Archive for category: Libertarianism

Growing Militancy Within Police

08 Aug
August 8, 2013

I just finished Radley Balko’s Rise of the Warrior Cop. I found it to be a well-researched commentary on the growth of SWAT units and their use in increasingly mundane police work. I highly recommend it.

Some items of note:

1. The Castle Doctrine. Those of us in the RKBA are well aware of the Castle Doctrine in self-defense against criminals, but Balko delves deep into its original uses against government invasion of homes. Particular of note is how the Castle Doctrine helped to frame both the Third and Fourth Amendments. Balko also details the eroding of the Castle Doctrine in regards to the police.

2. The War on Drugs. Our Puritan war against people using drugs has done two major things – helped erode Constitutional protections against police intrusion/invasions and lavished federal funding for police to act in more militant ways.

3. SWAT teams. There are very good reasons for having a SWAT team. Situations where the risk of not doing something is higher than the risk of using very violent tactics. Hostage rescue and active shooter events would be two very good examples. Fortunately, those situations are extremely rare. Unfortunately, that means SWAT teams have a lot of available time to be put into use where they introduce a level of violence that is at best counterproductive, and at worst, needlessly cost lives.

I remember when I started getting into guns around 16. I was reading Cooper’s Corner in the back of a Guns & Ammo magazine about how cops should conduct their duties in police uniforms not in balaclava-hooded tactical garb. At the time, I thought Col. Cooper was being old-fashioned and out of touch with current realities. Now, I think he was spot on.

Friday Quote – 7/26/13

26 Jul
July 26, 2013

Peace is not merely the absence of violence, but the presence of justice.

I heard this in Ghost In the Shell. From my research, it’s a derivative of a quote by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

True peace is not merely the absence of tension: it is the presence of justice.

This is how I judge when someone calls for peace. Will there be real peace, or merely a cessation of conflict? One of those lessons learned by studying history is that a peace without justice inevitably leads back to war, and usually a more bitter war.

Aren’t They Supposed to be Civilized?

20 Jul
July 20, 2013

A 24-year-old Norwegian woman went to Dubai earlier this year. In March, she went out with some friends and was raped. When she reported the assault, she was arrested for extra-marital sex, drinking alcohol, and perjury.

Now, she’s been convicted and sentenced to 16 months in jail. The only bright spot in this, is that it looks like Dubai police are dragging their feet in actually bringing her into custody as she appeals.

Here’s the part that just pissed me off to no end:

According to the Emirates Centre for Human Rights, UAE law states a rape conviction can only be secured after a confession or as the result of testimony from four adult male witnesses to the crime.

(emphasis mine)

Really, so physical evidence doesn’t count? How about female witnesses? Exactly where is the justice in this?

Before anyone dismisses this as one of those “backward Muslim things,” please remember that it wasn’t that long ago that victims of rape were shamed because of Christian attitudes to sex. Please tell me how either helped the victims receive justice?

Update: She’s been pardoned and free to return to her home.

Friday Quote – 7/12/13

12 Jul
July 12, 2013
The political left’s welfare state makes poverty more comfortable, while penalizing attempts to rise out of poverty. Unless we believe that some people are predestined to be poor, the left’s agenda is a disservice to them, as well as to society.

Dr. Thomas Sowell, economist

I understand the human need to alleviate suffering, but I believe the way is to provide opportunities for people to succeed. My brother often says “A hand up, not a hand out.” I think that tends to summarize my idea of charity as well.

Frakking Fracking

08 Jul
July 8, 2013

Ronald Bailey, Reason’s science correspondent, put out “The Top 5 Lies About Fracking.

You need to RTWT, but the biggest takeaway from this article is that fracking is like most industrial processes. If done properly, there is minimal impact. Done improperly, and it causes harm to others.

So who sets the standards? I’m more inclined for industry to set standards because they are going to be more knowledgable and have more to lose. Others may think that a government agency or agencies should set the standard. Considering what those agencies have done to accounting and pharmaceutical development (through the SEC and the FDA), I’m not as certain.

The Chilling Of Liberty

05 Jul
July 5, 2013

Via Tam comes this:

Remember the TJIC incident?

Well, TJIC got his Massachusetts FID* reissued, and has reapplied for an MA LTC**.

Now the local po-po*** is surrounding his crib, wanting to inspect the premises. Without a warrant. In the suburbs of Boston. On Independence Day.

Is irony dead in this country?

I’d type more, but I’m on the phone with casa de TJIC and I need to light the beacon fire…

From the comments, TJIC provides a SITREP:

At the end, some of the cops who ransacked the house tried to shake hands with me. “No hard feelings”.

I refused and said “Gentlemen, please think about what you’re doing. On the fourth of july, the day we celebrate freedom, you stole legally owned firearms from a women who is engaged to a guy who made a joke you don’t like. You are not the good guys. You are ‘just doing your jobs’. Look in the mirror. You’re the bad guys.”

Response: “I’m sorry you feel that way. Have a good Fourth.”

My lawyer says that there’s a decent chance I may yet be arrested.

And with that, I should probably go radio silent for a while.

TJIC and his fiancée are now looking to escape Massachusetts.

H/t Tam, John, Weerd, ah hell, the entire gun blog community.

Friday Quote – 6/21/13

21 Jun
June 21, 2013
Hence, likewise, they will avoid the necessity of those overgrown military establishments which, under any form of government, are inauspicious to liberty, and which are to be regarded as particularly hostile to republican liberty. In this sense it is that your union ought to be considered as a main prop of your liberty, and that the love of the one ought to endear to you the preservation of the other.

George Washington, First President of the United States, in his Farewell Address

If these last two weeks have proved anything, it is that our national-security complex (military establishments) have clearly decided that our individual liberties are less important than their need for information. What’s worse, a majority of Americans seem to agree with them.

Friday Quote – 6/14/13

14 Jun
June 14, 2013

That rifle on the wall of the labourer’s cottage or working class flat is the symbol of democracy. It is our job to see that it stays there.

George Orwell, author

In an egalitarian society, where all people are equal under the law, the ultimate expression of that equality is the common ownership of deadly weapons. It is more than an armed society being a polite society, but the realization that the populace has the means at its disposal to resist tyranny.

H/t to reader David for sending me a bunch of quotes to use.

Why Exactly Do They Need That?

06 Jun
June 6, 2013

The Guardian managed to obtain a copy of a FISA court order to Verizon that demands a log be provided to the NSA for all calls made on Verizon’s network for a three-month period ending July 19, 2013. This log is supposed to provide the calling and receiving phone numbers, time of call, duration, and location data.

First question, was Verizon the only telecom served with one of these, or was it the only court order leaked to the press? I could see Verizon being targeted because it is the largest, but if FISA was willing to issue this kind of order for one telecom, I don’t see NSA stopping with Verizon.

Second question, what the hell does the NSA need with all of that data? If it’s pursuant to an on-going investigation, then the agency should have been able to narrow the scope of their request. If it’s just data mining, then FISA should’ve told NSA to go to hell. FISA is supposed to a safeguard against this kind of unconstitutional overreach, not a damn rubber stamp.

Third question, what’s going to happen to all that data when/if the NSA’s investigation ends? I have a nasty feeling that the entire data will find its way to one of NSA’s servers, “just in case” those records might be needed again.

Fourth question, what other governmental entities will have access to that trove of data gathered under the FISA order? If the Feds can use the provisions of the PATRIOT Act to fight the War on Drugs in addition to the War on Terror, then I can’t see this data not being used for purposes beyond what the NSA “needs.”

Final question, will this generate any outrage beyond the chattering classes? I’d like to think so, but I’m skeptical.

Already, it’s being reported that a couple of senators are defending the NSA’s actions because “they’ve doing it for years and it’s produced results.” Exactly how is that supposed to make me feel better?

Maybe Rand Paul will do another filibuster about this.

Interesting Goings-On in British Youth

05 Jun
June 5, 2013

The Economist is reporting on the rise of classical liberalism amongst the youth of Britain.

Experimenters with new technologies, fashions and ideas, young people in Britain and elsewhere have long tweaked established social institutions. But their iconoclasm goes further than this. Young Britons are classical liberals: as well as prizing social freedom, they believe in low taxes, limited welfare and personal responsibility. In America they would be called libertarians.

More than two-thirds of people born before 1939 consider the welfare state “one of Britain’s proudest achievements”. Less than one-third of those born after 1979 say the same. According to the BSA, members of Generation Y are not just half as likely as older people to consider it the state’s responsibility to cover the costs of residential care in old age. They are also more likely to take such a hard-hearted view than were members of the famously jaded Generation X (born between 1966 and 1979) at the same stage of life.

One of the causes of this rise of British libertarianism, according to the Economist, may be because the young are seeing more of their pay taken by the state, but seeing less benefits.

This doesn’t mean we’ll see another Thatcher-ite government rising soon. Young people in Britain, as in America, are not a reliable voting bloc (like the pensioners are). It does mean that as these young people mature, they will bring new ideas and demand different solutions, possibly non-governmental solutions.

When I was married, my father-in-law was from around Liverpool. We were discussing the differences in American and British attitudes. He told me that the British attitude was “we’ll tell the government what the problem is, and they will find the solution.” My response was that most Americans were more of “here’s the few problems we think the government should solve, and for all others, the government should stay the hell out of our way.” I still think this is true for most Americans. We may disagree on the scope of problems the state should handle, but most people would like to be free to handle their own challenges without interference.

This is also gives me hope that we are seeing the frontrunners of a new libertarianism in America. Particularly as the baby-boomers start transitioning from workers to pensioners, the young will start seeing their taxes rise without the promise of having the same benefits of their parents and grandparents.