Monthly Archives: August 2008

Libertarians Who Don’t Respect Property Rights

A blogger at Lew decries the notion that private organizations have the right to make their own rules:

Homeowners’ associations can be filled with hordes of power mongering, petty, little tyrants who love to play Big Bureaucrat and run the lives of everyone else. In Texas – of all places – there is an HOA that will not allow your Hillbilly Cadillac in the driveway. Because it’s too unsightly. Yeah, you know the rules when you move in. But still, non-libertarian people yearn to play the roles of authoritarian bullies who can’t wait to use a bunch of silly and domineering “rules” to control others.

But, you see, there’s a perfectly reasonable libertarian answer to this non-existent problem:

POA’s are entirely a creation of contract. Groups of homeowners come together and form an organization that will accomplish certain goals. Typically, this includes maintaining some standard rules of esthetics for the community, contracting for trash removal, and maintaining property that is owned by the POA members in common rather than by any one person.

When you buy a house that is part of a POA, you agree to certain rules and regulations. These rules can be as mundane as what day you put your trash can out or what color you can paint or front door. Or, they can be as rigid as telling you that you cannot put a sign of any kind in your front yard. In fact, if your front yard is actually POA property, which is true of many townhouse communities here in Northern Virginia, then the property really isn’t yours anyway.


If you don’t like the rules that a particular POA has then you have several options. For one thing, you don’t have to move there to begin with. In Virginia, sellers are legally required to give buyers a copy of the POA rules and buyers are given an opportunity to review those rules and back out of the contract without penalty. If you’re in a POA and you don’t like the rules, or how they are being enforced then get involved in your community and get the rules changed.

And, most of all, don’t complain when the rules you agreed to take a turn you don’t agree with.

Joe Biden And Liberty

Both The Club For Growth and The Cato Institute are out today with analyses of Joe Biden’s position on economic issues of importance to libertarians and, as you might suspect, it’s not good.

First from Cato on the issue of international trade:

Here are the highlights and lowlights of Biden’s voting record on trade:

On the positive side from a free trade perspective, he voted consistently to maintain normal trade relations with China, including permanent NTR in 2000; for the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico in 1993; for the Uruguay Round Agreements Act in 1994; for the Freedom to Farm Act in 1996; for fast-track trade promotion authority in 1998; to defund enforcement of the travel ban to Cuba; to cut sugar production subsidies; and in favor of the Morocco and Australian free trade agreements in 2004.

On the negative side for those who support the freedom to trade, Biden voted for steel import quotas in 1999; for the 2002 and 2008 protective and subsidy laden farm bills; against trade promotion authority in 2002; against the Chile, Singapore, Oman, and Dominican Republic-Central American FTAs; in favor of the Byrd amendment directing anti-dumping booty to complaining companies; in favor of imposing steep tariffs on imports from China to force changes in that country’s currency regime; and in favor of screening of 100 percent income shipping containers by 2012.

For a senator who prides himself on his foreign policy experience, Biden’s record shows great ambivalence about American participation in the global economy.

The Club for Growth, meanwhile, takes a look at Biden’s positions on a number of economic issues:

“Over his thirty-five years in Washington, Senator Biden has been a reflexive liberal on every single economic issue,” said Club for Growth President Pat Toomey. “Whether the issue is taxes, spending, regulation, or school choice, Senator Biden has voted consistently for more taxes, more spending, more government, and less freedom and choice. Taxpayers can expect more of the same from the Obama-Biden ticket—more government, less prosperity.”

A few examples:

Joe Biden on Taxes:

  • Voted for President Clinton’s tax hike (RC #247, 1993)
  • Voted against repealing the Alternative Minimum Tax (RC #261, 1999)
  • Voted against eliminating the marriage penalty (RC #79, 2001)
  • Voted against the 2001 tax cuts (RC# 170, 2001)
  • Voted against repealing the Death Tax (RC #151, 2002) (RC #109, 2007)
  • Voted against a repeal of the 1993 tax increase on Social Security benefits (RC #94, 2003)
  • Voted against the 2003 Bush tax cuts (RC #196, 2003)
  • Voted for a 50% windfall profits tax on oil profits (RC #331, 2005)
  • Voted against extending the 2001 tax cuts (RC #118, 2006) (RC #107, 2007)

Joe Biden on Spending:

  • Voted for the Farm Bill in 2002 and 2008 (RC #103, 2002) (RC #130, 2008)
  • Voted in favor of the Bridge to Nowhere (RC #262, 2005)
  • Voted against capping spending (RC #286, 2005)
  • Voted to kill a resolution stating a moral obligation to offset new spending with spending cuts (RC #140, 2007)
  • Voted for the expanded SCHIP bill (RC #307, 2007)
  • Voted against an earmark moratorium (RC #75, 2008)
  • Voted to override President Bush’s veto of the Farm Bill (RC #140, 2008)
  • Was declared Porker of the Month by Citizens Against Government Waste in January 2002


Joe Biden on Regulation:

  • Voted for the burdensome Sarbanes-Oxley legislation (RC #192, 2002)
  • Voted against exempting small businesses from Sarbanes-Oxley (RC #139, 2007)
  • Voted for a minimum wage hike (RC #257, 2005)
  • Voted for the “card check” bill—stripping workers of their right to a secret ballot when voting to form a union (RC #227, 2007)
  • Voted to kill the Davis Bacon waiver (RC #334, 2007)

Joe Biden on School Choice:

  • Voted against a vouchers program for DC schools (RC #260, 1997)
  • Voted against school choice for low-income earners (RC #179, 2001)


Joe Biden on Political Free Speech:

  • Voted for McCain-Feingold (RC #64, 2001)
  • Not surprising for a liberal Democrat, of course, but yet another indication that there really isn’t anything about an Obama/Biden Administration that libertarians should look forward to.

    Three words on Obamassiah and Biden




    I am a cynically romantic optimistic pessimist. I am neither liberal, nor conservative. I am a (somewhat disgruntled) muscular minarchist… something like a constructive anarchist.

    Basically what that means, is that I believe, all things being equal, responsible adults should be able to do whatever the hell they want to do, so long as nobody’s getting hurt, who isn’t paying extra

    Denver Admits That War On Drugs Wastes Police Resources

    There’s some interesting news coming out of Denver as the Democratic National Convention approaches.

    Apparently, the Denver Police are being urged to look the other way and not enforce the city’s law against marijuana possesion while the convention is taking place:

    DENVER – A city drug panel has voted to urge police to refrain from arresting adults for marijuana possession during next week’s Democratic National Convention, but the cops aren’t necessarily on board.

    Lt. Ernie Martinez, the police department’s representative on the panel, said police, bracing for potentially tens of thousands of protesters during the Aug. 25-28 convention, would have more pressing duties than rounding up pot smokers.

    At the same time, he said, authorities wouldn’t ignore blatant flouting of the law. “If something occurs in front of us, we’re going to act,” he said.


    Mounted police patrol Civic Center Park in downtown Denver. Thousands of Democrats, protesters and media will attend the Democratic National Convention. (Associated Press)

    A Democratic National Committee banner flies Thursday outside the Pepsi Center in Denver. Protesters will be fenced in at a designated protest area in the vicinity of the Pepsi Center. (Christian Fuchs/The Washington Times)

    Mason Tvert, a panel member and pot-legalization activist, Thursday delivered a copy of the panel’s recommendation to Mr. Hickenlooper and police Chief Gerry Whitman, saying that “we expect police to abide by this very logical recommendation.”

    “If police expect the taxpayers to cover their $1.2 million in overtime during the DNC, it is only fair that they respect the laws adopted by those taxpayers,” said Mr. Tvert, leader of Safer Alternatives for Enjoyable Recreation. “There will be plenty for police to do during the DNC aside from arresting or citing adults who are simply making the safer choice to use marijuana instead of alcohol.”

    More importantly, the Denver Police will have enough on their hands dealing with a security situation unlike anything they’ve ever faced, why should they waste resources worrying about people who choose to injest a drug no more harmful than a bottle of alcohol ?

    Strange Bedfellows To Say The Least

    Ron Paul endorses Alaska Congressman Don Young (R., Bridge To Nowhere):

    Former Republican presidential contender Ron Paul has endorsed Don Young in his bid to win an 18th term in the U.S. House of Representatives.

    Paul, the 72-year-old congressman from Texas whose maverick presidential bid drew wide support in Alaska, sent out a letter to his supporters here urging them to vote for Young.

    “Don and I have served together in Congress for many years, and I consider him a friend,” Paul wrote in the letter. “Don has been an outspoken voice against environmental extremists over the years and has strongly opposed the types of federal regulatory overreach advocated in the name of environmentalism.”

    Paul and Young are a bit of an odd couple. Paul is a fiscal conservative; Young believes in earmarking federal dollars for Alaska wherever possible. Paul opposes the Iraq war; Young supports it.

    And Young is being opposed by a guy who sounds a heck of a lot better than the King of Pork.

    But, then again, Congressman Paul hasn’t really acted like he thought earmarks were a bad idea either.

    Freedom Democrats isn’t pleased about this at all:

    Ron Paul is very quickly burning any and all credibility he has as a figurehead of the small government movement within the Republican Party. He’s backing a pork-barrel and Mike Huckabee-endorsed Republican over a small government conservative, Sean Parnell, backed by the Club for Growth. Almost all of the scenarios discussed here at Freedom Democrats for the resurgence of true small government conservatives depended on an alliance of sorts between the Club for Growth and the Ron Paul Revolution. Now, we instead have growing signs of an alliance between Mike Huckabee’s Christian conservatives followers and the Ron Paul Revolution. This is sham limited government conservatism. We’ll get a party that will continue its social, cultural, and religious intolerance despite cries of “FREEDOM!” at the top of their lungs.

    I’ve read elsewhere that Ron Paul has generally refused to endorse any candidate running against an incumbent Republican Congressman, even ones that describe themselves as “Ron Paul Republicans.”

    Frankly, I don’t understand the logic behind it.

    H/T: Club For Growth

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