Author Archives: Eric

His Dream

Martin Luther King, Jr. said:

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.” I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slaveowners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood. I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a desert state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice. I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

If you support set asides and quotas, affirmative action and preferential hiring, are you juding by skin color or personality, character and capability? If you denigrate a man because he is black and not a Democrat, have you judged him by his character? Do you believe in Martin Luther King’s words, can you see, touch and taste his dream? Or do you simply seek to gain at another’s expense? Do you really think Dr. King would support your attacks on your fellow man? Or do you seek to delegitimize your opponents through the use of racist symbology to gain in power and influence? Do you keep racism and prejudice alive by continuing to deal with differences and promote judging people based on their color?

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

Since we are talking about government power and police states, Solzhenitsyn seemed a good choice for a quote today.

“The simple step of a courageous individual is not to take part in the lie. One word of truth outweighs the world.”

— Alexander Solzhenitsyn (1918- ) Russian writer, Soviet dissident, imprisoned for 8 years for critizing Stalin in a personal letter, Nobel Prize for Literature, 1970

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

More Thinking on Government Power in the United States

Rather than continue hijacking Brad’s post on Air Travel Security, I thought I’d move the discussion that developed there into its own post. And, I’m trying to consolidate the discussion on two different blogs into one. To see what I mean, look at this post on Eric’s Grumbles. There are some points that really ought to be discussed, although I’m not sure we can come to any useful conclusions.

First, on a personal note, John Newman said to me, “You seem to resent my term police state in reference to this government.”. No, I don’t resent it, I find it to be inflammatory rhetoric that just isn’t accurate. That’s not the same thing as “resenting it”. Let me be very clear. There are problems with how our government behaves, what powers our government has taken to itself, and how we handle the need for new, or changed, government powers. We have created an oligarchy for ourselves that is no longer accountable to the people. That is halfway what our Founding Fathers intended. They designed a system that would be run by an oligarchy, but they intended for that group of men to be accountable to the citizens. As is the nature of all those who hold power, the oligarchy wants to retain power and has done what it can to remove their accountability and retain their power. At the same time, the group comprised of the politicians and senior bureaucrats that holds power in DC will not go too far lest their power be stripped from them, perhaps even violently.

Violent rebellion has occurred several times in this country and the average joe can be awakened, when he feels that he, personally, is threatened. The reason that those who control the military pay attention to what individuals think is that this country is founded on the principle that individuals may violently overthrow their government, if they feel it necessary. Ultimately, when the people feel that all other mechanisms to remedy a problem have failed, they will take matters into their own hands. This is in distinct contrast to most European nations, where the people are conditioned to think that their privileges derive from the government, in general.

The point? In my opinion, a true police state like Apartheid era South Africa, Ba’athist Iraq, the USSR, Nazi Germany, Rumania, etc. is really not possible in this country without a dramatic and violent change that alters our national psyche. Such a situation has arisen in the past, specifically during the US Civil War and during the Great Depression, WWII and the early years of the Cold War. Otherwise, ultimately, we believe so much in individualism, individual rights, and classic liberal political philosophy that a “slow change” to a police state will not be long term successful. In fact, this has happened in this country in the 20th century.

During the 1930’s, we became extremely fascist, right down to the ugly racism that other fascist countries were using to retain control of their people. Centralized industrial planning that drove what companies could, and could not, do was the norm. Employees had their wages set, retailers had their prices controlled, taxation was running as high as 90%, fear of the depression, socialism, blacks and orientals, and war with foreign countries was used to keep the people in line with Roosevelt’s New Deal plan. People like Robert Heinlein, Mencken, Ayn Rand, Mises, Hazlitt recognized it for what it was. And they stepped carefully most of the time, recognizing that in Roosevelt and Truman’s America, the FBI, OSS and Secret Service had powers to investigate, harass and arrest that were comparable to what you might have found in Fascist Italy (although nothing like those found in Soviet Russia, Nazi Germany or Ba’athist Iraq). In the 1940’s, during the war years, you literally could not travel on airplanes, trains, buses or ships without government authorization to do so. Your food, gasoline, electricity, chocolate, nylons, tires, and much else was rationed by the government. If you held skills deemed necessary to the national interests, you had to take a job determined by the government.

You were subject to curfews at night, especially on the coast. If you were of Japanese, German or African heritage, you were likely to be imprisoned by the Federal Government without trial, without warrant and without the possibility of having a writ of habeas corpus issued to free you if no charges were filed. If you were a congressman who disagreed with the President, you were liable to have FDR pin an Iron Cross on you in the Capitol and publicly deride you as a sympathizer with our enemies (this happened several times, publicly). I could continue this list of how the country worked back then, but it should be obvious that it was overtly much worse than anything most of us have experienced in our lifetimes, in this country.

Now, on to some points that John Newman and B.W. Richardson have been making in comments on Brad’s post. I think there are a few key points they would like to make, ones that I disagree with, to some degree. And I’ll explain why. I’ll also point out where I think there are problems in this area. And I will say that our government does not deserve the labels being given to it, although it does deserve some other ones. And, finally, to answer a diversionary question from John, I think that Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine and Patrick Henry would have considered our government to be unacceptably authoritarian. As do I, for that matter. But, really, that is a side issue from whether the following points are true, or untrue. The sort of thing that distracts from the question and creates an emotional situation that doesn’t allow for a logical and objective discussion of the subject at hand.

  1. Passive security controls on travel are equivalent to an active requirement of authorization to travel.

First of all, they really aren’t. But it sounds good. If you had ever lived in an environment where you had to request permission to travel, you would actually understand the difference. I served in the military, where you cannot go more than 50 miles from your duty station without approval from your commander and appropriate paperwork authorizing you to do so. If you think the current security controls on air travel are bad, imagine if you had to go to the government and get permission before you could buy a plane ticket, and then present your travel authorization in order to buy the ticket. And if you didn’t meet the established criteria for travel, or the bureaucrat you were dealing with didn’t like you, or was having a bad day, or you goofed up the request, you wouldn’t get your authorization. If you somehow managed to buy your ticket anyhow (possible in a bureaucracy), you would likely be charged with crimes against national security and thrown in prison, after a trial that no press was allowed into. That is the difference between one and the other. Now, that doesn’t mean that I believe the passive restrictions and controls placed on travel by the government are good, contribute to liberty or are actually constitutional. Just that they are not nearly as bad as this country has seen in the past, or other people deal with on a continuous basis now.

  1. The government has never given up any power, once gained.

No, but the government has had that power taken from it, whether by force of arms or intellectual revolution. The beginning of the end for fascist America was the massive outcry that ended the House Un-American Activities Committee and McCarthyism, which was nothing more than a continuation of New Deal oppression of dissent. The intellectual, and at some times physical, revolution of the 1960’s returned significant amounts of power from the government, including some limited rights to choose what to do with your body, restrictions on police power, curtailing of intelligence agency powers, a strengthening of the Supreme Court and Congress in comparison to the Executive, and stronger applications of the Bill of Rights. Unfortunately, since classic liberals had long since been discredited, it was the neo-liberals of the left who effected this change, which meant that other intrusions into liberty and individual rights, especially economically, occurred simultaneously. Or, that the economic issues were ignored. That said, the country is significantly more free today than it was in 1935, 1945 or 1955. The same goes for other such interregnums in American history, most notably the civil War. Yes, during each of these periods the government usurped power that it did not give back, or have taken from it, but that is not the whole story and it is a mistake to pretend that it is. Nor is it intellectually honest or historically accurate.

  1. Gitmo, NSA eavesdropping and Jose Padilla are equivalent to the police state behavior of the US during the Civil War, WWI and WWII.

Another great sound bite. And another distortion of reality. Reality is that Jose Padilla being imprisoned was wrong. No doubt about it. It was a failure of the justice system of the USA, allowing the executive to wield powers they should not have. The difference between that and being held incommunicado, without trial, without charges filed, without recourse to a court, like Lincoln did in the Civil War or FDR did to the Japanese in WWII, is night and day. No amount of pressure brought to bear changed things for those people. Public opinion, Congressional pressure, etc. has made a difference for Jose Padilla, and the usurpation of power by the executive is being corrected, even if not completely or perfectly. The same is true for the NSA spying. It is quite possible that we will see charges brought against members of the Bush administration, perhaps even articles of impeachment. The US intelligence agencies did the same types of things in WWI and WWII and no amount of pressure changed it, nor were charges filed against anyone in the executive branch, nor articles of impeachment even discussed.

Gitmo is a different situation, entirely. There is nothing unconsitutional, or even morally wrong, about holding enemy prisoners in wartime indefinitely without trial or resort to the civil legal system. Special laws for military conduct are provided for in the Constitution. Everything at Gitmo is well within the norm for wartime conduct towards enemy prisoners, and well within military regulation and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. There’s only one problem with all of it. Congress has never declared war, which is what is necessary to activate the President’s War Powers. Ooooops. Am I upset about the Executive overstepping its boundaries? Damn skippy. Do I think, within the context of wartime, that there is anything wrong with Gitmo. No. But, according to Congress, it isn’t wartme. And that makes it wrong.

  1. An implied position that post 9/11 is worse than pre 9/11, from a perspective of both individual liberty and government power

This is clearly not the case. At least not in terms of actual powers held by the Federal Government under the law. The Patriot Act really didn’t give the Executive new powers. They could already get secret warrants for wiretaps. They could have implemented all of the travel restrictions we deal with now at any time under law that existed long before 9/11/2001. However, two significant things have occurred since 9/11. The first is that Executive power has been consolidated, instead of being dispersed among many different bureaucracies, eliminating some of the inefficiency seen in the pre-9/11 structure. The second is that the Executive has acted in accordance with the idea that they hold War Powers. However, a strict reading of the Constitution shows that the Executive only gains War Powers IF Congress declares war. Which Congress has not seen fit to do. The interesting question is, when this is tested in court, whether the court will agree with the President, or not. It seems nearly certain that the NSA spying cases, as a minimum, will be decided by the Supreme Court.

  1. That the United States is a police state, or, if not, at the beginning of the path to becoming one

No, the US is not a police state. If you declare that we are, you are either unclear on what a police state is, or you are using rhetoric for political or ideological reasons. We are a somewhat authoritarian oligarchy, combined with the trappings of direct democracy. The authoritarian olidgarchy was created by the 100% franchise for direct democracy. The degree of authoritarianism and loss of freedom is more or less comparable to the government of Britain under the Hanoverian Kings. It should be noted that this level of authoritarianism led our Founding Fathers to rebel against Britain. And, I would guess that, if the degree of authoritarianism doesn’t begin to recede soon, we are going to see the continuation of the intellectual revolution that is already starting to make itself felt. I really don’t know how this will play out, but change will come, one way or another. The American people only tolerate overt authoritarianism for so long and then they start rebelling against it.

One of my personal theories of political systems is that, for any given culture, based on a variety of factors, there is a certain level of authoritarianism and usurpation of power that the poeple of the culture will tolerate. As The USSR, Czechosolvakia, Rumania and Poland found out between 1980 and 1990, when the factors influencing that society change, then the level of authoritarianism the people will tolerate changes. One key factor is how much personal danger the individual member of that society feels exists, compared to how much loss of personal freedom (as opposed to a more diffuse set of societal freedoms that may not impact the individual directly) they feel. When the two grow out of balance, the individual begins to take action. Today, the balance is such that only a few more radical libertarians and anarchists feel compelled to take action. But, that balance is slowly shifting, which is why we are seeing a backlash in opinion, and more people speaking out against the government.

Yes, our society is not perfectly free. But, the truth is, no society in the history of man has been perfectly free. There have been times and places that have had more liberty, and times and places that have had less, in our history. And an objective reading of our history makes that very clear. Or would you choose to trade the government and society of 1935-1945 for today’s, believing that there is no real difference?

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

This Should Be Fun

Not long ago, CATO unveiled their blog: CATO Unbound. The premise is that they will have a primary essay every month, responses from other prominent bloggers and provide trackbacks and links so that the rest of the blogosphere can respond too. Because December was so insane, I didn’t get a chance to play with the CATO concept as they debuted with The Living Constitution. Which is really too bad, since they hit on one of my favorite political topics: The 17th Amendment.

Anyhow, this month’s topic promises to be another one of deep interest to me and hopefully one I can participate in. The topic is Internet Liberation: Alive or Dead?. The lead essay, defining the position to be argued will be written by Jaron Lanier. The other contributors will include Glenn Reynolds and Eric Raymond, or “esr”, as he is known in hacker circles. There aren’t many other folks who would be such obvious, and good, choices for this topic. The topic itself will deal with:

An all-star lineup of techno-visionaries will discuss what, if anything, is left of all those mid-nineties prophesies of radical internet liberation.

I have to say that I will be interested to see what the CATO contributors have to say and even more interested to compare and contrast it with my own vision related to Technology and Liberty. In fact, considering that recent article on my part, my joining the ranks of the mobile technology users and my general vision of technology and its relationship to people and to liberty, this should be interesting and fun. Here’s hoping that The Liberty Papers and Life, Liberty and Property have a lot of good contribution to the discussion.

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

Price Controls: Guaranteed Disaster

Thomas DiLorenzo wrote an excellent article back in November on the consequences of government price controls. There’s an interesting underlying theme here. DiLorenzo catalogs more than 2500 years of government price controls and the disasters they brought about, all the way up to modern times and the energy crisis of California. And the thing that jumped out at me was that we never seem to learn from history. And it isn’t just the things that we think of with history, war, crime, totalitarianism. Those are the issues most people mean when they say that humans don’t learn from history. But, arguably, government controlled economic systems have caused more misery, for more people, throughout history, than anything else humans have done to ourselves.

Listen to this (summarized from DiLorenzo’s article):

  • In the 3rd century B.C. the Egyptian economy and political stability collapsed due to agricultural price fixing. Farmers left their land because of the strangulation caused by price inspection armies, enforcing prices set by fiat.
  • In Babylon, four thousand years ago, the Code of Hammurabi contained a maze of price controls, setting the rate that workmen were to be paid, how much a boat could be hired for, and so forth. This “smothered economic progress in the empire for many centuries”.
  • In the American Revolution, after the Pennsylvania Legislature introduced price controls to support the war effort, Washington’s Continental Army nearly starved to death because of shortages of the very items under price controls. The actual language from the legislation was “those commodities needed for use by the army”.
  • American planners in charge of Germany at the end of WWII instituted incredible central planning and price controls, on par with those found under the Soviets. None other than Hermann Goehring told them “I tried and it failed. Nor can any country do it all the way either. I tried that too and it failed. You are no better planners than we.”

And on and on the list goes. Considering the incredible misery that economic regulation by government has brought about, including the deaths of many millions in Europe, Asia and Africa in the 20th century, you would think we would have learned our lesson by now. But we seem, somehow, to be blithely convinced that we can do it better than those other bums. Never mind that we ended up with brown outs and black outs in California because of price controls on electricity, that we had gasoline shortages in the 70’s because a “conservative” President instituted draconian price fixing on oil. Just ignore the entire black market that existed throughout the country to deal with the price controls and rationing of WWII. Forget about the fact that the Southern slave owners were huge proponents of socialist economics (bet you didn’t know that). It doesn’t matter that Canadians now wait longer to get worse health care than they did before they gave themselves 100% socialized medicine.

Oh, wait, history really does show that government regulation of economic activity fails miserably every time? Oooops. Ignore all that evidence. This time we’ll do it right. And, even if we don’t, you’ll be so busy trying to find some staple that you absolutely have to have that you will not pay attention to the horrible situation government economics have put you in. The USSR banked on that. It worked well for them too.

H/T: Don Lloyd of Catallarchy

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

Thoughts on Technology and Liberty

I was chatting with Robert about technology. As I mentioned on my own blog, I got a couple of cool geek toys for Christmas.

One is kind of passive, but awesome for audio/video geekery; a DVD recorder. Not only does it play DVD’s (and music and picture CD’s) very well, but it records just about any sort of DVD you might want, including DVD+/-R, DVD+/-RW and DVD+R DL. And it does it from my satellite receiver, TiVo, iLink from our DV video camera and an extra input on the front to allow adding just about any other device you might want to add. The front input includes S-Video, so I could probably hook up my laptop and record from there if I wanted to. Of course, this doesn’t really have a lot to do with liberty, except that it certainly makes things easier for accumulating entertainment without being quite so beholden to media monopolies. Of course, since it’s a Sony DVD recorder, they prevent you from recording movies with “copy protection”, even though you should be able to under fair use. Not a really big deal to me, but it is typical of the media industry that they want to prevent you from reasonable and legal activities because you might do something illegal.

The other geek toy I got, though, is what had Robert and I talking and got us onto the topic of technology and liberty. I got a Palm Treo 650 for Christmas from my wife. Now, for a computer tech geek, this is one of the ultimate in geek toys, in my opinion. Especially if you are into continous communication, network and data access. Aside from the normal, and very cool, PDA functions you can get in a Palm, the Treo is also a cell phone compatible with GSM/GPRS/EDGE cell networks (i.e. 2.5G and 3G cell networks). With a data connect plan from your cell provider, you can access the internet at somewhere around high end modem speeds. Then, with the addition of GoodLink, VersaMail or XpressMail (depending on your situation), you can get access to your personal and corporate email. On top of that, I discovered KMaps, a completely free open source geo-mapping tool for PDA’s using Google Maps. And much, much more, including instant messaging, calendard, universal address book capabilities, bluetooth connectivity, MP3 player ……. okay, I guess that gets the point across.

Anyhow, the driving force in technology is really to accomplish a vision of access to any data that you need, at any time, from any where. We humans have been working towards that goal since the first set of grunts used for communication between our ancestors a million years ago. Once we have the data, we can turn it into knowledge. And that is what has allowed us to reach the point we are at today, on the verge of leaving our planet with enough humans to assure the survival of the race even if our planet were to die. Not that we will accomplish that in the next year, or even the next decade, but it isn’t that far off. The point of data and knowledge is survival, of course. But the survival we are talking about has changed significantly. For tens of thousands of years it was survival of the individual, the family, the local group. About 200 years ago that began to change dramatically. To the point where, today, the typical individual in an industrial nation doesn’t need to be concerned with individual survival, as a general rule. We have reached the point today where the focus of our data and knowledge is a whole different level of survival. And our drive for access to data has led us to the point where we are getting very close to the realization of any data, any time, any where. My Treo is one of those major steps towards it, as is the Internet, worldwide cell networks that carry data and so forth.

The question is, from a perspective of individual liberty, is this good, or bad? There are a lot of truly negative things, things that governments, unscrupulous individuals, monopolistic companies, etc. can take advantage of and gain much more control over individuals. Databases that allow querying of information about individuals. Cell phones can be tracked within the cell network. Spy satellites can take pictures of individual humans. And on and on the list goes. It seems that every new technology enables new ways to control and monitor us.

And yet, if it weren’t for these technologies and the knowledge they give us access to, we as humans would be mired in the life of a peasant in the middle ages. As, indeed, many humans on this planet still are. Without the printing press we could not have spread knowledge far and wide so that the Anglo-Saxon traditions of individual freedom, constitutionally limited government and rule of law was considered the norm in much of the world today. Liberal ideas about the value of individuals and the role of the market would not have been possible. The American Revolution was almost completely enabled by technology that provided easy access to knowledge. Indeed, the printing press was a two edged sword, giving government bureaucracies enormously more data, easily accessible, for the constable and the tax collector to use. Two hundred years later the Czech’s used fax machines to communicate rapidly and securely and create the Velvet Revolution that led to the downfall of communism in Czechoslovakia. And today the Internet enables the rapid spread of information that every government would much prefer is not even spread slowly.

The truth is, technology is, itself, neutral. The question is what we humans will do with the power the technology confers upon us. We are quick to see the negatives, the NSA eavesdropping on conversations, police forces maintaining databases on all citizens, networked camera systems tracking people’s movements, and so much more. But what we miss is that this technology empowers the sovereign individual. Loosely coupled networks of humans are inherently becoming uncontrollable. We have seen it time and again, in the Soviet Union, China, our own country, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Rumania and many other places. We have seen the failure of first IBM and now Microsoft to stop the rise of loosely coupled developer and user networks bringing better, more usable, freer technologies to the table. The truth is that ignorance is the weapon of the oppressor and knowledge is the weapon of the free individual.

I wouldn’t be scared of things like always on connections to the network. The police can never keep up with all of us. I wouldn’t be scared of things like massive databases available to government bureaucracies. Those bureaucracies cannot make decisions as fast as the same number of peer to peer networked individuals can. I don’t worry that Microsoft and Chevron and GM will forever dominate what choices we have as consumers. Open Source methods are already proving to innovate faster and more effectively, while proving to be more resilient than the big guys ever imagined. Open Source is so effective that the methods, perhaps not called that, are popping up all over the place. Like blogs, for example. And look how fast a blog swarm happens, and how effective it can be (e.g. Rathergate). Decentralization, loose coupling of networks (whether computers, people, or businesses), and rapid dissemination of knowledge are the tools that the oppressors fear. They try to make them work for them, but we see, time and again, where that fails and we “little folk” win out.

Don’t fear technology and what it brings. Embrace it, use it, enjoy it.

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

I’m Alive!

I think the insanity is finally coming to an end. I have had a major project at work that was going on right through the holiday, but we seem to finally be in the homestretch. As a couple of people know, I’ve been working 15+ hours a day since about the Dec. 12th, give or take. I didn’t work Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, but spent those with my family, of course. This week the workload hasn’t been as bad, but I seriously needed a break, so I left the blog, etc. alone.

Now that I’m back, I’ll catch up on email, see what’s happened in the world and get back into the swing of things. This project will keep taking up more time than normal, so my blogging levels will probably be lower than they have been in the past. And I do need to make my focus family and work first, blogging and online stuff second.

Hope everyone had a great Christmas, I know I did.

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

General Semantics

I suspect that many of my readers, and, indeed, many of the people I read, have never heard of Alfred Korzybski or General Semantics. I would highly recommend, before reading and commenting, that you familiarize yourself with the idea that the “map is not the territory” and the “word is not the thing”. Better yet, read some of Heinlein’s work. You can find more information at the links provided. You might also take a look at Eric Raymond’s The Utility of Mathematics for some insight into binary choice logic.

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

Why Does The Second Amendment Exist?

I’ll give you your first hint. Or several even. The Second Amendment does not exist so that gun collectors can buy antique muskets. Nor so that Elmer Fudd can keep on trying to bag Daffy Duck and Bugs Bunny. It was never contemplated so that survivalist types can stock their hideaways in the mountains of Idaho against the day that civilization breaks down and it’s kill or be killed. In fact, so long as they did not actually infringe on the right to own guns, Congress and/or state legislatures would not be doing anything unconstitutional if they were to regulate, or even prohibit, these activities.

The men who wrote the Constitution included the Second Amendment for one reason only. They even told us what that reason was when they wrote it.

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

It is important, though, to understand just what James Madison, Patrick Henry, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and their fellow Revolutionaries considered to be a “militia”, in order to understand the importance of this Amendment. So, to do that, let’s review what some of them had to say.

Patrick Henry:

“O sir, we should have fine times, indeed, if, to punish tyrants, it were only sufficient to assemble the people! Your arms, wherewith you could defend yourselves, are gone …” Elliot p. 3:50-53, in Virginia Ratifying Convention demanding a guarantee of the right to bear arms

“Are we at last brought to such humiliating and debasing degradation that we cannot be trusted with arms for our defense? Where is the difference between having our arms in possession and under our direction, and having them under the management of Congress? If our defense be the real object of having those arms, in whose hands can they be trusted with more propriety, or equal safety to us, as in our own hands?”

“Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are ruined.”

Richard Henry Lee, 1788, Member of the First U.S. Senate.

“To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of people always possess arms…”

George Mason

“…to disarm the people is the best and most effective way to enslave them…”

Thomas Jefferson

“The Constitution of most of our states (and of the United States) assert that all power is inherent in the people; that they may exercise it by themselves; that it is their right and duty to be at all times armed and that they are entitled to freedom of person, freedom of religion, freedom of property, and freedom of press.”

In fact, Patrick Henry, Richard Lee, and most other Revolutionary leaders knew full well that their revolution against British tyranny would have been impossible without the arms that nearly every colonist kept in their homes. The Second Amendment is our last, final defense against tyranny.

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

Keep Your Powder Dry

Over the years, I’ve had many dialogues with people about inherent rights and constructed rights, and why they are different. I’ve also tried to distinguish between capitalism and corporatism, and why the are different. The issue that continues to crop up is that most people, even though they have taken classes on politics in high school, and even college, appear not to have been exposed to the Enlightenment philosophies that our political system is founded, nor the Age of Reason thinking that preceded them, or the Rationalist that followed. Unfortunately, without understanding those philosophies, it is impossible to understand why the Constitution and government of the United States are constructed as they are. In the next few paragraphs I will attempt to lay out the basis for the idea of inherent rights, and how they differ from constructed rights.

Inherent rights are also known, in the Rational tradition, as negative rights, also expressed as “freedom from … “. Constructed rights are known as positive rights, also expressed as “freedom for … “. To understand why this is important, you have to start with the foundation of classic liberal philosophy, that political power originates with the individual, not with society, or anything else external to the individual. The individual also has inherent rights that exist prior to society, or outside of society. And these rights exist regardless of society. Put another way, one does not require a society for these rights to exist. And that is why we call them inherent. Two are easy to understand, life and liberty. Obviously, whether society exists, or not, you, the individual have life, which confers on you the right to live and defend your life. Liberty is also clear and logically obvious. Without society you are, in fact, free to do as you choose. Thus, you have a right to your liberty, although you may agree to some limitation on that right in order to gain other things of value to you. Property though, that is harder to argue. And it is often the point where folks get hung up. Most left wing political philosophies do not agree that individuals have the right to property, or take the position that their right to property is very limited, stems from society or the state and is essentially a state of renting the property, rather than having a right to it.

Here’s how we establish what inherent rights exist. Let’s suppose I live alone on this deserted island. And suppose that, during my time alone, I build a house, plant crops, cultivate a front yard, etc. Now, suppose that you show up on the island and decide that you should be able to live in the house that I built. Should you be able to whether I want you to, or not? Or, have I, in fact, by improving the land and constructing a dwelling established it as my property? And, if you try to move in without my say so, will I defend the house and land that I have improved and cultivated? Should I be able to, or do you have some right to that land regardless of my situation?

The basis of modern property law is to protect this “natural”, pre-society ownership and to leave you and I free to do more than simply defend our property from those who would take advantage of our work to improve our land. In fact, American law encapsulated this very idea with the Homestead Act. The Homestead Act was one of the few times a government actually explicitly captured the idea of this right within a law. The reason that it did happen is that the United States is one of the only countries ever founded upon classic liberal philosophy. Since most governments in history have existed based on the belief that political power originates with an elite of some sort, this isn’t really unusual. The reality, if you explore the idea logically, is that governments were either established to continue an elite in power (the successful conqueror theory of government) or to protect a group of people from the successful conqueror. This is fairly logical, if you stop and think about why and how humans would have banded together in groups, created rules (laws) of behavior and set up certain people to make decisions. In fact, even in the successful conqueror group it seems logically obvious that, by and large, the followers of the original leader would have chosen to follow him (perhaps not all, but many) because he would provide them with better protection of their own right to life, liberty and property, even if that would mean infringing on the rights of others who were outside the group.

Going back to our argument that inherent rights exist in a natural state, or prior to society, it becomes clear that in a natural state constructed rights don’t exist. You don’t have an inherent right to healthcare. Healthcare doesn’t exist without society. If you live on a deserted island, all by yourself, there is no healthcare, nor can you establish it, as you could establish ownership of your property. Healthcare is a “right”, constructed by society. Normally we call things like this privileges, except in our new political philosophy, the so-called neo-liberalism (that’s what democratic socialism in the USA was called in the 1930’s by the way), privileges are now considered rights. It’s as if we have removed the idea that some things exist with or without society and some things can only exist with a structured society. We, in this country, have lived in a state where our inherent rights are not threatened by the infringing activity of a conqueror for so long that we have forgotten that such a thing can be. And now we decide that privileges are rights. Yet, if this comes to pass, we will soon remember the truth of the proposition. Most of us who have grown fat, dumb and lazy will learn the lesson the hard way that constructed rights are privileges of a rich society and inherent rights must be defended by force to be kept. The law of the jungle rules mankind, there is no getting around it. We have constructed, for a short time, in this limited place, a society where the jungle rules are kept at bay, but this will not last. And when it ends, whether tomorrow or a century, or 5 centuries (but end it will, never doubt that) you had better keep your friends close, your enemies closer and your powder dry.

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

Carnival of Liberty XXIII

Carnival of Liberty XXIII is up at Below the Beltway. There is, as always, a bunch of really great posts on the topic. In reading through it so far, I’ve already discovered some great posts from folks such as Coyote Blog and Eidelblog. I know there’s a lot more great stuff, I just haven’t had time to read all of it yet. Head over and check it out.

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

Think About This

And take into consideration who wrote it.

“The fact that people sort themselves out in many ways is not usually a big problem—except to those people who cannot feel fulfilled unless they are telling other people what to do. Government programs to unsort people who have sorted themselves out have produced one social disaster after another. The decades-long attempts to mix black and white school children through school busing produced no real educational benefits but much racial polarization and ill will. The same thing continues to be done in colleges in the name of ‘diversity’ —and with the same bad results. Among the most unconscionable attempts to unsort people who have sorted themselves out by behavior are government programs to relocate people into neighborhoods where they could not afford to live without subsidies. Often the people in those neighborhoods have sacrificed for years in order to be able to live where they could raise their children in decent surroundings and not have to live in fear of hoodlums — only to have the government import the bad neighbors and hoodlums they have tried so hard to escape. Blacks as well as whites have objected to having problem people thrust into their midst through housing subsidies or government housing projects being built in their neighborhoods. Almost never do the social experimenters relocate dysfunctional and dangerous people into their own elite neighborhoods. They unsort other people’s neighborhoods and embitter other people’s lives.” — Thomas Sowell

Stop and ask yourself this. Does a government bureaucrat, backed by a remote elite, really know better than you do what is right for you, your family and your neighbors? Didn’t we fight a revolution just because of such an unacceptable situation? Does 50%+1 being swayed by that remote elite really mean that your needs and desires must be trampled?

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

Rule of Law and Originalism

For roughly the first 150 years of the Republic judges in this country made legal rulings based on the intent and meaning of the Constitution as it was written. This concept, at the time, was not called Originalism. It was considered the norm for a country founded on the principle of the rule of law. James Wilson, Founding Father, signer of the Declaration of Independence, member of the Constitutional Convention of 1787 and Supreme Court Justice, wrote, “The first and governing maxim in the interpretation of a statute is to discover the meaning of those who made it.” Starting in the 1930’s, and perhaps somewhat earlier, this concept was turned on its head. Legislators and Judges began reinterpreting the meaning of the Constitution to suit attaining the ends they desired. This has become so common now that we have nearly forgotten that there might be another way to do things. It has allowed one of the most dramatic expansions of governmental power imaginable, especially with the use of the Interstate Commerce Clause.

To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;

Innocuous, isn’t it? You may recognize, though, that it was recently used in Gonzales vs. Raich to rule that “medical marijuana” laws passed by the states were superseded by the Federal government’s laws controlling marijuana and that raising and selling marijuana, even with a prescription from a doctor, was still illegal. Even if the marijuana never crossed a state border. This is the legacy of the “living document” theory of constitutional law.

The three pillars that this country was founded on (see Bailyn, “The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution and Wood, “The Radicalism of the American Revolution”) were the rule of law, the use of reason and education and technology. Of these three, the rule of law was considered, by far, the most important. The American colonists, in fact, decided on a written constitution precisely because the usurpation of the rule of law was the primary factor leading to the Revolution. The English Constitution was (and is) a combination of historical documents, judicial rulings, “self-evident” truths and customs and practices. In the 18th century the Hanoverian Kings slowly but surely re-interpreted many principles of the English Constitution, altering the balance of power between monarchy, lords and commons (the three branches of English government). This had led to a tyrannical and oppressive state in both England and the colonies instituted by King and Parliament.

The Founding Fathers, as they were fighting for their independence, looked at the problems that had led to their oppression and need for rebellion and determined that one of the key problems was that the English Constitution was a matter of custom and subject to interpretation by individuals (see Bailyn, “Ideological Origins” and Brands, “The First American: The Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin”). They felt that the powers of the branches of government must be balanced and held in check in order to prevent unscrupulous men from interpreting, changing or distorting the constitution of the government. Since change would, obviously, be necessary at times, a process was provided that would ensure that all parts of government and society would be able to have input on, and agree to, those changes. They believed, based on the events of the 18th century, that a “living document” type of constitution was a significant danger to individual liberties and freedoms. Indeed, their liberties and freedoms had been destroyed by just such a situation. In order to guard against it happening again, the Founding Fathers determined that a single constitutional document, written in clear, plain language, would be necessary. This is the basis of that all important pillar of our system of government, the rule of law. Law, it was determined, must not be subject to the temporary and changing whims of the rulers, or, in our case, the rulers and the will of the majority (we can go into the fallacies of populist democracy some other time).

In the current argument for Originalism, many on the Right are arguing that Originalism is necessary in order to provide a known “social contract” that we can all agree to. This is a dangerous line of reasoning, which will be quickly demonstrated by those who argue for “living document” constitutionalism. The idea of the social contract arose in, and around, the ideas of utilitarianism. It was, indeed, the utilitarian answer to how to deal with the fact that generations succeeding the establishment of a government had not been able to agree to that government’s authority or powers. This is, indeed, one of the great flaws in Liberal theory (not modern neo-liberal, quasi-socialist theory, please don’t confuse the two). In Liberal theory the government is granted political power through the consent of the citizens, who abrogate some of their inherent rights and liberties in order to give the government those powers they deem necessary for effective government. This is the answer to the problem of government as a necessary evil (see Thomas Paine, “Common Sense” and Madison et al, “The Federalist Papers”). However, in the U.S. system of government, no such utilitarian solution (social contract theory) was necessary since the problem was solved by providing an amendment process. The amendment process was bounded by fairly stringent requirements to ensure that a small majority (the problem of 50%+1) could not change the Constitution when and how they desired, which would simply lead to the same problems that had been faced during the Revolutionary years. And, over the years, the amendment process was used quite successfully to make changes, even changes that the Founding Fathers would probably not have wanted to see, like popular election of Senators, the income tax, and prohibition of alcohol sales.

The amendment process, in fact, is the answer to the “living document” argument of constitutional theory. Much of the ills that the Left argues against today, the bureaucracy and congress that favor the corporate state over the individual, the military-industrial complex, the gross extension of police search and seizure powers, the intrusion into social issues that should be matters of purely local and state law are, indeed, the result of the “living document”. We can point at any number of laws and regulations passed by congress and any number of decisions made by the courts that have “interpreted” the constitution, rather than being based on its original meaning. Surprisingly, the Left does not (or chooses not to?) see that one is the consequence of the other. To use the words of an originalist justice, Janice Rogers-Brown:

We are heirs to a mind-numbing bureaucracy; subject to a level of legalization that cannot avoid being arbitrary, capricious, and discriminatory. What other outcome is possible in a society in which no adult can wake up, go about their business, and return to their homes without breaking several laws? There are of course many reasons for our present difficulties, but some of our troubles can be laid at the feet of that most innocuous branch – the judiciary…From the 1960’s onward, we have witnessed the rise of the judge militant. [Speech to California Lincoln Club Libertarian Law Council (Dec. 11, 1997)(“Libertarian speech”) at 5-6, 9]

This is the outcome of the living document. We have used it to justify anything and everything that we want our government to do, to make it our parent, our guardian, given to government our birthright. The answer to the “living document” theory of constitutional government is that if it can be interpreted essentially at will by justices accountable to none but themselves then we no longer have rule of law, we have rule of man. To those who believe that we are seeing the end of our Republic in similar fashion to the end of the Roman Republic, I say you are wrong. We are seeing the end of our Republic because we have allowed the elites to do to us, voluntary, in the name of progress, that which we fought a Revolution against in the first place. We have allowed them to replace the constitution and the rule of law with the will of the majority and the rule of man. The English Glorious Revolution was overthrown exactly so in the 18th Century. And the American Revolution is being, and has been to large degree, overthrown by the rule of man. Those who refuse to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

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

Coming Soon

The Cato Institute will be launching their own blog, called Cato Unbound, on Monday, December 5. They will post a new essay, and reactions, every month. From their About page:

Each month, Cato Unbound will present an essay on a big-picture topic by one of the world’s leading thinkers. The ideas in that essay will then be tested by the comments and criticism of equally eminent thinkers, each of whom will respond to the month’s lead essay and then to one another. The idea is to create a hub for wide-ranging, open-ended conversation, where ideas will be advanced, challenged, and refined in public view.

This, I suspect, will not be quite as engaging as reading The Volokh Conspiracy. I am sure that great ideas will be put forth, but knowing Cato, they won’t attract a broad range of readers. However, the next part of their concept is one that, I think, has potential.

But the discussion only begins at Cato Unbound. It ends, if it ends at all, with you. Cato Unbound readers are encouraged to take up our themes, and enter into the conversation on their own websites, blogs, and even in good old-fashioned bound publications. “Trackbacks” will be enabled. Cato Unbound will scour the web for the best commentary on our monthly topic, and, with permission, publish it alongside our invited contributors. We also welcome your letters.

That’s cool. That sounds like a great way to engage the libertarian blogosphere in the conversation. Now, the question is whether we can move the ideas beyond the libertarian folks and into the mainstream. Perhaps. When George Will talks kindly of libertarians, perhaps the ideas that we promote here at The Liberty Papers are not so fringe as they used to be.

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

Driving ‘Round The Blogosphere

Light, and not so light, reading for a Saturday evening.

David Rossie, at De Gustibus, went to a talk by John Lott. He has some interesting observations on Lott, not quite what I would have expected.
I inadvertently typed Trent Lott when I meant John Lott. I can read and comprehend English, I really can. But sometimes, it seems, I can’t type it.

Clara, at The Liberty Belles, has an interesting economic proposition for dealing with the inherent injustice that a man has no say in whether an abortion occurs, under the law today.

Patri Friedman, at Catallarchy, discusses the motivation of suicide bombers. I disagree with him.

Trent McBride, at Catallarchy, discusses Parents vs. The State. A must read if you want to have your knee jerk, gut instinct reaction challenged.

Stephen Macklin, at Hold The Mayo, has a personal tale showing us that state regulation does not equal state protection or justice.

Stephen Gordon, at Hammer of Truth, gives us a good discussion of when it is, and is not, okay to use the bible, or any other religious text, in a government school curriculum.

Lisa Renee, at Liberal Common Sense, has a pretty cool Flash video of a Christmas extraganza.

On a side note, if I link someone in a “Drive ‘Round …” post, I also add them to the blogroll.

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

I’m going to live forever

From an entry at The Liberty Belles, we have this quote from the WHO:

“WHO tries to encourage people to try and lead a healthy life. There is safe sex, one can drink alcohol in a reasonable way and one can attempt eating in a balanced fashion,” Chaib said. “But with tobacco, there is no middle ground, it is black and white and it kills half of those consuming it.”

That cigar my father-in-law and I smoke at Christmas apparently puts us in the evil tobacco users club. Per WHO, one of us is going to die. Wooohoooo, that means one of us isn’t going to die. A cigar a year is a small price to pay for a 50% shot at not dying!

On a more serious note, the discussion of the marginal tax rate on the semi-poor, who are not qualified for Medicaid, is a good one. Check it out.

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

The Big Tent

There’s a time and a place for purity of principle, purpose and ideology. And there’s a time and a place to set it aside and willingly work with those folks who are traveling anywhere close to the direction you’re going.

In a day and age where individualism is tossed in favor of collectivism, where inherent rights are infringed upon daily, where economic liberty is set aside in favor of egalitarian mediocrity, those of us who treasure liberty must make common cause with a lot of strange bedfellows. The great and enduring Revolutions of the past, whether we are talking about the American one, the Czech velvet revolution, the Bolshevik revolution, were successful because a variety of groups made common cause with each other. Of course, in some cases, they later betrayed their fellow travellers (Lenin, Trotsky and Stalin, anyone?).

That isn’t my real point though. Please recall that men like Thomas Paine, one of the most radically liberal of the Revolutionaries, made common cause with Puritan radicals like Samuel Adams, Federalists like Madison and moderates like Franklin. Had these various groupings in America stayed separate they would have, in Franklin’s words, “hung separately” for failing to hang together. Instead, they set aside their differences and united around their common cause, which was liberty from the oppression of King George III and Parliament.

Today we see the various groups of people who oppose the further encroachment of socialism in the US, the continued expansion of government powers, the continued collectivist approach to economics splintering and refusing to associate with each other because they disagree on points that those outside of our community would see as quite minor differences. Let’s be clear on this. The things you and I see as huge, massive differences, ones that make one person a “statist” in your eyes or another person an unrealistic anarchist or, maybe from a different viewpoint, attached to “mystical nonsense”, are so minor to the mainstream citizens of this country that they think we are a bunch of idiots for arguing over it. And truthfully, the differences are minor COMPARED to the horrific statism we confront. You and I may oppose any sort of tax as anti-property theft, but replacing income tax with a sales tax would be more free than we currently are. A sales tax would be voluntary compared to an income tax. So, while I want no taxation whatsoever in my idealism, I recognize that such a goal is not achievable right this instant, but that a sales tax that is somewhat more free is potentially possible. I’d rather get half a loaf than none at all.

Perhaps a big part of why I see things this way is that I’m a rational anarchist. Rational anarchy is not a political philosophy in the sense that many other flavors of anarchy are. It is actually very simple. I recognize that we, each of us, are and always will be individually morally responsible for our behavior. Even if we are a soldier or a cop or some other cog in the state, the choices we make are wholly owned by us. At the same time I recognize the reality that the vast majority (like 99% +) of humans want government, want to be told, to some degree, or another, what to do, like being able to put the issues of their behavior off on someone else. Until such time as we can spread beyond this planet a society that I want, with no government or competitive governments, is not going to come into existence, not even in the ocean habitats that some advocate.

But, it is potentially possible, by working with people who want to make government smaller, to reduce the burden and oppression of government, at least temporarily. So, even though I don’t fully agree with, and in many cases only slightly agree with, many of the people who are in Life, Liberty, Property, I think that I would rather see something come together that has some opportunity to effect change in a positive direction rather than no opportunity. As much as QandO’s rather strident support of Iraq bothers me, I recognize that they advocate movement away from other parts of the oppressive state. So, I will choose to associate with them.

There’s only three choices in front of us that I see.

  1. Remain ideologically pure and remain politically ineffective
  2. Do nothing, quit
  3. Tarnish our purity, but possibly bring about some change

Maybe I’m wrong. I’m willing to listen to ideas that show me how I’m wrong and how at least some change could be accomplished without association with people that propose some degree of statism. But I’m not willing to keep on doing the same old song and dance.

I would rather take a job that involves me with the state but gives me the opportunity to work for increased privacy (which my job does) and increased protection and security of personal data (which my job does) than refuse to be associated with the state. I would rather voluntarily use a health insurance company than not be able to make sure my kids have the healthcare they need. I recognize that I may (indeed will) have to compromise on my absolute principles at times to achieve what I want. But, while I firmly believe that radicals are the people who accomplish real change, I don’t think they do so by never compromising.

If all of this means that I’m not acceptable to “Libertarians”, so be it. They aren’t acceptable to me, for the most part. They are completely unable to see that they will never achieve anything more than sitting in coffee houses and talking about how things should be, in their perfect world. There are some people, Sunni to name one, who choose to work, instead, for their personal, individual, liberty. This I can respect. But sitting around whining about the government, talking the pure ideals of Libertarianism, and blacklisting those who aren’t “pure” is a surefire ticket to remaining completely ineffective. The people you are trying to “wake up”, to convince, will never respect you or take you seriously. Not so long as you are unwilling to compromise, work with others or tackle reality, rather than religious-like wishes.

And so, I take the position that a big tent of folks is the best approach. I truly think it could be built right now, but the Libertarians (as opposed to the libertarians) stand in the way.

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

Parsley is a Crime

Don’t carry a bag of parsley around. Don’t pretend it’s marijuana. Don’t play a prank on your friends. If you do, in the state of Florida, you are breaking the law and subject to criminal penalties. According to the Daytona Beach News:

Two Flagler County elementary school pupils were arrested last week after pretending a plastic bag of parsley was marijuana.

An arrest report by Cpl. Don Apperson, a school resource deputy with the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office, said the two girls, each 10-year-old pupils at Old Kings Elementary School, were showing classmates a plastic bag with a green leafy substance they said was marijuana.

School officials learned of the alleged bag of marijuana and called the girls into a conference with their parents. The girls admitted they did not have marijuana and said that the bag of parsley, which they brought to school in their book bags, was a prank, the report said.

Well, that certainly seems appropriate to me. Let’s arrest two 10 year old girls for a prank. That is certainly going to do something about the “drug epidemic”. Why were they arrested, you may wonder (I certainly did)?

The girls were charged under a state law that makes it a crime to claim that a substance is a drug — whether or not the item is intended for sale or distribution, according to Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Debra Johnson. They were taken to the Flagler County Inmate Facility and later released to their parents.

Well, that certainly makes it all better. Pretending that something is a drug as a 10 year old’s prank is heinous, an absolutely unconscionable act. We can’t have these 10 year old girls running around doing this sort of thing. But it was just pretend marijuana, you protest? Yes, but we all know where that leads, don’t we? It’s inevitable that they’ll move on to harder pranks. Next comes generic aspirin masquerading as speed. And, before you know it, they’ll be pranking their friends with cornstarch “heroin”. The parsley is just an entry level prank, I tell you! It’s a slippery slope indeed.

And what happened to these girls? Aside from being arrested, booked and placed in a jail, at least temporarily.

The girls were also suspended from school and ordered to attend drug awareness classes.

Good call guys. The Drug War is all but won now!

H/T:Tim Cavanaugh @ Hit and Run

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

Driving ‘Round the Blogosphere

Interesting reading to check out in your spare minute a day.

Brian Doss, of Catallarchy, talks about what is seen and not seen with the creation of an ubiquitious Public Internet in this entry. Having been around the Internet, BBS (FidoNET), etc. about as long as Brian, all I can say is that he’s right and Al Gore is wrong.

See my article and Below the Beltway’s article for an interesting discussion of air travel security.

Lisa Renee of Liberal Common Sense tells us an interesting story about her daughter and a “modeling” agency. The thing that struck me? She recognizes that her daughter has to learn through her own experience, make her own decisions, live her own life. I wonder if our politicians raise their children the way they run the country, or the way that Lisa raises her kids?

Difster gives us a great suggestion for conversations with PETA members.

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