Archive for category: Libertarianism

The Law Is Violence

16 Jul
July 16, 2018

The Atlantic published an article quoting a Yale professor on how ultimately the law rests on the use of violence. It’s pretty much just quoting Professor Stephen L. Carter, but the man’s writing is good enough that I’m going to lift the intro. Just RTWT.

Law professors and lawyers instinctively shy away from considering the problem of law’s violence. Every law is violent. We try not to think about this, but we should. On the first day of law school, I tell my Contracts students never to argue for invoking the power of law except in a cause for which they are willing to kill. They are suitably astonished, and often annoyed. But I point out that even a breach of contract requires a judicial remedy; and if the breacher will not pay damages, the sheriff will sequester his house and goods; and if he resists the forced sale of his property, the sheriff might have to shoot him.

This is by no means an argument against having laws.

It is an argument for a degree of humility as we choose which of the many things we may not like to make illegal. Behind every exercise of law stands the sheriff – or the SWAT team – or if necessary the National Guard. Is this an exaggeration? Ask the family of Eric Garner, who died as a result of a decision to crack down on the sale of untaxed cigarettes. That’s the crime for which he was being arrested. Yes, yes, the police were the proximate cause of his death, but the crackdown was a political decree.

The pithy saying is don’t advocate for any law you wouldn’t want someone to kill a member of your family over.

Friday Quote- Frederick Douglass

13 Jul
July 13, 2018

To suppress free speech is a double wrong. It violates the rights of the hearer as well as those of the speaker.

Reason Article Barrage!

11 Jul
July 11, 2018

Cleaning up some open tabs. As my readers should know, Reason magazine is where I get a lot of my news and analysis.

California Supreme Court Rules Impossible Laws Are Constitutional Basically, the court says impossibility can be a defense, but does not invalidate the law. Okay, I can understand that concept in theory, but it has real world costs for people forced to defend themselves from overzealous prosecutors enforcing this bullshit law. This is the kind of legal wonky ruling that reduces confidence in legal thinkers.

Illinois Court Rules That Police Can’t Arrest A Person For Carrying a Gun Without Checking For Valid Permit. This kind of balances out the previous article. I’d say I was surprised it came out of Illinois, but their courts have been much better on RKBA than the legislature.

A federal judge has blocked Tennessee’s practice of suspending driver’s licenses for unpaid court fees without first determining if the debtors are too poor to pay. This is a good step to remedying the vicious cycle of fines, suspension, jail that plagued the lower income communities.

Reason Is Concerned That the Recent Loss by the Southern Poverty Law Center Could be a Threat to Free Speech. I understand the concern that defamation suits can have a chilling effect on speech, which is why I support strong Anti-SLAPP laws. I will also admit to my own schadenfreude against the SPLC.

DC Taxes the Hell Out of Ride Sharing to Prop Up Broken Metro System. In my trips to DC, I’ve never had to deal with the numerous issues plaguing the Metro. That being said, with the coming changes in vehicles (automation and electric), I can’t support additional taxes to rail that is on its way out, much less an agency as troubled as the Metro.

Union Dues

05 Jul
July 5, 2018

So, we now have the US Supreme Court telling public sector unions that they can’t force employees to pay dues because those dues are used for speech that the employee has no say in or actively opposes. Some are calling this the death of unions, which I don’t think is necessarily a good thing. I’m hoping it will force a change in how unions operate.

I think public sector unions need to be abolished or substantially overhauled. There’s a governor on private sector unions in as much that if they have to balance the firm’s survival with their demands. Management has to balance the unions’ demands with the survival of the firm. Neither can force a third party with violence to support both the survival of the firm and the unions’ demands.

However, I can also understand wanting to band together to prevent management from forcing bad pay and working conditions. I also understand how the government, in its role as an employer, may want to have one negotiation covering as many employees as possible instead of hundreds or thousands of individual employment contracts. So, how to address all of these competing concerns?

My solution would be forcing a wall between the union’s bargaining activities and its political activities. I’m thinking how the NRA must separate out its political activities (by way of the NRA-ILA) and its educational activities. The bargaining fund could only be used for bargaining activities with management, and not be used for political donations or speech. A fee per employee could be assessed because each employee is using the union services for that bargaining. Any other service that the union would provide (health care, pension, grievances) should be through non-compelled membership. If union leadership wants to ask for political donations to support candidates, then those donations should be in a specific political fund for those activities.

There is a union at the day job. I don’t want to join it both because I dislike how they handle employee-management relations as well as just disliking public sector unions in concept. I’d be more willing to pay a fee for bargaining if I knew that it wasn’t going to be used to pay for speech that I strongly oppose or advocate for employees that really need to leave government service.

Maybe this ruling will force the changes I want to see.

Well, That Was A Hell of Week

25 Jun
June 25, 2018

A flurry of important Supreme Court decisions that will probably take a few years for the full import to become clear.

The big one was the ruling that states could force companies who have no physical presence to collect sales tax for the states. This will definitely have a chilling effect on internet sales, which has thrived on relying on the customer to pay the appropriate sales tax to the state instead of being the revenue agent. One thing that was brought up but not adequately discussed is that the law the Supreme Court upheld had an exemption for businesses under a specified threshold ($100,000 in sales or 200 separate deliveries). Would a law without that threshold still be valid under this ruling?

The next big one was the ruling that cops need a warrant before obtaining cell phone records. According to this analysis, Gorusch’s dissent is more of a concurrence with the result but dissent on the logic made to reach the decision.

Another important decision that will probably fly under the radar, the court decided that Administrative Law Judges needed to be appointed by the president or delegate and not simply by the bureaucracy. Considering the width and breadth of department regulations taking the place of actual laws, this at least makes those who decide in adversarial proceedings more accountable to the political will instead of the bureaucracy.

This has been a most interesting session.

Friday Quote- Piper Smith

22 Jun
June 22, 2018

“If you’re fighting homophobia but not hoplophobia you’re doing it wrong.

If you’re fighting hoplophobia but not homophobia you’re also doing it wrong.”

Social Security Going Broke Faster

07 Jun
June 7, 2018

People, particularly Boomers, hate when I inform them that Social Security is not a pension – it’s welfare that’s paid with its own special tax. I get all sorts of vitriol like “we paid into the system” or “Congress stole our money” or that it’s somehow solvent because all of the IOUs in the Social Security fund are backed by the US government. Yeah, no. A government program that takes money from taxpayers and gives it to other taxpayers is welfare. The moment it leaves your paycheck it’s no longer your money. There is no lock box. It’s just a government slush fund.

That slush fund is projected to be insolvent in 2034, or just sixteen years from now. Which considering Social Security is one of the four biggest expenditures of the fed, is kind of scary. Worse, Medicare, another of the big four, will go broke in 2026, just eight years from now. What this means is that instead of money coming out of those funds to supplement the federal budget, the programs will need additional money to maintain services. Since Congress is loathe to either cut spending or significantly raise taxes, they will go to the tried and true method of borrowing more money.

That will work – for a while. Maybe even a long while. At some point, the federal government will be forced to make some very unpalatable choices. Because there will come a point when tax revenues and the credit of the American government will be outstripped by entitlements, interest, and the defense budget.

Personally, I’d like to see a phase out of Social Security and Medicare to private accounts. While I’m not a fan of government welfare, I could at least semi-support targeted welfare for those in need instead of the blanket welfare approach of the current programs.

For my Gen X and Millienial readers, the big takeaway is do not include Social Security in your retirement planning. Of you’re like me and don’t pay into Social Security because you pay into a pension plan, don’t count on that for retirement. Only count on what you can expect to receive from investments. There’s a damn good chance that there won’t be anything for us.

Friday Quote – Erin Pallette

01 Jun
June 1, 2018

If you think the NFL was right to dump Kaepernick but ABC was wrong to dump Roseanne, you’re likely a conservative who doesn’t understand business decisions.

If you think ABC was right to dump Roseanne but the NFL was wrong to dump Kaepernick, you’re likely a progressive who doesn’t understand business decisions.

In either case, you’re a hypocrite.

One of the more pithy summations is why we need to foster a culture of free speech, not just scream “First Amendment!”

My Message To Publix

30 May
May 30, 2018

I am getting so tired of everything must be dragged into the political. If anything doesn’t toe the party line exactly, it must be destroyed. Publix recently got dragged into this when one side got mad about the company’s donations to a Republican politician, and then the other side got mad because Publix decided the backlash was enough to kill all of its political contributions.

I’m fucking tired of it. Here’s the message I sent to Publix:

I am sorry to see Publix being dragged through the mud by both sides in this latest flare up. I fully support Public’s right to contribute to causes and persons it chooses. I also support Publix’s decision to no longer contribute.

I have been a lifelong Publix customer and will continue to be so. I have joked with coworkers about refusing to move to any place that doesn’t have a Publix. For all the talk of boycotts, please know there are plenty of us who will continue to patronize your stores. Because Publix means high quality, excellent prices, and outstanding staff. As long as those continue to be core pillars for Publix, you will have my business.

Tab Clearing

17 May
May 17, 2018

I’m borrowing Tam’s title and clearing out articles that I meant to do full posts on.

Teaching Situational Awareness to Kids – Because I have two in my life, and I’d kinda like to keep them out of danger.

The Economist saying how wonderful universal health care is for all nations. This was one I wanted to fisk, but I’d recommend reading it to understand how the proponents think.

Syrian Metal Is War – Yeah, like I could scroll past that article.

[Finland ends its universal basic income experiment.(https://fee.org/articles/finland-ends-its-experiment-with-universal-basic-income/?utm_source=zapier&utm) I like the concept of a basic income that replaces all other welfare programs. It just doesn’t seem viable in the real world.

Start-ups make an alternative for braces, and the dental groups rent seek. – I hate when businesses use the violence of government to keep others out of the market.

The Volokh Conspiracy has an excellent column on not supporting laws you wouldn’t kill someone to enforce. Honestly, that would be an interesting bit of mandatory language in any law that assesses a criminal or civil penalty. Make the legislators affirm that this is important enough to possibly kill someone over.

A surprising column from The Atlantic on cultural appropriation. I swear to FSM that I would laugh in the face of any person foolish enough to accuse me of that. Or denigrate.

That’s all for now. I’ll probably need to do this again.