or obtaining the labor or services of a person by means of force, threats of force, physical restraint, or threats of physical restraint to that person or another person. Therefore if anyone else did what the government does, they would be guilty of slavery.

First degree trespass: A person commits the offense of first degree trespass if, without authorization, he enters or remains on premises of another so enclosed or secured as to demonstrate clearly an intent to keep out intruders; or in a building of another. First degree trespass is a Class 2 misdemeanor, punishable by 1 to 60 days imprisonment, depending on mitigating or aggravating factors and prior criminal record, unless the offense involves an act that places either the offender or others on the premises at risk of serious bodily injury. In that case, first degree trespass is a Class H felony.
How taxation relates: Governments violate property rights by enforcing compulsory tax collection. By doing so, they trespass against the property of those who pay taxes. As agents of the state have in their possession firearms and other dangerous weapons, their actions place both themselves and others on the premises at risk of serious bodily injury. Therefore if anyone else did what the government does, they would be guilty of first degree trespass at the Class H felony level.

Communicating threats: A person is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor, punishable by 1 to 120 days imprisonment, depending on mitigating or aggravating factors and prior criminal record, if without lawful authority he willfully threatens to physically injure the person or that person’s child, sibling, spouse, or dependent or willfully threatens to damage the property of another; the threat is communicated to the other person, orally, in writing, or by any other means; the threat is made in a manner and under circumstances which would cause a reasonable person to believe that the threat is likely to be carried out; and the person threatened believes that the threat will be carried out.
How taxation relates: Tax evasion laws provide for arrest and imprisonment of those who refuse to pay taxes. This amounts to willfully threatening to physically injure people. The threat is communicated to the citizenry in writing, and the threat is made in a manner and under circumstances which would cause a reasonable person to believe that the threat is likely to be carried out. The citizens must believe that the threat will be carried out; otherwise they would not be so compliant in paying taxes. Therefore if anyone else did what the government does, they would be guilty of communicating threats.

Conspiracy: Unless a different classification is expressly stated, a person who is convicted of a conspiracy to commit a felony is guilty of a felony that is one class lower than the felony he or she conspired to commit, except that a conspiracy to commit a Class A or Class B1 felony is a Class B2 felony, a conspiracy to commit a Class B2 felony is a Class C felony, and a conspiracy to commit a Class I felony is a Class 1 misdemeanor. Unless a different classification is expressly stated, a person who is convicted of a conspiracy to commit a misdemeanor is guilty of a misdemeanor that is one class lower than the misdemeanor he or she conspired to commit, except that a conspiracy to commit a Class 3 misdemeanor is a Class 3 misdemeanor. This means that:

  • Conspiracy to commit armed robbery is a Class E felony, punishable by 15 to 63 months imprisonment, depending on mitigating or aggravating factors and prior criminal record.
  • Conspiracy to receive or possess stolen goods is a Class I felony, punishable by 3 to 12 months imprisonment, depending on mitigating or aggravating factors and prior criminal record.
  • Under United States Code, Title 18, Section 373, conspiracy to enslave gets half the sentence that slavery does, so conspiracy to enslave would result in a fine under this title, imprisonment for not more than 10 years, or both.
  • Conspiracy to commit first degree trespass is a Class 3 misdemeanor, punishable by 1 to 20 days imprisonment, depending on mitigating or aggravating factors and prior criminal record. If the offense involves an act that places either the offender or others on the premises at risk of serious bodily injury, then this is a Class I felony instead.
  • Conspiracy to communicate threats is a Class 2 misdemeanor.

How taxation relates: Tax laws are enacted by legislatures, who work together to create and pass laws. As any other group of people who worked together to do what the government does would be committing the aforementioned crimes, they would be guilty of conspiracy to commit those crimes.

When we add up the above sentences, we get that anyone who dared to challenge the violent monopoly that the state has on the collection of taxes would be looking at a consecutive prison term of anywhere from 64 to 652 months. So when the day that the rule of the state is abolished, the agents of the state are denied their claimed moral exceptions, and government is suppressed as a criminal enterprise comes, a sentence of 64 to 652 months imprisonment would be a reasonable sentence for any government official who acted to create new taxes, raise tax rates, or enforce tax laws.

Notes: This analysis only accounts for the acts involved in taxation. An actual arrest and imprisonment would add charges of kidnapping, felonious restraint, and false imprisonment. Also note that larceny is not included in the list of charges because larceny is a non-violent theft, while government is inherently violent.

The Santa Claus Lie And The Harm It Does To Children

Every year on Christmas Eve, children across America eagerly await a visit from Santa Claus. Children are typically led to believe that he is a nice man who visits the homes of good children to bring them presents. While many parents may believe that this is a harmless “white lie”, there is a case to be made that the myth of Santa Claus is actually very harmful to children. Let us examine the facts.

First, we begin with the true origin of Santa Claus and the custom of leaving presents under a tree. His original form was nothing like his common appearance today. The custom of presents placed under a tree began with mother/child cult of Semiramis and Nimrod in ancient Babylon. The mythology says that Nimrod married his mother, setting her up as the “queen of heaven” and himself up as the “divine son of heaven.” The two of them had a son named Tammuz. Upon Nimrod’s death, Semiramis claimed to see an evergreen tree spring up to full size overnight, symbolizing the “new life of Nimrod.” She then taught Tammuz to go into forests and make offerings to his father on the day that is December 25 in the Gregorian calendar (the origin of the date of Christmas), who was now worshiped as the sun god Ba’al, the false god mentioned numerous times in the Old Testament of the Bible. This Babylonian myth is the true origin of the custom of leaving presents under a tree. The custom was well-known to the author of the book of Jeremiah in the Old Testament, which includes the following:

“Do not learn the way of the Gentiles; do not be dismayed at the signs of heaven, for the Gentiles are dismayed at them. For the customs of the peoples are futile; for one cuts a tree from the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the ax. They decorate it with silver and gold; they fasten it with nails and hammers so that it will not topple. They are upright, like a palm tree, and they cannot speak; they must be carried, because they cannot go by themselves. Do not be afraid of them, for they cannot do evil, nor can they do any good.” ~Jeremiah 10:2-5 (NKJV)

The book of Jeremiah is believed to have been written in the late 7th century and early 6th century BCE, which was well before the time of Jesus, disproving any assertions that the customs surrounding Christmas were an invention of Christians. According to William L. Langer’s Encyclopedia of World History, Nimrod was also known as “Santa” throughout Asia Minor. Another name for Nimrod, used in Greece, was “Nikolaos.” The name Nikolaos (Nicolas) is a combination of the Greek words nikos and laos, which together mean “victory over the laity” or “conqueror of common people.” So “Santa Claus” or “Saint Nicholas” is really a manifestation of the ancient cults of Babylon.

Now that we know the truth about the Santa Claus myth, let us examine what a parent is doing when telling a child that Santa Claus is real. Parents who participate in the Santa Claus lie are destroying their own credibility. The children will someday realize that their parents have lied to them, and while this particular lie may not do a great deal of damage in and of itself, the fact is that the children cannot trust their parents after that point. This can lead to trust issues that persist even into adult life, as well as damage a fundamental and irreplaceable relationship in a young person’s life.

Another danger is that the Santa Claus myth teaches children to believe in entities whose existence and efficacy are not supported by credible evidence. A scientific analysis of what Santa Claus and his flying reindeer would have to do to fulfill the conditions set for him shows that he would have to endure G-forces more than 1,000 times beyond what is lethal. The idea of gifts coming seemingly out of nowhere, deus ex machina style, to those who deserve them, requires a supernatural violation of physics as well as economics. If a child can be taught to believe in Santa Claus in the absence of credible evidence, then it will be easier for them to fall prey to religious cults or confidence schemes later on.

But perhaps the most damaging aspect of the Santa Claus myth relates to the similarities between Santa Claus and the institution of the state. Remember the song that goes, “He sees you when you’re sleeping, he knows when you’re awake, he knows if you’ve been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake?” The idea of a benevolent gift-giver who regularly violates one’s right to privacy is a close approximation of government under the ideals of collectivism, and sets up children to be accepting of a state apparatus that frequently violates their natural rights. A young child is not yet able to grasp the ideas of the state, taxation, bribery, etc., but he or she can understand the idea of rewards for obedience. Thus the myth of Santa Claus makes the subjects of the state easier to control, and helps to fulfill the definition of the name “Saint Nicolas.”

All things considered, the story of Santa Claus is a setup for destroying trust in the family, trust in reason and science, and the desire for freedom and liberty in the mind of a child. For this reason, we can fairly say that telling the Santa Claus lie to children is a form of mental abuse. If you want children to value honesty and have a healthy, independent mind, tell them the truth about Santa Claus.