Joe Kent

Just your average libertarian atheist

I’m a Beta Male, and Proud of it


Everybody knows that girls are attracted to confidence.  Chapter one of any dating book or  forum says that girls are hard wired, according to research, to be attracted to Alpha males, the leader of the pack.  The guys who are sure about everything, and charge forward with healthy confidence.

This may be true, but I think girls should consider the advantages of picking the Beta male.

Betas are more humble, good listeners, and more open to changing their mind if someone corrects them.

Now, most Alpha males at this point would object and say, “No!  We are open-minded, we can challenge our own thinking!”

But think about what confidence means.  It is full trust in one’s self.

I’m sorry, but I don’t have full trust in myself — and that’s a good thing.  I’ve been wrong so many times in my life, I basically accept it as my default position.  I would rather lose an argument and find truth, than win an argument but be wrong.

As for me personally, I’m Beta and proud of it.  I’m so Beta, I’m Alpha at being a Beta.  I hate planning dates, for example, because I really don’t care where we go.  So if I am going on a date, I will give that responsibility to the girl.  “Hey, I know this might not be conventional, but I want to give you the right to plan the date.”

Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but hey, at least I’m me, and that is something I can be confident about being.


Why Fads are Healthy for Kids


There’s a new fad sweeping through Hawaii’s schools.  The Kendama!  You know, that little cup and ball and string that you played with for two seconds when you were a kid?  Well, this isn’t a dinky little toy anymore.  In Hawaii, there are competitions and tournaments, where Kendama champions show off their coolest tricks!

At the school where I teach, Kendamas are at a fever pitch.  The recess playground is filled with giant mobs of kids all playing Kendama.  And they are pretty expensive!  It’s hard to find a Kendama for less than $30, and the really good ones can cost more than $50.  All for a wooden toy, with some string.

Why is it good for kids?  Because it’s a fad, and fads are healthy for kids.

Economists generally agree that the most important trait for entrepreneurial success is the ability to predict the future.  Economists call it foresight.  With a fad, like the Kendama craze, nobody really knows where the fad will go next.  Will blue Kendamas be “in” next, or red ones?  Perhaps a new kind of trick will impress everyone.

If you are the first to the playground with the coolest new trick, or new color of Kendama, then you will be the most popular kid in school.  You’ll be a trend setter.  Everyone will be talking about the awesome trick you pulled off, and they’ll try to copy you.  Pretty soon, the whole school will be copying your trick.

Not all tricks will catch on though.  Sometimes a new trick will flop.  Or a kid will buy a new kind of Kendama, and everyone will think it’s ugly.  Kids can be pretty tough!

The other day, I saw a kid walking with a new sort of Kendama.  The Pill.  I’d never seen a Pill before, and to be honest, it didn’t really look that great to me, but what do I know?  I’m not a kid.  A few weeks later, it seemed like almost everybody had a pill.  Kids were pulling off cool tricks with it, and impressing their friends.

I believe that these kids are practicing a valuable concept for success.  They are learning foresight.  They are learning how to get to the market (playground) first with their new idea.  And they’re taking big guesses about what will catch on with everyone, and what will fail.

Those trend setters will have a head start in the business world.  Businesses are constantly trying to predict the future.  They try to anticipate what people will like, so that they can provide for it, and become popular.  The business world is basically a giant popularity contest.

So the next time you see adults roll their eyes at kids who wear the latest fashions with mustaches on their hats, or black stockings, or the next Kendama color, just remember that they are probably learning a lot more on the playground, than they ever will in the classroom.



The Ring of Power


The other day someone said to me, “Wow Joe, you’re going to make a lot of money if you get elected.”  And then I thought – oh yeah, I forgot . . . politicians make a lot of money!  What was I thinking?  Here I’m trying to run for U.S. Congress because I think it’s the right thing to do. Silly me.

But power corrupts.  I can feel it, even in my little league campaign.

As a candidate, my job is to sell a product: me.  I have to pretend that I am the most perfect person in the world. Maybe I have all the solutions, or I’ve done some great things in the community. I’ve got to be superman!

On the other hand, that’s what’s wrong with the system.  Politicians are so mesmerized with themselves that they forget about what really matters – defending liberty for individuals!

I’ve actually felt it in myself.  A pull.  A change happening.  It’s as if I’m holding the ring of power – a ring of ultimate evil and destruction.  My job is to carry the ring and destroy it.  But the ring wants to destroy me.  It wants to hypnotize me into imagining how great and powerful I could be, if only I were elected.

In the Lord of the Rings, Frodo Baggins had to carry the ring of power to the volcano to destroy it.  He was the only one who could do this task, because he was not as affected by the ring’s hypnotic power.  But even Frodo was swayed by the ring’s magic.  His best friend Sam would try to snap him out of it.

Sam said to Frodo, “It’s the ring!  You can’t take your eyes off it; I’ve seen you.  You’re not eating.  You barely sleep.  It’s taken ahold of you, Mr. Frodo.  You have to fight it.”

Frodo snapped back, “I know what I have to do, Sam. The ring was entrusted to ME.  It’s MY task.  MINE!  My own!”

Sam said, “Can’t you hear yourself?  Don’t you know what you sound like?”

Indeed, I can feel a pull towards being obsessed with winning the election.  In fact, if I didn’t seem obsessed about winning, everyone would think I was a poor candidate.  But for me, winning isn’t the only goal.  There’s a much higher goal for me, which is to stay true to my principles, to educate, and to have fun.

Winning elections is easy.  If I sold my soul, and told everybody what they wanted to hear, I have no doubt that I could win an election.  I could take some money from a slippery source, and promise to give government favors to them if I were elected.  Candidates like that are almost ALWAYS elected.

But I have another goal in mind.  I want to educate.  I want to educate myself to understand the process of running.  I want to educate others about all the solutions in liberty.  And I want to have fun doing it!

Power corrupts, no doubt about it.  But what is the best way to combat an idea?  With another, even better idea.  And the idea on my side is the best idea of all: liberty.  I want to take all that government power, and give it back to the individuals from whence it was taken.  Let’s give people their freedom back.  And perhaps one day, we will succeed in destroying the Ring of Power.

Joe Kent is Running for Congress!



Yes, it’s true, I am running for Congress.  Please visit my web page above!

  • End the Jones Act

  • End the Drug War

  • Bring the Troops Home

  • End Government Spying

  • Legalize Competing Currencies, Including Bitcoins

  • End GMO Patents

  • Get Government Out of Marriage

  • End the Death Penalty

  • Free Whistle Blowers, Like Edward Snowden

  • Increase Wages Dramatically by Eliminating the IRS

  • No Favors to Corporations

  • Stop Printing Money, End the Federal Reserve

  • Save One Trillion Dollars by Cutting Five Departments (Energy, Commerce, Interior, Education, and Housing and Urban Development)

  • Free Market Healthcare

  • End the Two Party System

  • Shrink the Police State

  • Give Teachers and Principles Power, by Ending All Bureaucracy in Education

  • End the Office of Patent and Copyright

  • Pro Gun Rights

  • Stop Eminent Domain Abuse

  • Get Government Out of Agriculture

  • End Monopoly Privilege

  • Uphold Civil Liberties

  • Follow the Constitution

Joe Kent for Congress

Joe Kent for Congress

Dear friends, guess what? I’m running for political office. Pretty neat, huh! Yes, it’s all official, and I’m going to see where this goes — hope to have some fun! Check it out, at

Why I’m Moving to the Big Island


Once upon a time I went on an adventure that led me down so many twists and turns, intellectual and romantic journeys, political quests and finally a home in paradise. I found the absolute best job in the entire world at King Kamehameha III Elementary School on Maui. I mean – can you imagine, a principal that is actually a cheerleader for the music department?

But alas, my time on Maui has come to an end. You see, for the past three years, my rent has gone up $100 each year. And I’m not waiting to see what happens next year!

To many people, this seems like an easy problem to fix. “Can’t you just find a cheaper place to live?” Well, yes, I could. But my question is: do you live to work, or do you work to live?

Once I found a place that would’ve saved me money. It was a room in an old lady’s house in Lahaina. She greeted me at the door, and then proceeded to lecture me for five minutes on the proper way to walk up the stairs to my room. “Softly. Not stomping like this, you see. Just softly, one at a time. Hold on to the rail! Now you practice. Softly, you see?” Then she showed me the window blinds, “Take the blinds by the handle, and twist counter clockwise, you see. NO NO NO! Not like that!”

She led me into the ‘kitchen’, which was just a cupboard and a sink. “When you close the cupboard,” she said, “Please close it softly. Like this. Now you try. Practice it again.” Needless to say, I wasn’t about to ask how to install an air conditioner, and high speed internet.

Another apartment I looked at was just a room in this couple’s apartment. They greeted me at the door, half-dressed, and the guy’s gut was hairy and scary. “It’s upstairs,” he growled taking a drag of his cigarette. The room was HOT, and stinky, about the size of a little closet, with no fan or A/C. There was one tiny window which the sun seemed to just focus through like a magnifying glass. Lahaina is one of the sunniest places in the world, so I’m pretty sure I would’ve been cooked alive in that room.

Lots of people say, “Wow, you’re leaving only because rent is going up? That’s it?” Well, no. I’m also leaving because quality is going down. At my apartment, they’ve got us packed in like sardines, and you always hear people fighting across the way. BOOM!! WHAM!! I wake up in the middle of the night. What the heck was that??? Yes, I can find a cheaper place to live, but it would be at the expense of living.

On the Big Island, rents are half as much. My $1000 apartment would be about $500 in Hilo. Gas, groceries, and – everything else is much cheaper. My family lives there (I’ll probably transition with them at first), and I have an army of friends in Hilo. I went to elementary, high school, and college there. All my connections are on the Big Island.

On Maui, most people move here for one reason: the beaches. But most beach goers aren’t interested in things I’m interested in, like drama, dance, economics, boardgames, politics, the arts. I try to get out, start clubs, go dancing, but somehow I just don’t feel connected to anybody there. I’ve tried to go on many dates, or just outings with friends, but I always feel like I’m not allowed to be passionate about anything, unless it’s the beach. And I hate the beach. To be honest, this has been the loneliest four years of my entire life.

Nobody moves to Hilo for the beach. It’s a college town. People move to Hilo because of the culture, the local style, the good deals, and the home town feel. On Maui, it doesn’t really feel like anybody actually lives here. Most of the cars on the road are tourists, and most of the people you meet have either just moved here, or are just about to leave. Usually both.

In Hilo, it really feels like everyone really lives there. Go to the mall, or the park, or the bowling alley, and it’s all people who have lived there for a long time, and aren’t going anywhere. It feels grounded. Like home.

Am I moving because rent is too high on Maui? Yes. But it’s so much more. I’m moving because my head is in Hilo, and so is my heart.

Of course, the first question everybody asks is, “Do you have a job?”

“No,” I say.

Then they panic, “What will you do! What will you do!? YOU HAVE TO FIND A JOB!!!”

But, I’m a big boy, I’ve been teaching for almost eight years in high school and elementary. I have a college degree in music and education. I’m an avid producer, writer, tech wizard, musician, actor, and political adventurer. I’m great at inspiring others, leadership, economic research, and journalism. I’m quite capable of taking care of myself, so let’s just say . . . I’ll find something.

In the meantime, moving is easy. The hardest part is saying goodbye . . .

5 Tough Questions for Democrats


I like democrats because they are very honest and they have big hearts. But as a libertarian, I often scratch my head, wondering how democrats would answer these questions.

1) When you read a list of all the questionable things Obama has done, is he still a “good president”?

For example:


2) Do democrats have principles? If so, what are they?

We Libertarians are often confused at both Republicans and Democrats because we see them as not having any principles.  When Democrats come into the Presidency, they often just continue the same Republican policies, and vice versa. We know you all must have SOME kind of principles, just um, what are they?


3) Why can the government do things that would be illegal if you or I did it?

For example:

It’s illegal to take somebody’s land, yet when the government does it, it’s called eminent domain.

It’s illegal to kill, yet when the government does it, it’s called war.

It’s illegal to own slaves, yet when the government does it, it’s called conscription.

It’s illegal to print money, yet when the government does it, it’s called “quantitative easing” by the Federal Reserve.

It’s illegal to spy on our neighbors, yet the government can spy on us.

It’s illegal to kidnap, yet when the government does it, it’s called indefinite detention.

It’s illegal to steal, yet when the government does it, it’s called taxation.

Why is it okay for the government, but not for us?


4) Libertarians are anti-war and pro-civil liberties.  Is the only reason you are not a libertarian because of our pro free-market stance?

Lately, libertarians have been asking, “Could we be more aligned with the democrats than the republicans?”  It’s an important question.  What do you think?


5) Sure the free-market is flawed.  But the government is also flawed.  So isn’t it utopian to think that the government could ever manage the free-market?

Politicians are untrustworthy.  They take bribes, they wheel and deal, and they use government power to help favored corporations.  It’s called “crony capitalism”.  So is the solution to crony capitalism really just “more cronies”?  If politicians are untrustworthy, how is the solution: more politicians?


Why is Rent Rising on Maui?


I’m paying $1000 a month to live in a tiny studio on the west side of Maui. This is comparable to rent in New York City, except that gas and groceries are cheaper in New York. Why is rent going up on Maui?

Ask most people and they’ll say, “It’s because of greed.  Landlords are just too greedy on Maui.” But landlords are greedy all over the world, and they have been since the dawn of time. It must be something else.

In 2006, the County Council of Maui enacted the “Workforce Housing Policy”, which was supposed to increase housing for residents, but did exactly the opposite. The law says that anyone who wants to build an apartment must make 50% of it affordable housing. Sounds good, doesn’t it?

But not if you are a developer. Under the 50% rule, it’s unprofitable for developers to build any apartments at all — especially if half their renters qualify as affordable. So developers just decide not to build any apartments at all.

A real estate expert on Maui said, “It’s a classic case of a well intended law meeting the law of unintended consequences. I’ve been told by developers that between the red tape and inconsistencies with the permitting process, and the ‘affordable housing’ requirements many of the developers have elected to build elsewhere.”

David Cailles, a law professor at UH Manoa said, “It makes more financial sense for a landowner to build relatively expensive condominium apartments for sale than apartments for rent . . . only the most expensive projects could afford such high percentages of workforce housing.”

Maybe that’s why developers seem to always build hotels and golf courses instead of place to live.

Another reason that apartments on Maui are so expensive are zoning laws. Apartments can only be built in apartment zones. It could take more than 10 years just to get approval for an apartment building on Maui — and after all that waiting, it might not be approved.

Getting rid of the zoning requirements, and especially the 50% “Workforce Housing Policy” would do wonders for lowering rents across Maui. Without all those restrictions, developers might find it profitable to build enough apartments to compete again. Rents would fall, and locals might actually have a place to live again.

The apartment complex that I live in houses 288 rentals on just a tiny 6 acres of land. For another 6 acres, that could be doubled, and rent would fall. This would only take up .00001% of Maui.

To summarize, rent is high on Maui because of strict zoning laws, and the “Workforce Housing Policy“.  Getting rid of these laws would result in lower rents, and higher apartment quality.

One landlord replied, “Great article.  I would also add that due to the high prices of mortgages, property taxes, condo association fees, repairs, upgrades and utilities, we as landlords have no choice but to rent out our properties as vacation rentals. Either that or go broke. I would like nothing better than to rent to one party for a long term rental. Unfortunately, market forces will not allow that to happen. It leaves the Maui residents in a lousy predicament.  
~An ethical and honest landlord.

The Market for Open Spaces

Hawaiian Airlines volunteers plant a loulu palm at the conservancy's Kona Hema Preserve

Hawaiian Airlines volunteers plant a loulu palm at the Nature Conservancy’s Kona Hema Preserve

One day I was leaving a county council meeting on Maui, and I got in the elevator with a group of older ladies. I pretended to ignore them while I listened intently.

“Can you believe it? We did it! We got the government to buy the land!”

“Thank goodness,” another lady said, “I was afraid the view of the ocean would be blocked from my house.”

“Well,” the leader said, “I heard that a developer is planning on buying some land up north. We’d better hop to it again, ladies!” They all cheered.

I kept my mouth shut and wondered: why is the government always seen as the protector of the land?

After all, much of the open spaces in Hawaii are privately owned. Yes, it’s true that about two million acres of Hawaii are owned by the State and National government. But one million acres of open land in Hawaii are owned privately.

The entire island of Ni’ihau is privately owned by the Robinson family. Nicknamed “the forbidden island”, Ni’ihau still looks almost the same as it did 200 years ago – proof that private individuals can preserve the land if they own the property.

Larry Ellison, the third richest man in the world, owns 98% of the island of Lana’i, yet the island remains largely a wide open space.

In fact, most of the privately owned land in Hawaii is open-space, undeveloped land.

The Nature Conservancy, a privately funded charity, raised millions of dollars to buy over 200,000 acres of land in Hawaii for the purposes of preservation and open space. Free market conservation charities can only raise money if lots of people think it’s a good idea. Other private charities like the Lahaina Restoration Foundation, Historic Hawaii Foundation, and the Hawaiian Islands Land Trust work to raise money to purchase land for preservation.

In the meantime, government buys up land that people aren’t willing to raise money to preserve. Yet, they often pay double what the land costs. When the Maui County Council voted to purchase the land at Laniupoko for 13 million dollars, Councilman Mike White reminded everybody that on the free market, they could have gotten it for less than half the cost. The land owner jacked up the price as soon as they found out the government was buying it.

Many argue that in the free-market, nobody would ever buy land and keep it open-spaced. Yet, there are over 1 million acres of privately owned open space land in Hawaii. Most of that land will continue to be preserved because the individual land owners and charities are interested in keeping the land natural. Let’s not forget that most of the land that the government owns is the rocky cliffs and volcanoes that would be difficult to develop anyways. But most of the land that private individuals own in Hawaii is prime land for development – yet it’s been preserved for hundreds of years because of personal choice, charity, and property rights.

Acres of Land owned Publicly and Privately

1,540,000 – State

531,000 – National

363,000 – Kamehameha Schools

113,000 – Alexander & Baldwin

89,000 – Larry Ellison

29,233 – Castle & Cooke

107,000 – Parker Ranch

139,000 – Parker Ranch Donated Waimea

58,000 – Molokai Ranch

97,000 – Robinson Family

36,000 – Grove Farm


A Libertarian Visits Monsanto


“Eww, I can’t believe you’re eating all those GMOs,” a kid once told me, as I was eating Burger King french fries for lunch. Needless to say, it didn’t really help my appetite.

I asked, “How do you know that GMOs are bad for you?” as I ate another fry.

She said, “Everybody knows that.” Indeed. Everybody does seem to know lately that GMOs are bad for you. News articles, documentaries, and protesters have been telling us about the dangers of Genetically Modified Organisms for years, and many people are very upset about the food on our dinner plates. Recently, the Big Island banned GMOs altogether, and other islands are thinking of doing the same. But this raises a question: should we as libertarians be for, or against GMOs?

On Maui, the Monsanto office is right in our backyard; in Kihei. I had the chance to visit with Dan Clegg, the land and resource manager at Monsanto on Maui. He gave me a tour of their factory, and we were accompanied by a team of experts and scientists.

Outside the office was a large corn field. Workers dressed in white were pollinating the plants by putting a paper bag over the yellow tassel on the top of the corn. They would select the very best plants of the bunch, and then use the bags to pollinate the silks – a practice that has been going on for thousands of years.

I told Dan Clegg, “I thought this was going to be a scientific lab with lots of microscopes and syringes.”

He said, “Oh, you mean bio-technology. That’s done on the mainland.” He explained that they use it very sparingly, and that most of the work that’s done at Monsanto on Maui is the old fashioned manual breeding with paper bags.

I asked him, “If you could go anywhere in the world, why would you choose Maui to farm?”

He said, “Because of the seasons. On the mainland, you can only get through one season a year. But on Maui, you can get through three seasons in just one year. That’s a huge advantage.” More seasons means more breeding selection, and more advanced seeds that can be sold to farmers on the mainland.

We spent two hours walking around the property, and Dan and his team of scientists had all the perfect glowing answers you would expect for questions about pesticides, cancer, health risks, and labeling. But at the end of the day, it was Monsanto’s word against the protesters.

The GMO question is a tough one. As a libertarian, I believe that if Monsanto wants to grow plants on their property in new ways, they should have the freedom to do so. At the same time, Monsanto is a monopoly, owning the vast majority of the world’s GMO seeds. This means that one company is largely responsible for most of the GMO food in the world, and that’s a scary thought.

I asked the scientists, “Monsanto is a monopoly. Shouldn’t we get rid of patent laws, so that other companies could use the technology and make it better?”

“No,” was the response. The scientists responded that they work hard to come up with the technology, and if they didn’t have a patent on seeds, the technology would be used by other companies.

But that is exactly the point.

Long ago, seeds were public domain. Any farmer could take any seed and experiment with it. He could breed a new seed, and then sell it on the seed market for a small profit. Then other farmers could experiment with the new seeds, and try to breed their own seeds. This created a market for healthy, safe, and high yielding seeds.

Corn was ‘invented’ this way. Ancient Native American farmers would breed the best stalks of grass into what we know today as corn. The corn was shared and traded in a free market of seeds over many years, creating all the many varieties of corn we know today. The entire process was done with no patents, or copyrights at all.

Today, farmers are restricted from doing any of that. There are so many restrictions on the seeds, some farmers have been dragged into court over allegations of seeds blowing into another farmer’s field – and all of this has to do with patent laws.

Take away the patent laws, and suddenly all seeds would be public domain once again, as they have been for thousands of years. A brand new market would blossom to make the seeds healthier and safer. Seed prices would fall, along with the price of food. Many different varieties of corn and plants would appear again, doing away with the mono-culture of today’s farms. And billions of people in the third world would benefit from cheap, abundant food.

Let’s not forget that Genetically Modified Food could actually be good for the world. However, GMOs in the hands of a government protected monopoly could indeed be very dangerous. Monsanto exists because of it’s patent on seeds. But only recently have seeds been ‘patented’. Seeds have been public domain ever since the agricultural revolution that started thousands of years ago. It’s time to make seeds public domain once again.

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