December 5, 2014

The essence of government

If you break a government law, "public officers" with guns are empowered to commit justifiable homicide: "When necessarily committed in overcoming actual resistance to the execution of some legal process, or in the discharge of any other legal duty..."

I do not suggest that it be otherwise, but merely that we think long and hard every time we create a new government law. For example, do we really want to subject either the citizenry or the police officers we hire to "serve and protect" to life and death disputes over the taxes that may or may not be paid on individual cigarettes?

All Hail:

New York has by far the highest cigarette taxes – over 5 bucks a pack. As it always does, this kind of policy has triggered black market trade. In March, Governor Cuomo announced the formation of the "Cigarette Strike Force" to crack down on illegal tobacco trafficking. A strike force. Sounds pretty violent. As Robert Tracinski has pointed out, the Garner case should remind us that government is force and more government has predictable returns. And if you believe cops are racist and unduly violent in general, every time you pass some silly law all you do is give them more opportunity.

And so begins the 'War on Loosies.' "It's okay, ma'am. We're justified."

Hat tip: Blog friend Terri, for alerting me that Harsanyi had written about the "Revenuer" angle of the Eric Garner case.

Posted by JohnGalt at 7:07 PM | Comments (2)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Justified? That sure explains why the boys in blue are going all Raylan Givens on the citizenry. Life suddenly imitates art.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at December 5, 2014 7:42 PM
But Jk thinks:

Thomas Hall 's Aftermath [Review Corner] chose cigarette taxes as one of his four laws to trace unintended consequences around. Garner is a tragic addition.

Posted by: Jk at December 5, 2014 9:04 PM

August 19, 2014

The Humanity!

Removing an option entirely does not help teach good decision-making skills, it’s just temporarily taking something out of the equation for 6 or 7 hours a day.

Yet another argument against prohibition, but this one is not in support of legalizing recreational drugs, or alcohol, or pharmaceuticals. This lunatic nut job is very seriously suggesting the radical idea of unfettered access to ... groceries.

The recent passing of the Healthy, Hunger-free Kids Act was done with the best of intentions. The act, established as a way to promote healthy eating among kids and decrease childhood obesity, which is rising at alarming rates, sets nutritional standards for school lunches and snacks available to school-age children. That means the end of the elusive vending machine and the high-calorie snacks it contains.

But don't expect kids to give up their sugar fix so easily…

As The Atlantic reports, jonesing students have turned to the junk-food black market… some as dealers, others as addicts.

That's right, kids are smuggling in junk food, risking punishment, but making bank. The Atlantic reports that some kids are making upwards of $200 per week dealing in sugar, and it’s even hit student government. Yup, a student body vice president at one Connecticut school was forced to resign after buying contraband Skittles from a student "dealer."

That's "recently passed" as of 2011, but of interest today as it is back-to-school time. This is when it is most noticeable, with flyers coming home in packets of forms to complete. We've never been called into the office for sending our kids to school with Frito Lay products in their backpacks, but one does rehearse speeches in preparation for that possibility.

"We ask you to teach our children how to think for themselves but when it comes to the foods they may eat, you teach them that thinking is forbidden."

Posted by JohnGalt at 12:02 AM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

When Cheetos® are outlawed...

Posted by: jk at August 19, 2014 11:39 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Cold, dead, orange fingers.

Posted by: johngalt at August 19, 2014 12:42 PM

July 5, 2014

Happy Fifth (of Patron)

Remy warns of a government gettin' up in yo' grill.

Posted by John Kranz at 9:52 AM | Comments (0)

October 16, 2013

Open for Redistribution!

After a lengthy "government shutdown" in which the greatest public sacrifices were borne by visitors to America's National Parks, Congress appears poised to "re-open" the federal government. One cannot truthfully say "for business" but for whatever it is that the federal government, particularly the "nonessential" portions of Leviathan, normally does.

I support this "surrender." Important points have been made:

1) Fully 43% of federal civilian employees are non-essential, and could likely be let go, gradually and humanely, of course.

2) Republicans, at least a handful of them, have warned Americans loudly and clearly that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will make most of them worse off than they were before. They are on record as having tried to stop it before it did whatever damage is sure to come.

3) By the way, did we mention that federal government spending is out of control and we really can stop it if enough voters send us enough principled house members in '14? Toward this end, every vote between now and then adds to the ideological war chest in coming primary battles.

Now, fellow Lilliputians, it is time to step back and let Leviathan stumble along his predictable path. There are triplines in place, put there not by the Administration's partisan opponents, but by the selfish interests of millions of Americans. "I work for a living, and I vote."

One point of caution I can think of now is to be prepared to deflect calls by the Administration to "fix" or "rework" or "tweek" Obamacare as a cover for its failings. The proper rebuttal will be, this law is flawed in its premise and must be replaced with a system that delivers cost-effective care as demanded by a customer base that is free to make purchasing choices at the point of care. You know, like iTunes.

Best of all, since the "reopening" is only for 2-3 months, we get to do this all over again soon... with myriad Obamacare horror stories betwixt. What a country!

UPDATE: ACAHSOTD

"I am canceling insurance for us and I am not paying any f**king penalty. What the hell kind of reform is this?

Oh, ok, if we qualify, we can get some government assistance. Great. So now I have to jump through another hoop to just chisel some of this off. And we don't qualify, anyway, so what's the point?"

ht: Terri

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:55 PM | Comments (1)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Shorter version: "Let it burn."

The only downside to all this is that when Obamacare - and one fine day not long after that, Leviathan himself - crashes, there are going to be people on the other side saying that it was doomed because we didn't cede enough authority or enough resources to it. That we tried it only halfway, and didn't go big, and it was the fault of the conservatives. Some - true believers of the left and a large posse of voters with room-temperature IQs - will buy that.

All that being said, we are going to see in our lifetimes Carthage salt itself. That's going to be both historic and spectacular.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at October 16, 2013 6:38 PM

July 19, 2013

Taking guns away - from the Leftists

Responding to President Obama's attorney general using the legally just ruling in The Florida Case as another excuse to take guns from law abiding citizens, Jeffrey T. Brown tells us to 'Stand Your Ground' Against the Left.

To Holder and the president, the isolated events involving Trayvon Martin, which have not been publicly replicated anywhere else in America on any regular or reported basis, serve as yet another excuse to launch sweeping radical attacks on the rights of all Americans. They loathe the ability of citizens to protect themselves against the left's predators, whether social or political.

There's an angle I hadn't given enough thought. It's commonly understood that welfare statists deplore citizens who can protect themselves against government, but don't the same voices tell us that criminals are the "real victims" and deserve our "understanding?" The latest Rolling Stone cover fits in that niche. If so, the fight to protect individual gun rights is both political and social.

Segue to a post-Newtown story about mass murders, also from American Thinker, which claims Psychiatric Community Not Stepping Up. I touched on this aspect of the Newtown case when I cited widespead use of anti-depressants like Ritalin ("Ritalin is not just like methamphetamine, Ritalin is methamphetamine.") in the comments here. Author Bernie Reeves is more specific, laying blame at the feet of those social professionals whose reason for being is to detect and treat the mentally ill - psychiatrists.

It is now time to remove guns from the top position in media coverage and implore the psychiatric community to coalesce and present a formula to identify and deal with potentially psychotic patients. As it stands now, the only method to remove dangerous patients is to have them arrested, which requires a process often too difficult and wrenching to contemplate.

The Sandy Hook shootings have affected parents more deeply than any of the dozens of previous massacres since the 1980s. Discussing the event with young children is difficult, and creates anxiety that saying the wrong thing could be permanently damaging. It is indeed a national trauma that requires national therapy. There is a gnawing helplessness that 'there is nothing we can do'.

Yet there is, but the professionals who can construct a solution are the ones who abandoned their duty, leaving 20 little children and six adults dead. You would think they would step up.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:41 PM | Comments (0)

March 12, 2013

Colorado is America's Canary

Dear America,

If you care to see what happens when a single political party controls the executive and both houses of the legislative arms of government, just look at what is taking place in Colorado. Editorialist Anthony Martin suggests Colorado Democrats appear determined to start a civil war.

A state that was once friendly to gun rights has now become a hotbed of leftwing political activism that directly challenges citizen rights -- unless that citizen wishes to smoke pot legally.

This scenario only further enrages gun rights activists who view such things as the height of hypocrisy -- touting citizen rights to smoke pot while at the same time attacking citizen rights when it comes to guns.

If you want to read about the "civil war" part you'll have to click through. I'll not be accused of incitement.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:31 PM | Comments (4)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

"If you care to see what happens when a single political party controls the executive and both houses of the legislative arms of government..."

Dude. Been there, done that, lived to tell the tale. http://is.gd/ASoCyG

Posted by: Keith Arnold at March 12, 2013 5:37 PM
But johngalt thinks:

See how easily we fail to notice when the pot is warmed gradually? We just glibly refer to the "Californication" of our state without looking to see how much further Kalifornia is trying to go at the same time. I'll share this around in Colorado circles.

My caution was meant for those in swing districts who might choose to replace their Republican congressman with a Democrat in 2014 because some Republican somewhere "frightens" them.

Posted by: johngalt at March 12, 2013 5:56 PM
But AndyN thinks:

If you care to see what happens when a single political party controls the executive and both houses of the legislative arms of government...
Were you worried that if you didn't appear balanced you'd offend someone? I believe that there are currently 24 states in which the GOP controls both the legislative and executive branches. Is there any evidence that those state governments are attempting to trample on the rights of their citizens?

The GOP has many problems, but this particular problem is specifically a Democratic party problem.

Posted by: AndyN at March 12, 2013 6:43 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Good question! I love good questions.

I wasn't concerned about offending anyone, as yesterday's "On Legislation and Human Rights" post should illustrate, but I was seeking to illustrate a general principle rather than a partisan lament. Now I will try to defend it.

I am less affected by the anti-liberty of Republicans than that of Democrats but I do recognize it when I see it and, as a proponent of consistency in ones principles, oppose it. For example, Arkansas just overrode the veto of its Democrat governor to implement what some call the nation's most restrictive abortion ban. If one accepts the premise that a state prohibition on abortion tramples a right of the mother, namely to control her own bodily functions, then this is an example of Republicans doing exactly what I condemn Colorado Democrats for: A partisan infringment of individual liberties.

Posted by: johngalt at March 12, 2013 7:08 PM

Quote of the Day

Starbucks will continue selling sugary coffee drinks under the "half milk" loophole, a special little loophole created by Bloomberg and his minions to make sure that the Crusading Liberal White People who support this ban are actually not affected by this ban. If Starbucks had been included in the ban, the shrieking from Bloomberg's Crusading Liberal White People supporters would have been deafening, and the thing would have been killed. So they made certain that the ban didn't apply to White People's Big Gulps, even though they contain nearly as much sugar and much more caffeine than Other People's Big Gulps." -- Ace (h/t Jim Geraghty)
Posted by John Kranz at 10:26 AM | Comments (0)

February 21, 2013

Boeuf Rouge

A Goodyear tire plant in France is scheduled to close, so the French government is attempting find a sucker, er, suitor to take it over along with the workers and union contracts. They approached Titan International, a US maker of farm tires. Titan is lead by a rather blunt CEO, Maurice "Morry" Taylor, whose nickname is "The Griz." The Griz sent a letter to the French industry minister indicating that it would be stupid to take over a plant where the workers only work three hours a day.

"The French workforce gets paid high wages but works only three hours. They get one hour for breaks and lunch, talk for three and work for three," Taylor wrote on February 8 in the letter in English addressed to the minister, Arnaud Montebourg.

"I told this to the French union workers to their faces. They told me that's the French way!" Taylor added in the letter, which was posted by business daily Les Echos on its website on Wednesday and which the ministry confirmed was genuine.

"How stupid do you think we are?" he asked at one point.

"Titan is going to buy a Chinese tire company or an Indian one, pay less than one Euro per hour wage and ship all the tires France needs," he said. "You can keep the so-called workers."


Red meat indeed for Three Sourcers; the article will elicit multiple huzzahs. Would it be possible to get a guy like this for president? Probably not. He ran for the Republican nomination in 1996 and even The Refugee does not remember him. However, we need more business leaders willing to stand up and compete rather than seeking rent from the government.

Posted by Boulder Refugee at 10:54 AM | Comments (3)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

I can't believe I'm the one to be the voice of caution on this, but here goes...

Repeat after me: "Chris Christie." He became, briefly, the darling of conservatives when he did to the Jersey public unions what Taylor did to the French ones. And kudos to them both for that - kudos loudly and often. But Christie is a gun-grabber, and on fuller analysis, far from being a doctrinaire conservative or small-l libertarian. His genuflection before the SCOAMF in the last days of the Presidential election showed, shall we say, a fuller and broader display of his overall political leanings.

Colin Powell? Remember him? Remember back when half the Republicans you knew were seriously considering buoying him up to the top of the contenders? He was enthusiastically supported without any further vetting, so when it - much later - came to light that he was a big tax-and-spend, pro-redistribution RINO, we were all "never mind his stances on the issues! He's electable!"

What Taylor did is one facet of what we should be demanding of a President. Yes, I want PATCO a thousand times over. This is an interesting, but single, incident. The GOP needs to shake off the fanboy, cult-of-personality enthusiasm that gave us, well, Romney.

Mr. Taylor, I am intrigued, and your smackdown of the French has earned you my ear. I'm willing to listen. Tell me your story and your stances. You've earned an interview; now tell me more.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at February 21, 2013 11:54 AM
But jk thinks:

Brother Keith, the voice of reason and caution on ThreeSources...

I'll admit to having been on the Powell bandwagon. I dug his book, applaud his service. I'd love to ask him someday -- in a most respectful tone -- what does being a Republican mean to him. He is famous for heterodoxy, but from what? During his boomlet, libertarianism was not dominant in the GOP. He may have actually been a good Eisenhower-Republican President.

Gov. Christie disappoints, but has a fiduciary duty to Garden Staters to collect all the Federal Jack he can. Sad system, and I'd respect his rising above it, but he has got a job. On guns, I think we ignore geography at our peril. Kudlow has these pointy-headed East coasters on every night that are GOP from their Brooks Brothers cufflinks to their heart. And they have no genuine interest in gun rights. The WSJ Editorial Board has to work at it.

I'm pretty comfortable on the RandPaul2016 train right now.

Posted by: jk at February 21, 2013 12:24 PM
But jk thinks:

But we're straying off topic. The purpose of this post was to ridicule The French: Lazy Cheese Eating Surrender Monkeys! Mon dieu!

Posted by: jk at February 21, 2013 12:26 PM

January 2, 2013

But it does focus the mind...

Still, death is not everything. Even if "being overweight doesn't increase your risk of dying," Dr. Klein said, it "does increase your risk of having diabetes" or other conditions.
That's the NYTimes walking back a study which suggests a lower mortality rate for overweight people.

"But don’t scrap those New Year’s weight-loss resolutions and start gorging on fried Belgian waffles or triple cheeseburgers." says Pam Belluck.

Okay, I'll pass on the waffle, but the cheeseburger sounds pretty good. What I'd rilly rilly like to pass on is the nanny state laws from Mayor Bloomberg and the First Lady, and the new school lunch guidelines that are starving some students.

Maybe -- if it's not killing us -- y'all could let us decide for ourselves? Like a free citizenry?

Hat-tip: Insty who adds "But remember, most of the anti-obesity crusading isn't really about health, it's about not wanting to look at fat people. So this won't change much."

Posted by John Kranz at 1:36 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Trying to understand: Being gay makes someone a member of an oppressed, protected class but being overweight makes him a legitimate target of unsolicited government protection from himself? I suppose in the minds of myopic nannyists the distinction is "innate" versus "behavioral." Yet is there conclusive evidence that no one is "born" to be fat? Do they not deserve the same benefit of the doubt, or is it fair that gay people also be lectured and regulated at the margins for whatever behavioral choices supposedly "make them" gay?

Posted by: johngalt at January 2, 2013 3:07 PM

December 5, 2012

Reconsidering 2016

It seems to me that most of us Three Sourcers had a pretty good idea that the election of Mitt Romney was not going to "solve" America's problems. We didn't talk about it much, explicitly, but deep in our hearts I think this extraordinarily bright collection of humans knew that this is the way things really are.

He gives it the catchy title "The Dark Enlightnement" but I might just call it reality. If you have a few minutes, read the piece and let us discuss our next move. I don't think mine will be to research whether Rubio, Ryan or Jindahl is the best choice for 2016...

Posted by Ellis Wyatt at 3:16 PM | Comments (8)
But Bryan thinks:

My God that was depressing. And Awesome!

Posted by: Bryan at December 5, 2012 4:50 PM
But Steve D thinks:

The endarkenment

Posted by: Steve D at December 5, 2012 4:56 PM
But jk thinks:

...and I just crawled back off the ledge where I was going to jump after the election.

Every word of the linked piece is true (I suspect the authenticity of the Franklin quote as well) and yet what a Hoppe never concedes is the great run of Constitutional Republicanism in the United States. It took us almost two hundred years to break the fine machine that Madison et all constructed -- and we can still use it to assert rights of speech and self-defense unfathomable in other modern and free Democracies.

The rise of the United States from backwoods colonies in the 18th Century to Argentina's economic equal in the 19th to a superpower in the 20th to hegemon in the 21st makes me think that there might be something to that Constitution thingy.

I love reading Hoppe and Lysander Spooner and Lord Acton. Their beliefs reinforce many of the things I hold true. But what I strive for is attention to the US Constitution, accepting its warts Even accepting the 16th and 17th Amendments which ruin it.

On this day, dear friends, we repealed prohibition and ratified the 21st Amendment. Hope lives.

Posted by: jk at December 5, 2012 5:01 PM
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

Brother jk, I love your optimism, which mirrors my own natural inclination. But the inexorable logic of the situation seems well, inexorable.

I will be out of touch until tomorrow, when I hope to get more into the "what should be done" of the situation.

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at December 5, 2012 5:15 PM
But jk thinks:

I am calling for tempered pessimism. No, the United States is unlikely to return to its pre-progressive, lasseiz faire liberty. But we've seen Canada, Finland and Sweden roll back government. It can be done.

Consistent with Reason 40th Anniversary: yes, government is going to hell, but freedom advances in other spheres. We have the TSA, but we have the Internet. In the heat of an election -- or after a disastrous one, I know that sounds like the consolation prize, but it's a vector as certain as democracy -- and it points the right way.

Removing self-directed rule in fear of democracy is tossed around pretty cavalierly by the anarcho crowd. I really don't want to move to Singapore, Dubai, or Hong Kong in spite of high economic freedom.

Posted by: jk at December 5, 2012 6:17 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I got me this cabin in the woods...

KIDDING!

Posted by: johngalt at December 5, 2012 6:31 PM

October 30, 2012

Tweet of the Day


Posted by John Kranz at 11:24 AM | Comments (0)

July 3, 2012

Law of the Day

Taranto includes this paragraph which stands on its own:

SB 1476 stemmed from an appellate court case last year involving a child's biological mother, her same-sex partner, and a man who had an affair with the biological mother and impregnated her while she was separated temporarily from her female lover.

Hollywood is on the phone right now. Has there ever been a better description of what it foolishly thinks Americans want to see?

Posted by Ellis Wyatt at 8:00 PM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

Wasn't there an episode of "Joanie loves Chachi" like that...?

I tend to run from this stuff because it is tainted with "The Cuture War" which I avoid. But I read that piece and it contained a few headscratchers.

Posted by: jk at July 4, 2012 6:23 PM
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

I don't want a culture war either. But you can only have two parents. We have enough complications with just those, in many cases. And the quoted paragraph was just too good not to share

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at July 4, 2012 7:34 PM

June 29, 2012

Explaining why tax rates matter

Leftist politicians often argue that tax rates don't matter or at least ignore the implications. Here's a parable that might, perhaps, help some to grasp the concept.

Suppose there is a remote island with just two inhabitants, Joe and Bob. The government of our island offers Joe and Bob a choice: they can either work and earn $40,000 per year creating goods for export or the goverment will assure them of a "sustainable income" of $20,000 per year. Joe, being a go-getter, opts to create goods and live more comfortably on the higher income. Bob would prefer to stay home and play video games knowing that he can "get by" on $20k. The government has to balance its books (in our parable, there is no China from whom to borrow funds). In order to do so, it imposes a 50% income tax. Seeing this, if you were Joe, how long would you continue to work hard (or work at all)?

Now, try the same thought experiment start with a 10% tax and going up to 80% in increments.

One might think of this as the elasticity of labor, but that concept would leave our Lefist friends in the dust.

Posted by Boulder Refugee at 3:16 PM | Comments (3)
But johngalt thinks:

Joe might say, "I'm leaving it as I found it. Take it. It's yours."

Herein lies the brilliance in allowing Obamacare to stand as a new tax. And a tax on whom? The uninsured! Gosh, those Democrats sure know how to look out for the little guy.

Posted by: johngalt at June 29, 2012 3:51 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

"Of course, we'll subsidize it for those who can't afford it." So, we'll be using tax dollars to pay a tax. That's an interesting recursive loop.

Using that logic, I'm going to pay myself $1 million to mow the lawn. Then, I'll use that money to pay myself to do it again. Now, I have two million...

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at June 29, 2012 4:11 PM
But johngalt thinks:

The part I call "brilliance" is where uninsured voters are told, "If you vote for my opponent he'll give you a government insurance ID card but he'll also withold a $2000 tax from your paycheck each year."

Posted by: johngalt at June 29, 2012 5:00 PM

June 8, 2012

Weasel Award

I should probably not compare this former Coke® executive to a weasel. I'm certain weasels have some positive benefit to the ecosystem. Todd Putnam not so much.

Putman, 51, shares that view. But he is also driven by another motive: From 1997 to mid-2000, he was a top marketing executive at Coca-Cola.

"It took me 10 years to figure out that I have a large karmic debt to pay for the number of Cokes I sold across this country," he said.

On Thursday, he came to settle it.

He wanted to give an inside account of what he contends has been a drive by Coca-Cola to replace not just its direct competitors but all beverages in the American diet -- a campaign for what the company called "share of stomach." He wanted to warn about the industry's particular focus on young people and minorities.


Thank all that is holy and decent that this brave whistleblower came forward to accept the accolades and approbation of the Washington Post and New York's mayor. What courage!

Posted by John Kranz at 6:36 PM | Comments (1)
But dagny thinks:

Think I might just have to go get a Coke from the machine today in honor of this post.

Posted by: dagny at June 11, 2012 5:25 PM

June 4, 2012

Tweet of The Day

tweet120604.gif

Posted by John Kranz at 2:16 PM | Comments (0)

March 15, 2012

Trey Parker, Matt Stone...Line One!

Oh, goody!

For the first time, the federal government will directly attack the nation's tobacco addiction with a series of advertisements highlighting the grisly toll of smoking, a campaign that federal health officials hope will renew the stalled decline in the share of Americans who smoke.

If my health were just a little bit better, I swear I would take up smoking. I see high schoolers lighting up and think "good for you!" Liberty truly is more important than death -- and a little John Stuart Mill goes a long way. Either we are sovereign individuals who own our own bodies, or we are subjects of government.

The Helmet-tip here goes to cycling legend and all-around-HOSS Lance Armstrong. I follow him and his Livestrong cancer page on Facebook. Love the man, but he celebrates every nanny law that possibly impacts cancer. I can see his point, but am not sure he sees mine. Curiously, there are many liberty lovers who push back, politely (mostly) arguing that gub'mint is not the answer.

If I may rant a bit, I am sooo completely totally bored with this. You can't watch a movie on DVD without sitting through some anti-smoking propaganda. There are countless PSAs by countless groups. Now the Federal Government -- not like they have anything else to spend money on.

Show me one person who does not understand the dangers of smoking, who will be educated by this supraconstitutional nannying. One.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:45 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

As a college lad in Boulder I was overjoyed when the city passed a bar and restaurant smoking ban. In those care-free days there were actually ashtrays and matches on every dining table. But the places reeked of smoke smell such that you were lucky to taste your meal. A group called "GASP" was formed to advocate for policies friendly to non-smokers. "Doing good work" thought I. But the problem is, once the do-gooders finish making all public places safe from the horror of "second-hand smoke" when do they stop? When do they decide, "Our work is done" and disband to once again pursue something important and productive? You know the answer.

Posted by: johngalt at March 15, 2012 2:35 PM
But Bryan thinks:

As a recently recovering tobacco addict (5 months smoke free), this nanny state nonsense drives me nuts.

I knew exactly how dangerous smoking was for my health and I did it anyway. Every time someone or something (Government) said that it was bad for me and that I should quit, it just made me angry with them. Who are they to be so smug to tell me what I can or cannot do? Then to further assume that I was too stupid to know what the dangers of smoking are and incapable of choosing accordingly is the icing on the nanny state cake.

What really gets my blood pressure up about all of this is how two faced the government is about it all. HHS and the CDC issue adds talking about how dangerous smoking is, while the USDA offers farms subsidies to tobacco farmers. Never mind the fact that the total tax revenue (Income, Corporate, SS, Medicare, Property, and Sales) collected from tobacco companies most likely exceeds the amount of profit tobacco companies make.

Posted by: Bryan at March 15, 2012 2:51 PM

February 13, 2012

"American Catholicism's Pact with the Devil"

Hillsdale College's Paul Rahe has done it again. Being thrice granted Quote of the Day honors on our humble blog (here, here and most notably here) his posting of last Friday explains in grand detail and with far greater authority the warning I've been sounding for just a few short years of my relatively young life - that Christian altruism enables Marxist-Leninist policies in the west. I called it The Virtue of Selfishness. Rahe calls it American Catholicism's Pact With the Devil and says it goes back to FDR and the New Deal in the 1930's.

In the process, the leaders of the American Catholic Church fell prey to a conceit that had long before ensnared a great many mainstream Protestants in the United States -- the notion that public provision is somehow akin to charity -- and so they fostered state paternalism and undermined what they professed to teach: that charity is an individual responsibility and that it is appropriate that the laity join together under the leadership of the Church to alleviate the suffering of the poor. In its place, they helped establish the Machiavellian principle that underpins modern liberalism -- the notion that it is our Christian duty to confiscate other people's money and redistribute it.

Amen.

Posted by JohnGalt at 4:35 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

My brother-in-law just signed up for Hillsdale's Constitution 101 10 week online course and suggested I check it out. A new one starts on Feb 20.

Posted by: jk at February 13, 2012 6:38 PM

August 10, 2011

A TEA Party for Britain?

JK linked an excellent article on the UK "riots" [scare-quoted since they're more accurately characterized as looting sprees] that revealed the failures of government as protector of property and liberty. But one expects a Libertarian to recognize these realities. What is remarkable is when a self-proclaimed "left-winger" does so. Brendan O'Neill blogs from Great Britain:

This is not a political rebellion; it is a mollycoddled mob, a riotous expression of carelessness for one's own community. And as a left-winger, I refuse to celebrate nihilistic behaviour that has a profoundly negative impact on working people's lives. Far from being an instance of working-class action, the welfare-state mob has more in common with what Marx described as the lumpenproletariat. Indeed, it is worth recalling Marx’s colourful description in The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon of how that French ruler cynically built his power base amongst parts of the bourgeoisie and sections of the lumpenproletariat, so that 'ruined and adventurous offshoots of the bourgeoisie rubbed shoulders with vagabonds, discharged soldiers, discharged jailbirds, swindlers, pickpockets, tricksters, gamblers, brothel-keepers, organ-grinders, ragpickers, knife-grinders, tinkers, beggars... and from this kindred element Boneparte formed the core of his [constituency], where all its members felt the need to benefit themselves at the expense of the labouring nation.' In very different circumstances, we have something similar today -- when the decadent commentariat's siding with lumpen rioters represents a weird coming together of sections of the bourgeoisie with sections of the underworked and the over-flattered, as the rest of us, 'the labouring nation', look on with disdain.

This fraction of English society, 'the laboring nation' as O'Neill applies Marx' term, is what I would call the analog to America's TEA Party. Those Americans are fed up with being taxed to support a free ride in food, lodging, healthcare and pensions in our Euro-style welfare state, and in the wake of the latest wave of English hooliganism a comparable share of Britons are fed up when the lumpenproletariat that their taxes support roll through town and "shit on their own doorstep."

Atlas is shrugging on both sides of the pond.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:25 PM | Comments (1)
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

If you look up "lumpenproletariat" in the dictionary, there is a second meaning: "British soccer fan."

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at August 10, 2011 4:41 PM

June 12, 2011

Ignorant Laws Have No Excuse

I set out on the internet this morning to find support for a personal premise: The existence of unenforced laws undermines respect for those laws that are enforced. The experience caused me to recognize an unacknowledged subsequent premise: Individual liberty is enhanced in a law-abiding society. For some time now I have thought the first premise was a call to action in furtherance of the second premise but then I questioned the validity of that objective, and of the second premise itself.

Slate magazine published, in October 2007, a rather wide-ranging compendium of unenforced law discussion by Tim Wu.

He addressed the drug war, illegal immigration, copyright, polygamy and more. Wu seems to conclude that non-enforcement is good for America. Not, as I would attempt, in furtherance of greater liberty but of "the economic interests of the nation."

Immigration policy is perhaps the strongest example of the ways in which tolerated lawbreaking is used to make the legal system closer to what lies in the economic interests of the nation but cannot be achieved by rational politics. All this is why the Bush administration faces an uphill battle in the course of trying a real internal enforcement strategy.

I tend to agree with this conclusion but I attribute as cause the very American attitude of individual liberty amongst voters who won't tolerate a heavy hand against individual workers and employers. More to the point is what this does to our representative government. Since our legislatures cannot achieve rational laws our judiciaries and our executives, at both state and federal levels, exercise discretion in which laws are enforced and to what extent. This appears, at first, to be a good outcome since the forces that guide the police and the courts are those of public opinion which derive, in turn, from individuals. We effectively have 300 million citizen legislators. However, this system has (at least) two major flaws.

First is the disparate influence on the legal system from concentrated versus individual interests and the tyranny of the majority. Allowing the trial lawyers lobby, the AARP and SEIU to dictate which laws are left to wither (and which to be bolstered) is no boon to liberty.

But worse yet, the ability of government to "get" any individual on some trumped up charge whenever it is "necessary" is a hallmark of totalitarian states.

At the federal prosecutor's office in the Southern District of New York, the staff, over beer and pretzels, used to play a darkly humorous game. Junior and senior prosecutors would sit around, and someone would name a random celebrity--say, Mother Theresa or John Lennon.

It would then be up to the junior prosecutors to figure out a plausible crime for which to indict him or her. (...) The trick and the skill lay in finding the more obscure offenses that fit the character of the celebrity and carried the toughest sentences. The, result, however, was inevitable: "prison time."

It's one thing when government lawyers make selective prosecution into a drinking game, but quite another when used as a tool of coercion and intimidation. In the name of liberty, laws to prevent "injuring a mail bag" have no place in a just society. Liberty is enhanced when laws are obeyed, but said laws must first be not just objective and knowable but also justified in the cause of protecting individuals from others and not from themselves.

Posted by JohnGalt at 12:47 PM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

Three Words: Bastiat, The Law.

Looking the other way at drugs invites discrimination against the statistically minority poor. That has been one of my big objections. Rightly or wrongly, minority youths feel that they are hassled by law enforcement, increasingly under the rubric of suspected drug possession.

Taken to its logical conclusion, unenforced law is no law, but rather rule by police and prosecutors.

Excellent post. The undermining of voluntary enforcement is a powerful point as well.

Posted by: jk at June 12, 2011 1:32 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Love the link. Six stars! If you've posted it before I was delinquent in following it.

"The Desire to Rule Over Others" is a good reply to your current FB tilt.

Posted by: johngalt at June 12, 2011 3:19 PM
But gd thinks:

Agreed. Great post and response. Nothing is more destructive of respect for the government and the law of the land than passing laws which cannot be enforced.

Posted by: gd at June 12, 2011 9:31 PM

May 18, 2011

Score one for JK

JK and The Refugee have sparred from time to time regarding the appropriateness of police using overwhelming force in no-knock raids. It has now been fully five days since the Indiana Supreme Court ruled that homeowners have no right to resist law enforcement entry into their house, whether the raid is legal or illegal, with or without a search warrant.

The Refugee has been cringing, waiting for JK to drop the hammer on his head like the Sword of Damocles. Well, he can no longer take the suspense and will stipulate for the record that this ruling is outrageous. Here is a pretty good post on Hot Air by Bruce McQuain regarding the ruling.

Posted by Boulder Refugee at 5:06 PM | Comments (5)
But jk thinks:

Me? Take advantage of a situation?

Reason folk have made a big deal out of this, mostly to discredit a certain Governor who nominated the third judge in the 3-2 vote.

I agree it is a good debate question; it is presented as incontrovertible proof that he is unfit for office. I'm a bit more disturbed by his suggestion that jail time is appropriate for a crime he himself was fined $350 ("Daniels's Pot Luck," headline if the day candidate).

While I would -- of course -- move to protect Hoosiers' 4th Amendment rights, I'm more interested in reducing the number of no-knock raids than in fine-tuning the rules for the unlucky homeowners.

Posted by: jk at May 18, 2011 5:53 PM
But johngalt thinks:

At least said no-knock raids were under the authority of a judge's warrant. Now, per a prior ruling by the same Indiana court, police can enter without knocking ON THEIR OWN PREROGATIVE. No judge's consent is required.

Posted by: johngalt at May 18, 2011 11:45 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Arnold's Law #9: Violators of the Fourth Amendment will, tragically, learn the reason for the existence of the Second.

Like the Refugee, I am also cringing, but at the mixed metaphor, something just a mite out of place in his usually erudite prose. "Drop the hammer on his head like the Sword of Damocles"? Unless that was a reference to "I slice like a hammer," I am nonplussed.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at May 19, 2011 1:50 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Aw c'mon, Keith, it was a similie, wrapped in a metaphor, preceded by an evocative verb. Get it right already!

Posted by: johngalt at May 19, 2011 2:20 AM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Keith, with that admonition I will slink back into my lair like the sun retreating from the forest on a warm winters day. And I remain nonminused.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at May 19, 2011 10:08 AM

April 26, 2011

'Mother of Exiles'

This is the name that Emma Lazarus gave to the Statue of Liberty when it was gifted to America from France in the 19th century. The poem she reluctantly wrote to aid in raising funds for the building of a base to place it upon came to be the statue's meaning put into words:

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame With conquering limbs astride from land to land; Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame, "Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore, Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

One analysis of the poem published by the University of Virginia errs in its characterization of an irony:

"As political propaganda for France, the Statue of Liberty was first intended to be a path of enlightenment for the countries of Europe still battling tyranny and oppression. Lazarus' words, however, turned that idea on its head: the Statue of Liberty would forever on be considered a beacon of welcome for immigrants leaving their mother countries."

I disagree with this conclusion. The statue and Lazarus' words were, in fact, symbols of enlightenment and freedom and did stand in contrast to European tyranny and oppression. However, the fault for European emmigration was not America's new statue but the fecklessness and intransigence of Old Europe's governments.

Is this germane again, today? Do the words in the great statue's base beckon to a new generation of American Patriots to strive for not just "democracy" but liberty?

It is true that much progress toward liberty has been made in America's 19th and 20th centuries, but in many other ways the once "golden door" of America has become as tarnished as the oppressive societies to whom she once showed the way. From the U of VA's concluding paragraph:

Just as Lazarus' poem gave new meaning to the statue, the statue emitted a new ideal for the United States. Liberty did not only mean freedom from the aristocracy of Britain that led the American colonists to the Revolutionary War. Liberty also meant freedom to come to the United States and create a new life without religious and ethnic persecution.

Yet this means little if economic persecution remains. Let not the New Colossus be transformed from the Mother of Exiles to the Mother of Equals, nor let our "tired" our "poor" our "huddled masses" once able to breathe free, succumb to the persecution of "shared sacrifice." Some lecture us that "cutting programs that help those who need them most is morally wrong" and "when Jesus talked about how God will judge nations, he said that God will focus on what we did or did not do for the neediest among us." And yet, how do government policies which violate the eighth and tenth commandments advance Jesus' word?

God's judgement, and liberty itself, are things reserved only to individuals and not to the abstract form we call "nations." Our government "overlords" would do well to remember this important distinction, as would voters.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:06 PM | Comments (2)
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Great post, JG!

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at April 26, 2011 6:12 PM
But jk thinks:

Yeah, what he said!

Posted by: jk at April 26, 2011 6:25 PM

March 5, 2011

"Nothing to See Here"

A few excellent passages from a Mark Steyn IBD editorial on the "random" murder of US airmen in a German civil airport:

The strange shrunken spectator who serves as President of the United States, offering what he called "a few words about the tragic event that took place," announced that he was "saddened," and expressed his "gratitude for the service of those who were lost" and would "spare no effort" to "work with the German authorities" but it was a "stark reminder" of the "extraordinary sacrifices that our men and women in uniform are making . . ."

(...)

But relax, this fellow in Frankfurt was most likely a "lone wolf" (as Sen. Chuck Schumer described the Times Square Bomber) or an "isolated extremist" (as the president described the Christmas Day Pantybomber).

There are so many of these "lone wolves" and "isolated extremists" you may occasionally wonder whether they've all gotten together and joined Local 473 of the Amalgamated Union of Lone Wolves and Isolated Extremists, but don't worry about it: As any Homeland Security official can tell you, "Allahu akbar" is Arabic for "Nothing to see here."

(...)

Okay, why is a Muslim who wants to kill Americans holding down a job at a European airport? That's slightly easier to answer. Almost every problem facing the western world, from self-detonating jihadists to America's own suicide bomb -- the multi-trillion dollar debt -- has at its root a remorseless demographic arithmetic.

In the U.S., the baby boomers did not have enough children to maintain their mid-20th century social programs. I see that recent polls supposedly show that huge majorities of Americans don't want any modifications to Medicare or Social Security.

(...)

But even with looming bankruptcy America still looks pretty sweet if you're south of the border.

And this last applies to Western Europe just the same.

So among other things we have some sobering news for your favorite, possibly marijuana-medicated, effete urbane egalitarian idealist who most likely calls himself "Progressive:" What killed the social welfare state, or at least hastened its demise? The sexual revolution.

And in bleak contrast with the western immigrants from Islamic regions who want to manage a 7-Eleven or drive a taxi or go to med school in the land of opportunity are the Islamic refugees looking for a free lunch. These are the ones most likely to, in Steyn's words, self-detonate. And what brought them to our neighborhoods? The social welfare state.

Posted by JohnGalt at 8:41 AM | Comments (0)

November 29, 2010

Airport Security Non-event

The Refugee trepidatiously embarked on the nation's air transportation system last week, wondering how the new TSA procedures would affect the experience. After taking into account ThreeSourcer's split decision regarding pat down versus scan, he decided to try the combination microwave/Cuisinart device on one segment and the full-body grope on the other. T'was not to be. In neither case did the TSA see fit to administer either torture upon him. In fact, the lines were amazingly small both Tuesday and Wednesday. On Wednesday, supposedly the busiest travel day of the year, he walked straight through Midway Airport securty without having to wait for a single person.

The news was not all good, however. In Denver International Airport, the man in front of The Refugee did get selected for the grope. This gentleman appeared to be in his 70's and could not walk or stand without assistance, nor breathe without oxygen tanks. Wow - if al Qaida is reduced to recruiting men who can neither walk nor breathe without medical intervention, surely we've won the war on terror. Sadly, it is more likely we who have lost - lost our minds for thinking this system is a fair trade of personal liberty for safety.

Posted by Boulder Refugee at 12:12 PM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

Glad for the Refugee. Your fellow traveler's story put me in mind of the great letter Taranto shared yesterday:

Recruiting elderly white women from Iowa to conceal high explosives in their body cavities to blow themselves up aboard an airplane is far more difficult. Even assuming elderly white women from Iowa are more technically proficient than the Muslim male shoe bomber and underwear bomber, and are not grounded by a fear of flying, some inducement would have to be offered to persuade elderly white women from Iowa to undertake suicide missions.

Unlike the Muslim male candidates offered 40 awaiting virgins in paradise, elderly white women from Iowa presumably are not Muslim and have no need of virgins. Nor is ideology a likely incentive, since al Qaeda makes few provisions for women's rights, senior citizen discounts, or the extension of Medicare benefits. This means that the only incentive an Al Qaeda recruiter can offer elderly white women from Iowa is cash, which has limited utility to someone about to commit suicide.

Posted by: jk at November 29, 2010 1:14 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Ahh, but Taranto misses one powerful incentive for undertaking a suicide mission: Never again having to endure a TSA security check.

Posted by: johngalt at November 29, 2010 3:01 PM
But jk thinks:

Give James a runner-up QOTD as well:

[Amanda] Marcotte [writing in The Guardian] gropes for a position on the Transportation Security Administration's new procedures but ultimately comes up empty-handed

If I wrote just one sentence like that, I'd die a happy man...

Posted by: jk at November 29, 2010 7:45 PM

June 3, 2010

Why copy Europe now?

Much as this June 1 post made one ponder why America is so eager to emulate Canadian-style health care, Victor Davis Hanson muses about the example of Europe...

In short, as a reaction to the self-destruction of Europe in World War II and the twin monsters of fascism and communism, Europeans thought they could change human nature itself through the creation of an all-caring, all-wise European Union uber-citizen. Instead of dealing with human sins, European wise men of the last half-century would simply declare them passé.

But human-driven history is now roaring back with a fury in Europe -- from Mediterranean insolvency, to the threat of radical Islam, to demographic decline, to new international dangers on the horizon.

Only one question remains: At a time when Europe is discovering that its democratic socialism does not work, why in the world is the United States doing its best to copy it?

Both are good questions, and I have a single answer for both of them: If America doesn't follow suit quickly enough the "utopian" Euro-centric systems may crumble of their own weight before we get there.

The Progressives/Marxists/Euro-socialists will, of course, tell us that once America is integrated into the collective it will suddenly become sustainable. How, exactly, they never say. Nor do they explain our lack of recourse if, once the "bill is passed," we find it undesirable.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:12 PM | Comments (1)
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Or the explanation for why communism failed in the USSR: "It wasn't done right, but here we'll make it work! We won't make the same mistakes." This ignores that the entire collectivist "experiment" is one big gigantic mistake.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at June 4, 2010 10:57 AM

April 21, 2010

Unavoidable economic catastrophe? Not quite

In the first of what is sure to be many linked articles from Independent Women's Forum, Nicole Kurokawa cites a Heritage Foundation report explaining how easy it would be to balance the budget with spending cuts-

Instead of finding new ways to take money from American's pockets, government should focus on cutting spending. And there is plenty to cut. The Heritage Foundation's Brian Riedl notes, "Simply bringing real federal spending back to the $21,000 per household average that prevailed in the 1980s and 1990s would balance the budget by 2012 without raising a single tax on anyone.

"Never let a crisis go to waste," even if you have to create it yourself.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:49 PM | Comments (0)

January 15, 2010

Quote of the Day

Let's stipulate that Americans consume what is for some an unhealthy amount of salt. But there are many things Americans consume too much of: reality TV; Ke$ha CDs; stories about hunky, sensitive vampires; Facebook. If Mr. Bloomberg were only prepared to do something about "Twilight," I might look the other way when it comes to his morbid preoccupation with food. -- Eric Felter
Posted by John Kranz at 1:02 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Heh - From Wikipedia.

Posted by: johngalt at January 15, 2010 2:33 PM