“Still Mine”

Dave Killion — May 14, 2013

 

How have I not heard of this film! Here’s the synopsis

“Based on true events and laced with wry humour, STILL MINE is a heartfelt love story about an 89-year-old New Brunswicker (James Cromwell) who comes up against the system when he sets out to build a more suitable house for his wife (Geneviève Bujold) whose memory is starting to go. Although Craig Morrison is using the same methods his father, a shipbuilder, taught him, times have changed. Craig quickly gets on the wrong side of an overzealous government inspector, who finds just about everything unacceptable, including the unstamped wood Craig has milled from his own trees. As Irene becomes increasingly ill – and amidst a series of stop-work orders – Craig races to finish the house. Hauled into court and facing jail, Craig takes a final stance.”

This just has ‘libertarian’ written all over it! It’s showing in Victoria, which means it might be showing in your town, too. Is it any good? I can’t say, but the reviewers at Tribute.ca love it. If you’ve seen it, please comment and let us all know.

Making Crawling Easier

Dave Killion — May 13, 2013

On the last episode I saw of The Stossel Show, author Lenore Skenazy (“Free Range Kids“) did something that had me racing to her blog

” When I go around giving my Free-Range Kids lectures, at some point I hold up a pair of little knit things that look like mini sweat bands and I ask the audience, “What are these?” And when I finally inform them, “Baby knee pads,” they shriek in disbelief. (At least, the ones who aren’t shrieking, “My mother-in-law just gave us those!”)

Since when do kids need knee pads to crawl safely? Aren’t babies born with built-in knee pads called “baby fat”? Isn’t that why their knees adorably dimple?”

Full post here. If, like me, you think baby knee pads are something that few parents would be interested in, I encourage you to do an internet search on them. You will find they are widely offered.

If ever there was a metaphor for the way our culture deals with difficulty, baby knee pads is it. There are a symbol of the way that every challenge is softened, every adversity removed. What are the effects of this sort of molly-coddling? I can’t say for sure, but so long as crawling is made more comfortable, the longer I would expect a baby to crawl. This is not the sort of product in which I expect libertarians to be very interested. We much rather people learn to stand on their own two feet.

A Libertarian Cycles Around Taiwan

Dave Killion — May 12, 2013

One of my minors at university was in Chinese studies, and earlier in my life I lived in Taiwan for a few months. Naturally, I was very interested and excited to see a travel article about Taiwan in the digital version of “Liberty“, a libertarian magazine. Here is an excerpt –

“Everyone in the bank turned to look at the westerner with the biking helmet. In response to the door guard’s inquiry, I pulled out a US $100 bill to indicate I wanted to change currency. The entire staff rolled their eyes and threw up their arms — not in an off-putting manner, but rather in an inclusive “we’re-all-going-to-share-a-root-canal-at-closing-time-and-we’re-going-to-pull-together-and-actually-have-fun.”

A teller ushered me to a seat, placed a cup of tea in my hands, and indicated that I should wait. Two minutes later the manager brought me a snack and tried to engage me. Placing my fists close to each other, I rotated them to duplicate the motion of pedaling a bike, uttered “Taiwan”, and signed an oval in the air to say that I was biking around Taiwan. The staff erupted in smiles, hung haos(very good), and thumbs up. More tea, more snacks, more encouraging glances, more waiting.

Twenty minutes later, only the foreign exchange teller was engaged — with what looked like an Indonesian lady. When she stood up, he motioned me over. I handed him my passport and counted out $400 US in $50 and $100 bills. He scrutinized the passport, including the tourist visa stamped in the back, and then the US money, first separating the denominations, then collating the bills. He rejected three $50 bills: two that were well-worn and one that was brand new, saying in English, “too old.” So I gave him one more $100 bill, which he accepted. He counted the money — twice — wrote down the amount, and asked for my confirmation. Then he stood up and approached the vault.

I got the impression that this bank branch had little experience with US money and had never seen a US $50 bill. While waiting for his return, various tellers brought more tea, more snacks, and more friendly attempts to communicate. One snack consisted of dry, pickled prunes, the pits of which I needed to spit out. The attractive teller who’d offered them to me was well aware that she might be pushing the limits of a westerner’s tastes, and so was expectantly attentive to my reaction. She pulled a handkerchief from her purse, put it on her palm and indicated that I should spit the pit onto it. Apprehensive that spitting into her hand might cross some sort of intimacy line, I hesitated. She understood perfectly well and reassured me by repeating “is OK, OK.”

The whole thing is delightful, and written from a libertarian’s perspective. Enjoy!

Oil Spills Indicate A Need For New Pipelines

Dave Killion — May 11, 2013

The Christian Science Monitor reports that foes of the Keystone Pipeline claim that a recent oil spill bolsters their opposition –

“The rupture of an ExxonMobil pipeline that sent a gooey black stream of heavy Canadian crude oozing across lawns and driveways in suburban Mayflower, Ark., (on March 29) has been seized upon by opponents of the Keystone XL pipeline as proof that the controversial project should be halted.

The break in the more-than-60-year-old Pegasus pipeline, environmentalists and homeowners say, illustrates the inability of oil pipeline companies to prevent spills that can wreak havoc on local environments, including important water aquifers along the 1,700 mile Keystone XL’s projected route. An Obama administration ruling on the pipeline is expected sometime this summer.”

If someone protests the construction of new oil pipelines, and insists that oil companies rely on pipelines that are getting older and older, which would you say that that person wants: fewer spills or more spills? And regardless what that person wants, what do you think they’ll get?

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.

This Month’s Donation

Dave Killion — May 8, 2013

In keeping with my New Year’s resolutions, I have been making a $50 contribution to a worthy group every month. Because I am particularly upset this month over the recent rhino slaughter in Mozambique, I have selected the Property and Environment Research Center (PERC) to be the recipient of my largesse. PERC gets the nod thanks to their recent hire of Michael ‘t Sas-Rolfes as a Research Fellow –

“Michael ‘t Sas-Rolfes is an environmental economist with a focus on the role of markets for biodiversity conservation. He has been active in various private conservation initiatives for 25 years, starting as a financial manager of a private game reserve in South Africa and later conducting research on the role of private markets for wildlife conservation in Africa.”

My first encounter with the work of Mr. ‘t Sas-Rolfes was his website Rhino Economics. He is a great addition to the PERC team, and I am happy to help them out.

 

A Random Thought

Dave Killion — May 6, 2013

Some time ago, Victoria Libertarian Book Club members were discussing the possibilities of a libertarian society. I declared that involuntary poverty would quickly become a thing of the past. This was met with some robust resistance, the argument being that certain handicaps and injuries would render some people unable to care for themselves, through no fault of their own. At the time, this struck me as sound, and I walked my declaration back. I have since reconsidered.

Take, for example, children. Those in poor families are considered impoverished, but those in wealthy families are not. Yet the ‘wealthy’ children do not necessarily have more any property than do the ‘poor’ children. Rather, the status of children is determined by the amount of wealth possessed by their caregivers. This is, I think, the correct way to view the disabled, too. Given that a libertarian society would be a much wealthier society, I am confident that the resources voluntarily made available for the care of the incapacitated would be sufficiently abundant that none of them could rightly be considered impoverished. That being the case, I say again; a libertarian society would be one in which involuntary poverty is non-existent.

Another Country Without Rhinos

Dave Killion — May 5, 2013

O, pardon me, thou bleeding piece of earth,                                                 That I am meek and gentle with these butchers!(275)   “Julius Caesar

It is possible, I suppose, to be a libertarian and yet not think rhinos are awesome, but you wouldn’t be the kind of libertarian I could be friends with. But if you love rhinos ( as all good libertarians do), you will be broken- hearted to hear that the last known rhinos in Mozambique have been killed by poachers

“The 15 threatened animals were shot dead for their horns last month in the Mozambican part of Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park, which also covers South Africa and Zimbabwe.

They were thought to be the last of an estimated 300 that roamed through the special conservation area when it was established as “the world’s greatest animal kingdom” in a treaty signed by the three countries’ then presidents in 2002.”

And now they’re all gone. Had those rhinos been privately owned, one of them could have been sold to a trophy hunter, and the money used by self-interested businessmen to protect and breed the remainder. Mozambique could have had more rhinos, but instead, they have none. The prohibitionists had their way, and 15 rhinos have been slaughtered to the benefit of poachers, who will likely spend a fair bit on prostitutes, booze, and drugs, and nothing on conservation. Such a waste.

Graphic Economics

Dave Killion — May 4, 2013

The Victoria Libertarian Book Club has set aside books for awhile, in favour of discussion of pre-selected topics. We’ve had a look at corporate personhood, and technology and liberty, and drones. We’re going to have a movie night in a couple weeks, but if you (like me) enjoy having a book on the go, let me recommend to you the graphic novel  “How an Economy Grows and Why It Doesn’t”. Here’s a sample page –

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True fact: author Irwin Schiff (85) is the father of well-known-to-libertarians Peter Schiff, and is also a noted tax protester. Sad to say, he is currently serving a 13-year sentence for “tax crimes,” and not due for release for another 3-4 years.

Read this work online here, or download a PDF here.

Speak Your Mind

Dave Killion — April 30, 2013

A family member recently informed me that she had once forwarded a post (written by me in the early days of this blog) to some friends and acquaintances. Many of those good people had never even heard the word ‘libertarian’, and one of them found it interesting. So interesting, in fact, that I understand he follows the blog faithfully. If it wasn’t for this family member, I might never have known. I offer this tale as evidence on the importance of resisting the Spiral of Silence

“The spiral of silence is a political science and mass communication theory propounded by the German political scientist Elisabeth Noelle-Neumann. Spiral of silence theory describes the process by which one opinion becomes dominant as those who perceive their opinion to be in the minority do not speak up because they fear isolation from society.”

Libertarians, being the light of the world, must be vigilant against this fear. No matter how vigorously we are attacked, we must never forget that we never know who is listening, and never doubt that we are being heard.