I recently heard someone say something to the effect that the poor will always be with us, which I don’t think is true, but I’ve heard variations on the sentiment many times in my life and remember it as a bible quote from my Catholic upbringing. I went to search for the verse, and I was surprised to find two versions. The one I remember best is Mark 14:7 –
“The poor you will always have with you,and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me.”
The other verse is Deuteronomy 15:11 –
“There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land.”
While I was researching these verses, a nearby TV broadcast something about Occupy Wall Street. I was amused to think how annoyed the 99% would be to realize that while a day may come that there are no poor people in any meaningful sense of the word, the 1% will always be with us.
Steps are being taken to remove “Occupy” protesters from public parks in Toronto, Victoria, Vancouver, London and Calgary. Where ever I find articles on this topic, I find commenters arguing against the legitimacy of these attempts on the grounds that Canadians have a right to protest. Libertarians know that this conveys a fundamental misunderstanding of rights. I have a right to free speech, but no one is obliged to provide me a printing press. I have a right to worship the god of my choice, but no one is obliged to provide me a church. And I have a right to protest, but no one is obliged to provide me a public park to use as a forum. So pack up those tents, folks. You got no right!
The focus of his message is that gun ownership is important chiefly as a means for society to defend itself against tyrannical government. The videographer supports his thesis by pointing out historical examples of populaces being disarmed by their own governments prior to being brutalized. What occurs to me is that in all these examples, citizens submit to being disarmed. Does this mean that an armed citizenry presents merely an inconvenience to aspirational tyrants, or are there numerous examples of the people resisting gun control? It seems to me that being armed is a necessary, but not sufficient, prerequisite of a free nation.
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?
Saturday was the day many major Canadian cities were ‘occupied’, and Victoria was no exception. Saturday saw over 1,000 people gather and march, but that has trickled down to about 16 tents pitched in the town square. I’m not sure what impact this is going to have on Wall Street, but you never know.
Back east, the situation sounded similar. From our friends at Liberty PEI –
“As I arrived, just behind schedule, a man was speaking about what it was like to live with AIDS on PEI. This was my introduction to the main theme of the afternoon, economic injustice. There were appeals to the vague ideas of corporate greed and poverty reduction/elimination and basic human rights. Some speakers were more focused on specifics like wasteful government spending (not unlike the Tea Party) on certainly Island and federal projects, and public housing. Still others got down to business about actions each person could take such as supporting local businesses and using cooperatives to take control of their own futures. And proportional representation made a cameo.”
If this movement hopes to have any impact, I think they are going to have to find a target somewhat less amorphous than big business, Wall Street, and Corporations.
Judging by the comments at the blog for Make magazine, there is nothing illegal about the manufacture of these items for personal use, and apparently there are lots of folks in the US who save money by ordering kits and parts from which they craft their own firearms. I am only passing familiar with Canadian gun laws, but I know enough to be sure the regulatory environment is more restrictive here. In any case, as the price and quality of equipment for home-based manufacturing improves, the risk and difficulty of acquiring heavily-regulated goods will fall to the point that enforcing bans will be impossible. So take hope. The market is working hard to cut away the ever-increasing chains of coercive government, and we might still come out on top.
I suppose this is what people are talking about when they say our political leaders are better informed than the average citizen, and better at making decisions on our behalf. Our leaders’ judgement is clear and consistant, and they are the only defenders of the common good.
It’s depressing that within one news cycle (if not already,) many will forget that all of these world leaders cozied up to a blood-tainted tyrant until the very last moment it was politically expedient. Look at the smiling faces in these pictures. Why should we use our own judgement, when these superior beings are there to defend us, to know what we ourselves don’t know is good for us.
Over at Quora, someone asks “Is the cryptocurrency Bitcoin a good idea?” I find the answers have been very helpful for me in firming up my understanding of Bitcoins and their value. Surprisingly, I find many of the arguments posed against Bitcoin to be more relevant to centrally-directed fiat currencies like the dollar. For example, respondent Adam Cohen is concerned that because the algorithms that regulate Bitcoins limit the total amount that will be produced, deflation is inevitable. I think this is correct, but I much prefer Bitcoin deflation to fiat currency inflation, because it would encourage saving, which would encourage investment. To re-word Mr. Cohen –
Question: if your money is getting predictably moreless valuable, why would you want to spendsave it? Answer: marginally speaking, you wouldn’t.
At this point, although I think heavy investment in Bitcoins is potentially very risky, they provide advantages for certain transactions that make a small investment in them a good idea. And even better, the more people agree with me and elect to wade around in the shallows, the more secure our investments become. Also, because the ‘currency’ is deflationary, early investors will be rewarded for their initiative.
“One week ago, May 28, 2011, RT correspondent and former U.S. Corporal Adam Kokesh and four other participants began a flash mob-silent dance at the Jefferson Memorial to commemorate the arrest of Brooke Oberwetter for quietly dancing in the memorial on Jefferson’s birthday in 2008. The park police responded by punching, body slamming, and arresting Kokesh and the others.
Today, June 4, Kokesh and Code Pink has initiated another flash dance this time pulling almost 100 more people through press coverage, Facebook, and word of mouth. The memorial was soon shut down before the event ended with the police slowly forcing everyone to leave. No arrests were made.”
Let me say that I am entirely in disagreement with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, and think that U.S. citizens have a right to demonstrate at the Jefferson Memorial whether they have a permit or not. Furthermore, if people allow their government to dictate when and where protests are permitted, they can expect their attempts at protest to be legislated right into futility. But is all public space fair game?
In the case of DePape, I think her firing was legitimate because her conduct was well outside that which one would reasonably expect of someone in her position. But what if she were just some random citizen who managed to sneak in and protest? Should someone like that be subject to prosecution? What are the arguments against citizens being permitted to protest in all public places? I’m looking forward to the discussion.
“Silk Road, a digital black market that sits just below most internet users’ purview, does resemble something from a cyberpunk novel. Through a combination of anonymity technology and a sophisticated user-feedback system, Silk Road makes buying and selling illegal drugs as easy as buying used electronics—and seemingly as safe. It’s Amazon—if Amazon sold mind-altering chemicals.”
Thanks to the anonymizing network Tor, and the ‘crypto-currency’ Bitcoin, those who wish to ignore attempts by the state to interfere with their natural right to live their lives as they see fit can do so with a much lower level of risk than before. I look forward to seeing many more developments in this vein.