Archive for October, 2011

A symbol with some relevance

Dave Killion — October 31, 2011

Plus, polar bears are frequently found sporting the national colours!

Here in the Great White North, it’s beavers vs.bears

“A Canadian senator has called for a national “emblem makeover” by replacing a vegetarian rodent that defends its territory with urine with the world’s largest walking carnivore that thrives in the cold.

Referring to the beaver as a “dentally defective rat,” Nicole Eaton called on Ottawa to replace the critter as the national emblem with the polar bear, an animal she hails as strong, majestic and brave.”

The beaver is respected for being peaceful and industrious, qualities long attributed to Canadians. However, the Senator may have a point. Given the recent willingness of Canadians to join with the imperialist US government in various foreign adventures, perhaps something a little more blood-thirsty would be in order.

Only yourself to blame.

Dave Killion — October 30, 2011

Paul Willcocks writes a lot about the downtrodden in BC, and he gets a lot wrong because, like all proponents of the welfare state, he mistakes the government for society. So whenever someone suffers, it’s ‘our’ fault. In his latest blog post, Willcocks says we’re all no different than the people who walked by the (now deceased) two-year-old Chinese girl who laid crying in a puddle of blood as the result of being hit by a van.

Willcocks does not seem to know that the indifference he rails against is the direct and perfectly predictable result of the welfare state he endorses. But don’t take my word for it. Just ask former US President Grover Cleveland –

“…I do not believe that the power and duty of the general government ought to be extended to the relief of individual suffering which is in no manner properly related to the public service or benefit. A prevalent tendency to disregard the limited mission of this power and duty should, I think, be steadfastly resisted, to the end that the lesson should be constantly enforced that, though the people support the government, the government should not support the people.

The friendliness and charity of our countrymen can always be relied upon to relieve their fellow-citizens in misfortune. This has been repeatedly and quite lately demonstrated. Federal aid in such cases encourages the expectation of paternal care on the part of the government and weakens the sturdiness of our national character, while it prevents the indulgence among our people of that kindly sentiment and conduct which strengthens the bonds of a common brotherhood.”

If Willcocks wants to see the lot of the disadvantaged improved, he should support libertarians in bringing an end to the welfare state.

Children’s literature

Dave Killion — October 30, 2011

If someone is looking for good stories to share with children, we’ve already recommended a few. You might also appreciate knowing what to avoid.  Well, if this image is representative, it would be best to turn your back on Olivia

Good grief, Olivia! Don't you know some pigs are more equal than others?

 

The Wolf and the Lamb

Dave Killion — October 28, 2011

My favourite version of my favourite Aesop’s Fable –

“Once upon a time a Wolf was lapping at a spring on a hillside, when, looking up, what should he see but a Lamb just beginning to drink a little lower down. “There’s my supper,” thought he, “if only I can find some excuse to seize it.” Then he called out to the Lamb, “How dare you muddle the water from which I am drinking.”

“Nay, master, nay.” said Lambikin; “if the water be muddy up there, I cannot be the cause of it, for it runs down from you to me.

“Well, then,” said the Wolf, “why did you call me bad names this time last year?”

“That cannot be,” said the Lamb; “I am only six months old.”

“I don’t care,” snarled the Wolf; “if it was not you, it was your father;” and with that he rushed upon the poor little Lamb and ate her all up. But before she died she gasped out– “Any excuse will serve a tyrant.”

There are some other versions here, along with some history of the story. As a kid I was bullied a few times, and to my everlasting shame I did a little bullying myself, so that’s probably why I was struck by tale. However, now that I’m a libertarian I think I have a much better understanding of what Aesop was trying to convey.

How about you let us protect ourselves!

Dave Killion — October 27, 2011

Here’s a letter to the Victoria News

You report that local law enforcement is more and more fretful at the number of illegal handguns on the city’s streets (Handgun seizure a worrisome trend, Oct 26). Well, just imagine how the rest of us feel! After all, armed officers are not likely to be raped. They are not expected to submit to muggings. They are not required to remain passive victims during a home invasion. It is we, law-abiding citizens who have been stripped of the right to bear a firearm for self-defense, that should be worried at this tacit confession by the authorities that they are unable to keep weapons out of the hands of criminals.

Close. So very close.

Dave Killion — October 26, 2011

This is pretty good, and I wish I could find the source. Still, I think it would be more accurate if it was a big bank labeled Big Banks, and a massive foundation labeled Big Government. All the same, not bad… not bad at all.

The Driver

Antony — October 25, 2011

The Victoria Libertarian Book Club’s latest book is The Driver by Garet Garrett. The book is set in the aftermath of the Panic of 1893, and opens with the narrator reporting on the scene during a march on Washington by a ragtag group of protesters known as “Coxey’s Army”. The group, composed mostly of unemployed labourers, was marching on Washington to demand political intervention to deal with the economic crisis. Their mission is summed up in this quote:

And for what purpose? Merely this: to demand from Congress a law by which unlimited prosperity and human happiness might be established on earth

The march, as described in the novel, seemed bizarre and surreal. I was thus surprised to learn that Coxey’s Army was a real historical event.

I was struck by how the marchers portrayed in the novel seem so similar to the current “Occupy Wall Street” protests. They are scandalized by seeming corporate excesses, they cannot understand why there are so many unemployed while infrastructure crumbles, they favour massive public works programmes, and advocate inflation of the currency as a path to prosperity. It’s amazing how the rhetoric and arguments of the present day “Occupy” protesters are so similar to those of Coxey’s Army 120 years ago.

Another interesting anecdote is that, like the book’s narrator, a real-life observer of Coxey’s march was L. Frank Baum, the author of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. This book is full of economic symbols on issues of the time: the yellow brick road representing the gold standard, and Dorothy’s silver shoes (changed to ruby in the movie to showcase Technicolor) represent silver, the tin man is the industrial worker, and the straw man the farmer. These allegorical elements are explored in the Money Masters film “The Secret of Oz”.

The historical economic issues mentioned in the book are interesting on their own merits but also have fascinating parallels to our current economic turmoil.  I look forward to reading more, and hope to provide more blog reports as we read our way through the book.

Say it, don’t spray it!

Dave Killion — October 24, 2011

Cheap, legal, and more debilitating than mace. Get some!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s a clip of some Occupy Wall Street protestors being penned in, during which time some cop strides up and spray their faces with mace before marching away –

NYPD Officer Anthony Bologna claims he did not intend to spray the women, acted with the best intentions, cannot understand the hostile reaction to his conduct, and “would do it again“. NYPD took this all into consideration, and fined Tony Baloney $6000. It is a great comfort to me to know that if I pepper spray an NYPD officer without intending to, so long as I have the best intentions I won’t have to face anything worse than a $6000 fine. Because the law’s the same for us as it is for cops, right? Right?

 

City Blocks Affordable Housing Plan

JMaddock — October 22, 2011

I was quite disgusted today to read that the City of Victoria is continuing to block a private developer’s efforts to offer affordable housing units in an unused downtown hotel. [See ‘It’s not going to cost the city a penny,’ Times Colonist, Oct. 22, 2011]

It seems that the City (which is really just another corporation, albeit one that happens to get most of its funding through the use of force) has a clear incentive not to allow new affordable housing units in the downtown core:

“Down the road sits another former Traveller’s Inn being used to house 36 low-income people, its stucco crumbling and its rotted railings propped up with newly painted 2X4s. This building, at 710 Queens Rd., is now known as Queens Manor and was one of two Traveller’s Inns bought by the city for $5.6 million.”

Wherever you come from ideologically, it’s difficult to deny that Victoria is in desperate need of more affordable housing. It’s one of the main talking points in every local election. But it seems that once they are elected, local politicians only support affordable housing that’s publicly funded and managed.

When a private entrepreneur comes along with a viable business model to turn an empty hotel into cheap housing for struggling Victorians, City Hall opposes it. Could it be that politicians only believe in helping people when they have a monopoly on doing it?

I was also a little shocked by at least one councilor’s rational for opposing the private affordable housing plan:

“Coun. Lynn Hunter is worried that the nature of the development could make it a magnet for single men, which could lead to added social costs such as police calls the city will have to pick up in the future.”

Can you imagine if this left-leaning councilor had said the same thing about blacks, natives, or basically any minority group other than “single men?”

Brace yourself

Dave Killion — October 22, 2011

Amongst the pantheon comprising the great fictional libertarians, surely one of the most inspirational is Ron Swanson. In evidence of this claim, I cite Exhibit “A”; The Swanson Pyramid of Greatness

Click image for the expanded view. You’re welcome.