Monthly Archives: March 2006

Illegal Immigrants, Resident Aliens & Undocumented Workers

Whew. I’ve been out of touch for a few weeks, but this subject of illegals in our country has really heated up. Whatever term you choose to use, at least one word is inaccurate – *illegal* negates *immigrant*, *alien* negates *resident* and the term *undocumented* is just plain wrong. (H/T to Michelle Malkin). As an American whose ancestors came to this country almost exclusively in the 17th & 18th century, I find it appalling that these many millions see nothing wrong with attempting to impose their will upon our country.

Even more appalling to our countrymen, though, should be the realization that if these many millions (most of whom are from a country south of us) would go back from whence they came, they would be a force to be reckoned with in their own country. And frankly, while some of us were blessed to be born into this wonderful place, it did not become the haven it has been for us without much struggle and sacrifice. Our ancestors fought, bled & died that their decendents might live free.

What right does ANY other country or people have to try to impose themselves upon us, abuse our laws, and take from us the sovreignty that we have inherited? Truly, they have no right – however, if we accept and allow them to continue living and working here as they have done, we deserve the sure destruction of our values that is inevitable.

Cross Posted at Left Brain Female in Just a few thoughts . . .

Homeschooling Security Mom, Political Junkie, Believe in upholding the Constitution – and subscribe to the theory that gun control is the ability to hit your target!

Blue Laws and Anti-Smoking Laws

Over at The Unrepentant Individual, I’ve long pilloried blue laws. As a Beer Advocate, the fact that I’ve moved to a state where it is illegal to purchase alcohol on Sundays irks me. Granted, I think far enough ahead that it doesn’t worry me, but the idea that the state determines what days alcohol should and should not be sold seems like an affront to freedom.

At the same time, I’ve long asked here about how much I disagree with anti-smoking laws. Granted, I’m not a smoker (although I used to be), but again, I feel like it is an affront to freedom to decree that smoking should not be allowed upon private property.

I’ve asked with both situations that we choose freedom over regulation. If you’re a liquor store owner and you choose to close on Sundays, in observance of your religion? You’re free to make that choice. If you’re a religious person who thinks it is wrong to purchase alcohol on Sundays, don’t do it. Likewise, if you’re a restaurant owner and you want to serve patrons who don’t want to be around smoke, choose to be a non-smoking restaurant. If you dislike smoke to the extent that you don’t want to be near it in a restaurant, go to non-smoking restaurants. It is freedom. It may not always end up with the “desired” results, but in my mind, it’s the best policy.

At the same time, I am faced with a difficult argument from the blue law and anti-smoking advocates. When I suggest that a business choose to go no-smoking, or that a business choose not to sell alcohol on Sunday (or on the other end, choose as a pharmacist whether or not to dispense birth control), the argument is that a business can’t survive if it makes that choice.

One popular establishment, though, is bucking that trend, and showing that choosing to restrict your own business doesn’t necessarily mean your demise. The policy of Chick-Fil-A is to be voluntarily closed on Sunday. If the anti-freedom forces were correct, Chick-Fil-A would be going out of business. Instead, it recently expanded into California, keeping it’s closed-on-Sunday policies, and has been growing all the same. Rather than failing, Christians who agree with that policy tend to give Chick-Fil-A more business because they feel like it’s a “moral” company. And Chick-Fil-A is no startup. They’ve been around and growing for sixty years.

How is it that a company who chooses to voluntarily restrict their operations in this manner succeed? Because the market allows a wide range of diversity. Some people prefer Chick-Fil-A (or a California operation, In&Out Burger) for their Christian roots. Others like these restaurants for the food, and care little about the religious aspect of the business. Either way, Chick-Fil-A is simple proof that businesses choosing to buck the trend can survive.

Georgia’s anti-smoking legislation went into effect in July 2005. Before the ever happened, I visited quite a few restaurants in the Atlanta area who were non-smoking. Some of them had enclosed bar areas where smoking was allowed, several were completely non-smoking. They were succeeding and following the “desired” results with no help from government decree to shackle their competitors.

I’ve said before that legislators only do what is safe. Smokers have become so ostracized that it is now politically safe for legislators to enforce discrimination against them. But what most people don’t understand is that there is an underlying trend against smoking in our entire culture, and the politicians are just catching onto the coattails of that trend. At the same time, the politicians are claiming credit for that trend. Smokers are losing their havens naturally, but when a politician can claim credit for enforcing that natural phenomenon, it makes voters feel like those politicians are needed. Anti-smoking sentiment is growing, and anti-blue-law sentiment is growing. When those trends grow large enough, politicians jump on. But we shouldn’t allow them to take credit for destroying freedom by pandering to the majority.

The experience of California years ago may be necessary, as it showed the world that restaurants and bars could survive smoke-free. But instead of learning the lesson, other states mimicked the legislative option. Likewise, the argument against ending blue laws is that liquor stores who voluntarily choose not to sell on Sunday will be put into difficult business positions. But the experience of Chick-Fil-A shows that a business in a competitive market can choose to close on Sunday and survive. My local liquor store has a good enough beer and wine selection that I’d rather shop there on any day but Sunday than shop for beer at the supermarket. If a liquor store chooses to close on Sunday, they might have to raise their game in other areas, but that’s not a bad thing.

Those who think we need to restrict smoking don’t trust the market to supply a product that they feel they’re entitled to. But anti-smoking laws wouldn’t be passed if there wasn’t a demand, and the freedom of a market will satisfy a demand. The blue law folks are a tougher nut, because they’re simply trying to legislate their own morality, not their own preferences. They think it’s immoral that someone should buy liquor or beer on Sundays, and think it’s their duty to stop us. But their power is waning in this country, it’s only a matter of time. Both groups are repugnant to me, but it’s the former that worry me the most.

I thank the FEC for FREEING us!

FEC Frees All Web Political Communication Except Paid Ads

Eric chastised me about the title to this post, where I improperly used language and claimed the government had rights. As such, I need to point out this gaffe before even addressing the meat of this article. The FEC did not give us Freedom. They only lifted their (immediate) threat of immorally infringing upon our freedom.

Yesterday’s unanimous Federal Election Commission (FEC) ruling on Internet political communication places paid online advertising in the category of “public communication,” subject to campaign finance laws. Bloggers, Web pundits, and all other Internet communicators, however, get carte blanche.

Prominent bloggers are hailing the FEC decision, which affords them the same exemption from campaign finance restrictions that is afforded offline media like TV, radio and newspapers. Indeed, even when individuals who run Web sites accept payment from a federal candidate, political party committee or other political committee, no disclaimer is required. Also, according to the FEC document, public communication doesn’t include republished campaign material that is placed on an individual’s Web site, blog or e-mail, so it’s not considered “coordinated communication.”

So, they’ve accepted as legitimate the idea that they decide who gets to speak and who doesn’t, and how. While I am somehow now a member of a privileged class (“the media”), I still do not accept the government’s power to decide who can and cannot speak. If they can decide today that bloggers are part of the media, they can just as easily decide the opposite in the future.

I refuse to acknowledge their power to infringe upon my right to speak. That is my position, regardless of which way the FEC decides. And should they have decided otherwise, I would have been forced to disobey.

The game is not over. I do not believe it is right to leave these decisions in the hands of unelected bureaucrats at the FEC. H.R. 1606 is still active. After the FEC ruling, it could still be voted upon, or it might simply go away. It is time to make sure it does not go away. I am sending this letter (by fax) to my Congressman, Tom Price. I suggest all of you do the same, as we need to send a message that this is illegitimate in the first place.

Dear Rep. Price,

As you may be aware, the FEC recently ruled that blogs and other online communication, with the exception of paid political advertisements, will not be regulated as a part of the Bipartisan Campain Reform Act (BCRA). At the same time, Rep. Hensarling had introduced the Online Freedom of Speech Act (HR 1606) to ensure that online communication would be wholly exempted from the BCRA.

Understandably, there was a lot of political pressure to pass HR 1606 before the FEC released its ruling on Monday. As a result of that ruling, it is likely that much of this pressure will subside. Regardless, it is my belief that HR 1606 should still be voted upon in the House and passed. The FEC has determined that it is the arbiter of what should and should not be regulated as political speech under the BCRA. While they may have decided today to bow to politics and not regulate online communication, there is no guarantee that they won’t change their minds next month or next year, when they are no longer in the spotlight of public opinion.

The way to ensure that the FEC does not change its ruling is for the Congress to make sure that they don’t have the authority. It is not the place of unelected federal bureaucrats to determine whether or not individuals have the right to freedom of speech. I ask that you do what you can to ensure that HR 1606 does see a vote in the near future, and that you vote in favor of the measure.

Thank you for your support.

Carnival Of Liberty XXXVIII

The 38th edition of the Carnival of Liberty is up at Searchlight Crusade. As usual, Dan has done an excellent job of hosting this week, so be sure to check it out.

I will be hosting the Carnival of Liberty at Below The Beltway next week, so be sure to get those submissions in. If you’d like to host a Carnival yourself, the latest schedule and list of open dates can be found here.

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Welcome To The 21st Century Kansas

This story in the Kansas City Star should give everyone cause for celebration:

After years of failed efforts, vetoes and political wrangling, Kansas will join most of the nation in allowing concealed weapons permits, starting this year.

The Kansas House voted Thursday to override Gov. Kathleen Sebelius’ veto of a concealed weapons bill, following a similar vote in the Senate on Wednesday. The action makes law a plan to allow citizens who pass a background check and training course to carry concealed weapons. The first applications can be filed July 1.

The House vote was 91-33, seven more votes than necessary to reject Sebelius’ veto.

“The people of Kansas have waited a long time for this,” said Sen. Phil Journey, a Haysville Republican who has worked for the bill for more than a decade, first as a citizen and then as a lawmaker.

We welcome Kansas to the twenty-first century by becoming the forty-seventh state to allow the carrying of concealed weapons in some version. Now if we can get the states of Nebraska, Illinois, and Wisconsin to recognize that right as well. Once we drag those three states into the twenty-first century, we need to start working on the ten states (California, Iowa, Delaware, Rhode Island, Massachussetts, Maryland, New York, New Jersey, and Hawaii) that restrict the right to carry in some form. Finally, we need to work on every state except Vermont that requires some sort of government permission to carry a concealed weapon. Why should I have to ask the government’s permission to exercise one of my most fundamental rights, which is the right to defend myself?

I’m one of the original co-founders of The Liberty Papers all the way back in 2005. Since then, I wound up doing this blogging thing professionally. Now I’m running the site now. You can find my other work at IJ Review.com and Rare. You can also find me over at the R Street Institute.

Yes Virginia, I Really AM a Radical

[Note: I originally wrote this entry back in June 2005, when the original Supreme Court nomination debates were occurring. I was advocating for Janice Rogers Brown, who was considered a “radical extremist” by the left-wingers. I was reminded of this post reading Chris’ bio today, and thought I might cross-post it here. Enjoy.]

When I posted a few days ago about the new byline, Lucy Stern asked me whether I really wanted to call myself a “radical”. I had to think about it for a millisecond or so, look around at what our government has become, and determined that “radical” is a perfect term to describe me.

I was watching Fox News a few hours ago (Brit Hume’s show, I think), and they were talking about extremist appeals court nominee Janice Rogers Brown. I’ve picked up a few quotes on other blogs about Brown:

The Choice America Network:

Of all the extremist positions judicial nominee Janice Rogers Brown has taken, her stated agenda to undo all progress on social justice since the New Deal may be the most striking. These are her own words:

“The New Deal, however, inoculated the federal Constitution with a kind of underground collectivist mentality. The Constitution itself was transmuted into a significantly different document…1937…marks the triumph of our own socialist revolution.”

The Manitou Project:

Janice Rogers Brown’s extremist legal views are completely at odds with working families’ interests and values. Even ultra-conservative columnist George Will calls her “out of the mainstream.” She compares enactment of New Deal legislation such as the minimum wage and the 40-hour workweek with a “socialist revolution.” She compares “big government” with “slavery” and an “opiate.” She says the First Amendment protects racial harassment in the form of slurs in the workplace. She says leased employees shouldn’t expect to participate in employers’ pension plans because they are part of a “new labor paradigm” that is “simply a matter of personal choice and private agreement” in which courts should not interfere.

Wow. We need to keep her off the federal bench.

Janice Rogers Brown believes that the Constitution is the guiding law in our land. Specfically, she reads the Constitution literally, and believes that whatever is not in there shouldn’t be done by our federal government. And she’s an extremist. An extremist isn’t by definition wrong, or bad. It simply means that she is out of the mainstream.

There’s a good reason for this. The mainstream has been moving more and more left for the last 92 years (I use 1913, when the Sixteenth Amendment was passed for that calculation). Someone who views the New Deal as a socialist program and openly states so is not in the mainstream. Someone who believes that private property rights may include the right of discrimination is not in the mainstream (even though it is obvious she doesn’t approve of discrimination). Someone who has the view that coerced redistribution of income is a mild form of slavery is not in the mainstream. It is her view that this country is ruled by laws, as enshrined in the Constitution, and if the “mainstream” wants to change that law, it requires Constitutional amendments, not judicial activism.

So am I a “radical”? Am I an “extremist”? Yes. It is obvious that compared to the mainstream thought in this country, I am nowhere near the average Joe. The average Joe believes that the rule of the majority is just. The average Joe believes that government exists to promote his agenda, not protect individual rights. The average Joe views taxation and regulation as tools for social engineering. The Republican and Democratic parties are full of average Joes looking not to further American ideals with their votes, but to get “their guys” holding the reins of power.

So yes, I am a radical. I’m not afraid of that label, because the government I envision is radically different than the one we have. And yes, I am an extremist. Because I believe that we should be much closer to the extremes of personal liberty and personal responsibility than we currently are. I make no claims that the rest of the country thinks the same way I do. But the principles I believe in don’t require them to. They can live they way they want, and I’ll live the way I want. They don’t offer me the same courtesy. My beliefs put me well outside of the mainstream. But with such folks as Janice Rogers Brown out here with me, I can at least claim good company.

There Maybe Hope For Them Yet

From a recent Jonah Goldberg column in NRO:

A bunch of readers wanted to know what I meant when I said that my views on “libertarianism” have “evolved” since my earlier, full-throated, attacks. Well, for starters, I no longer make jokes like: “Q: What’s the hardest part about being a libertarian? A: Telling your parents you’re gay.”

Again, more seriously, as I’ve watched compassionate conservatism, Buchananism, Crunchy Conservatism, and similar movements bubble-up since the end of the Cold War, I think it’s better for everybody concerned if we start from a foundation of libertarianism and build up from it. In public policy — as opposed to cultural politics — I think the default position should be libertarian and then arguments should be made for why we should deviate from libertarian dogma. I’m more sympathetic to arguments based on tradition and custom than your average libertarian. But I’m more hostile than I used to be to what you might call neo-traditionalism in the forms of “national greatness” conservatism, Buchananism, Crunchy Conservatism, and the rest. I am extremely susceptible to nostalgia, but intellectually I think it is more often than not a poison to clear thinking. Starting from libertarian assumptions puts you in a better place to identify nostalgic toxins. My problem with the so-called paleolibertarians is that they are often more nostalgic than the conservatives they denounce.

The beginnings of our conservative friends having some sense knocked into them, or what? Discuss.

I’m one of the original co-founders of The Liberty Papers all the way back in 2005. Since then, I wound up doing this blogging thing professionally. Now I’m running the site now. You can find my other work at IJ Review.com and Rare. You can also find me over at the R Street Institute.

Thinking About Gun Laws

I’ve been doing some more thinking about gun laws. In the course of that, by sheer luck apparently, I was sent a quote that makes an interesting counterpoint to the usual Classic Liberal theory about the right to keep and bear arms. If you don’t believe all us pro-gun nuts about the reason why people should own weapons, perhaps you will believe one of the worst anti-liberty folks of the 20th century. Without further ado, two quotes on guns from Hitler and Jefferson.

“The most foolish mistake we could possibly make would be to allow the subject races to possess arms. History shows that all conquerors who have allowed the subject races to carry arms have prepared their own downfall by so doing. Indeed, I would go so far as to say that the supply of arms to the underdogs is a sine qua non for the overthrow of any sovereignty.”
— Adolf Hitler

“No free man shall ever be de-barred the use of arms. The strongest reason for the people to retain their right to keep and bear arms is as a last resort to protect themselves against tyranny in government.”
— Thomas Jefferson

I would go so far as to say that most politicians, law enforcement, etc. who want to prevent gun ownership are anti-liberty, which is why they want to take guns away.

One more thing to consider. Hubert Humphrey, not exactly known for his conservative or libertarian views, said the following:

“Certainly one of the chief guarantees of freedom under any government, no matter how popular and respected, is the right of citizens to keep and bear arms…. The right of citizens to bear arms is just one guarantee against arbitrary government, one more safeguard against the tyranny which now appears remote in America but which historically has proven to be always possible.”
— Hubert H. Humphrey
(1911-1978) US Vice-President, US Senator (D-MN)
Source: “Know Your Lawmakers,” Guns magazine, February 1960, p.6

Update: One more interesting quote. It should make anyone go “what the …. ?” If you think gun control laws are a good idea, you just might want to consider who agrees with you and why.

“A system of licensing and registration is the perfect device to deny gun ownership to the bourgeoisie.”
— Vladimir Ilyich Lenin

Security executive, work for Core Security, veteran, kids, dogs, cat, chickens, mortgage, bills. I like #liberty #InfoSec #scotch, #wine, #cigars, #travel, #baseball

Religious Liberty On Trial

The name Abdul Rahman has made its way around the blogospher in the past several days. Who is Abdul Rahman, he is an Afghan who is under threat of a death sentence for converting from Islam to Christianity. I first wrote about Rahman on Sunday, and again last night. His story has also been picked up by Michelle Malkin in posts here, here, and here.

The assault on liberty that this case represents could not be more apparent:

KABUL — The judge deciding whether an Afghan man should be executed for converting to Christianity does not understand what all the fuss is about.
“In this country, we have [a] perfect constitution. It is Islamic law and it is illegal to be a Christian and it should be punished,” Judge Alhaj Ansarullah Mawawy Zada said in an interview yesterday.

Contrast the judge’s quote with this from the Sage of Monticello:

The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no god. It neither picks my pocket, nor breaks my leg.

If the Afghans allow this man to die, they will show the world that the Taliban may have gone, but their spirit lives on.

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Gay Marriage, Polygamy, And Individual Liberty

There are several pieces out today on the issue of whether the arguments being advanced in favor of gay marriage will, over time, be used by those who practice polygamy as support for the argument that their relationships should be legalized.

First, Charles Krauthammer writes on the issue and argues that the answer is emphatically yes.

In an essay 10 years ago, I pointed out that it is utterly logical for polygamy rights to follow gay rights. After all, if traditional marriage is defined as the union of (1) two people of (2) opposite gender, and if, as advocates of gay marriage insist, the gender requirement is nothing but prejudice, exclusion and an arbitrary denial of one’s autonomous choices in love, then the first requirement — the number restriction (two and only two) — is a similarly arbitrary, discriminatory and indefensible denial of individual choice.

This line of argument makes gay activists furious. I can understand why they do not want to be in the same room as polygamists. But I’m not the one who put them there. Their argument does. Blogger and author Andrew Sullivan, who had the courage to advocate gay marriage at a time when it was considered pretty crazy, has called this the “polygamy diversion,” arguing that homosexuality and polygamy are categorically different because polygamy is a mere “activity” while homosexuality is an intrinsic state that “occupies a deeper level of human consciousness.”

But this distinction between higher and lower orders of love is precisely what gay rights activists so vigorously protest when the general culture “privileges” (as they say in the English departments) heterosexual unions over homosexual ones. Was “Jules et Jim” (and Jeanne Moreau), the classic Truffaut film involving two dear friends in love with the same woman, about an “activity” or about the most intrinsic of human emotions?

To simplify the logic, take out the complicating factor of gender mixing. Posit a union of, say, three gay women all deeply devoted to each other. On what grounds would gay activists dismiss their union as mere activity rather than authentic love and self-expression? On what grounds do they insist upon the traditional, arbitrary and exclusionary number of two?

One of the strongest arguments in favor of gay marriage that I’ve encountered is the one that says that the government has no right to intrude into the personal relationships of consenting adults and forbid them from entering into a legal status, in this case marriage, that they wish to enter into freely. This doesn’t mean that government is endorsing the relationship, any more than it endorses a producer of pornographic films who forms a corporation to run his busines. It merely means that the government is allowing people to engage in consenual activities that affect nobody but themselves. The logic, if you accept it, seems to me to be unassailable and its hard for me to find an argument that says that polygamy is per se different.

Andrew Sullivan responds to Krauthammer on his blog:

I respect Charles Krauthammer too much not to offer a small rejoinder to his thoughtful column today. He fairly represents my side of a debate we already had a few years’ back. I stick with my position. I believe that someone’s sexual orientation is a deeper issue than the number of people they want to express that orientation with. Polygamy is a choice, in other words; homosexuality isn’t. The proof of this can be seen in the fact that straight people and gay people can equally choose polyandry or polygamy or polyamory, or whatever you want to call it. But no polygamist or heterosexual can choose to be gay. If you’re not, you’re not.

Exactly, and if people want to choose to live in a polygamous relatiohship, why should the government tell them they can’t ?

I think legalizing such arrangements is a bad idea for a society in general for all the usual reasons (abuse of women, the dangers of leaving a pool of unmarried straight men in the population at large, etc.).

Aren’t these the same type of sociologically-based arguments that people use agianst gay marriage ? What about the argument that gay marriage shouldn’t be recognized because it doesn’t promote procreation ?

Ann Althouse also writes about Krauthammer’s column and comes up with her own distinction between gay marriage and polygamy

Legal marriage isn’t just about love, it’s an economic arrangement. Having the state authorize your union is not the same thing as having your friends and neighbors approve of you and your religious leaders bless you. It affects taxes and employee benefits — huge amounts of money. A gay person with a pension and a health insurance plan is incapable of extending those benefits to his (or her) partner. He (or she) can’t file a joint tax return. That’s not fair. A polygamous marriage, however, puts a group of persons in a position to claim more economic benefits than the traditional heterosexual couple. That doesn’t appeal to our sense of fairness.

So now its a fairness argument ? Since when are individual rights subject to the consideration of whether or not their implementation is “fair”, and who decides exactly what fair is ?

Finally, Kathleen Kersten has a column in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune similar to Krauthammer’s:

Redefining marriage to include people of the same sex will open a Pandora’s box. As a New Jersey appellate court judge wrote recently, if “marriage [is] … couched only in terms of privacy, intimacy, and autonomy, then what non-arbitrary ground is there for denying the benefit to polygamous … unions whose members claim the arrangement is necessary for their self-fulfillment?”

Kersten is obviously opposed to gay marriage and is using the polygamy argument as an argument against gay marriage itself, but her doomsday prediction of what marriage might turn into if society keeps going in the direction it has been doesn’t really sound that bad:

What’s the likely endpoint? Marriage may be redefined out of existence, and replaced by a flexible, contract-based system of government-registered relationships

In other words, people would live their private lives in the way that they wanted. What’s so wrong with that ?

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Online Freedom of Speech Act — Delayed?

I posted about how important of a vote this was on Wednesday, in anticipation of it happening yesterday. Looks like the vote didn’t happen, and the House isn’t in session today. According to the schedule, this should be the first order of business on Monday.

Now, there are two possible explanations. It looks as though they were following the schedule, and that they may have simply run out of time. On the other hand, they could be stalling for a chance to let the lobbyists come in, so they can do some backroom negotiating between HR 4900 and HR 1606. It’s unclear which is occurring, but the added time gives our Congress the option of doing the latter, even if that was not the cause of the delay.

What’s the difference between the two? HR 1606 says the internet will be free from regulation under BCRA. HR 4900 says that the government has the legitimate purpose of regulating the internet, but tries to set the limits of regulation such that it won’t affect most individuals. As I do not recognize their right to limit freedom of speech in this area, I choose HR 1606. As I know that regulations have a tendency to widen over time, I also choose HR 1606, because I know that narrow regulations today will be wide regulations in the future. It’s time to make sure our Congresspeople know where we stand.

A Tale of Two Bills

Using the near-impossibility that any bill entitled “ethics reform” will be rebuked, House members have proposed campaign finance restrictions be rolled into ethics reform:

House Republicans launched an election-year drive Wednesday to rein in political groups that operate with looser restraints than candidates and their parties, an attempt to blunt the activities of liberals such as billionaire George Soros.

Wealthy supporters, who make donations of $1 million or more to such groups, could contribute no more than $30,000 under the legislation, according to Republican officials. The organizations would be subject to more frequent disclosure requirements.

House Republicans indicated late last year that they wanted to limit the activities of loosely regulated political organizations, trying unsuccessfully to attach legislation to a must-pass bill setting overall policy for the military. They retreated under bipartisan fire.

At the time, the chairman of the House GOP campaign committee said the effort was designed to close “a loophole that is allowing big donor money into the process.”

How did freedom of speech become a “loophole”? Is that similar to how when they give us a tax cut, they count that as an “expenditure”? It used to be that individual rights were something inherent, and which were not to be infringed by the government. Now they’ve taken the stance that they’re the arbiters of all that exists, and they’ll parcel out to us those rights which they think we’re worthy of being granted.

The Bipartisan Incumbent Protection Act of 2003 is designed for one thing, and one thing only: to keep the message in the hands of people that don’t want to rock the boat. But as with anything, when there is that much power at stake, people will find a way to be heard, and 527 organizations fit the bill. Yet from a government standpoint, it was at least an improvement. While they couldn’t silence everyone, they were able to make sure all except the very powerful remained quiet. The powerful have an incentive to keep the status quo, lest they lose their power.

But some voices are bucking the trend. George Soros* has an established fortune (i.e. little fear of losing it, being fired, etc), and an agenda. To our government, Soros is simply too unpredictable and uncontrollable to be allowed to continue operating. They are desperately trying to continue their ability to control the message, and will take down the “whales” of political donations if necessary.

When you see that, you wonder whether our Congressman really want any part of the Online Freedom of Speech Act, set to come up for a vote tomorrow:

Redstate: We’ve been working for a long time on HR 1606 – The Online Freedom of Speech Act. It will come up for a vote on the floor of the House TOMORROW but as you read this – the campaign regulation community is hard at work – working the halls of Congress, lying about not only our bill – but “their” bill as well. And as far as their intentions go – well, I think it’s fair to say that when it comes to THEM bragging about protecting free speech – they are not to be trusted.

Of all the work you’ve done on this issue – no day is more important that today. Start with this list. Call the Republicans that wobbled last time 1606 was on the floor. And don’t stop there.

Congress doesn’t want bloggers speaking freely. They accept us grudgingly, although I’ll bet some of the lesser known folks on the hard-right, hard-left, or libertarian ends of the spectrum giving them assistance (as I think the blogosphere tends to be populated by ends of the spectrum, rather than the middle). But the vast majority see us as a threat. They saw the Patterico Pledge, and they understand the power of the press, even if it is simply online self-publishing.

It’s a sad day when freedom of speech has become a battleground. But it’s a battle we cannot afford to lose. Liberty must constantly be guarded, as there are always forces ready to snatch it away. Let’s make sure that if it goes, it goes with a bang, not a whimper.

» Read more

Libertarians For Tyranny

I was reading Cato Institute fellow Tom Palmer’s
blog yesterday and he had a roundup of posts from so-called “libertarian” bloggers who were mourning the death of Serbia’s former genocidial dictator Slobodan Milosevic. The first disgusting blog entry was from Lew Rockwell.com blogger Daniel McAdams who wrote:

Today’s apparent death of former Serbian president, Slobodan Milosevic bares the bloody fangs of the New World Order, a totalitarian construct of the United States and allies to fill in the post Cold War void:

“If we cannot convict you on our lies, we will at least make sure you don’t get out alive.”

Let us recall that Milosevic was captured — kidnapped — by the NWO shock troops in exchange for aid promised to a Serbia recently decimated by NATO bombs to halt a genocide that subsequent investigation proved a lie by the Clinton Administration and dutifully amplified in the lap-dog media.

Chiming in on this topic is “Antiwar”.com’s Nebojsa Malic:

However embarrassing a second death in six days might be, the Hague Inquisition probably breathed a sigh of relief when Slobodan Milosevic was found dead today.

From the very first day, their effort to stage a show trial providing quasi-legal cover for Empire’s nefarious deeds in the Balkans by blaming everything on Milosevic and Serbia (often not making a difference between the two) has been thwarted at every step. Milosevic refused to suicide. He refused to get a lawyer, or even recognize the ICTY’s legitimacy. His cross-examinations exposed dozens of perjured witnesses and demonstrated fully the vacuity of the prosecution’s case. Had he stayed alive, the Tribunal would have faced the embarrassing quandary of having to convict him (and they would have, otherwise their whole raison d’etre would have disappeared) without ever actually proving anything. Dead men tell no tales; they can’t defend themselves from accusations, insinuations, rumors and propaganda. Milosevic may have been beating them at their own game for years, but he finally lost at Last Man Standing.

One of the questions that will surely be asked in the coming days is to what extent is the ICTY responsible for Milosevic’s deteriorating health. As the “trial” went on, Milosevic was getting progressively worse – something his detractors tried to cover up by claims he was “faking” illness to prolong the trial(!). The Inquisition recently denied his request to be transferred to a Russian hospital for treatment, arguing that Dutch doctors were good enough. Obviously, they weren’t.

Another “Antiwar”.com contributor, Christopher Deliso plays the Balkan version of the race card:

In the aftermath of Milosevic’s death, CNN is wheeling out one arrogant imperial blowhard after another. Right now is Daniel Serwer, who was preceded by the always entertaining Richard Holbrooke.

As could be expected, they are pushing the “Milosevic was responsible for everything that ever went wrong” line to the hilt. And of course, Holbrooke gravely intoned that Milosevic was right up there with Hitler and Stalin.

All of this media bombast has little to do with Milosevic, and a lot to do with the Western media and power structures, whose reputations and careers are at stake. The coming week is going to see a long and drawn-out public orgy of hatred and slander against everything Serbian. Milosevic’s death is just the catalyst, and anyone who doubts that will have to ponder why has-been Holbrooke used his time on CNN to not just call for but to ORDER that Kosovo and Montenegro be made independent; he also said there are “two more” war criminals who must be apprehended (Karadzic and Mladic), conveniently ignoring another duo, Haradinaj and Ceku over in Kosovo. That’s because they are on the side of The Good, in other words, the West.

Lew Rockwell.com columnist Paul Craig Roberts decided to compare Milsosevic to Abraham Lincoln

Milosevic was caught up in the post-Soviet era break-up of Yugoslavia. Nationalist forces broke up the Yugoslav federation. During 1991–92, Croatia, Slovenia, Macedonia, and Bosnia-Herzegovina seceded from Yugoslavia. Large Serbian minorities in Croatia and in Bosnia objected and claimed the identical right of self-determination to remain in the federation as Croats and Muslims claimed to leave it. Croatian and Bosnian Serbs organized and a war against secession began.

Milosevic could hardly remain a Serbian leader and not support the Serbs. Abraham Lincoln was canonized for invading the South to prevent its secession, but Milosevic was damned for trying to protect Yugoslavia’s territorial integrity. In the end Milosevic accepted secession. In 1995 Milosevic negotiated the Dayton Agreement which ended the war in Bosnia. According to the encyclopedia, Wikipedia, “Milosevic was credited in the West with being one of the pillars of Balkan peace.”

In the following four pieces, we see so called “libertarians” come to the defence of the genocidal thug Milosevic because he was an enemy of the United States. Therefore, in their mind, the enemy of my enemy is a friend, no matter if they are mass murderers or tyrants. There are other examples of so-called libertarians acting as apologists for anti-American tyrants. It is time that we as libertarians, classical liberals, small government conservatives, etc. repudiate these people. These people have taken their opposition to American interventionism (some of which that I share) and taken to it to a point where they excuse tyranny and genocide, as long as the tyrant and mass murderer oppose American foreign policy.

We must, as libertarians, debate how we want US foreign policy and what kind of interventionism, if any, are we going to have. We must also be open to those who are both hawkish and dovism on the use of military force. However, we must not open our tent so big that we allow the apologists for tyranny to come on in. To criticize American interventionism is one thing, but to try and spin the enemies of America as good guys and portray them as innocent victims and praising the death of American soldiers are competely different things.

Lew Rockwell and his website’s contributors and “Antiwar”.com should be repudiated and taken out of the company of respectable libertarians for these and other reasons.

I’m one of the original co-founders of The Liberty Papers all the way back in 2005. Since then, I wound up doing this blogging thing professionally. Now I’m running the site now. You can find my other work at IJ Review.com and Rare. You can also find me over at the R Street Institute.

What Progressives Really Think

DADAHEAD recently wrote about trade, in the context of the upcoming election(s).

[T]he majority of Democratic office holders are not

really populists or progressives; they're welfare-state capitalists, and their allegiance to big business is as axiomatic as any Republican's.

In response, Neil wrote the following:

Personally, I'm happy to identify as a welfare capitalist — can you not be that as well as a populist or progressive? If you set up the economy so that the maximum amount of money

flows in, and it happens to flow in to rich people, that's just fine as long as you tax those rich cheap cialis soft people heavily enough to fund education and health care, etc, for everybody.

If it slots turns out that it's easier to fund the betterment of the working poor that way than to actually set up the economy so they make more money in their jobs, that's the way we should set up policy.

So, according to at least one progressive (and probably many more), capitalism is great, insofar as the benefits flow away from those who create the capital and towards those who produce nothing. How, exactly, is this ethical, Neil?

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Insight

I read Rocket Jones regularly. His zombie pics are a hoot, I love reading about his rocketry and we share a love of science, space exploration and rocket ships. When Ted recently posted a political entry, I pretty much blew coffee through my nose laughing. Not only that, he gave me some insight into the whole Dubai-Port thing that I hadn’t really considered before. Check out Ted’s Evil I tell you, pure eeeevil! for more gems like this one:

To all those cheering the “defeat” of President Bush on his stupid idea to let Dubai run American seaports, I have only one thing to say:

Dubya just made you his bitch.

Ted, you owe me a new laptop screen! Or a zombie pic.

Security executive, work for Core Security, veteran, kids, dogs, cat, chickens, mortgage, bills. I like #liberty #InfoSec #scotch, #wine, #cigars, #travel, #baseball

Here’s Why

Here’s why so many of us don’t trust the government. It’s not just about their ability to be efficient. It’s not just about the morality of taking my wealth at gunpoint and using it for something I wouldn’t agree with if I had any choice. It’s about, as has been pointed out here and here, the fact that the government just can’t do what it sets out, in its wisdom, to do. As we find out on Slashdot, among other sources, the government can’t even keep its secret agents secret. They were easily discovered on Google (naturally). And yet we are supposed to, somehow, believe that they can provide for our healthcare, our pensions, our safety and so much more. And clearly, governments do a wonderful job with all of these things. Now, try to find out, using Google, the names and locations of the security staff of Fortune 500 corporations (not the CSO, the rank and file staff). Instructive, isn’t it?

Security executive, work for Core Security, veteran, kids, dogs, cat, chickens, mortgage, bills. I like #liberty #InfoSec #scotch, #wine, #cigars, #travel, #baseball

They Came At Us In The Same Old Way ….

I noticed a link to The Liberty Papers from a blog that I hadn’t seen in a quite a while, Le Revue Gauche. Eugene, for those who’ve never been to his blog, is “an unabashed libertarian communist”. For those faithful readers who find this combination of words a bit suprising, it’s important to understand that there are really two separate and distinct anarchist movements. One on the Left of the economic spectrum and the other on the right of the spectrum. Both, naturally, are all at the extreme individualism end of the spectrum dealing with state authority. Libertarian communism, aka anarcho-syndicalism or, simply, anarchy, is descended from the socialism and romanticism of the 19th century. If you stop by Eugene’s blog you will notice references to Karl Marx, Pyotr Kropotkin and Mikhail Bakunin, rather than Murray Rothbard, Ayn Rand or Robert Heinlein. It turns out that Eugene wrote an entry about Free Trade and used Hong Kong and Somalia as examples.

Specifically, Eugene linked to my article on Monopolies, Markets and Microsoft and said the following (note the words in bold are where the link is contained).

And the capitalist state is not just any kind of government, it is a specific kind of government that regulates the market in favour of stability for the creation of monopolies. As the history of Hong Kong and of course British and American capitalism shows. This is the history that the right wing of course has always revised, whether it is the Heritage Foudation or the Von Mises Institute.

I thought this was curious, since my article flies in the face of the normally accepted position among libertarians. I finally decided that Eugene had not really read my article in context, nor the discussion that followed. That, in fact, I happen to believe that government promotion of corporatism is a major problem and the anti-thesis of capitalism. More importantly, he betrays an idea that is part of the Left’s meme war. This particular idea has been so effective that many on the Left don’t even recognize just how false it is, perhaps even Eugene doesn’t. The idea that has been promoted since the the mid-19th century is:

Corporatism = Capitalism

Anyone that has read Adam Smith and then looks at how supposedly capitalist economies work would recognize that the USA and UK are not capitalist in any sense of the word. The purpose of government, from a capitalist perspective, is to provide a neutral framework for the market to work within. It should not favor producer, retailer nor consumer, nor should it favor management or labor. By continuously aligning the idea that a scenario where government favors management over labor in the employment market and favors centralized corporations over small businesses and consumers in the broader market, the Left has successfully created the idea that this is Capitalism. Of course, I’m glossing over a lot of the progressive theory of the Left, which would argue that the corporatism of the the 1870’s through today represents the progression from feudalism to mercantilism to capitalism to corporatism and is the means by which class struggle is played out (heh, I can use those terms, even when they just make me want to chuckle).

Eugene (and many others on the Left) is using the Von Mises Institute’s discussion of Somalia to show that anarcho-capitalism perpetuates the “class struggle”. Indeed, the Left points to the issues of drought and starvation in Somalia to show that warlords, strongmen and feudalism will arise in an anarcho-capitalist system, completely ignoring the punch-line from the Mises article:

A democratic government has every power to exert dominion over people. To fend off the possibility of being dominated, each clan tries to capture the power of that government before it can become a threat. Those clans that didn’t share in the spoils of political power would realize their chances of becoming part of the ruling alliance were nil.

What everyone ignores is the bull in the china shop, the UN. It is the UN and the Western states that are trying to create a democratic government in Somalia. Which is a significant contributing factor to the warlords having power. Even disregarding all of that, what Eugene ignores is that Somalia is better off than their neighbors in the Horn of Africa. You know, those neighboring countries that have governments and written laws instead of clans, warlords and customary law.

I don’t particularly think Somalia is a good example of the outcome of anarcho-capitalism since it isn’t anarcho-capitalism. It is completely distorted by the intervention and meddling of a wide variety of governmental organizations. And, even so, with the almost non-existent national government they are managing to do better than their neighbors. That, by itself, should tell us something.

More importantly, if you want to tackle capitalism, I’m game for the debate. But, the Left continues to try and equate corporatism and proto-fascism with capitalism. They come at us in the same old way, time after time.

Security executive, work for Core Security, veteran, kids, dogs, cat, chickens, mortgage, bills. I like #liberty #InfoSec #scotch, #wine, #cigars, #travel, #baseball

Responding to: you know Who

Recently a commenter known as: Who reacted to (and again on generic levitra canadian healthcare his own blog …I guess I’m “another journal”, referenced in the title, although he neither mentioned my name not provided a link to my blog).

You once wrote: “As an individualist, I support the freedom of another to self destruct, as long as there are no other victims.”

And later, aware of a degree of contradiction or paradox, “No one is an island.”

Firstly, what is an individualist…or individualism? Well, Merriam-Webster Online defines it this way:

(1) a: a doctrine that the interests of the individual are or ought to be ethically paramount; also: conduct guided by such a doctrine (2) : the conception that all values, rights, and duties originate in individuals b: a theory maintaining the political and economic independence of the individual and stressing individual initiative, action, and interests; also: conduct or practice guided by such a theory

Now, while I happen to agree with much of Ayn Rand’s philosophy (among others), vis-a-vis individualism, I do not in fact espouse individual isolationism. I appreciate the various benefits that are attendant to civilized society…ergo, “no one is an island”.

On a purely conceptual level, individualism is integral to the human experience. Each and every individual is unique in the universe; each has the ability (theoretically at least) to think and act independently…or, if phonegame download you like, individually. Furthermore, each individual is personally responsible for their own choices and the consequences that inexorably follow (see this). It may sound elementary, but apparently, not everyone understands it; Who continued:

There is a hidden assumption behind the individualist position, the assumption that we are independent beings. Time(s) and space(s) and matter(s), however, are not compartmentalised on all levels. On subtler levels they are fully connected. It is simply an error to see only the gross.

From a quantum mechanical perspective, the interconnectedness of the material universe goes without saying; everything is matter and/or energy. But that’s not exactly relevant to individualism. What’s more, “the

assumption that we are independent beings” is quite a sound one in my view. For humans may be made of similar stuff, but not the same stuff

(i.e., each individual / mind is a distinct entity). This is not a distinction without a difference.

My first assumptions are that matter and energy are gross forms of consciousness and that there are no boundaries obstructing consciousness from what it wants to experience. Further, it is an illusion that there are numerous independent consciousnesses.

Read the last sentence again…and than again if needed. That’s right, Who claims that “independent consciousnesses” are “an illusion”. I just have one question: on what do you base such an assertion?

So, if somebody overdoses with drugs in the USA, it does affect me here in the UK, truly. If a large number of people do that, it will somehow degrade my own experience of life and I may feel motivated to act. There are always other victims.

I’m not sure I follow his line of reasoning, but I’ll take a stab at it anyway. It sounds like he’s arguing that actions have consequences, which is just stating the obvious. But

the subtler implication is that government, or society at large, ought to simply prohibit activities that could conceivably cause harm to another. Frankly, that’s bullshit! For instance, why don’t we (government, society, the “global community”, whatever) urge lawmakers to criminalize: the driving of automobiles, the owning of baseball bats and steak knives, the drinking of alcoholic beverages, the possession of firearms and the like? The answer is simple really: such prohibitions are an affront to, and egregiously impinge, individual liberty…period.

Here’s a novel idea: why don’t “we” punish actual misconduct that results in harm done to another, instead of advocating the punishment of potential harm?

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