Archive for August, 2010
Dave Killion — August 31, 2010
We are frequently told that such-and-such an activity cannot be left to the private sector on the grounds that private actors are motivated purely by profit. The insinuation is that private actors will cut any corner, tell any lie, and rip off the consumer at every opportunity as if that is the only way profit can be had. But try and replace the profit motive with some other allegedly nobler sentiment, and tragedy ensues. For evidence look no further than the murders committed by Robert Pickton.
How is it that a man can kill so many people over such a long time and not be found out? Easy. There was no profit in catching him. The government officials who investigate these matters get paid whether they bring a man to justice or not. For the wealthy this is no matter. Just as the rich buy private education, private health care, and private neighbourhoods to avoid shoddy government provisions, they also hire private policing when they need it. For the poor there is no alternative, but imagine if there were!
Imagine a transient prostitute disappears. She may have few friends, and a dysfunctional family in a different province. In the current system her case will of course find itself at the bottom of the pile. But in a private system a private actor who brings the perpetrator to justice would be able to petition the court for reimbursement for the time and effort invested. And this reimbursement would be paid by the criminal. I know this is a big idea for a lot of people, and they will have a lot of questions about implementation, etc., but the first question should be this: Under the system I just described, how likely is it that Pickton would have murdered over two dozen women before he was stopped?
David — August 30, 2010
Canadian libertarians have few options when it comes to reliable, consistent Canadian journalism with a libertarian perspective. Unfortunately most national and provincial newspapers lean towards a statist mindset. One exception to this rule is the Financial Post. Despite the Post’s position on the war in Afghanistan, which we regret, it tends towards free markets and limited government.
Here are the three best Canadian libertarian sites. Add them to your RSS reader and stay informed of Canadian national news from a libertarian perspective:
The Financial Post is one of Canada’s leading national financial newspapers. It is now part of the National Post and has been so since Conrad Black purchased it and rolled it into a new national newspaper focused on small government conservatives. The Financial Post was chosen specifically over the National Post because its authors lean towards libertarianism and they always have even prior to the Black purchase.
Le Québécois Libre (QL) continues the grand traditional of classical liberalism which can be traced back to its parent country: France. Québécois Libre is owned and published by Martin Masse. It is mostly written in French but 25% of it is in English. It accommodates a wide variety of opinions from small state libertarianism to anarcho-capitalism.
The Western Standard is a Calgary, Alberta based libertarian web magazine. It has its roots in the Alberta Report which closed shop in June, 2003. The Shotgun is the name of the Western Standard’s blog. It is the antidote to the soft socialism that plagues Canada. Outspoken and brash it has a uniquely Albertan style. Every province could use a blog this punchy and straight talking.
Dave Killion — August 26, 2010
As a former US Marine I have some experience with firearms, and although I have never developed a passion for guns, I appreciate the value in knowing basic marksmanship. It seems to me a skill worth learning and maintaining. To that end I have recently earned my Possession and Acquisition License and accepted a shotgun as a gift from a relative who didn’t use it very much. I also have begun asking people if they hunt or shoot, and what I have found is that there are a lot more gun owners than I suspected. Even more surprising are the number of owners who are indifferent to their ownership: people who bought or inherited a firearm years ago and never bothered to get rid of it when it lost its appeal. I know one fellow who had a handgun for two decades and his adult sons never even knew it. We are surrounded by law-abiding, armed citizens. These very same people get drunk and they have big fights with their kids and their spouses, and they get very angry with their bosses and their co-workers, but they are no threat at all. So why can’t they carry a handgun for self-defence?
It gets more curious. Consider the case of Lela Mae La France. Nearly two years ago La France was threatened with a sawed-off rifle by her abusive common-law husband. After escaping his attempt to pin her down and force sex on her she picked up the rifle he had set aside and killed him. In May of this year she was found to be acting in self-defence and therefore Not Guilty. Now La France is no candidate for Citizen of the Year, but she didn’t deserve beating or raping neither of which she could have prevented without that firearm.
So law-abiding citizens may own certain firearms, and anyone, law-abiding or not, may use a firearm in self-defence. Why then are law-abiding citizens deprived of their natural right to carry handguns for self-defence? It makes no sense that I can see.
Dave Killion — August 22, 2010
Our family doesn’t get cable TV. This is because I cannot resist its charms, and will happily sit watching hour after hour, instead of doing something productive like writing blog posts. We did once have cable for a few months when it was offered as a free promo, and I found myself gravitating to the Food Channel. I especially enjoyed “Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares”, and particularly remember one episode in which the restaurant owner was having difficulty getting her staff to perform positively and productively.
At one point in the episode, Ramsay is near the main entrance, speaking with the owner, and a number of staff come in. Ramsay is astonished that the staff don’t acknowledge their boss in any way, and watch as they all head for the bar and order drinks. It turns out that when they aren’t working, the staff use the restaurant as a watering hole, and actually provide a fair bit of income for the business. So much so that the owner is afraid to alienate them.
Of course, this will not do, and Ramsay puts things to right by directing the owner to ban staff from the restaurant during off-hours. Being the boss is a one-way deal, and one cannot effectively take charge of people on whom one is reliant. One must serve the customers and direct the employees. It is, really, very simple. Yet we have a government that is in the very same position as the restaurant owner.
The government must serve the people. We are its customers. To do so, government must hire people, and the more government tries to do, the more people it must hire. But these employees are also customers, and when they are numerous and organized they have tremendous influence. Unlike Ramsay, we cannot choose to ban the workers (police, firefighters, teachers, and other public sector employees) from also being consumers. So the next best option is to limit the number of employees, and that means reducing the role of government by decreasing the amount it tries to do. After all, why should the employees at the local government run golf course have any more power over the political machine than you do?
Dave Killion — August 21, 2010
Ask four libertarians to tell you what libertarianism is, and you’ll get five definitions. I imagine it’s the same for conservatism, leftism, and all other ‘isms’. My personal definition is this;
“Libertarianism is the recognition that individuals own themselves, and as such, have the right to live their lives in any manner they see fit, provided they don’t encroach on the equal and identical rights of any other individual.”
You’ll see that I used the word ‘recognition’ rather than ‘belief’ or ‘philosophy’, and that’s deliberate. I wouldn’t say “I believe 2 + 2 = 4” nor would I say “It’s my philosophy that the earth is round rather than flat”. Those are neither beliefs nor philosophies, but rather they are truths at which we arrive through observation, experimentation, and reason. So are the principles which underlie libertarianism. Please keep visiting our blog, and in the coming weeks I will explain my thoughts on self-ownership, rights, and why libertarianism is the way we should live.
David — August 19, 2010
We live in an age when the state frequently encroaches on our liberties. Our government bans smoking on private property, inflates our money (pdf), invades foreign nations, taxes our every action, forces us to license our firearms and prohibits peaceful people from ingesting certain substances. The majority remain silent. In Canada the masses stick to voting for one of the major parties who tend not to veer off the beaten path of heavy state intervention.
The Victoria Libertarian Book Club was formed in January of 2009 in response to our current state of political affairs. Although we have our roots in Ron Paul’s 2008 run for the US Presidency we always try to bring the libertarian lens onto Canadian issues and more specifically those issues that affect Western Canada.
We spend our time reading fantastic books, and talking about issues that matter to libertarians in Canada. This is our attempt to take some of our ramblings online. If you would like to follow along with our readings feel free to join our meetup group.