Category Archives: Democracy

All the “other” ones…

I was inspried by comments from a friend yesterday, to think up a couple of “bumpersticker” type slogans in support of the second amendment.

Which do you think would make the better bumper sticker or t-shirt:

The Second Amendment: In case they “forget” the other ones


The Second Amendment: Defending the other ones since 1791

I had originally written “the other nine”, and I still think it sounds better, but it’s technically inaccurate since there are 27 amendments; even if most of those not in the bill of rights are essentially procedural in nature, not necessarily related to fundamental rights and liberties…

…Well that, and the fact that I’m fundamentally opposed to a lot of the amendments outside of the bill or rights, either in principle, in detail, in structure, or in language… including some amendments that a minarchist like myself might be expected to support


Well, let’s go though them. I oppose:

  • the 15th, 19th, and 24th amendments: Because they were unnecessary.

    Once slavery was made unconstitutional by the 13th amendment, then all citizens who were of age (21 at the time), of all races, sexes, backgrounds, prior conditions of servitude etc… should have automatically and clearly been allowed to vote under the 14th amendment, without any requirement for literacy or taxes.

    Any construal of the 14th amendment to the contrary, or any state laws to the contrary, should have been struck down by the supreme court under the 14th (and in fact they have been ever since. The 15th and 19th are generally ignored, and the 24th is usually invoked with dubious justification).

  • the 16th Amendment: Because it establishes a de-facto slavery to the government.

    Some taxes are of course necessary, however taxes on incomes, earnings, wages, and assets are fundamentally theft or slavery.

    Additionally, the 16th amendment was never properly ratified, and was enacted fraudulently; and has since its enactment been enforced fraudulently as well, because it authorizes taxes on income not on wages.

    Income, earnings, and wages are three different things by law and by centuries of precedent, but our government has chosen to treat the 16th amendment as if it authorizes all three. A tax on wages is involuntary servitude without compensation, the very definition of slavery.

  • the 17th amendment: Because it fundamentally unbalanced our federated system of checks and balances between state and federal power, in favor of the federal government to the harm of the interests and powers of the states and the people.

    The house of representatives was meant to represent the interests of the people as individuals, and the senate was meant to represent the interests of each state. This is why representatives are apportioned by population, but senators are apportioned two per state; and why senators were meant to be selected by the government of each state as they saw fit.

    We were founded as a representative federated republic; and direct election of senators has essentially removed the middle out of those three; much to the detriment of our nation; moving us closer and closer to a simple republic (which in a nation of our size, with such diverse interests geographically, would be an unmitigated disaster)

  • the 18th and 21st amendments: Because they address an issue that is not properly a matter of law, but of morality. Passing the 18th amendment was against the principles we founded our government on, and should never have happened. The 21st therefore shouldn’t have happened either.

    Additionally, the 21st established in blackletter law the ability for the states to make their own prohibitions, which shouldn’t have been a matter for the federal constitution to address, unless it was to prohibit such state laws to be made.

  • the 22nd amendment: Because term limits are also fundamentally wrong under our system of government.

    If the people are stupid enough to elect a scumbag over and over again; so long as that scumbag hasn’t been disqualified by unlawful actions, then they should be able to run as often as they like.

    In engineering (and in the military, which share a similar mindset towards problem solving), this type of law has a saying about it: this is a technical solution to a non-technical problem (also called a hardware solution to a software problem and other variations)

    The problem is that the people are electing people they “shouldn’t.” The solution is not to make electing those people illegal; it’s to educate the electorate better so they won’t want to elect people they shouldn’t.

  • the 23rd amendment: Because the District of Columbia either IS a state, or it is not; you can’t have it half way.

    Giving DC representation in congress, electors in presidential elections, or any kind of position on the national stage is ridiculous. We don’t allow New York City to have electors separate from it’s state government, why would we allow Washington to do so.

    This is not disenfranchisement, this is clearly a structural issue. A single city should not be given the status of a state in any way. We should either leave DC without representation (including in elections), give it back to Maryland, or make it a state, with all the attendant rights and responsibilities of the people within.

  • the 27th amendment: Because it is not a structural issue, which is what the constitution and it’s amendments are intended to address.

    Congress has the power to set it’s own rules, and it’s own policies, procedures, and compensation under article one section six. There is nothing in the constitution which prevents them from changing those rules once established.

    This amendment was essentially grandstanding by politicians saying “see, we’re so committed to “good government” and “reform” that we can’t vote ourselves a pay raise without an election; and we’ve even passed a constitutional amendment to prove it”.

    I would have no issue with this amendment if it were simply a matter of law and congressional procedure. It should never have been proposed or passed as an amendment.

So, of the 17 amendments after the bill of rights, 10 of them are unnecessary, badly worded, badly written, or just plain wrong.

Man… all that from thinking about bumper stickers.

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

Adequately Explained

Never ascribe to malice, that which can be adequately explained by incompetence –Napoleon Bonaparte

So, it’s been making the rounds on the far lefty loony blogs and forums (and amazingly not a few libertarian sites as well) for some time now that Bush and company are going to stage a terrorist attack and use it as justification to suspend the elections etc… etc…

This is generally followed by a litany of supposed “crimes and abuses” by the Bush administration, some of which are legitimate, some are blown out of proportion and context, and some of which are just plain lunacy.

Then of course comes the requisite rant about how the “right wing idiot sheeple will just swallow whatever lies they are told and give up all our essentials freedoms because they believe Bush is getting messages from god about the rapture” or some other such nonsense.

Bull. Utter and complete, unmitigated bull.

I won’t even attempt to refute the base assertion her;e that Bush and company would attempt some kind of coup, or false flag operation etc… To do so would be a pointless waste of time; one does not argue with the insane, one treats them medically.

But, I’d like to address that other assertion; that those of us not on the “enlightened progressive left” would blindly follow the orders of such a man as would attempt such a thing; for any reason, never mind a religious one.

Believe me on this one, real conservatives and libertarians dislike the abridgment of our fundamental rights FAR MORE than those on the left do. Leftists are almost always willing to accept a tyrant, or tyrannical abuses of power, if they believe it’s “all in a good cause”. Libertarians and real conservatives are substantially defined by the fact that they are most definitely not.

Even if you LIKE what the president is doing with the power he has arrogated to himself (and in some cases I think real good is being done; though mostly it’s just a stunning example of incompetents given too much power and authority), you don’t want them to HAVE that power, because the next guy could be a deranged madwoman.

Oh and for those of you who harp constantly on the “unprecedented disrespect for the American people and our civil rights, displayed by the Bush administration”, you obviously weren’t paying attention from January 20th 1993 through January 20th 2001.

As an Air Force officer, I saw a lot of “interesting” data during the Clinton administration. Believe me, it was every bit as bad as you imagine Bush to be; they were just a lot better at sugarcoating it and/or hiding it. If you don’t believe me talk to anyone who did any intel analysis during those years; they’ll have a similar story to tell. The Clinton administration lived by the dictum: “Power Corrupts, Absolute Power is really kinda cool”.

What is striking isn’t how much this administration abuses the power of the executive office; Clinton, Nixon, Johnson, Kennedy, Wilson, and both Roosevelts did FAR worse. What’s striking is how utterly incompetent they have been at doing so.

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

A wonderful first step – a person is arrested for voting

I’ve long agreed with Lysander Spooner who wrote:

IX. The Secret Ballot
What is the motive behind the secret ballot? This, and only this: Like other confederates in crime, those who use it are not friends, but enemies, and they are afraid to be known, and to have their individual doings known, even to each other. They can contrive to bring about a sufficient understanding to enable them to act in concert against other persons; but beyond this they have no confidence, and no friendship, among themselves. In fact, they are engaged quite as much in schemes for plundering each other, as in plundering those who are not of them. And it is perfectly well understood among them that the strongest party among them will, in certain contingencies, murder each other by the hundreds of thousands (as they lately did do) to accomplish their purposes against each other. Hence they dare not be known, and have their individual doings known, even to each other. And this is avowedly the only reason for the ballot: for a secret tyranny; a tyranny by secret bands of tyrants, robbers, and murderers. And we are insane enough to call this liberty! To be a member of this secret gang of tyrants, robbers, and murderers is esteemed a privilege and an honor! Without this privilege, a man is considered a slave; but with it a free man! With it he is considered a free man, because he has the same power to secretly (by secret ballot) procure the robbery, enslavement, and murder of another man, and that other man has to procure his robbery, enslavement, and murder. And this they call equal rights!

If any number of men, many or few, claim the right to “govern” the people of this country, let them make and sign an open compact with each other to do so. Let them thus make themselves individually known to those whom they propose to “govern.” And let them thus openly take the legitimate responsibility of their acts. How many of those who now support the pretended “constitution,” will ever do this? How many will ever dare openly proclaim their right to “govern”?, or take the legitimate responsibility for their acts? Not one!

I therefore take a dim view of those who go out and vote for people. Like other crimes, such as murder or theft, I want it to go away entirely. So I am especially happy to hear that one Zoila Meyer has been arrested and charged with the crime of voting. Unfortunately, the state considers her act a crime not because she voted, but because she voted despite having spent the first 9 months of her life outside the United States. » Read more

I am an anarcho-capitalist living just west of Boston Massachussetts. I am married, have two children, and am trying to start my own computer consulting company.

Eroding Rights Through Confusion

Potter, New York isn’t a very large town. 1,800 residents in a small farming community, who want the freedom to head out to the store and buy a six-pack of beer. In fact, they overwhelmingly want that freedom, but due to confusing state ABC laws and confusing ballot questions, they voted that freedom away:

Before the mix-up, people here could buy beer in two places, the Federal Hollow and the Hitchin’ Rail, a combination convenience store, ice cream stand and restaurant.

Owners of the Hitchin’ Rail, a fixture here for decades, wanted to add wine and beer to the menu at the restaurant, where hearty meat loaf and pot roast entrees top out at $8.95.

It was not as simple as it seemed. state alcoholic beverage control laws require that whenever a town wants to expand the way it sells alcohol, it must ask voters five questions — “stupid questions,” according to the town supervisor, Leonard Lisenbee, a retired federal game warden who has been in office six years and who characterized the state-mandated wording as post-Prohibition-era legalese.

The questions, requiring more than 300 words, ask whether alcohol should be allowed in a variety of settings, including a hotel and, separately, a “summer hotel.” “Shall any person be authorized to sell alcoholic beverages at retail to be consumed on premises licensed pursuant to the provisions of Section 64 of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Law?” was the relevant one to the Hitchin’ Rail. But there was also “Shall any person be authorized to sell alcoholic beverages at retail, not to be consumed on the premises, where sold in the town of Potter?” which relates to stores like the Federal Hollow.

“I read it and I couldn’t understand it, and I’ve got a college education,” Mr. Lisenbee said. “When voters get confused, they vote no.”

And they did.

The voters said no to all five questions, not only keeping the Hitchin’ Rail’s restaurant from serving beer and wine, but also blocking both stores from selling it, upon the expiration of their current licenses. Which means that on July 1, when the Federal’s license expires, the closest six-pack available for purchase will be in a town 10 miles away.

Voters can’t figure out how to answer a question posed on a ballot. Yet we’re constantly told we live in a democracy, not a Constitutionally-limited representative republic. If we can’t trust the voters of Potter, NY to accurately answer a question related to whether or not they can do something simple like buy beer & wine, how can we expect them to elect leaders who can represent their interests?

Admittedly, the questions are confusing. They’re even confusing to me. I’m an engineer and blogger, but reading more than a paragraph of legalese makes my head spin. I’m not sure I could answer these questions correctly, although being beer-related, I at least would have done my research first!

I’d blame the anti-alcohol forces for this. Or I’d blame big-government types who are trying to be our nannies. But in all reality, this isn’t the fault of any person or group in particular. This is government. This is the system. It’s an incomprehensible mess of arcane rules (5 questions?! Are you smarter than a 5th grader?! WTF?!) and confusing legal jargon, and it’s clear that the laws are being written to be understood by lawyers, not voters. Not to mention that those voters, educated in public schools, aren’t ever taught the tools to understand those laws anyway.

This is government, folks. When they’re trying to screw you, they’ll screw you. When they’re trying to help you, they’ll confuse you so badly that you screw yourself. Either way, you’re screwed.

Iraq — Too Early To Call It A “Failed State”?

Apparently not for several peace groups:

Iraq has emerged as the world’s second most unstable country, behind Sudan, more than four years after President George W. Bush ordered the U.S. invasion to topple Saddam Hussein, according to a survey released on Monday.

The 2007 Failed States Index, produced by Foreign Policy magazine and the Fund for Peace, said Iraq suffered a third straight year of deterioration in 2006 with diminished results across a range of social, economic, political and military indicators. Iraq ranked fourth last year.

The index said Sudan, the world’s worst failed state, appears to be dragging down its neighbors Central African Republic and Chad, with violence in the Darfur region responsible for at least 200,000 deaths and the displacement of 2 million to 3 million.

Now, I’ve got a couple of issues with their methodology, which I’ll get to in a second. But 4 years after the invasion of Iraq, it’s tough to find a way to classify it as a success. It might be a mixed bag, where some aspects are improved while others have deteriorated. But I don’t think anyone can call it a success.

Perhaps Iraq still has a chance. But indicators are heading towards the idea that a single-state solution in Iraq requires a firm hand to sustain. Saddam Hussein provided that firm hand, and was a monster in the process. Right now we’re attempting to do so, but without the brutality of his regime. After us, it will require a firm hand by the Iraqi government and military. But a state that requires military intervention to avoid widespread bloodshed isn’t a success.

Of course, students of government should have expected this. The entity which can’t be trusted to reliably deliver the mail, has been attempting to fight the wars on drugs and poverty for over 30 years with no success, is hardly to be expected to step into a foreign culture and remake it from the ground up. Especially when their construction tools are fighter/bombers and mechanized infantry. Not to mention their weapon of mass destruction, the U.S. Department of State. If you want to see something fail, get the US government involved. Thus, it’s not a surprise that both Iraq and Afghanistan are high on the list.

As mentioned, though, that brings me to a bit of criticism of the article. The article is written by left-wing peace groups, and the methodology shows that they’re enamored with strong government, a fondness which I do not share:

The authors of the index said one of the leading benchmarks for failed state status is the loss of physical control of territory or a monopoly on the legitimate use of force.

Other attributes include the erosion of legitimate authority, an inability to provide reasonable public services and the inability to interact with other states as a full member of the international community.

Considering that I vacillate between the desire to get rid of 96% percent of the government and to get rid of a full 100% of it, I would like to see a situation where nobody has a “monopoly on the use of force”, and “legitimate authority” is competitive and voluntary.

That being said, the neocon’s goal isn’t to create a lawless state, it’s to create a stable state friendly to our interests. Instead, we have a nation with a latent civil war smoldering beneath the surface, where they have so many terrorists in training that they now export them. By that measure, they have clearly failed.

1 28 29 30 31