Archive for Ethics

Canada Still Funding Repression

Dave Killion — October 19, 2014

The pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong continue their efforts, despite arrests and a violent police response. Although I think Hong Kongers might find find having democracy not such a wonderful thing as wanting democracy, I certainly would never go so far as to provide support for their opponents. At least, not voluntarily

“Many have persistently questioned why China received bilateral aid from Canada, given its economic superpower status, military muscle and increasing influence on world affairs, including a growing development budget of its own.

“When you go to the eastern part of China, which is where probably where 99 per cent of Canadians, if they go to China, do go, places like Beijing or Shanghai, they would put to shame almost any Canadian city,” said Bruce Muirhead, associate vice-president of external research at the University of Waterloo, who has studied the issue of Canadian aid to China.

“But if you go a little bit into the interior, it’s a completely different situation. … It’s not the urban areas where CIDA puts its money, it’s in the rural areas. Those people really need help.”

Then those people should get it directly from the people who are trying to help them! Because when the Canadian government gives money to the Chinese government, it all goes in to one big pool, no matter how much anyone pretends it gets spent on one thing and not another. So long as the money moves from one government to another, taxpayers are funding mace and truncheons for opression to the same degree as they are funding health care and eduction for liberty.

Small comfort to the protesters currently being clubbed, but aid to China ceases at the end of the year.

A Short Drop And A Sudden Stop

Dave Killion — May 9, 2013

If the time should ever come that the state becomes so intolerable that the people must revolt (as Americans did against Britain in 1776), many of us will have to call on skills and knowledge that are none too common –

“Hanging has been utilized as a mode of execution for as long as man can remember, There have been more executions by this method than any other means. The procedure is simple; and yet there have been more botched executions by this method than by any other.

Essentially, execution by hanging is strangulation, effected by restricting the executee’s air supply at the neck, unconsciousness occurring between two and four minutes and death within ten, resulting in death by asphyxiation. This, however, is not humane.

The correct procedure is when the executee is dropped some distance and stopped by a rope fastened around his neck. The force of this drop and stop breaks the bones in the executee’s neck and severs his spinal cord causing him to go into medical shock and be rendered unconscious. At this point the executee strangles to death. This method is the only humane form of hanging.”

Well, one doesn’t wish to ever be inhumane, so educate yourself. Then, come the Glorious Day, you’ll be able to use that 30-foot length of boiled-and-stretched 3/4″ Manila Hemp in a cruelty-free fashion.

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.

Anybody’s son will do

G — December 22, 2012

Free Enterprise Is A Moral Imperative

Dave Killion — November 4, 2012


Behold, the winner of the American Enterprise Institute’s 2012 Video Contest –

“We’re calling on everyone who loves America’s system of free enterprise to submit a short video (under two minutes) that sets forth its worth — not on the basis of political ideology or economic efficiency, but on the basis of simple moral truths, namely:

  • Free enterprise promotes earned success, which is the substance of lasting happiness.
  • Free enterprise promotes real fairness, based on merit and hard work.
  • Free enterprise does the most good for the most vulnerable by supplying both ample charity and unmatched opportunity.”

Clicking on the link will take you to the video contest gallery, where you can see not only the prize winners, but also 16 other notable entries. They are, individually and collectively, a stirring reminder of why libertarians like me are so fervent in our adherence to free market principles.

Who Rightfully Owns Mineral Resources?

Dave Killion — October 22, 2012

Advocates of estate/inheritance taxes argue, in part, that the heir has not earned the newly-acquired wealth and is therefore not entitled to keep all of it. But have said advocates considered the ramifications such an argument has for people in poor countries where there are substantial natural resources? Tim Newman asks us to consider

“… a country which sits on a sizeable mineral wealth which it has no idea how to extract.  For hundreds of years this wealth remains unrealised as it sits beneath the ground, whilst the people living above it barely know it exists.  Then some foreigners turn up and spend years (sometimes decades), millions if not billions of dollars, and the lives of thousands of individuals working in pretty dire conditions to figure out how to extract this resource and make it worth something.  Eventually these efforts pay off, and the foreigners start making some money.  Thus far, the locals have contributed next to nothing.  So what share of the proceeds are they entitled to?

According to the likes of Richard Murphy, they are entitled to most of it.  After all, they happened to be born sitting on top of an oilfield.  Yet the same justification is not applied to our fortunate heir in the example I gave above.  He is…. reaping the rewards of unearned wealth, whereas the governments of oil exporting countries are reaping the rewards of what is theirs by right.

The two positions are somewhat inconsistent, aren’t they?”

I don’t think Newman is doing much here to counter the estate-tax proponents. All the same, I’m happy to encounter this argument because I have been worried that when I buy oil, gas, and other mineral resources from countries with corrupt governments, I have essentially been buying stolen goods (because those resources are actually the property of the populace, rather than the state). But Newman’s example reminds me that government claims of ownership over dormant mineral resources are, from a libertarian point of view, very weak. In fact, businesses that extract and distribute those resources establish a much more robust claim of ownership, by dint of their efforts and investments. That certainly goes a long way toward alleviating my anxiety.

A Coercive Day In The Neighborhood

Dave Killion — October 9, 2012

It is difficult to imagine someone more gentle than Fred Rogers, of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. If someone had suggested to him that he should command perfect strangers to give him money, and that he should threaten to send armed men to either imprison those strangers or take their money by violence if they refused, he would surely have declined. In fact, I cannot help but believe that he would have refused to do so even if threatened with violence himself. And yet, in the video above (6:50), we find him lobbying the state for funding, all of which is obtained by just such means.

Perhaps the late Mister Rogers was oblivious to both the true nature and the ramifications of his request, or he was not but felt strongly that the good ends he hoped to accomplish justified the means used to attempt them. Either way, his impassioned plea demonstrates how many people cause suffering all while trying to accomplish, through coercion, what they think is good. This mindset presents a tremendous obstacle, and it is important that we keep working to spread the message that there is nothing kinder nor gentler than true freedom.

Citizens Use Government To Steal From Business

Dave Killion — September 15, 2012

Would you like some injustice with that?


Go to Long Island, New York, and you might just see The Most Beautiful McDonald’s In America –

“Known as the Denton House, its bones date back to 1795, when it was constructed as a farm house by one Joseph Denton, a descendent of the founder of the village of Hempstead. In 1860, it was given a Georgian makeover, complete with gingerbread ornamentation, and throughout the 1900′s, found commercial use as a funeral home and a series of restaurants.

By 1986, it was abandoned and on the verge of falling down.

McDonalds purchased the property with the intention of tearing it down and replacing it with a standard McDonald’s restaurant. Thank God for the citizens of the New Hyde Park, who worked to secure landmark status for the building in 1987.”

Thank God? Let me understand this: a group of citizens desires the preservation of a building, and achieves that goal by lobbying local government to place restrictions on the property that cause the existing owner to suffer an increase in costs AND a loss in property value. We’re to believe that God not only approved of such an outcome, but deserves praise for being somehow behind it? Well, as I recall, there is at least one commandment of the ten that expressed God’s position on theft, and I’m pretty sure he is opposed to it. I’m not saying these people are going to Hell… only that they deserve to.

Did the members of the community really want the building saved? It’s hard to say. If people were told they would have to pay for the cost of saving the building out of their own pockets, I bet many fewer would have said yes. But they weren’t asked that question. They were asked if they wanted the building saved, and they all knew without being told that someone else would have to pay. And, libertarians aside, who would have said no to that?

Via Neatorama

A Free Market Is A Humane Market

Dave Killion — July 18, 2012


Know what a gestation crate is?

“A gestation crate, also known as a sow stall, is a 2 metres (6.6 ft) x 60 centimetres (2.0 ft) metal enclosure used in intensive pig farming, in which a female breeding pig (sow) may be kept during pregnancy, and in effect for most of her adult life.”

Between 60 and 70 percent of sows are kept in crates during pregnancy in the United States, each pregnancy lasting four months, with an average of 2.5 litters every year. Sows, which can weigh 600 pounds (270 kg), spend most of their three or four years of adult life in crates, giving birth to between five and eight litters. As the sows grow larger, they no longer fit in the crates, and must sleep on their chests, unable to turn, until they are slaughtered.”

Brutal. It’s difficult to read something like that and not think that these devices should be banned, and in some places they either have been, or will soon be –

“In the European Union, the crates are being phased out by 2013 after four weeks of pregnancy. They are already banned in Sweden and in the UK, and will be banned in Denmark in 2014.

In the US, they have been banned in Florida since 2002, Arizona since 2006 California since late 2008 and the latest being Rhode Island from June 2012, making it the 9th state in US to enforce the ban. They are also being phased out in Maine and Oregon.”

This is not the good news it appears to be. Banning gestation crates means higher pork prices, so unless consumers are demanding “gestation-crate-free” pork, retailers will have to find sources where there is no ban. That means pork might be brought in from places where animal welfare is an even lower priority. By resorting to coercive state power, well-intended people actually cause more suffering.

Happily, the market succeeds where government fails

“By the end of 2022, (Oscar Mayer) plans to obtain pork from suppliers who can provide pregnant sows with housing that “allows for greater movement for the animal, while ensuring their comfort,” instead of traditional stalls.

“We are committed to finding better ways to keep animals healthy and in a safe environment while treating them with respect,” Oscar Mayer spokeswoman Sydney Lindner said. “This is not only important to us, but also to our consumers who care about animal well-being and comfort.”

“Pork providers Smithfield and Hormel have pledged to stop using the confining gestation crates by 2017, and Cargill already is 50 percent crate-free, the organization said.”

For deep, sustainable, and far-reaching change, nothing beats free enterprise.


Pride Toronto And The Libertarian Party of Canada

Dave Killion — July 15, 2012

Katrina Chowne, leader of the Libertarian Party of Canada, has posted an article; “Defending the Libertarian Party’s attendance at Toronto Pride“. Here’s a sample –

“… this was a no-brainer.  Just as you would expect the Libertarian Party to stand upto apartheid, we stand up to those that discriminate based on gender.  No one chooses their gender in the same way we do not choose eye colour, skin colour, height or ear size.”

I’m sorry, but this does not follow. I would have expected the LP to oppose apartheid not because we are opposed to discrimination, but because we are opposed to the initiation of force. Apartheid was the state using violence (and the threat of violence) to force people to discriminate, and so libertarians had to oppose it. But libertarianism requires no tolerance beyond that which is required to avoid violating the natural rights of others. Beyond that, freedom of association prevails.

Not being well versed on the subject, I don’t know if the Canadian government discriminates against homosexuals, but I am certainly opposed if they do. In fact, though, as far as I know homosexuals not only enjoy the same rights as all other Canadians, they also receive special protection from ‘hate’ speech and private discrimination. It is also my understanding that Pride wishes to expand and increase these benefits, which come at the expense of the rights of straight people. If that is the case, then the LP must oppose their efforts. If Pride is merely a celebration of the LGBT community, then there is no reason to expect any libertarians to support it merely because we are libertarians. At best, Pride seems like an event some individual libertarians might wish to support, but unless the state is violating the natural rights of LGBT community members, the LP has no business taking part.