Archive for August, 2012

A Fistful Of Freedom

Dave Killion — August 17, 2012

The FP-45 Liberator

“Made by the Guidelamp Division of General Motors at the behest of the US Army over a few months in the Summer of 1942, the Liberator was never intended for use by our armed forces…

…The pistols would be air dropped by the hundreds of thousands into enemy occupied territory, where it was expected the Germans would never be able to recover all of them…

A common civilian, alone with a conquering German soldier, suddenly produces the single shot .45 and drops the man in a surprise attack, afterwards making off with the soldiers weapons. Now the German Army is down one soldier, the resistance has one more battle rifle, and every other German soldier has to wonder…. will he be next?”

Although the U.S. never carried out this plan and most Liberators were destroyed or lost over time, the notion of providing the masses with an inexpensive, easily obtained firearm with which to defend themselves from oppression lives on –

Defense Distributed, a libertarian student partnership, is announcing a project they’re calling the Wiki Weapon. This project’s goal is to test and prove a design for a completely printable, one-use ABS plastic .22 handgun, and to take that design from CAD and port it to a .STL file that will then be freely shared across all major file-sharing platforms to the world. DefDist is anticipating a world where 3D printing becomes much more economical and ubiquitous, and the Wiki Weapon will be one step in providing political and personal leverage to the peoples of that world. The value of such a file’s existence in the future cannot be overstated.”

This looks like a worthy project, so please visit the website and consider making a donation.

Low-Hanging Fruit

Dave Killion — August 16, 2012

Via Neatorama

Should Mentally Disabled People Hold Political Offices?

That’s the question that’s being put to the test in the city of Ghent, Belgium. Didier Peleman, a 41-year old man with mental disability, has sparked a controversy whether a mentally disabled person should hold political office…

…Didier’s party argues that mentally disabled people are part of the community, and should have the chance to be represented in political offices.”

Sometimes the jokes just write themselves.

But leaving aside the cheap shots about ethically/morally/intellectually challenged politicians, consider this matter seriously for a moment. The question isn’t really whether the mentally disabled should hold office, it’s whether the mentally disabled should be allowed to hold office. Or put more correctly, whether voters should be prevented from electing whomever they want. The law already sets age and nationality qualifications on political candidates, now some people want to create IQ barriers. And if the state decides who’s too dim to hold office, why couldn’t the state decide who’s too immoral to hold office? Wouldn’t a religiously motivated minority have fun with that campaign.

How about just leaving the voting to the voters? As Mencken says, they know what they want and they deserve to get it, good and hard. How else are we going to learn?

Stylish Statement

Dave Killion — August 15, 2012

The wearing of empty holsters as a means to protest restrictive laws against concealed- and open-carry laws is well established in the U.S., and has even made an appearance in Canada. In that vein, I have often thought that if many citizens wore holsters regularly, it might spur discussions concerning the right to self-defense, as well as desensitizing the public somewhat to an irrational fear of firearms. The fact is, though, wearing a holster is a drag, and if you can’t even put a firearm in it, it is probably more trouble than any but the most fervent advocate will tolerate. But say your ‘holster’ had the same utility as a fanny pack, without the nerdy tourist quality! Well, that’s something people might choose to wear no matter what side of the debate they fall in. These particular models are a little to biker-y for my taste, but something with a little canvas, a little molded plastic, and some web-belts… well, now you’re talking

Subsidies And Responsibility

Dave Killion — August 13, 2012

This level of confinement is probably excessive.

I have never been a cat person, mostly because all the dogs I have known could have weighed three hundred pounds and never been anything but the sweet-natured companions they were, while any cat that weighed three hundred pounds would certainly have tortured me to death just for sport. Well, it turns out that people who subsidize these little killing machines by providing food, shelter, and health care, all without confinement, are accountable for a great deal of butchery

“That mouse carcass Kitty presents you with is just the tip of a very bloody iceberg. When researchers attached kittycams to house cats, they found a secret world of slaughter…

…The carnage cuts across species. Lizards, snakes and frogs made up 41% of the animals killed, Loyd and fellow researcher Sonia Hernandez found. Mammals such as chipmunks and voles were 25%, insects and worms 20% and birds 12%. “

The camera footage indicates that for every one animal a cat brings home, three to four are either eaten or left to rot. Equally disconcerting is the danger to which these beloved pets are exposed. They are equally menacing and menaced. The cats, of course, are hardly to blame for this. It is only their nature that drives their behaviour. But this is as true with human beings as it is with felines. Once you elect to subsidize someone’s education, employment, upkeep, or lifestyle, you must be very careful to consider the consequences of that subsidy. To do otherwise is to cultivate behaviour that is either harmful to the individual, harmful to society, or perhaps even both.

 

Major Development

Dave Killion — August 12, 2012

Liberty PEI blogger and Charlottetown Libertarian Book Club member Ashley ‘Subsidiarity’ Johnston has posted Episode 1 of Subsidiarity Podcast, a  one-hour discussion of current events and topics of interest from a libertarian perspective. I am pleased and honoured to co-host this bold new venture, and very eager to hear your feedback. Please have a listen, and let us know what you think –

Subsidiarity Podcast Episode 1

Quotation Of The Day

Dave Killion — August 12, 2012

“With that in mind, here’s the only vow of loyalty that a non-sheep should ever make to his government.

“I pledge that if you government clowns keep screwing up, I’m either going to leave this place, or do my best to seriously mess up your lives, with liberty and justice for all.”

The Whited Sepulchre

Looking Back On Looking Forward

Dave Killion — August 10, 2012

As Danish physicist Niels Bohr said, “Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future.” Caleb Bennet demonstrates just how true that is by revisiting the April 1964 edition of The New York Times Magazine, and its predictions for the year 2000. I am sorry to say that the prognosticated appearance of flying cars (not to mention the disappearance of racial and religious discrimination) have yet to be realized, but it is some comfort to find the errors in one particular chart and to imagine what that error portends for the next fifty years –

U.S. GNP in 2000 was actually over $10 trillion. This is not an increase of four times, but twenty. It may well be that we are entering a point in human development where poverty is not only no longer the norm, but perhaps even experienced only by ascetics and a portion of the self-destructive.

Traffic Freedom

Antony — August 9, 2012

Even proponents of free markets and limited government would admit that you need some government control to maintain order, right? If the people were left to their own devices, surely chaos would ensue? For example, don’t we need government to enforce traffic rules so that cars don’t all smash into each other? Let’s have a look at the chaos that ensues when the government order breaks down, and the traffic lights are out. The video below shows traffic when the lights were out, on the left, and the same intersection the next day, same time, with the lights restored:

That’s weird, somehow, without the traffic lights telling them what to do, drivers are still able to avoid running into each other! There even seems seems to be less congestion. It’s almost as if, in the absence of government control, order somehow emerges spontaneously! How odd!

from the LRC Blog

Wonders Of The Marketplace

Dave Killion — August 7, 2012

Red Ferret keeps us up-to-date on the endless efforts of selfish entrepreneurs to acquire wealth by generously providing for every desire you never even knew you had! Today’s offering? The Remote Controlled Armoured Drink Carrier –

“This little water cannon can carry four 12 ounce cans of soda at once, and can respond to your direction from up to 250 feet away. As it has independent left and right wheel controls, it can make three hundred and sixty degree turns with ease. Its on-board water gun has a reservoir that can hold 8 ounces, and fire up to eight feet away. The wheels can retract into the wells, and it has twin propellers that will have it sailing across the water. That way you can either retrieve your drink while in the pool, and sneak up on unsuspecting sunbathers. This will cost you about $100, but is a fun way to keep hydrated while simultaneously partaking in water wars.”

If this can be done even under the tremendous regulatory burdens that currently constrain the marketplace, imagine the possibilities of a libertarian regime!

You Did Not Know This

Dave Killion — August 7, 2012

Witness this Iranian aggression!

You probably know that wrestling, along with athletics (track and field), is the most ancient of all sports, and can be found in every culture in some form or another. What you did not know is that one it’s foremost practitioners is Iran –

“Iranian wrestling, also known as koshti in Persian, has a very long tradition and history in Iran. It has been practiced since the ancient times in different parts of greater Iran in various styles among which Pahlavani wrestling is the most popular. The Iranian wrestling styles can be divided into two major categories; in one category lifting and throwing the opponent is considered victory, whereas in the other category bringing part or all of the opponent’s back, the knee, or the arm to the ground is considered victory.”

The Iranian passion for wrestling has culminated in two gold medals at the London Olympics, with perhaps more to come

Iran had never won an Olympic gold medal in Greco-Roman wrestling until the London Games.

By the time the discipline wraps up Tuesday, the Iranians could very well be boasting about a gold for each day of the competition.

Saied Mourad Abdvali of Iran hasn’t lost in nearly two years, and the 2011 world champion will be the favourite at 66 kilograms to join teammates Hamid Soryan and Omid Noroozi as gold medallists . The Iranians could end up with three golds in three days.”

Iran is supposed to be some kind of tremendous threat to the West in General, and to the US in particular, but having grown up during the Cold War and hearing how the Soviets and the Chinese were going to end our world, I just don’t feel that threatened. Of course, there are a lot of US and Iranian politicians whose fortunes seem tied to whipping up fear and aggression, and unfortunately, Canada seems to be going with the flow rather than saying loudly and clearly that we desire nothing but peace and free trade with Iran. If this were a more libertarian world, we could restrict our competition to the marketplace and the gymnasium, but it seems the allure of the battlefield may prove irresistible.