“What difference does that make? You can’t arrest me because I want you to… I have to break the law. And I’m not breaking the law.”
Time and again I’ve seen videos with bad cops asking “Do you want to get arrested?” when trying to drive off witnesses (especially those with cameras) who are breaking no laws (Here’s an example, that refuses to embed – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FymfGq_3Adg). Consider standing up for your rights.
I have bloggedpreviously about the wisdom of not talking to the police, and I not only stand by that advice, I recommend increasing that practice to other agents of the state. Those being: school administrators, and Bylaw/Code Enforcement Officers.
In the case of school administrators, parents and students must keep in mind that the media frequently reports incidents in which students have been suspended or expelled for trivial violations of increasingly popular zero-tolerance policies. Worse still, students are sometimes even arrested over matters that were, in a more sensible time, resolved by parents and staff. The time has come for parents and students to recognize that interactions with public school administrators have potentially disastrous consequences. Students should be taught that any attempts by administrators to interrogate them should be met with no response other than, “I’m sorry, but I want to call my parents/guardian right now.”
In the case of Bylaw/Code officers, I bring to your attention this story, in which unfortunate victims of Hurricane Sandy voluntarily enter into contracts with skilled tradesmen able to help relieve some of their distress, only to have the labour of these tradesmen brought to a halt by officious government busybodies who lack the good sense to turn a blind eye to unlicensed operators even in such dire circumstances! Well, the sad truth is that while the ‘authority’ of such officers to enter your property without a warrant often exceeds that of the police, there is likely nothing to stop you from refusing to answer any of their questions and declining to produce any licenses. Should I find myself in just such a situation, I intend to politely, but firmly, advise the officer that I am not going to talk to him, and then say nothing more than, “Please get off my property.”
These might not be the right choices for you, and of course you should make a hobby of learning the laws by which the state constrains you before you take any of my advice. But all in all, I think it is never wise to pass up an opportunity to shut your mouth.
If you don’t take that mask off, you’re gonna be in SO much trouble!
If you are attending a peaceful protest or demonstration in Canada, you might want to wear a mask or something, for the sake of anonymity and the benefits it brings. But if things turn violent, you better yank that thing off –
“While tens of thousands of children are putting the final touches on Halloween costumes and masks, the House of Commons has approved a bill banning people from hiding their faces during riots”….”The bill provides a penalty of up to 10 years in prison for anyone convicted of covering their face during a riot or other unlawful assembly.”
If someone is okay with smashing store windows, burning police cars, and stealing electronics, why would anyone think they would obey a no-mask-during-a-riot law? Fear of arrest? Even for political posturing, this is stupid. No, wait. I take it all back. The problem with this bill is that is doesn’t go far enough. Really, what should be required is a law against rioting without a permit. And anyone who applies for a permit will have to get fingerprinted. And pay a damage deposit.
“(Laurel) Broten also said publicly-funded Catholic schools in Ontario should not be teaching students that abortion is wrong because the anti-bullying law prohibits misogyny.
“Taking away a woman’s right to choose could arguably be considered one of the most misogynistic actions that one could take,” she said.”
So, if you happen to be one of those people who believe that abortion is murder, and you teach that to a student, the Honourable (sic) Mrs. Broten thinks you are a criminal. And if teaching that abortion-is-murder is a crime for teachers, then it is most certainly a crime for anyone else. Including Broten’s political opponents. Presumably, she would like to see all such people ‘stopped’. Peacefully, if possible, but violently (I suspect) if necessary.
Well, Mrs. Broten should be careful what she wishes for. One day, the tide may turn, and the law may be that anyone who teaches that women have a right to choose is guilty of advocating murder. And on that day, I suspect Mrs. Broten will cry out for the right to free speech that she is so eager to deny everyone else.
If you use marijuana, here is one of seven tips offered at Salon for avoiding arrest –
“Step #5: Don’t Smoke in Your Car
Your car is the number-one place you will most likely have an encounter with law enforcement. Looking for people with marijuana in their cars keeps some police departments in business. So smoking in your car, whether it is moving or not, is never a good idea.
At some point, however, you do have to move yourself with some marijuana from point A to point B in a rapid fashion. So if you have to have marijuana in your car, you should keep it in the trunk or locked up in the back somehow. Your center console, your glove compartment, and for pete’s sake, the dashboard, are not storage places for your stash.”
Find the rest here, and avoid falling victim to the state.
I have never been anxious concerning privacy, despite repeated cautions in the media. Like many, I shrug off warnings because I don’t think I have much worth hiding, and neither I nor anyone I know has fallen victim to any kind of identity theft. Still, there are enough stories that I’m sure it’s just a matter of time before something strikes close enough to home that it will overcome my laziness and denial. But even a lazy denialist might find this Belgian commercial persuasive –
On September 8, psychiatrist and scholar Thomas Szasz passed away at the age of 92. His death has been marked by a great many testimonials throughout the libertarianism blogosphere, my favourite being that of the Cato Institute’s Trevor Burrus –
“Szasz advocated for individual liberty from a substantially different point of view than most libertarian intellectuals. Rather than focusing on economic arguments or political philosophy, Szasz focused on personal responsibility and how the institutions and practices of modern psychiatry fundamentally undermine the rights and responsibilities of individuals.”
“…Szasz believed mental illness to be a “myth”: If we call someone “mentally ill” without reference to a physical brain disorder but only as a “problem” with her behavior, then we are describing something that is difficult, if not impossible, to objectively quantify. We must invoke some norm to make our diagnosis more than a subjective opinion about “divergent” behavior. If homosexuality is a mental illness, then the norm of heterosexuality is presumed. If marital infidelity is a mental illness, then the norm of fidelity is presumed. Without any appeal an objective criterion we will inevitably institutionalize people based on our opinions about their personalities. As Szasz says, the obvious question always arises: “What kinds of behavior are regarded as indicative of mental illness, and by whom?”
As demonstrated by the Rosenhan Experiment, making such a determination appears to be beyond the talents of even trained professionals. Yet the legitimacy that psychiatry provides to the state’s ability to confine and drug people, without their consent and without trial, has proven irresistible not just to tyrannical governments, but even those thought to be more benevolent.
It was Thomas Szasz who taught us that psychiatry, when used in the legal system, is a tool for imprisoning innocent people, and for freeing criminals. For that insight alone, we are lucky to have had him on our side.
“The rules, in large part common to the different communities, can be usefully grouped into two categories. One consists of ordinary legal rules covering the obligations of gypsies to each other. Swindling or stealing from a fellow gypsy is an offense to be dealt with, swindling or stealing from a non-gypsy comes under gypsy law only to the extent that it creates problems for other gypsies.”
This first category sounds as if it could have come from a book I read recently ; ” The Invisible Hook“, by Peter Leeson. The rules by which pirates regulated themselves were very much in the vein of maintaining peaceful, honest conduct within the group, while permitting (or more correctly, encouraging) violent, dishonest behaviour toward outsiders. I imagine such systems have been very common throughout history. You can read a summary of Leeson’s thoughts here.
While on the topic of pirates, I’ll let you know that during our next meeting, the club will be discussing the chapter on Somali Law from the Friedman book I cited yesterday. Have a look, and consider sharing with us any thoughts you might have.
The libertarian view on criminal justice, generally, is that it should be oriented more towards restitution than to punishment. This is very much the opposite of our current legal system, in which the victim usually not only fails to gain full restitution, but also must join other taxpayers in paying for the judge, public attorneys, police, and infrastructure needed to call criminals to account. I have always suspected that the result of such a system is that ‘small’ acts of crime would become significantly more costly to the perpetrator who, upon being found guilty, would bear the burden of ponying up for all costs related to his capture, prosecution, and fulfillment of sentencing. I have been confident that the result of such a system would be, if not the end of petty crime altogether, very likely the near-total elimination of recidivism. However, after listening to Episode 9 of CBC Radio’s “The Invisible Hand”, I have had to reconsider the possible effects such a system might have.
In the episode (Perverse Incentives), there is an examination of the unintended consequences arising from Three Strikes laws, one of which has been instances of extremely violent, and even fatal, acts of resistance on the part of criminals facing capture and prosecution for a third offence and the severe punishment mandated to follow. Given that even a humble burglar would be facing potentially tens of thousands of dollars to make his victim whole AND pay for all other costs, would he be more likely to resist his arrest violently?
It may be that the best policy overall is for people to exercise more personal effort in protecting themselves from crime, perhaps arming themselves and insuring their property is secured. Maybe, in time, this sort of reliance on self-protection would become so accepted that anyone who fell victim to a petty crime would be so embarrassed at their own irresponsibility that they wouldn’t even mention it. Or perhaps a free-market system would be so efficient and inexpensive that the cost to petty criminals would remain sufficiently low that the potential costs of violent resistance would be too high to contemplate. It’s an interesting matter to consider.
In the last Subsidiarity Podcast, Ashley Johnston and I discussed a blog post by Akosua Matthews over at the Canadian Constitution Foundation’s blog “The Justice Report“. The subject was free speech, and I have since had some fleeting thoughts on the topic. To wit;
I think most libertarians would agree that threatening someone with the initiation of aggression is, in itself, an initiation of aggression and therefore criminal. However, determining when such a threat has been made is not always clear (see this discussion). If someone says to me, “Give me your money, or I will kill you”, then that is clearly coercion and I can retaliate. But if some people are caught discussing a plan to rob me, would libertarian philosophy consider that criminal? Further still, since libertarians recognize that taxes are theft, would anyone advocating coercive redistribution be prosecuted for inciting criminal activity?
On that final question, I think not, but I am confident that any such advocates would find themselves struggling to find and keep jobs, homes, and vendors willing to supply them with products. Instead, they would be shunned by the decent and right-thinking people into which most of society would have evolved. And that is yet another one of the beauties of libertarianism; it discourages conduct that is anti-social, even when it is not criminal.