Archive for March, 2013

Quotation Of The Day

Dave Killion — March 16, 2013

“The prospect of tyranny may not grab the headlines the way vivid stories of gun crime routinely do. But few saw the Third Reich coming until it was too late. The Second Amendment is a doomsday provision, one designed for those exceptionally rare circumstances where all other rights have failed–where the government refuses to stand for reelection and silences those who protest; where courts have lost the courage to oppose, or can find no one to enforce their decrees. However improbable these contingencies may seem today, facing them unprepared is a mistake a free people get to make only once”

Alex Kozinski, Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in his 2003 dissent for Silveira v. Lockyer. I understand that English is a second language for the Romanian-born Kozinski, and I am humbled by his mastery.

 

Also, a reminder: in Canada (and in many U.S. cities and states) acquiring a firearms licence is a tedious and time-consuming process. I can’t imagine how terrifying it must be to realize you really need/want a firearm, only to be months away from being able to obtain one. Because of this, I would suggest that even those who have no intention of ever owning a firearm take immediate steps to acquire their licence.Be prepared.

Doug Christie (1946-2013)

Dave Killion — March 13, 2013

The passing of noted defence attorney Doug Christie has received enough attention that there is no reason for me to repeat the story of his life, or recount the history of his cases, either of which can be found in any one of many articles. But if you’re looking for a mainstream media article that isn’t slanted against Mr. Christie, I can’t help you. This is one of the better ones, but even so –

“Christie has always been careful not to publicly support the views of his clients, insisting his cases were about protecting the right to free speech.”

In fact, there appears to be no evidence that Mr. Christie ever supported the views of his clients, publicly or privately. But why say that, when you can suggest that he not only supported those views, but was so enthused he had to be careful not to let it slip out publicly! And make sure that when you write about his career, write that he defended holocaust deniers, white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and hate-mongers. That’s more exciting, and most people won’t notice that what he was actually defending was the right of all of us to not only speak, but to hear.

As for Mr. Christie’s critics, the less said, the better. I have seen, repeatedly, condemnations based on the fact that he never defended the free speech of any non-white. Well, when the time comes that hate crimes are charged against a Muslim, a feminist, a Black Canadian, an aboriginal, or anyone other than a white Christian male, then I will give this criticism more weight.

The fact is, there are people who so hate what they believed Mr. Christie’s clients to be, that they hated him for the simple fact that he defended them. Even the ones found innocent. And there is no one who could have defended those clients who would not have been subjected to the wrath of these hate-filled people, such was their rage, their contempt for due process, and their desire to strike down anyone who says something they don’t like. These are the people who truly threaten us, and it was Doug Christie who stepped forward to battle them on our behalf. We have been more fortunate than we deserve.

Introducing: A Non-Coercive Temperance Organization

Dave Killion — March 12, 2013

One of the local radio stations has been broadcasting advertisements for a group called Canada’s Temperance Foundation (CTF). Although the tone of the ads was very moderate, they set my libertarian alarm bells ringing. Surely, this was a group of religiously motivated neo-Prohibitionists and Drug War advocates. Imagine my surprise when I visited their website to find this –

“CTF is a contemporary temperance organization.  We do not advocate or support the prohibition of alcohol.  We are a secular organization in that we do not promote any specific religion.”… “Canada’s Temperance Foundation is unique in that it will be privately funded and will operate independently of government.”

Intrigued, I emailed some questions to CTF, and soon received a reply from Vice-President and Community Outreach Co-Ordinator Gray Garten. Enjoy –

1. Why has your group elected to pursue private funding and to operate independently of government?

It is our feeling that government is under the falsehood that they are creating revenue through the taxation of beverage alcohol. The fact of the matter is that if you factor in medical costs, legal enforcement costs, lost productivity costs the revenue raised by alcohol taxation is dwarfed exponentially. It appears they are unable to remove the blinders to the aforementioned facts. It lacks integrity to accept money from any entity whose policies are directly opposed to ours.

2. Why does your group decline to advocate or support prohibition? Will you go so far as to declare your opposition to current prohibition regulations?

A. History has taught us that prohibition does not work. There are roughly 950 organized criminal groups active in Canada and 80% of those derive their revenue from illegal drug sales. Prohibition will only create another product for the black market. 

B. At this time CTF is not going to lobby for or against any regulations. It is our mission to educate and that is where our focus is and will remain at this time.

3. Why does your group note that yours is a secular organization?

We are a secular organization because we welcome everyone and exclude no one. 

4. Are you familiar with any of the research in which participants indicate benefits from, or feel otherwise positively towards, intoxication from alcohol or drugs? If so, how do you reconcile that research with your group’s position that intoxication is irresponsible and unhealthy? If not, can you imagine any circumstances under which such intoxication could be healthy and responsible, or in which an adult may reasonably conclude that the trade-off between the costs and benefits justifies intoxication?

We are not opposed to the medicinal benefits of a very small amount of alcohol for cardiac benefit. (although new research is being conducted that may refute original findings) We are also not opposed to Marijuana use to counteract the nausea of chemotherapy. If you are a non drinker it is unlikely that any doctor would suggest you to begin drinking as it has be linked to a multitude of very serious medical conditions.   

(End)

Although my views on the potential mental, spiritual, and physical benefits of intoxication differ from those of CTF, I must say that I admire their rejection of state support and intervention in favour of peaceful persuasion. They might be worth a cash donation, and they are certainly worth promoting.

Optimism Over The Free Province Project

Dave Killion — March 11, 2013

In a previous post concerning the Free Province Project, I bemoan the comparatively unfavourable political and economic climate. Yet, I have noticed that in every discussion amongst libertarians regarding Colorado, someone points out how much better Colorado was before being ‘invaded’ by progressives fleeing states that had been ruined by the very policies they endorse, and how those same progressives are doing to Colorado what they did to their former homes. The same phenomenon occurs in discussions concerning the Free State Project; Bay Staters are migrating from Massachusetts into New Hampshire faster than are Free Staters. It is feared the progressive wave may swamp the libertarian lifeboat.

Could it be that I am too hasty in declaring the bleak state of affairs in PEI to be a detriment to libertarian ambitions? Perhaps, by selecting a region with such gloomy prospects, libertarians won’t have to battle an onslaught of idiot authoritarians, and can more readily construct a peaceful, market-oriented homeland. Yes, indeed… I do believe that I have mistaken an asset for a liability.

Incidentally, the Free Province Project remains little other than a Facebook page. If you (or someone you know) would like to step up and start administrating, it could one day prove a great blow for liberty. Think about it.

Get The Facts Straight

Dave Killion — March 10, 2013

Ann Coulter recently garnered more attention than she deserves by declaring that “people think libertarians are pussies“. Over at The Volunteer, Terrence Watson says that libertarians ARE (mostly) wimps –

“Hiding the real reason you support some policy and allowing others to believe you support it for some other reasons is so close to hypocrisy as to be indistinguishable.

To let politics drive your priorities is to necessarily become more like a politician. And it is exceedingly difficult to object to politicians who do what is popular over what is right when you are, in your own way, doing the same thing. If you are an orthodox libertarian who wants to abolish all anti-discrimination law — even if the result will be a proliferation of “whites only” signs and a culture awash in hate literature – then you should say so.”

Mr. Watson has a pretty simple position: libertarians should recognize that our preferred policies have potentially negative outcomes, and we should be more forthright in declaring that we support those policies, regardless. However, his defence of that position is confused. Consider the above quote. Is there any libertarian who opposes anti-discrimination laws because he desires a ‘culture awash in hate literature’ ? I think not. Unfortunately, the article is sprinkled with such errors. None of them, though, is as serious as the error he makes in listing 10 beliefs he attributes to what he calls ‘orthodox libertarians’. Here are a few –

” 2. White employers should be allowed to hang a “Help Wanted — whites only” signs on their doors. Even if the result is that black people are unable to find employment.

   3. Property owners should be permitted to refuse to rent to gay people. Even if the result is that gay people end up homeless.

   4. Neo-Nazis should be permitted to publish whatever they want. Even if the result is that Jews and other minorities are attacked in the streets.”

Statements like these concede far too much, in that they confuse ‘should not be punished by the state’ with ‘should be permitted’ or ‘should be allowed’. Left unchallenged, they make it easier for our opponents to portray us as unfeeling and indifferent. Rather than playing into that, choose instead to state the libertarian position correctly – “Property owners who refuse to rent to gay people should be punished by the market and the community, so that gay people do not go homeless.” Leave the ‘even ifs’ with the statists – “People should be forced to support a coercive welfare state, even if  it destroys community and creates a cycle of dependency.”

None of this is to say Mr. Watson is entirely wrong. One of the reasons I think the coercive state will fail is because it is being attacked relentlessly on all fronts. Mr. Watson is suggesting one approach to that assault, and I wish him all the luck in the world with it.

Another Black Eye For Canada

Dave Killion — March 6, 2013

Over at the website for the Canadian Constitution Foundation, Derek From writes about the recent and terrible outcome of Whatcott v. Saskatchewan Human Rights Tribunal – 

“The Supreme Court of Canada’s decision is a devastating blow to free speech and the rights of every individual Canadian. In principle, this decision means that the government can silence your speech on issues of public importance if that speech is deemed hateful. It doesn’t matter if what you said was true, that it caused no one any harm, or that you never intended to say anything discriminatory – you can still be dragged into court and lose for committing a victimless crime.”

Keep in mind that it is not only the right to speak freely that has been harmed here. This ruling violates the right of all Canadians to listen and to watch. You are no longer free to seek out or reject certain ideas or influences without government interference or control. This ruling diminishes each and every Canadian far more than does anything said by bigots.

By the way, I have selected the Canadian Constitution Foundation for this month’s $50 contribution. Please consider supporting them.

Quotation Of The Day

Dave Killion — March 5, 2013

You get a tank, you end up with an ex-wife.

Lance Miller, private citizen and Sherman Tank owner

 

It gets crappy mileage, but it does have a sunroof.

It gets crappy mileage, but it does have a sunroof.

I have been in the thick of several discussions concerning ‘reasonable’ restrictions on firearms ownership, and more than once my interlocutor has queried as to whether or not I would allow my neighbours to own bazookas. Well, of course I would! My neighbours are good, law-abiding citizens, and certainly no threat to me. None of that would change simply because they owned a bazooka. In fact, I imagine my world would be marginally safer if such were the case. But there is no need to theorize, when the evidence is right in front of us – in the U.S. there is estimated to be up to 1,000 private citizens who own tanks, many of which are fully operational.

The Marketplace Disciplines The State

Dave Killion — March 4, 2013

Officer, when I say you cannot buy this gun, I mean it!

Officer, when I say you cannot buy this gun, I mean it!

In response to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, the New York State Legislature has passed regulation further encroaching on the rights of N.Y. residents. In this respect, it is much like many other state, county, and local governments, and like those other governments, the N.Y. Legislature has exempted several categories of its employees, e.g. police officers. In retaliation, over 100 U.S. firearms distributers have announced policies to close this ‘police loophole’, by refusing to sell to those governments any firearm or accessory denied by law to non-government personnel. While some of these vendors limit the restriction to New York State, many others apply their policies nation-wide. Less widely-known is the fact that several distributors (such as Cheaper Than Dirt, Ammo Clip, and Extreme Firepower,) have had such policies in place since well before Sandy Hook. From the Extreme Firepower website –

“The Federal Government and several states have enacted gun control laws that restrict the public from owning and possessing certain types of firearms. Law-enforcement agencies are typically exempt from these restrictions. EFI, LLC does not recognize law-enforcement exemptions to local, state, and federal gun control laws. If a product that we manufacture is not legal for a private citizen to own in a jurisdiction, we will not sell that product to a law-enforcement agency in that jurisdiction.”

I hope this is a good move for these vendors, but if not, I still admire their sacrifice. It would be wonderful if Canadian firearms distributors took similar actions, and I will certainly encourage those places at which I shop to do so.

Anti-Life Boats

Dave Killion — March 3, 2013

Current federal regulations require all lifeboats be stocked with snacks.

Current federal regulations require all lifeboats be stocked with snacks.

A cruise ship near the Canary Islands recently lost five crewmen to drowning, and not long ago, the Costa Concordia grounded off the coast of Italy, with more victims. And in 1915, the SS Eastland rolled over in the Chicago River, killing over 840 people. The most surprising contributor to these losses? Lifeboats

“The 101st anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic arrives on April 14. We will hear a great deal about the importance of government regulations to ensure that every ship has enough boats for its whole company of passengers and crew.

Since the Titanic, this kind of regulation has been in effect. But as with most regulations, the effects have been mixed, to use a conventional kind of understatement. When American total-lifeboat regulations came in, two things happened. One was the ruin of America’s passenger steamship lines to the Orient. The owners couldn’t afford to meet the new standards (which, admittedly, included labor-protectionist provisions only notionally connected with safety). The other was the sinking of the steamship Eastland. The Eastland capsized in the Chicago River, with immense loss of life, because it had been overloaded with lifeboats.”

That government safety regulation would have mixed results will be no surprise to libertarians. But lifeboats? In a million years, it would never have occurred to me that the coercive state would threaten my existence with lifeboats. And I live on an island! I have to ride a ferry three or four times a year. Truly, there is no place where we are safe from government.

A Handy Trick

Dave Killion — March 2, 2013

 

I can think of a lot of TV shows and movies where someone is hungry, discovers a can of food, and has no way to open it. Well, if you’re libertarian, you’re probably a little bit of a prepper, so you should know how to open a can without an opener. You can thank me after the apocalypse.