Friday, February 29, 2008

And now for something a little different..

Back on the Western Standard:

'Please listen to RP before we find a "made in china" code bar on the neck of every Americans.'

50 years in the future...

We didn't listen to his message of liberty and limited government.

We didn't build a wall to keep the brown people out.

We spit on the gold standard.

Now China and the Bildebergs own America. The forces of the one world government round up every American they can find, bringing them to the Wal-Mart, where cybernetic "greeters" implant them with chips and tattoo "Made in China" on their necks.

Everyone is the property of the government. The Supreme Court of the United States forces all the states to provide abortions free of charge to the lesbian couples whose marriages it forced the states to recognize five years before.

Oh! If only we had listened to Ron Paul! If only we had abolished the 14th Amendment and the income tax. None of this would have happened. Without the support of the government, Wal-mart would be a little mom and pop operation, and some other, more virtuous capitalist enterprise would have taken its place.

Without the 14th Amendment, state legislatures would NEVER violate the privileges and immunities of their citizens. As everyone now knows, only the federal government is capable of being irrational (which means: evil; which means: anti-life; which means: A is not A.)

But instead of listening to Ron Paul, we allowed him to lose his seat in Congress. After that, he disappeared, and no one ever saw him again, except...

40 years ago, a cadre of Ron Paul acolytes living in Silicon Valley invented the Real Freedom Train, a time machine that could send Ron Paul, and only Ron Paul, into the future. For you see, just before their execution, Lew Rockwell and Hans Herman Hoppe were able to send a message back to our time, warning us of the future to come.

And the acolytes -- these plucky "Ronulans" -- listened, using the power of rationality to construct a machine that is now the only hope of our salvation. They will send Ron Paul into the future, where his message of limited government and individual liberty will finally be welcomed.

Wal-Mart's days are numbered! The Bildebergs had better pack up their bags and run away! Once Ron Paul is in charge and taxes are abolished, all corporations will be small and nice to people, and they will never, ever import products from China.

Click here to find see what this is all about. :)

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Ok, now I have to post this.

But, damn it, someone IS wrong on the Internet (and it's probably a Ron Paul supporter!)

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Thursday, February 14, 2008

Ban On Sex Toys Overturned; Ron Paul dismayed.

...but not in time for Valentine's Day, unfortunately.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals cited Lawrence v. Texas in its ruling. Here's a nice quote:

"Just as in Lawrence, the state here wants to use its laws to enforce a public moral code by restricting private intimate conduct," the appeals judges wrote. "The case is not about public sex. It is not about controlling commerce in sex. It is about controlling what people do in the privacy of their own homes because the state is morally opposed to a certain type of consensual private intimate conduct. This is an insufficient justification after Lawrence."
This is excellent news, and implies Lawrence is as significant as Randy Barnett suggested. A libertarian revolution is truly in the works, and it's flying in the teeth of Ron Paul's failing "rEVOLution" -- a movement that would have stripped federal courts of the power to strike down oppressive laws like the one in Texas.

Good for the court. Too bad for Ron Paul. The individual's right to live her life as she sees fit trumps the "liberty" of the mob to tell her what to do in the privacy of her own home.

Since Ron Paul is all about amending the Constitution to fight the hordes of pregnant brown women streaming over the Mexican border, why hasn't be proposed an amendment explicitly saying that the Bill of Rights applies to the states as much as to the federal government?

Think what that would do to ensure freedom of the individual. Think about what an amendment enshrining Barnett's "presumption in favor of liberty" into law would do.

As a libertarian, I'm glad Ron Paul's bid for the Republican nomination is circling the drain.

Hat tip: A Stitch in Haste

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Huckabee on Abortion

Ok, we've bashed around Ron Paul long enough. It's time to say a few words about Mike Huckabee, specifically on the issue of abortion. I quote from this article:

"It's the logic of the Civil War," Huckabee said Sunday, comparing abortion rights to slavery. "If morality is the point here, and if it's right or wrong, not just a political question, then you can't have 50 different versions of what's right and what's wrong...For those of us for whom this is a moral question, you can't simply have 50 different versions of what's right.
I give Huckabee credit here: as far as abortion prohibition goes, he's not taking the road of the sly and cowardly Dr. Paul. Paul, as you should remember, just tried to change the legal definition of person so that it would also include zygotes, while simultaneously claiming he was leaving the abortion issue for each state to decide (ignoring the ramifications of the Equal Protection clause of the 14th Amendment.)

Nope. Mike Huckabee is all for biting the bullet Ronald Dworkin fired in one of his books (I forget which one), in which he claimed that, if anti-abortion folk really believe abortion is murder, why don't they also believe it should be banned across the country?

Ron Paul ducks the bullet, but Mike Huckabee has shown he's willing to embrace it. Enthusiastic about it, even. Huckabee thinks that states should have no choice but to ban abortion. According to Huckabee, Massachusetts, California, and other liberal enclaves should have the same abortion policy as Mississippi, Arkansas, and Alabama. 

Over at Lew Rockwell's blog, the neo-Confederate jackals are suggesting Huckabee probably couldn't explain the concept of federalism without the aid of a dictionary. And they're wrong, as usual.

Here's a little hint for them: federalism doesn't mean every state gets to decide each and every policy issue on its own. If that were so, then each state would be a separate, sovereign nation. Perhaps that's the world Lew Rockwell and friends want, since they're such big fans of southern secession and all.

Federalism leaves some decisions up to the states, and puts others under the authority of the federal government. This is all set out in a fairly short document known as the Constitution of the United States of America.

But, as Huckabee would admit, you can't just pass the buck to the Constitution. You have to ask the further question, which decisions in particular should be left up to states to decide, and which ones should rest with the federal government? By what criteria should we decide?

Now some decisions just can't be made effectively at a state level, for all the reasons that came to light during the time of the Articles of Confederation. There are good, practical reasons to put certain decisions under the control of the federal government, rather than leaving them for each state to decide separately. You can find a series of arguments concerning which decisions should be left for the federal government to decide and why in a handy-dandy series of articles we now know as the Federalist Papers. The articles were written by these guys, James Madison and Alexander Hamilton. With some help from their pal John Jay.

In any event, practicality isn't the only reason to delegate authority over some issue to the federal government. The United States would not cease to function if a few states stopped women from voting, or allowed the enslavement of blacks. Practicality is not the only (or even the most important) reason to support the 13th and 19th Amendments. Prohibiting slavery and enshrining universal suffrage is also a matter of justice.

Huckabee is a great communicator, but his argument in the above quotation is unsubtle. It's not the case that every issue involving right and wrong must be settled at the federal level. Sometimes it might be better to allow state legislatures to decide wrongly, but freely, then to impose the morally best policy on all of the states.

But issues of justice can't be left up to the states. One might think that it is simply not permissible to allow certain states to enact truly unjust policy, and there is no question that abortion opponents consider the legalization of abortion deeply, deeply unjust. On issues of justice, one might believe, it is simply not possible to "let a thousand flowers bloom." It was wrong to even allow other states to allow their citizens to keep other human beings as slaves. It was unjust.

So I think Huckabee is right: if abortion is the killing of a person, if it is an issue of justice, then it is simply immoral to allow the practice to continue anywhere within the United States. And I think Ron Paul is incoherent to hold both that abortion is the killing of a person and that states should be able to decide whether to allow the practice to continue or not.

If Ron Paul believes what he says about abortion, then he ought to bite the same bullet as Huckabee, and "states' rights" be damned.

Of course, one could deny that abortion is the killing of a person in the relevant sense -- that it is not, in fact, an issue of justice. And one could hold, further, that ensuring the autonomy of women is an issue of justice. If this is what one believes, then one should support neither Mike Huckabee or Ron Paul. But the neo-Confederates are wrong to suggest that Huckabee's anti-abortion policy shows that he is ignorant about federalism.

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Monday, February 11, 2008

The Great Ron Paul Bait-n-Switch

So Ron Paul is scaling back his campaign. What's he going to do with all his money?

Well, 30 million dollars will practically guarantee he keeps his Congressional seat, probably in perpetuity, or however long his life lasts (I know, I know, the rEVOLution is eternal.)

And before anyone suggests that he can't use money donated to one campaign to benefit another, check out this. He can't transfer any money while he's actively seeking two offices simultaneously, but once he gives up on his Republican nomination campaign, no laws prohibit him from using the money to secure his seat in the House of Representatives.

Kind of ingenious, actually. Not that I'm accusing him of, you know, planning this from the start.

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Thursday, February 7, 2008

Beating a dead horse

From the Smoking Gun comes the case of Christopher Holder, 19, arrested in Florida for using the word "motherfucker."

Actually, he was charged with disorderly conduct. Or, as the sheriff's report put it (and how does the Smoking Gun get those, anyway?):

"As a result of Holder's loud profanity outraging Amy Churchill's sense of public decency and affecting the peace and quiet of Churchill and her children, Holder was taken into custody for disorderly conduct."
I don't really think people should be arrested for offending Amy Churchill's sense of public decency, whatever that means. That's because of this little thing I believe in called "freedom of speech." And, unlike Ron Paul, I don't think states should have the "right" to squelch that freedom, just to protect the delicate sensibilities of Ms. Churchill and her two moppets (ages five and fourteen, according to TSG.)

Check here to learn from Dr. Paul what the First Amendment really means:
The First amendment acts as a simple check on federal power, ensuring that the federal government has no jurisdiction or authority whatsoever over religious issues. The phony "incorporation" doctrine, dreamed up by activist judges to pervert the plain meaning of the Constitution, was used once again by a federal court to assume jurisdiction over a case that constitutionally was none of its business.
Yes, damn that pesky doctrine of incorporation! Why should federal courts have the power to ensure state governments respect the inalienable rights of their citizens?
Similarly, the mythical separation of church and state doctrine has no historical or constitutional basis.
Oops. I didn't mean to quote that part. But can you really blame me? Do all the atheists and other secularists supporting Ron Paul (the ones who are left) know he doesn't believe in the separation of church and state? I mean, neither does Mike Huckabee, but at least his supporters are aware of that fact (indeed, that's probably why they're voting for him.)

Anyway, if you think Florida should have the right to arrest its citizens for using bad words, you should support Ron Paul. If you are not an idiot or a fascist, you should support... well, yourself, maybe.

Or instead of voting, make a sandwich for a homeless person. You'll do more good that way.

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What I've Been Doing Lately

Sorry for the light posting. Lately, I've been posting under my real name at the Western Standard's Shotgun blog. The WS has also published two of my articles, which I'll link to below:

Big City, Big Government (on government waste in Canada)

A New Declaration of Independence (a comparison of the Lakota secessionist movement in the United States to the drive for aboriginal self-government in Canada)

Unfortunately, one has to register to read either of these articles, but registration is free. Also, the Shotgun blog is home to some great discussion from a libertarian-conservative kind of perspective. Sometimes, I think I might be its most left-wing author. Weird, no?

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Response to Comments

Since I don't usually have dissenting commenters, I've decided to address their counter-arguments in a separate post. This isn't meant to be an attack on anyone -- on the contrary, I love dissent, and wish there was more of it around here. I thank those who left replies for their thoughtfulness and civility.

Anonymous at 10:57 pm says:

Not all of us are like Rockwell. I fully agree with Ron Paul that Fox and all the other networks have a right to do what they're doing because they are private companies. But it doesn't mean I have to watch them nor buy the products of their sponsors.

Granted. And that's the way libertarians ought to respond, which is what makes the statist revenge fantasies I've come across (not to mention the "hit list" referred to here) hard to explain.

Anonymous at 11:12 pm says:

The belief that politics should be local is why I do support a stronger
State. You have far more chance of managing your government the closer they are to your environment and needs...The Federal government is now a nation unto itself, it's the Hollywood of politics and it gets bigger, dumber and less in touch with local realities every single year. [Emphasis added.]

Let's grant the truth of the emphasized passage. It really is the case that I have a better chance of getting laws passed that impose my preferences at a more local level than at the federal level. And this is supposed to be a good thing? Is this the kind of freedom Ron Paul supporters are concerned about -- the freedom to tell people (usually those in the minority) what to do?

I dunno... as a libertarian, I've never been really interested in having that kind of freedom. You know, because I don't really believe in enforcing my preferences on others via the law. But I guess that makes me a war-mongering cosmotarian, or whatever term Lew Rockwell is using these days.

Tam at 12:00 am says:

[Ron Paul] is basically a Constitional Libertarian. meaning while he believes in liberty, he also believes in a strict interpration of the Constitution.

In your photo example, just as the Constitution does not allow the federal government to ban the display of such phots, it also doesn't get the fe gov the right to force the states to not ban such it.
There are two issues here: the first is the extent to which "constitutional libertarianism" is a consistent position. The second is the credibility of Ron Paul's supposed strict interpretation of the Constitution.

First, let's define a "small c" constitutional libertarian as a libertarian who a) believes in strong rights to life, liberty, and propery, and who b) thinks a strong, written constitution is one of the best means of guaranteeing those rights, as a matter of institutional fact. Now, a libertarian like this will have grounds to criticize a document like the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which, in its very first section, subjects the rights it recognizes to "reasonable limits." Such a libertarian will also criticize the Charter for the absence of any recognition of property rights.

To a constitutional libertarian (CL), the Charter is defective. It should be altered in a way that will expand people's liberties: Section 1 should be abolished; property rights should be added. And at no stage will the CL be willing to accept the constitution just as it is. At all times, he will want to adjust it in ways that will increase liberty, and decrease the amount of control government (any government) exercises over peoples' lives.

Ron Paul also wants to change the American Constitution in various ways. Unfortunately, it is unclear that all of his changes would actually increase liberty, instead of simply increasing state police power. For example, Ron Paul is not interested in adding to the Constitution some kind of explicit recognition that the First, Second, Fourth, and Fifth Amendments restrict the power of state governments just as they restrict the power of the federal government.

A good question to ask yourself is why a so-called Constitutional libertarian would not be interested in modifying the Constitution in this way, since doing so would increase individual liberty, while decreasing government power at all levels.

Second, Ron Paul calls himself a constitutionalist, but he seems to pick and choose the parts of the Constitution he's willing to accept. Note, there's nothing wrong with such selectivity. What is wrong is failing to recognize that one is being selective, all while berating other people for being selective in other ways. That's simply hypocrisy.

What does Ron Paul's interpretation of the Constitution seem to leave out? Primarily, the Fourteenth Amendment. But the doctrine of substantive due process, which is derived from that Amendment, culminating in the Lawrence decision is great from a libertarian point of view.

I've written a lot on this already. What I can't understand is why an American "libertarian constitutionalist" would reject the Fourteenth Amendment. It would be like a Canadian LC wholeheartedly accepting Section 1 of the Charter.

Anonymous at 6:40 am says:

What would be the difference between the government having the power to censor the aforementioned photo and the state having the power? I don't want a born again Christian from Alabama telling me what i can and can't see (hence the dislike of a sprawling federal government).

But this is a false dichotomy. It is not the case that if state governments do not have the power to violate the First Amendment than necessarily the federal government will have that power. Maybe nobody should have that power. That's essentially what the Supreme Court decided in Cohen v. California, and their ruling was based on the First and Fourteenth Amendments

I'm a libertarian: I don't think anybody should be able to limit your freedom of speech, whether the mob in a state legislature supports that limitation or not. I agree with the Supreme Court's decision in Cohen v. California. Do Ron Paul supporters wish that case had been decided differently?

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

On The Contradictions and Revenge Fantasies of Ron Paul's Supporters

Over at A Stitch In Haste, Kip Esq. has some thoughtful observations about the following:

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Police confiscated two display photos of scantily clad men and a woman from an Abercrombie & Fitch store and cited the manager on a misdemeanor obscenity charge, authorities said.
City code makes it a crime to display "obscene materials in a business that is open to juveniles," Bernstein said.
Call this exhibit #1. As Kip points out, the offending posters, one of which you can see below, do not remotely qualify as obscene according to the Supreme Court's interpretation of the Constitution.

However, as Kip also points out, according to Ron Paul's interpretation of the Constitution, the local or state government would be well within their rights to ban stores from using photos like this one.

Which brings us to exhibit #2. This is only one example of the kind of thing we're going to see from Ron Paul supporters as the "good doctor's" campaign slides into the abyss: revenge fantasies, especially against the media, the source of all their troubles (or so they seem to believe.)

"TommyzDad", a "Senior Member" over at the RonPaulForums, asks, "What kind of 'payback' would you like to see extracted from the MSM when Dr. Paul wins the House?" I will reproduce the first reply to his question in its entirety. Interestingly enough, the poster's user name is "Rockwell":
Immediately suspend their license for 90 days and freeze all assets from sale or transfer.

Hold public hearings to allow for any complaint from the citizenry, investigate. Issue subpoenas and take depositions from all executives to respond to charges. If found in violation of FCC laws revoke licenses and suspend all rights to future broadcasting on public airways of any responsible parties. Forfeiture and siezure of all property, equpiment, assets of those networks found to be in violation and sell off such property with funds to be used for the general welfare.

Rewrite FCC guidelines to prohibit the use of public airwaves by any organization with more than X employees, or more than X assets. Mandatory non-profit status and salary/compensation caps.

I'm sure I could think of others, that's a good start.
Now, the last time I saw a revenge fantasy like this, it was on the Democratic Underground forum, and it was from some lefty venting his spleen at the insurance industry.

But these are Ron Paul supporters. They're supposed to reject the idea that the FCC should be allowed to regulate the news broadcasts while it seizes the property of those who fail to comply with its edicts. That's the revenge fantasy of a fascist, not a libertarian.

Moreover, it's unlikely Ron Paul would support expanding the power of the FCC to make the fantasy possible. I wonder if "Rockwell" knows that.

Which brings our two exhibits together. Do Ron Paul supporters even know what the good doctor really stands for? Do they know that, under Paul's interpretation of the Constitution, states could prohibit the display of photographs as mild as the one displayed above? That, on his interpretation, the California law that led Paul Robert Cohen to be prosecuted for wearing a "Fuck the Draft" jacket is a perfectly legitimate exercise of state police power?

I bet they don't. Or maybe they just don't care. But a general ignorance of the ramifications of Ron Paul's anti-federalist (but hardly pro-liberty) ideology would explain their failure to realize that it would drastically expand state police power, while explicitly limiting the federal government's power to enact the kind of revenge fantasy cited above.

Or, like I said, maybe they don't care about consistency. Or liberty. And that would make Ron Paul's acolytes no different, essentially, from the supporters of Hillary Clinton and John McCain.

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Ron Paul or Ritalin?

From the Daily Paul comes this post from, "ILUVRON2008", the father of a young Ron Paul supporter:

My 13 YO Son Just Turned on CNN & FLIPPED OUT! Yelling WHATS WRONG with these people! They are ruining the country for US!!

He was very upset when he turned the TV on and started watching the results. When he said US, he meant his age group, and said "I dont understand why the American people were so DUMB. Why dont they understand that Ron Paul is our only hope! They are ruining this for us when we grow up. Now we will have to move to another country!" He said as he banged his fist on the kitchen table.

I had to encourage him because I have literally never saw him so upset.
Christ, Mr. ILUVRON, your son sounds like he has an anger management problem. You should assure him that if Ron Paul loses you will move to a happier place, like Canada, where he can receive free psychiatric treatment for his condition.

Or you could stop shoving Dr. Paul down his throat all the time, Mr. ILUVRON. Because I'm sure he didn't get the idea that the failure to elect Ron Paul will mean the end of the United States from his own brain. You sound like one of the parents described here.

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