Hi Byron Hathaway, thanks for your reply. Here are some responses to your questions (in italics)
Steve Faktor

Thank you for your response.

I’d like to expand upon three parts of said response for further exploration. Also, I would enjoy attending your podcast and reading other essays you’ve published.

First, Sharia is a catch phrase many in government and media use to scare the uninformed. However, the etymology of the word is derived from scripture meaning “of a path” or a “path to water” following the Hebraic idea that god’s law is to be followed, a stalwart of mono-theistic religions.

But, over recent centuries, more enlightened members of the religion have adapted much of European law for public business, while maintaining the Quran as a dominant influence over family matters. A small percentage of “believers” use the despicable aspects of ancient tribal behavior such as stoning, caning, and other corporal punishments to keep family members in line.

I’m guessing if you ask a Muslim neighbor if it’s okay to cane your children when they’ve misbehaved, they’d argue against it. But, if you ask them should Sharia be defended, they’d probably say yes if the question is not broken down into parts that work (like nine of the ten commandments work for Christians, (except of course the prohibition against killing)), and parts which are anathema to modern civilizations such as stoning or other forms of capital punishment.

Next, the idea of local governments being responsible for American Citizens isn’t working. If it was, there would be no discrimination against voter classes, no gerrymandering, no denial of available funds to help constituents with health costs, etc.

If we think of the US States and Territories as members of a tribe, then why would a tribal leader allow some members to discriminate against those under their charge. That kind of selfish, self-serving behavior weakens the tribe.

For something so complex as education, health-care, shelter, and nutrition, I think we, as a people, would be better off without individual states being allowed to discriminate against those the rigged governments find undesirable. “Top down” governance must prevail, or we’ll be forever debating and nothing will get done. As the old adage suggests — do something, even if it’s wrong…

Lastly, when tax code is rewritten once again, (and it will be), the next iteration needs to punish those who pillage the earth. If that means micro-managing behavior as commodities are extracted from our lands and seas, and punishing (criminally and financially) those who do not clean up after themselves, so be it.

You seem to be a person who is not just open to ideas, but one who digs deeper into subjects which most find to tedious to do more than parrot the party line. For that, I say thank you.

If you’re not familiar with the work of Paul Hawken, such as “The Next Economy”, I’d love to know what you think if you ever get a chance to read any of his publications.

I look forward to reading your tax article and hope to listen to your next podcast.

Again, thanks for taking time to offer further illumination.

Have a good year!