Posts tagged ‘libertarianism’

02/17/2012

Quote of the Indeterminate Time Interval – YEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAARGH

by wfgodbold

On an NRO post excoriating Santorum’s strong anti-libertarian bent, commenter YEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAARGH has this to say:

The problem with the Republican party today is that they are the party of Boromir: they don’t want to destroy the state, they want to use it for good. They mean well–as does Mr. Santorum–but that’s because, like Boromir, they don’t understand the problem.

I read something similar in a piece yesterday talking about how it’s all well and good that the Republicans want to cut departments and programs like PPACA, but what are they going to replace them with?

Why do they need to be replaced with anything? Most of te stuff the feds are tied up in isn’t any of their damn business in the first place, so why would any sane person who just cut the government replace it with anything at all?

I just want the government to leave me alone. And because I’m such a nice, friendly guy, I want the government to leave everyone else alone, too. Is that so much to ask?

11/18/2011

Quote of the Indeterminate Time Interval – Frederic Bastiat

by wfgodbold

While reading about the Bipartisan War on Liberty (and thereby getting further depressed), I saw this Bastiat quote in the comments:

Socialism, like the ancient ideas from which it springs, confuses the distinction between government and society. As a result of this, every time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all.

We disapprove of state education. Then the socialists say that we are opposed to any education. We object to a state religion. Then the socialists say that we want no religion at all. We object to a state-enforced equality. Then they say that we are against equality. And so on, and so on. It is as if the socialists were to accuse us of not wanting persons to eat because we do not want the state to raise grain.

What could I possibly add to that?

08/12/2011

I can barely stand Kotaku anymore

by wfgodbold

They take a perfectly nonpolitical news post about a Ponzi scheme some EVE Online players ran for months (and that ultimately netted the schemers the in-game equivalent of ~$51,000), and instead of just reporting the facts, they inject politics into it.

The closing paragraph reads:

The fund’s website has a full accounting of the eight month scam. They’ll face no official moderation, just in-game consequences should any of their fleeced investors have the scratch to come after them. See, this is how much fun/more awesome America would be if the Libertarians actually ran things, and so we should root for that and for Ron Paul to win the Republican presidential nomination, the end.

I don’t really expect anything better from Owen Good; he can’t seem to resist mocking political views he disagrees with in his video game writing, whether the subject has anything to do with gaming or not. I should have known better than to click the link when this story showed up in my RSS feed, but I was curious about how much dough the EVE Online misanthropes managed to get away with this time (a previous EVE heist made off with more than $17k).

Kotaku is ostensibly a gaming news site; if I were interesting in politicized claptrap, I’d read a blog (and by claptrap, I of course mean insightful commentary). Of course, Kotaku is a Gawker subsidiary, and libertarians are the group everyone loves to hate, so I suppose I shouldn’t be too surprised.

But I do wonder about one thing: do they pay him by the straw man, or is injecting his political opinion into nonpolitical gaming news merely a service he provides gratis?

Note: Even setting aside the idea of libertarians “running things,” I wonder if it’s occurred to Owen Good that this EVE Online scam is nothing compared to the Ponzi scheme FDR stuck us with. The damages we’re going to be stuck with when that bill comes due are going to be a hell of a lot more than a paltry $51k.

Note the second: This is my blog, and I can rant about politics and games in the same post if I want to; it is right there in the header, after all. Kotaku is supposed to be gaming news (it’s billed as “Kotaku, the Gamer’s Guide”); Gawker has their main site for political stuff, and I’m sure I’m not the only reader who would prefer they’d keep it there.

07/29/2011

John Stossel goes (almost) full libertarian on the budget…

by wfgodbold

And cuts so much you’d think he was emo. Entire departments get the axe, and by the end, he’s cut enough to get a $237 billion surplus.

That’s impressive enough; even if we cut that deeply, given the current debt situation, it would take more than sixty years to pay off the debt.

It’s a moot point, I suppose. No one in Washington is willing to cut enough to make a difference, and given baseline budgeting, any “cuts” are actually just reductions in the amount of increase.

Jerry Pournelle pointed out a couple days ago that because of how budget “cuts” are calculated, we could freeze spending at current levels for the next ten years and then claim that we “cut” $9.5 trillion.

Douglas Adams was wrong; bistromathics is kids’ play compared to bureaumathics.

07/11/2011

Radley Balko’s piece on why Caylee’s Law is a terrible idea is excellent

by wfgodbold

And the best quote is at the end, where he says:

The “flaw” that led to the Casey Anthony verdict is pretty straightforward: The state failed to prove its case. And the government must prove its case, even when all of America is 100 percent certain of the defendant’s guilt, because we want to be sure the state will always also have to prove its case when we aren’t so certain.

Read the whole thing. You’ll be glad you did.

07/07/2011

Why are some people so willing to submit themselves to the will of the state?

by wfgodbold

No good could come of abolishing the jury system.

None.

The state didn’t prove its case.

You can’t hang someone for probably killing someone, like Tam said.

Our whole legal system is set up to err on the side of not sending people to jail (or it was, before plea bargains became all the rage).

If we destroy that because every single case doesn’t go the way that we think it ought to, then we’ll be left with a police state.

And we’ll deserve it, to boot.

06/24/2011

We don’t have a justice system

by wfgodbold

We have a legal system.

Trite, but accurate; any system that could result in decisions like this can hardly be called just.

Just because the Supreme Court has handed down a decision doesn’t mean that it’s right.

In all, more than 60,000 people—including 7,600 in North Carolina—were forcibly sterilized in the United States in the name of “progress.” Progressives of the time lauded the decision in Buck. Individual rights, they firmly believed, should not be allowed to stand in the way of collective progress. Justice Brandeis called Buck an example of properly allowing states the freedom to “meet modern conditions by regulations which a century ago, or even half a century ago, probably would have been rejected as arbitrary and oppressive.” [emphasis added]

Of course, once some individual rights have been sacrificed on the altar of “collective progress,” it becomes easier to do away with others; look at how effective the TSA is at negating the fourth amendment in the name of collective security, or how individuals’ right to choose how to provide for their own health care is being overruled by the federal decree that all must purchase qualifying insurance or be punished.

It’s a slippery slope, but that makes it no less true; whenever the state becomes more powerful, it does so at the individual’s expense.

And the individual can rarely reclaim what the state has appropriated.

06/13/2011

National Prohibition, that so-called “Noble Experiment,” only lasted thirteen years

by wfgodbold

The War on Drugs, on the other hand, turns 40 on Friday.

NPR points out (H/T Uncle) that the spending on this unwinnable war is unjustifiable; the Obama administration disagrees.

Gary Johnson agrees, and said, “In my view, in terms of individual liberties and fiscal responsibility, opposition to the drug war is perfectly consistent with true Republican Party values.”

I don’t know if ending the drug war and decriminalizing the various currently illegal drugs would affect crime rates; my gut feeling is that they would go down, much like bootlegging (mostly) ended with the repeal of Prohibition.

I do know that at this point, continuing the drug war is merely throwing good money after bad; thinking that we have to continue fighting against the scourge of illegal drugs because of how much we’ve spent is merely falling prey to the sunk cost fallacy.

The money we’ve wasted in the War on Drugs is gone forever. We can’t get it back.

What we can do is stop spending more money on it, immediately.

It’s not much, but it would be a good start towards reining in the government and reclaiming our civil liberties; how many of them have been sacrificed already due to the war on drugs?

06/12/2011

It’s true; there are no stupid questions. Only stupid people.

by wfgodbold

Some poor soul found their way to my little corner of the internet by searching for the phrase, “should the right to privacy still exist”.

I am dumbfounded.

Rights don’t stop existing merely because they’re inconvenient or unpopular; that’s why they’re called rights.

Further, the right to privacy is a negative liberty; it merely requires that you be let alone (if you choose), not that others provide you with anything.

06/09/2011

How I became interested in guns

by wfgodbold

Since it’s all the rage among gunbloggers right now, I thought I’d chip in with my own unremarkable story.

Growing up, we didn’t have any guns in the house; I’d fired a rifle and shotgun at Boy Scout camp, but that was it. Most of my friends in high school hunted, but our family didn’t. It was just one of those things.

A few years ago, my apartment was burgled and ransacked; the only thing taken was my PlayStation 2 (with the memory card and game; I was more pissed about the loss of the memory card than the console itself), but when the thief left, he left behind his crowbar.

It didn’t sink in immediately, but if I’d been home, he could have done some real damage with it; I have no desire to play a headcrab to any criminal’s Gordon Freeman.

I called the cops after the burglary, but nothing ever came of it. I assume the thief tried to sell the PS2. I doubt he got much for it (it was a Japanese model, and the PS2 is region-locked), so even though I lost hundreds of hours of save data (I’d had the PS2 for ~5 years at this point), I still had the last laugh. Kind of.

My parents also suffered a break-in around the same time (while they were present), but the would-be thief spooked and ran off.

A few years later (during the 2008 election, actually), I was clicking around on various blogs and news sites, and eventually learned that the police have no duty to protect you. This spurred my interest in self-defense (well, that and reading One Second After in the spring following the election).

Unfortunately, I was living in New York at the time, and after reading the various laws, I decided it would be easier not to bother. Too many hoops to jump through, and it would be too easy to fall afoul of some regulation or other (which is the point; if gun ownership becomes too onerous, then fewer people will buy guns). I wasn’t keen on going, hat in hand, to the government to ask for permission to buy a handgun.

After moving back to Arkansas, I did some reading, and signed up for a concealed carry class.  I bought my first gun (a Bersa Thunder .380 CC), and then followed that up with a couple of AR-15 lower receivers. A few months after that (after realizing how expensive .380 ammo was; I didn’t research as thoroughly as I’d thought), I bought a P226 classic .22, and then I was hooked.

Reading various gun blogs has turned me into more of a libertarian than I was before; given how the government has treated the 2nd amendment, it’s easy to see how other basic rights could be abrogated. I don’t know that I’d call it a road to Damascus moment, but it’s pretty close.

If the government can’t be trusted to obey “shall make no law,” “shall not be infringed,” or “shall not be violated,”  when it’s spelled out plainly, why can it be trusted to obey other limitations on its power?

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