This is not a political site. This is an anti-political site. We agree with the goals of individual liberty, free markets, and peace.

8/24/11

Politicians Beware, Little Brother is Watching You

By Grant Davies

People of my generation all remember who Big Brother was because of the wildly popular futuristic novel Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell. It became a classic and is still widely read today by those not totally fixated on the latest pop culture icon or the newest electronic gadget. 

One of the reasons it has remained so popular is that so many of the predictions it made have come true, not to mention the terms and ideas that became part of the vernacular of our more contemporary language. Among those terms are doublethink, thoughtcrime, Newspeak, and memory hole.

But the one image that seems to concern us most is the cameras that were everywhere in the novel and are virtually everywhere in our real society today.

Politicians are in love with them and have legislated and "executive ordered" them to be installed to watch us everywhere from traffic lights to traffic stops and to street corners where people are suspected of being engaged in the commerce of government non-approved substances. It's not all bad for sure, it has its good uses such as solving actual crimes, but it still gives many people the creeps, myself among them.

However, one of the very best uses of them, and the one that I would opine has become the most beneficial to society, is the use of them by private citizens to keep track of the antics of those in elected positions or those seeking those positions.

Gone are the days of candidates going from one town to the next telling a different story in each one even if they are the exact opposite of each other. It's harder for Presidents to claim they never said such a thing or took such a position. They still do it of course, but it must be a nuanced denial in order to give their useful idiots some wiggle room to support them anyway.

So now the tables have been turned on these elected elite and they don't like it one bit. In fact, they have begun to go far out of their way to attempt to keep the citizens from recording the happenings at these farcical "town hall meetings" they insist on pretending to have with the common folk.

The latest goof to pull this stunt is a Republican Congressman from Ohio named Steve Chabot. But this time the evidence of the overbearing and underinformed police intimidation has been caught on a different camera and is spreading across the internet.

These staged events are getting harder to control even with the different tactics they employ to keep the pesky questions from being asked. So a few of them are now using the police to confiscate any obvious cameras they find being used to record the events they appear at.

Public meetings in public buildings with elected officials being paid by the taxpayers are now off limits to recording devices in some places. And only politician approved private media are allowed to keep track of the events.

I  suggest we-the-people all become "Little Brothers" to keep these usurpations of our 1st amendment rights from becoming more commonplace than they already are.

Here are the aforementioned videos.



8/23/11

Unjust Laws and Obligations

By Dan Mitchell.

After World War II, some Germans tried to defend venal behavior by claiming that they were “just following orders” from their government. Governments in America have never done anything nearly as awful as the Nazis, but there certainly are some very unpleasant blemishes in our past – and some very bad laws today.

This raises an interesting moral quandary. To what extent are we – as moral individuals – obliged to obey (or help enforce) bad law?

As is so often the case, Walter Williams has strong feelings and compelling analysis.
Decent people should not obey immoral laws. What’s moral and immoral can be a contentious issue, but there are some broad guides for deciding what laws and government actions are immoral. Lysander S. Spooner, one of America’s great 19th-century thinkers, said no person or group of people can “authorize government to destroy or take away from men their natural rights; for natural rights are inalienable, and can no more be surrendered to government — which is but an association of individuals — than to a single individual.” French economist/philosopher Frederic Bastiat (1801-50) gave a test for immoral government acts: “See if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime.” He added in his book “The Law,” “When law and morality contradict each other, the citizen has the cruel alternative of either losing his moral sense or losing his respect for the law.”
I don’t pretend to know where to draw the line, but, as suggested by my posts about jury nullification, I fully subscribe to the libertarian principle that “not everything that’s illegal is immoral, and not everything that’s immoral should be illegal.”

So if you’re dodging taxes, cutting hair without a license, or smoking pot, the government better not put me on a jury if you get arrested.

And if you have an expired registration sticker on your car, an unregistered gun, or a stockpile of normal light bulbs you plan on selling after the ban takes effect, you can safely confide in me.




Dan Mitchell - Guest Columnist

Dan is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute.
He also blogs at International Liberty.
Be sure to read his articles there.
We are grateful for his express permission to republish some of his fine commentaries on this site.






8/22/11

Ron Paul, a Truly Dangerous Man

"Paul is dangerous to the status quo. And that's a reason not to ignore him." So said John Kass, a columnist at the Chicago Tribune, in a piece which appeared in yesterday's Sunday paper.

Many of you who don't get the Tribune missed his comments. But since his column is one of the few things in the "Trib" worth reading, no one could be blamed for not subscribing to it. I often wonder why we do.

The article is worth your time for a few reasons, but the most compelling of them is that Kass goes where most journalists refuse to go. He actually covers a story that only is a story because of the purposeful manner by which it is being ignored by the vast majority of the media. Heck, even lefty comedians pretending to be journalists (John Stewart) have noticed the "ignoramuses" cover-up attempts.

It's amazing that "journalists" who see stories in almost everything that isn't important, can resist the temptation to write about a trend that definitely is a story. I suspect it's because they find it unsettling to their worldview. After paying so much lip service to "change" that wasn't, they seem terrified at the prospect of actual change.

And "statusquoers" at both ends of the political spectrum have good reasons to be afraid. If Ron Paul or someone like him gets elected, they will lose the power they have, to ideas, instead of merely to other people. And power lost to ideas is decidedly more difficult to regain. Just look how many hundreds of years it took to destroy the constitution and the ideas behind it.

To have it back (as it was written) would end their power to meddle in even the most minute details of our lives for the rest of their lives. So the stakes are high, and the political poker game may be down to the last bet. In ignoring Ron Paul and his ideas they are trying to put on their best poker face.

It's a helluva way to go "all in." But it may be their best strategy.

Be sure to read Kass' column, it can be found here.

8/8/11

Still Going the Wrong Way on a One Way Street, Only Slower

By Grant Davies

Until this latest "deal" to raise the amount of money the government can borrow and print was agreed upon (by the people who caused the problem in the first place) our country was like a car going 70 mph the wrong way down a one way street. Now that the deal "fixed" the problem, we have slowed down to 60 mph. Whew! That was a close one!

Of course we haven't changed directions, we're still going the wrong way, but I feel like we have a few more historical milliseconds before we have a head on collision into a streetcar named Armageddon.

I guess buying time was the goal. Unfortunately, the time the politicians were buying is also being paid for with borrowed money.

While on vacation the last few weeks I had a chance to watch the tragi-comedy of Washington politics from a distance. At least the distance that my fishing boat was from the shore. Or the distance my rental cottage was from a town where a wi-fi signal could reconnect me to reality.

Actually, I tried not watch it at all. But like any other human being, I found it hard to avert my eyes from the slow motion car crash the country was heading toward.

I guess you can pretend not to care, at least for a few weeks, but in the end the problems won't go away just because you did.

So while on vacation I wasn't writing about things, but they were still occurring. And trying to wash them away with bratwurst and beer in the north woods just doesn't seem to work as well in reality as it does in theory. But at least I was in common company with the mopes who live in a fantasy world in Washington rather than Wisconsin.

Which reminds me of an old joke.

Man to congressman - "I saved $1 today"
Congressman - "How did you do that?"
Man - "Instead of riding the bus to work, I walked."
Congressman- "You could have saved $7 if you walked instead of taking a taxi."
Man - "Silly me! Heck, think of the money I could have saved by not taking a limo!"

It's not quite as funny when you understand that the US budget is determined that way. In the fantasy world of Washington, trimming your wild spending spree plans back a small amount while actually increasing spending significantly counts as "cutting."

But pretending in Washington doesn't work any better than it does in Wisconsin. The only difference is that the hangover from excessive beer consumption in a tiny fishing boat only lasts for a few hours while the consequences of living in a fantasy world on the ship of state will eventually cause it to sink.

And right now we are taking on water faster than we can make for shore.

I think I'll go back north, this reality stuff sucks.