Showing posts with label Liberty. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Liberty. Show all posts

Friday, November 30, 2012

Freedom For Everyone Or Just Folks Who Think Exactly Like You?

It has become clear to me recently that some people only want their own freedom. More accurately they want to be able to say yes, no or maybe to various potential freedoms based on their own belief system. This is what really confuses me.

Anybody who gets in the way of THEIR freedom is a jack boot Stazi thug that should be killed; however they have the right to tell everybody else what the hell they can and cannot do. It isn't that they only pursue their own freedoms (in terms of practicing or advocating for them) that is the issue. I do not donate money or time to help causes I don't care about or expect other people to. (Though this year when I voted there was one simple question for everything. Will this person/ bill make people more or less free? I voted for freedom including several bills I do not personally agree with. Think about it.) It is that they have such a sense of moral superiority that they think it is their right to not only do what they want, but prevent others from doing the same. The concept that other people have some rights also is simply not in their worldview. It is pretty clear that these folks do not want to live in a free society, they just want to be the one wearing the jack boot.

This brings us to an interesting point. It isn't that you cannot choose to associate, or not associate, with who you want. It isn't that you cannot advocate for or against what you want by promoting education and whatnot. However when people talk about using force of law (or other types) to make people act the way they think is correct in areas that are reasonably within the realm of freedom it becomes an issue.

It is my personal opinion that to expect other people to accept my freedom I have to accept theirs. That is the trade off.

Do you think that everyone should get out of your business but you have the right to tell them what to do? If so what makes your views inherently superior to other peoples? What are your thoughts on this topic?

[Also this brings up another point. I think the whole liberty/ FreeFOR community needs to stop arguing about pie in the sky fantasy worlds. Seriously all this argument is just mental masturbation. That would be fine except that it causes significant conflict. It is like two guys who make 30kish a year with kids and stay at home wives arguing over whether Nighthawk or Wilson Combat makes the better 1911. They probably cannot afford a third of either pistol so it is pointless anyway. To make this even dumber imagine that these like minded friends get angry with each other and stop bring friends over this stupid theoretical argument about pistols they can't afford anyway. Liberty/ Free FOR folks would be much better off spending their energy on individual preparations and building local community instead of on stupid pointless arguments.]

Monday, March 29, 2010

Goals For While I'm Offline

Hey All, Just so you all are tracking I am going to be offline for almost two months. Posts are scheduled for the time frame I anticipate being gone. Wifey is kind enough to moderate comments so the flow of conversation can keep going.  Some days you will just get a quote but there is something almost every day.

I got to thinking about what my preparedness goals are for this time frame. Two main things come to mind. First I am planning to run a lot and generally focus on cardiovascular and muscular endurance. Part of this is that I will not have access to a gym and also since the weather is starting to get nice running outside is more pleasant. Leaning a bit more toward strength during the winter months and then running a bit more in the summer seems natural to me.

Secondly I am taking along a copy of Atlas Shrugged. I am not sure how much free time I will have but even at a few pages a day that is enough time to get a good start.

Other than that work and sleep will pretty much take up all of my time.

Stay safe and I will see you later

Monday, February 8, 2010

Invisible Resistance to Tyranny In Progress Review

Thanks to the VP of Awesomeness I have a nice stack of books to read. The one I am reading right now is Invisible Resistance To Tyranny: How to Lead a Secret Lift of Insurgency in an Increasingly Unfree World by Jefferson Mack.

First of all I have a suspicion that Paladin Press got a discount on some printing presses that can only publish books with less than 160 pages. In any case that doesn't really matter. Onto the book.

This book is different than most Paladin Press books I have read. Most of them are pretty concrete and split between some guys advice on something and interesting little anecdotes that reinforce the aforementioned advice. This one is much more conceptual and at least to me much more valuable. Hearing some supposed expert who eludes to a vague and mysterious background give his slightly different take on some old advice is cool and all. For the usual price of $10-15 it only takes a few new hints or ideas and a couple entertaining anecdotes to make a book worthwhile. This book has been more valuable than that because it has changed the way I think by exposing me to new ideas.

First of all it starts by talking about the difference between a terrorist and a freedom fighter. Basically the idea was that someone who is pursuing legitimate military type targets and trying to minimize collateral and civilian damage is a freedom fighter regardless of if you like their ideas. Conversely someone who is willing to target civilians and non military type targets is a terrorist. The extreme sides of this sliding scale are easy to identify. A person or group who kill a chief of police who has been running a death squad or an occupying force being identified as a freedom fighter is easy. A person or group that firebomb a preschool are obviously terrorists. There is a lot of gray in between black and white in this situation.

In the gray area we are likely to give benefit of doubt to people whose causes or beliefs we support. A 10 person cell can not expect success in attacking a fortified location where hundreds of armed personnel reside but they can get a good effect by attacking a place those people frequent. Lets say a bomb was placed in a 'soft target' like a restaurant or bar frequented by the targeted group. That bomb explodes at a peak time (say 10PM on a Friday night for a bar or lunchtime at a popular restaurant. It kills several of the targeted group and wounds 20 more. Also the bomb kills the establishments owner, a couple employees, a few random unlucky people and wounds another dozen of the same. If you hate the targeted group this was a legitimate target and the actions were just. If your brother who just needed to earn a living was unlucky enough to be working the kitchen that day the outlook will be different. The middle is very murky indeed.

The most valuable idea I have gotten from this book is that being a good person or a bad person is entirely different from being a good citizen or a bad citizen. We can divide good people and bad people however we want, it isn't that difficult. Good people do not rob, rape or murder. They are fairly hardworking and industrious in whatever they choose to do. They act in a generally honorable manner and are respectful of others. They tend to make good neighbors.

Obviously bad people tend to have characteristics that are opposite those of good people. They are generally difficult and unpleasant to be around. They may be randomly violent or predatory or dishonest. They are often not hardworking or able to harness their natural talents in a way that is useful for themselves or anybody else. They recreate and generally act in ways that are inconsiderate or outright dangerous to others. Probably not somebody you would want as a neighbor.

Good citizens obey laws without questioning them and follow the vast majority of 'the rules'. They pay their taxes in full. If told to do something by a government official or LEO they do it without question or complaint. Bad citizens ignore laws that do not make sense to them. They seek to get around what they feel are needless or restrictive rules. They do not report some or all of their income for tax purposes. They might buy and sell whatever they like without regards to the law. They recreate how they want to and figure as long as they don't bother others it is nobody's business but their own.

The idea that you can be a good person and a bad citizen is very intriguing to me. A person can be a great neighbor or a pillar of the community and never harm another person but just be a horrible citizen. They might keep a nice neat yard and pay their bills and work hard. At the same time that person might recreate (discretely and without harming anyone) however they please. They also may fail to report some of their income which is earned through various under the table transactions. They could barter to avoid taxation. They might even own a weapon that is not legal or grow a little bit of pot for personal use. (Of course I pay my taxes in full and only own legal weapons and would never get near illegal substances and suggest you do the same.)

Interesting real life story which illustrates this. As I have mentioned in the past we have a family friend who is a Doctor. When I was 19 I did some work for him off and on. One time we had to load up, deliver and unload a truck and trailer full of stuff to a town a half days drive away. On the way back we grabbed a late lunch and he got a 6 pack of Bud Light. We got back on the road and I was working on my sandwich when he passed me a beer. After we got back to their house we had dinner where I had another beer before heading home.

This fellow is certainly not a bad person. He is involved in community affairs and donates money and time to causes and charities he believes in. He is a great neighbor and always willing to help out or loan a tool or piece of equipment. In the event in question or any other similar one nobody drove drunk or did anything reckless. However in some ways he is not a particularly good citizen. He thinks open container laws are stupid so he ignores them. He also figures that a responsible adult can have a drink regardless of if they have reached some magic legal age so he serves alcohol to whomever he pleases.

I can not speak for anyone else but when it comes to people I choose to deal with I care if they are a fundamentally good person and are generally enjoyable to be around. I nice person who you can trust and have some fun around is usually a good friend/ acquaintance/ neighbor. I do not care if they fail to report some cash income or turned their garage into an office without the necessary permits or occasionally recreate in a manner that is legally frowned upon.

Very interesting stuff. It has been making me think a lot about many different things. Great book!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Anarchist, Liberterians, Reality, Fantasy, Freedom, Consequences and Good/ Bad Laws

Yeah I know that is quite a title but I couldn't really come up with a better one. This post has been brewing in one form or another for quite some time. None of the individual points are quite enough for their own post but they all sort of blend together.

First of all I let the Anarchists or those by any other self identified name who fall into this conventionally defined category of Anarchist have their say awhile back. To be blunt I was not impressed. People who claim to truly believe in this philosophy seem to fall into a few clearly defined groups. First is the ones who are just going for shock value or to stir the pot. Second are those who are complete fucking fools. Third are naive kids (the 15-22 range) or adults who haven't learned anything in life. Fourth is those who are criminally or sexually deranged and these are probably in jail.

When asked how their magical not cohered by evil government force society would work they were either so naive or stupid to say that everyone would just get along perfectly or they basically said they would just shoot anyone who didn't follow what they thought were the rules. The first of these is so frickin ridiculous I don't even know what to say about it. As for the second I find it amusing that people who think police enforcing laws we (directly or indirectly) voted on is horrible evil force but that them just shooting someone who didn't immediately say the fender bender was their fault is acceptable. 

The major falacy in the whole "voluntary association" idea is that it might work for a relationship or a family or a hippie compound but our world isn't based on voluntary association. That means for the association your community to live by at least one person isn't going to like any rule you make. For example Chimo Jeffery will think it is fine to bugger little kids. 

The bottom line is that everyone just doing the right thing will not work and everyone just shooting someone who they think does the wrong thing doesn't work either. Any argument for anarchy basically boils down to one of these equally ridiculous points that utterly fail the reality test.

I self identify as a libertarian because I cannot associate myself with the democrats and the republicans aren't much better. Democrats are basically socialists with a touch of fascism (or at least a desire to pull the strings) and Republicans are barely different on many issues though they are a bit closer to being a split between fascism and a theocracy. I don't believe wealth should be redistributed on a massive scale (some short term assistance and reasonable disability payments aren't a bad thing) any more than I think big businesses should get constantly bailed out and given (sold really) pet legislation. I am somewhat religious but I sure as heck don't want any church making laws which will effect my life (if you want to voluntarily follow their rules then God Bless but I stop short of thinking theocratic rules [no matter how good of ones] should be forced onto anyone by anything other then good old fashioned religious and family guilt.

Mostly I consider myself a libertarian because I believe that unless there is a truly compelling reason (Jim's right to rape is less than Sally's right to not be raped, etc) otherwise the freedom to make choices should rest with the individual. Not to say that I am by any means 100% believe the libertarian party line, to be honest anyone who is truly strait party line scares me. I do however believe that the libertarians have at least in a very big picture sense struck at a good balance between maintaining law and order (as much as it can ever be maintained) having codified law, enforceable contracts and systems in place to let people function with each other in a decently orderly fashion without impeding individual rights any more than necessary.

The problem with a lot of libertarian views is that they fail to take into account how one thing effects another with direct and or unintended consequences. I don't have the time or inclination to get into their party views line by line but this point certainly strikes true in some of them.  The visual of throwing a stone into a puddle is a good one.

For example, lets say prostitution is legal. It is in a few places in the US and in a lot of the rest of the world. Also lets say that laws like loitering are axed because they don't directly hurt anyone. Would you like Pervo Jim and Crackwhore Tanya discussing how much he is going to pay her to flip his flop and then twizzle his whistle for how long on the street in broad daylight while you were having a nice lunch in a little cafe with your kids? Did they directly break what we could call the liberterian rules (pretty much do anything you want as long as noone is underaged, cohersed or forced), no they did not. Is it pretty darn uncool and something nobody would like, yes.

Another example is what if the people next door decide to start selling drugs. (not trying to open the drug discussion just making a point) It is a nice middle class neighborhood where the chemist next door decided to start a small phramacutical business. Yeah in the liberterian ideal world you would be able to buy pot, coke, crack and heroine at 711 but they invented something really cool and are selling a lot of it. Weird sketchy people and hookers are outside all the time and minor property crimes have spiked up. Legally (under a strict interpretation of liberterian beliefs) they would be doing nothing wrong and thus you would have to choose between accepting these individuals free choices or selling your home at a huge loss because nobody wants to buy a nice 3 bedroom ranch on a big lot with a basement and a wood stove next to the drug haven. So either your home now sucks, you loose a bunch of money or you torch that fucker at 4 am and risk the consequences.

[This is a great example with an interesting point. This case is a good point that balance needs to be used even on the most sound logic. For example taking that logic to a bit of an extreme leads us to increadibly limiting Zoning rules and CCR/ HOA situations. Because the extreme use of a line of thinking is bad doesn't mean the whole line of thinking is bad, just that extreme stance.]

My two examples are a bit extreme but as Larry Flint has noted and proven freedom isn't tested or proven by those who live nice simple boring lives.

A great example of good/ bad laws has come up to me recently. I will skip the details but a few weeks ago I had to spend an evening basically hauling drunks back to the barracks to keep them from getting into trouble. Here in Germany bars do not have to close at any time and if you do not yell a lot, puke or start a fight an establishment will literally serve you booze until you choose to leave, run out of money or die. I have seen people pass out on the bar for awhile to wake up and mumble enough semi coherent gibberish to get another drink stay in a bar here. On a side note it is very interesting what the Germans do and don't care about but that is for another day.

In most of America and Canada (haven't been out that late there in awhile but if I recall) bars and stores are required to stop selling alcohol at 2AM. In my honest opinion this is a good law because people just plain do not need to be out drinking or getting more booze past then. A few buddies sitting on the couch with a case of beer in the fridge and a bottle in the freezer is one thing but people out and about drinking or going to the store for more is another.

The libertarian perspective would be that an independent business owner has the right to keep their place open whenever they want and that people are free to choose what they do. For awhile in college I worked swing shift at a 711 right by campus on the weekend. We sold a lot of beer and some smokes and munchy food. In any case I observed a lot of party goers and drinkers while in a sober state. Even by a fairly adjusted standard not 1 in 10 people who came to buy beer anywhere close to 2AM needed any more to drink. If nothing else watching some guy who was so drunk he had lost his wallet/ ID and could not remember his social security number piss himself at 3AM a few weeks ago was a pretty stark example of why bars closing at 2AM (really like 1:45AM) is a good thing.

You could argue that whatever happens to these drunks is there choice or a product of it and be somewhat right. This however fails to take into account that often their drunken violent property damaging stupidity hurts well behaved responsible people. Casing point, drunks love to break glass. Actually I think everyone loves to break glass but drunks do it more often and to the wrong glass (store window, random car windshields, etc) far more than sober people. The old lady who happens to have owned a house for 20 years doesn't deserve to have her glass regularly broken because some guy decided to buy the corner house and turn it into a bar which doesn't close.

Matter of factly some freedom must be ceeded to a powerful entity called government in order to maintain some semblance of order. I think in choosing how much freedom we will retain as individuals and how much we will ceed to the beast that is government it is essential to consider reality, freedom and consequences in that order. Simply put for any prospective government/ political system we must first consider concrete reality, Not how we want things to be or people to behave but how things are and how people actually behave. Secondly I believe within a realistic framework people should retain their freedom until the probable and actual consequences of said freedom are not patatable to society.


Monday, October 12, 2009

quote of the day

" the long run the aggregate of decisions of individual businessmen, exercising individual judgments in a free economy, even if often mistaken, is less likely to do harm than the centralized decisions of a government; and certainly the harm is likely to be counteracted faster."
-John Cowperthwaite (colonial financial secretary, Hong Kong)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

This is For All The Anarchists and No Government Types: How Do You Think It Would Work?

Honestly I'm not trying to pick a fight or an argument or anything else. I genuinely want to understand your views and how you think that having no government at all would actually work. My life experiences have shown me that we need at least some rules because without them people basically do anything they think they can get away with, heck we have rules now and people still pretty much do everything they think they can get away with.

I just don't understand what life experiences folks have had that could lead them to believe that everything would be great and hunky dory without any sort of government/ police/ rule of law.

Do keep in mind that I am a practical concrete sort of guy. I do not care about "what should be" or "how people should behave" or "what could work"; these are nice theoretical discussions to have but I am interested in what is and what real people do in the real world.

Do you genuinely believe Anarchy or some super limited essentially Anarchy lite sort of situation would work in the real world?

If so how do you think it would work? Do you think people would be safe and free to move about, earn, spend and generally conduct business? What life experiences have lead you to believe this sort of system (or lack of a more comprehensive one) would work?

I get comments which allude to or talk briefly about this sort of system (or more properly lack of a system) but really want to hear your full thoughts on how you think it would actually work.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

quote of the day

"It is not a government function to help you out."

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Freedom Study

George Mason University has just completed a study indicating which states have the most, and least, personal liberty. I haven't read it, but it might be worth checking out.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Good News

Recently TheOtherRyan pointed out that people are starting to get shell-shocked out of blogging because of the large amounts of bad news which seems to be the world nowadays. I thought I would share some of the good news, or at least silver lining, I have seen recently.

Story 1: California talks about legalizing pot
To start with, I am not a pot smoker. Personally, it makes me paranoid (more so than normal, which is a fairly high start point) and I am just not a fan of sitting around staring at the walls. However, that doesn't give me the right to tell other people who seem to enjoy it what to do. People say its a gateway drug, ect... And they might be right. However, people using (or abusing) liberty is one of the things that living in a free society provides. I think this is a huge step forward on the personal liberties front in the war against insane government. A few years ago, this proposal would just be another crazy idea, from some crazy guy from San Fransisco, in the crazy state of California, and would quickly disappear. This time around, with California's budget deficit making GM look solvent, it might actually deserve a second look.

Story 2: CNN warns of gun rights being taken away

Last night, Lew Dobbs again raised the hue and cry about the attacks on the second amendment last night. Now this is a case of silver lining. Downside, the government is determined, post Heller v. DC, to see how far they can go. Sliver lining, when even CNN is running pro-firearm pieces, there has been a fundemental shift in at least that media source, and, I think, this is a good thing. Now, for the most part, CNN has its issues, but in the past, I cannot remember a time when they had a pro-gun stance. This might be the beginning of a shift in public perception about firearms.

Story 3: Monkey Cartoon and the First Amendment
Now again, this is a silver lining case. Last night CNN ran a couple stories about how Rev. Sharpton is trying like hell to punish the NY Post over its monkey cartoon, and is trying petitioning the SEC to start an emergency investigation, in retribution for the cartoon. If he wants to protest, fine, go with God. If he wants to bring in the federal government to punish a news paper for printing something he doesn't agree with, that's a constitutional violation. The silver lining, again, even CNN is calling what he is doing insane, and an attack on the fundamental freedoms in the first amendment. I never thought I would see the day where CNN was at odds with the NAACP and Rev. Sharpton. This is defiantly a move in the right direction.

On a personal note, its Ash Wednesday, so I was at mass at 7 this morning, getting ash put on my forehead. Thus far, people have been staring at me all day in school, pointing out the I have some shit on my face, and asking what the ash is all about. I didn't know that Ash Wednesday was such a well kept secret. If you don't know why all the crazy Catholics are walking around like idiots, check this out.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Different Constitutional Views

Recently, thanks to some of my various classes, I have been reading a whole hell of a lot of SCOUS cases. There are, beyond liberal and conservative, or textualist and living document, 2 themes which arise out of them, focusing on the scope of personal liberties under the bill of rights, and the power of federal government under Art. 1 Section 8.

In essence, the "liberal" justices believe that Art. 1 Sec 8 gives the federal government almost unlimited power, and that the scope of the bill of rights is very broad. The "conservative" justices believe that the federal government has very limited power, with a very narrow interpretation of the bill of rights. Taken together, these philosophies make sense. If the federal government doesn't have much power, than there is no reason to have very broad rights. If the federal government has broad power, than it makes sense to have expansive rights.

Here is the problem. Through the due process clause of the 14 Amendment, the federal constitutional rights apply to the states. Unlike the federal government, states have sweeping authority. This becomes problematic because if constitutional rights have a narrow scope, they impose few limits on the states, but if they have broad application, it infers expansive federal power. It is inferred because when interpreting the federal bill of rights, it is important to recognize how they relate to the constitution they amend. Expensive rights means that the government has the ability to regulate those areas.

I believe that to achieve the maxium liberty, we should follow the scheme created by the founders, that being, limited federal power, limited constitutional rights under the federal constitution. More liberty can be achieved through independent state constitutions, which are easier to amend, and have free range to create their own interpretations outside SCOUS. There would be some states which would have liberty, NY and California, but other states would be free to expand liberty to its logical extremes, creating a patchwork of system. This would allow the principle tenant of libertarian ideals, leave other people alone, alive and well. It would be possible for people to live in states with the system that suits them best, and stop running to the federal constitution when ever they have a grievance.

Now I think we have gone too far to have this actually happen, but this, in my not so humble opinion, would be the best system.
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