Virginia police over-step authority

These kinds of stories are becoming so common as to hardly merit specific mention anymore, at least as “news.”  At this point the more crucial matter is taking account of the erosion of freedoms in this country.  In a kind of sequel to the Professor Gates outrage, in which Boston police harassed him long after it was obvious that he was indeed the owner of the house, local Virginia police tased a cooperative grandfather and a pregnant woman at, of all things, a baptismal party.  Read about it here and here.  (Recall that tasing can be life threatening, and that it was originally conceived as a possible substitute for deadly force, but only in those situations which would call for the use of deadly force.  In other words, not a baptismal party.)

In both cases, the outdated “disorderly conduct” law was cited as cause to arrest these citizens who were minding their own business.  This is a law that was created to give cops the authority to tamp down race riots over labor conflicts that occurred in the early 20th century between various immigrant groups.  In both states concerned, the law specifically says that the alleged disorderly conduct must have occurred in public in order to be considered a violation of the code; in both these cases, the arrests were made on private property.  Let this be another lesson that the government never follows its own rules.  Keep this in mind when they try to allay your fears about this or that proposal.

Many people have commented unfavorably on my principled dislike of the police, but how else am I to feel about an organization which uses its monopoly on violence to harass peaceful citizens?  These men are considered “heroes” by many, but heroes don’t shoot black labs and claim that they felt threatened; they don’t invoke war zone-like rules of engagement, treating fleeing potential suspects as definite aggressors, as a proposal in Chicago would have it; and heroes don’t tase dudes that just want to ask Sen. John Kerry a question, man.  These acts are not heroic; they are cowardly.  The cops want you to think that they risk their lives for you, but this is not true to the extent that they lead us to believe.  The fact is that they are far more willing to engage in pre-emptive self-defense than they will ever admit.

Worse than the cops, however, might well be the citizens who defend this tyrannical behavior.  These reflexive traditionalists don’t seem to realize that some day they could be the victim of police brutality; that it might be their relative in the ambulance that gets pulled over and medical care delayed (a misdemeanor, btw) because of some power-hungry cop; that it might be they who are harassed by the TSA when they inquire as to whether or not they’re legally compelled to answer questions.  Et cetera.  We call these kinds of incidents “harassment” precisely because the people on the wrong side of luck in these cases did nothing wrong.  So what is going to prevent something like this from happening to you?

The reflexive traditionalists, and some of the thoughtful ones, too, will answer that the police guard the tranquil order.  I suppose that in a State in which the police take appropriate action against violators of the rights to life, self, and property, this argument can be made.  But today the police are, if anything,  disturbers of the ordo tranquilitatis, and our sick willingness to look the other way until it affects ourselves enables them to perpetuate this errand of hostility.

Obama and prospects for change

Thanks to the Young Fogey, I found this piece from Justin Raimondo on the bellicose foreign policy team which Barack Obama is presently trying to assemble.

A few months before the election, I was sitting in one of my favorite Belgian bars here in Philadelphia, batting the breeze with a friend. In a casual sort of way, the election came up, and it seemed like we’d be moving along from the subject rather quickly when some chic in the corner invited herself into our conversation. She wanted to quiz us on who we’d be voting for. You all know what my answer was. I was then subjected to a five-minute long tract of pious, somniferous, Statist claptrap which claimed that it was my duty to vote, and to choose between the lesser of two evils, if necessary. Our uninvited interlocutor went on to lament that she, having emigrated from Ireland and not having become a citizen, does not have the right to vote. Well, if it’s that important, I suppose she’d become a citizen.

But she hasn’t.

Friends, this girl badgered me; I do not exaggerate. She would not let the subject go. My friend and I wanted to get on to the Detroit Tigers and the Philadelphia Phillies. We were finally rescued by one of her cigarette breaks.

Now Obama has been elected, and change is supposed to be on the way. Amen, iterum dico vobis: Don’t hold your breath, or you’ll suffocate. If we get any change, it will be in pennies.

Albert Jay Nock on bees, etc.

It’s a pleasant surprise to see my fellow blogger’s current e-mail signature on display at the LewRockwell.com blog.

Yes, that’s his entire signature.

Memo to pro-lifers: Stop being accessories to evil

Like many children of the Eighties from practicing Catholic families, I attended the National Right to Life March in Washington D.C. (I remember on one of these bus rides, I was exposed to the vulgar wonders of Eddie Murphy’s Comedian album, segments of which I can still quote to this day. But that’s neither here nor there.) I remember the spectacle of it all – marching through the streets of the nation’s capital in the bleak midwinter, visiting even bleaker congressional buildings, making such a show of our pro-lifedness. And then we’d go home, and continue on our merry way. And for what?

Recently I came to the realization that no amount of marching, lobbying or political activism on behalf of purportedly pro-life candidates will change hearts. This election makes that realization ever more stark, where on one side, the socialist candidate wants to allow the murder of infants in utero on a seemingly unprecedented level, where on the other side, the fascist candidate wants to allow these infants to grow up to become practice targets for terrorists in a “hundred-year war.” This article by G. C. Dilsaver reinforces that realization infinitely, and says much more eloquently all that I have sensed about not only this election, but past elections.

This final salvo from Dr. Dilsaver is particularly compelling (my emphasis added):

Dear Christians, refuse to offer a pinch of incense by refusing to punch the ballot for either official Republican-Democratic Axis candidates. Refuse to offer tribute to the gods of American socialism, totalitarianism, and imperialism and their incarnation in the president. Resist participation in this sham election. The USA is the most powerful and hence the most dangerous nation in the history of the world. Its potential for evil is absolutely unprecedented. If there is not a reversion to the constitution then totalitarianism is inevitable. If this reversion does not occur the only hope for our country will be in those willing to give their lives as witnesses to Christ against the antichrist of the State. Whoever occupies the Whitened Sepulcher House this January is a tool of the powers and principalities of this world and of the devil. And all who facilitate the legitimacy of this sham election are, at best, the devil’s dupes, at worst his minions.

I was thinking hard about staying home this first Tuesday of November before reading this — and not just because of the life issues. Try to convince me otherwise.

Learning the lessons of August 15

Today, September 11, is a day of much State-sponsored solemnity in memory of the terrorist attacks that took place here seven years ago. One will read and hear much pious civic claptrap, but undoubtedly there will be little soul-searching as to what might have motivated people to come halfway across the world to kill innocent Americans who had nothing to do with the government policies which inflamed the terrorists.

The only time there seems to be any “reflection” about that azure, late summer day is when Rudy Giuliani and his Republican friends try to score political points with it. Even at this year’s convention, Giuliani pumped up McCain by saying that he “understands the lessons of 9/11.” On the contrary, we have, if anything, repeated many of the same mistakes after 9/11 which goaded the terrorists into their evil deeds in the first place.

Americans generally seem to think that September 11, 2001 was a watershed moment in the history of our country, a new “start” from zero. This view is hopelessly myopic and merely an excuse to engage in flag-waving.

So what did lead up to September 11? One could cite any number of events, from the stationing of Marines in Lebanon, to the time the H.W. Bush administration turned its back on Saddam Hussein, to our stationing of military forces in Islamic holy lands. Surely all of these are factors which aggravated the Muslim world–and we need not condone the actions of terrorists in order to see that one should not take a swing at the hornets’ nest in the first place.

But what made all this possible? Why, profligate government spending, of course! The U.S. can’t run the world without having gobs of money to dump into the military-industrial complex. “Yeah, that’s right, no wonder we have all these high taxes,” you might say. Well, not exactly. When it comes down to it, income taxes are petty theft compared to the way the government really gets its funding, which is by having the Federal Reserve print money out of thin air.

So money does grow on trees? Well, only on government trees and only for the State’s benefit. For the rest of us, this amounts to robbery. Here’s how. Imagine that you have a Mickey Mantle baseball card, one of a kind; there is no other like it. It will, based on its rarity, be worth an incredible sum of money. Let’s say, however, that someday it’s discovered that there are actually 2 million of these Mickey Mantle baseball cards. The value of yours will plummet. It will become a glorified bookmark.

The same is true with the money supply: fewer dollars in circulation means that each dollar will be worth more. When the Federal Reserve prints more dollars to pay for some State-sponsored conquest, the value of each dollar goes down. The net result of this is that your spending power, and your real savings, are greatly compromised. Inflation is not a fact of life, as many believe; rather, it is a result of the depredations of the U.S. government.

This is in fact how the government pays for its foreign policy operations, the very ones which got us mired in the Middle East in the first place, and the very ones which p*ssed off the terrorists. Tax revenue wouldn’t even come close to taking care of this.

Now, for much of the history of government inflation of money, the citizen still had something of a safety net in that he could redeem his dollars at any time in exchange for gold. On August 15, 1971, however, Richard M. Nixon severed this relationship completely. You are now stuck with these worthless pieces of paper. The government can debase the currency as much as it likes, and you are stuck paying the bill while the government goes on its bombing runs.

It seems to me, then, that we need to spend less time listening to Rudy Giuliani and his mob rehearse the supposed “lessons of 9/11″ and spend more time pondering the lessons of August 15.

Cindy McCain trips over the big, white elephant (pun intended) in the room

Cindy McCain is gushingly introducing her husband at the RNC, and along the way, she said that she was taught that there are two different ways to look at America: the way other countries see us, or what the Founding Fathers would make of us.

Oooops.

The Founding Fathers? At the Republican Convention???? Is this a bad joke, or a purposeful lie?

What, exactly, would the Founding Fathers think of the GOP’s globe-trotting? George Washington: “Be ware of foreign entanglements.” And was it James Madison that said that if tyranny were ever to come to America, it would be through foreign conquest?

Alas, the Pope Urban II wing of the Republican Party won’t mind the contradiction.

I like Justin Raimondo, but I hope he’s wrong this time

But that’s a long shot. This is the journalist who predicted the Georgia fiasco (and subsequent American lies) months if not years in advance. He now says that a strike on Iran is an inevitability.

Are you as worried about the war drum beating as I am? Concerned that your friends and family are going to get sucked into the frenzy? Read David Calderwood’s sagacious column.

Visit LRC.

Fred Thompson’s Gratuitous Violence

Last night I sat in stupefied wonder at the grotesquely detailed account which actor Fred Thompson gave of John McCain’s war service.  “Is Fred Thompson going to say anything relevant?” I asked a neocon.  I was ignored, of course.

After telling us all about all of McCain’s tortures and injuries, down to every last scar, Thompson finally admitted that being a POW doesn’t qualify someone to be president.  Thank you.  So why did you ramble on like this?   Thompson said that it illustrates a desirable character in a candidate for office.

Allow me to venture to disagree.  I think the real purpose of this rhetoric is to make Statism look heroic, and it’s aim is to make war-fighting appear to be the highest good that one can perform for his society.  Nevermind providing medical care, or a much needed product on the free market.  No.  Join the Navy,  become a sycophant, and you, too, will become a great American.  It’s also worth pointing out that it would seem as though a POW background is only relevant for a politician who plans to ask today’s healthy young men to eschew happy, productive lives in order to become a shill for the State.

Contrast all this with Dr. Ron Paul, who hosted the Rally for the Republic yesterday in Minneapolis, the event which kicked off the ongoing Campaign for Liberty.  Toward the end of his speech, he lamented the “universal soldier,” those masses of men who allowed themselves to be dragged into foreign lands to fight unnecessary wars.  Paul admits that he too was the universal solider, almost in a way that it sounds as though he wishes he could go back to that time and take a stand against the collectivism known as the draft.

Ron Paul said that what we need in contrast to the universal soldier is the universal champion of liberty.  Count me in.

I’m only thirty years old; I do not think it is beyond the pale for the government to try to conscript me into military service.  In such a case, I will gladly be hauled off to jail instead.

Unless I’ve already moved to Europe or New Zealand.

Defending ketchup

“Political Views: anti-war, anti-State, pro-ketchup,” says my facebook profile.

“Why ketchup and not mayonnaise?” someone asked.

Well, the truth is that this statement has nothing to do with ketchup’s relative standing with mayonnaise, but rather its relationship with war and the State. Here’s the gist of my idiosyncratic phrase:

The State exists through usurpation. It finances its operations through the coercive confiscation of the private property of its citizens. It also looks out for its own interests by violently looting other societies; this is otherwise known as war. At times the State even usurps the vocations (and often the very lives) of its male citizens through conscription. In summary, the State is a parasite; it sucks the blood out of every lively and wonderful thing it can get its hands on.

Contrast this with whomever it was that made ketchup. (Shall I now attempt a “ketchup hoax” in tribute of Mencken’s bathtub hoax? Actually, I haven’t the time.) Somewhere out there, somebody discovered this wonderful condiment and began offering it for sale to those who wanted it. This situation was mutually beneficial: the ketchup makers made money, and the ketchup buyers obtained a product which is probably the closest that many people get to eating actual vegetables.

One’s relationship with the State is more one-sided. Sure, you may receive “benefits” from the State in return for the blood it sucks out of you, but it is always on the State’s coercive terms. You have little choice in how much it takes or how much it gives. But when you buy ketchup, you can buy as much as you want, and spend no more than you’d like.

The bottom line here is that nothing is as wonderful as the mutually beneficial free market which makes ketchup available, and nothing ruins the free market and personal liberty like the parasitical, coercive State. It doesn’t matter what the product is; ketchup just came to mind first.

So, go ahead and be pro-mayonnaise. Just don’t be pro-State or pro-War.

Naomi Klein’s book on the Shock Doctrine

A few months ago a dear friend bought me Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine. I think he knew that parts of this book would resonate with me, and they do. What the U.S. government and the CIA have done to promote “freedom” is despicable.

The problem is that Klein is not doing a very good job of distinguishing and is painting the crusades of Milton Friedman as the epitome of capitalism. I can hardly stand to read more than a few pages at a time because of the gross economic distortions. Surely what Klein describes is horrific, but it is not a free market. (This is where, oddly, Klein and Friedman have something in common, i.e. they both think of these atrocities as capitalism.)

But I want to finish this book. I think there is value in it. Anyone have some advice on how I might hold my nose to get through it?

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.