Archive for April, 2011

Poverty And Boredom

Dave Killion — April 30, 2011

Since we view big government as a threat, libertarians don’t want governments collecting information on the populace, and frown on that particular form a information collection known as the census. But between you and me, I find the collections themselves fascinating, and the recent Mexican census is no exception. The high point for me –

“More houses have televisions (93%) than fridges (82%) or showers (65%). In a hot country with dreadful television this is curious.”

Readers know that I have an interest in developing countries, and what I have previously read suggests to me that this phenomenon may be the rule rather than the exception. Time and again I have seen photos of impoverished folks gathered around television sets, sometimes with VCRs or DVD players. Well, maybe we shouldn’t be surprised. I imagine being poor gets pretty dull. Could it be that once the threat of starvation is no longer ever-present, tedium is harder to tolerate than hunger?

Ron Paul 2012!

David — April 29, 2011

Congressman Ron Paul of Texas has formed an exploratory committee for the 2012 presidential election.

I hope he runs not only because of what it will do for US politics but for the far reaching impact it will have on the message of liberty everywhere.

Here are a few of my favorite Ron Paul videos made by his supporters during the 2008 election.



For The Birds

Dave Killion — April 27, 2011

There has recently been a lot of attention given in our locality to the subject of urban chickens, and it appears likely that one of our 13 local governments will soon join with four of the other local governments that already permit chickens on smaller residential lots. And you are almost certainly wondering where libertarians stand on this controversial issue.

Because I live in Victoria, I don’t really care if people in Saanich own chickens. And because I live in the Quadra Heights neighbourhood, I don’t care if people in the James Bay neighbourhood own chickens. Because I live on Smith Street I don’t care if people on Jones Street own chickens, and because I live on the 3100 block I don’t care if people on the 3200 block own chickens. To the extent that chicken ownership is an issue for me, it is so only to the extent that I can see, hear, or smell them. I suspect this is the case for people in general, and libertarians in particular.

Under the old bylaw, my neighbour couldn’t have chickens, even if that was cool with the rest of the neighbourhood. Under the new bylaw, if my neighbour’s chickens are a noisy or smelly nuisance, so long as he meets the particulars of the bylaw he is safe from legal action by my neighbours and me.  Where Common Law and negotiation could have insured each neighbourhood regulated chickens in the fashion best suited to itself, local government imposition of one-size-fits-all rules has guaranteed dissatisfaction for at least some communities.

The libertarian position is that the old bylaw was bad, and so is the new one. And the libertarian question? Why can’t local government refrain from sticking its beak where it doesn’t belong!


Image source

Corrupt Montreal CRA Auditors

David — April 27, 2011

According to the CBC Montreal Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) auditors have been caught taking bribes in exchange for helping businesses evade taxes. This has been going on for a decade supposedly. Unbelievable.

The government is once again indistinguishable from organized crime. Just like the mafia the government gives special favor to those willing to pay the right price. The rest of us who play fairly have to pay full price and face audits. What a wonderful situation.

The question we have to ask is how often does this happen without anyone ever hearing about it? What are the chances CRA auditors are doing this in other provinces?

Ron Paul on The View

David — April 27, 2011

The prophet speaks! Wow. I am really excited to say the least. I didn’t think Ron Paul would run. If he does I honestly believe he will have a good chance  – his supporters will be more motivated to push his message this time. Hopefully a lot of the grassroots left who considered him for his anti war position will get on board after seeing Obama deploy 30,000 troops in Afghanistan and continue to bomb Pakistan with drones.

Martin Masse

David — April 25, 2011

Martin MasseGreat Canadian Libertarians: Part 1 in a series raising awareness of libertarians in Canada. To kick off this series I profile Martin Masse, a Quebec based libertarian and publisher.

Martin Masse is the founder and publisher of the Quebec based publication Le Québécois Libre which has become the leading libertarian voice in the French speaking world. Le Québécois Libre has been published since 1998 and although its initial focus and readership was on libertarian issues as they relate to Quebec its geographic sphere of influence has since grown to include all of North America and Europe.

Mr. Masse recently served as political advisor to the former Canadian Industry Minister Maxime Bernier from 2006-2007. Mr. Bernier may be the only politician vocally in favor of giving Canada’s money supply a sound basis. Martin now works as an independent public policy consultant.

I can remember coming across Mr. Masse’s site for the first time in the early 2000’s. I was linked to it by LewRockwell.com. I was so proud to see that a Canadian was running an online libertarian publication. Mr. Masse is one of the inspirations for the Libertarian Book Club blog.

Over the course of Martin’s career he has published some excellent articles. Below are a few of my favorites:

Martin has done an outstanding job in the service of liberty. Thank you for all your hard work Mr. Masse.

Perspective

Dave Killion — April 25, 2011

The cost to rebuild damage caused by the recent tsunami in Japan is estimated to be as high as $309 billion. This works out to about $2400 per Japanese citizen, and it represents a tremendous loss that will literally never be recovered. It will likely be generations before the effects of the loss are no longer significant. Life will be shorter and suffering will be greater than it would otherwise have been. That is the inevitable consequence of slower economic growth, and it doesn’t take an earthquake to make it happen.

Canada is predicting a $40 billion federal budget deficit for 2010-11. This works out to about $1200 per capita. Add that to last year’s deficit, or next year’s predicted deficit, and the cost to every man, woman, and child in Canada is nearly equal to that caused by the tsunami to the Japanese. In the US it is even worse, with this year’s per capita deficit reaching nearly $5000. The causation is different, but the results will be identical; death, poverty, and suffering all at unnecessarily higher levels. It is as if we visit a series of catastrophes on ourselves with every election. So here’s what I want to know: what is the difference between government and a natural disaster?

 

Our Next Title

Dave Killion — April 24, 2011

The Victoria Libertarian Book Club has selected “A Renegade History of the United States ” for our next discussion. I began reading the title a few weeks ago, and it is just a whole lot of fun. Having made it about 1/3 of the way through, there are some specific comments I want to make, but I’ll wait until the club has our first meeting on it in early May. I hope some of you will read along with us, and leave your comments here or on our Facebook page.

This title is one of a few I have been enjoying on my Kindle, which I received as a Christmas gift, and which has really increased the number of books I read relative to blogs and zines. A nice feature of the Kindle is that if one has a pdf, it can be sent to Amazon for conversion into Kindle format. The conversion is done automatically, and apparently accomplished through Optical Character Recognition, which leads to the occasional error. One I have found repeatedly is mistaking the letters ‘rms’ for ‘nus’. I am just juvenile enough to snigger whenever I read something like “He gripped her anus tightly with both hands” and “She waved her anus, desperately trying to get their attention”. Admittedly, I consider this a feature, not a bug.

George Ought To Help

G — April 23, 2011

Youtube is another wonderful tool that allows people to take an otherwise seemingly complicated message and condense it into a short video of wisdom.  Here’s one that I think is particularly good as it is non-abrasive and allows the viewer to come to their own conclusions while viewing the consequences of what they advocate for.

George ought to help – but would you use force to make it happen?


 

Chilling Free Speech in Canada

Dave Killion — April 22, 2011

The Vancouver Sun reports that a Toronto comedian has been ordered to pay $15,000 to a lesbian who was subjected to a barrage of sexual insults from him during his show. The owner of the restaurant at which he was performing must pay an additional $7,500. From the article –

“In his ruling, (B.C. Human Rights Tribunal) member Murray Geiger-Adams said Earle repeated vulgar language in public and attacked Pardy’s identity and dignity as a woman and a lesbian.”

Oh no! Not her identity AND her dignity! Look, Canada is a great country, and I am happy and grateful that I was permitted to make a life here, but these Human Rights Tribunals and the limitations on free speech are a disgrace and a blight on Canada’s reputation as a civilized nation. I hope that if this poor guy can’t get the ruling overturned, then he is able to parlay this travesty into a big fat career as a defiant rebel who refuses to let The Man dictate what he can or cannot say.