Surly Curmudgeon

   The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire. The former are idealists acting from highest motives for the greatest good of the greatest number. The latter are surly curmudgeons, suspicious and lacking in altruism. But they are more comfortable neighbors than the other sort.
-- Robert A. Heinlein
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    Wednesday, November 26, 2003


    Jon Bellamy Wants Me Dead

    At least, that's what I presume from this email he sent to someone I agree with. He apparently wants these people dead as well. I'm glad that so far he hasn't gotten his wish.

    Posted by Tom, 11/26/2003 10:27:00 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Market Forces at Work

    Computer giant Dell, whose Inspiron 8100 laptop is being used to write this, has apparently seen some of the light regarding shipping call centers overseas. Customers are complaining about thick accents and scripted responses. Sounds to me like the ClueTrain might be pulling up to Dell Station. The question is, will they wave it through, or actually stop it and listen to what it has to say?

    Posted by Tom, 11/26/2003 10:12:00 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Tuesday, November 25, 2003


    True Homeland Security

    Here is an awesome article by Massad Ayoob extolling the virtues of the 1911. Ayoob is one of the best gun writers of today, and he covers the history of the 1911 with loving attention to detail. He also discusses the reasons it was pulled from service in the 1980's and the reasons it is being brought back to service today. I can't wait to lay my hands on one for myself (or better yet, a matched set).

    Posted by Tom, 11/25/2003 11:07:00 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Mending Fences

    Fran Tully takes a shot at getting the Free Staters East to get along with the Free Staters West. Come on, people. Liberty is a big tent.

    Posted by Tom, 11/25/2003 9:29:00 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Big Brother? Is That You?

    Well, here's a good reason not to have OnStar. Sure, the company will fight an order to eavesdrop on you, but how many "terrorist emergencies" until they no longer win?

    In other BB news, here's an excellent article about the dangers of federalizing every crime that makes headlines.

    Finally, John Silveira links A to B to C in Big Brother's cynical habit of causing problems, complaining about them, then seizing power while pretending to solve them.

    Posted by Tom, 11/25/2003 9:27:00 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Why Citizens Should Carry Guns

    One of America's Most Wanted is now in custody, thanks to an armed citizen. Read about it here, here, and here.

    The doctor shot Eizember at least three times at a road stop in East Texas with a gun he had hidden in his van.

    ...

    Eizember is accused of killing A.J. Cantrell, 76, and his wife, Patsy Cantrell, 70, on Oct. 18 in Depew, Okla., in the northeastern part of the state.

    He is also accused of beating Carla Wright, a neighbor of the Cantrells, and wounding her grandson, 16-year-old Tyler Montgomery, that same day.

    Wright's daughter Kathy Biggs, Tyler's mother, is Eizember's former girlfriend, and authorities believe he had been stalking her.

    Angelina County Sheriff Kent Henson said Eizember confessed to the slayings and to the abduction. He allegedly told the abducted pair, ''I've killed a couple in Oklahoma and I don't mind killing you all,'' Henson said.


    How many people would he have gone on to kill, had the good Doctor not ended his rampage? Are their any anti-gunners out there honest enough to take a serious stab at that question? Are there any honest enough to admit that Dr. and Mrs. Peebles were going to be dead when Eizember had gotten as far as he thought he could go with them?

    Are there any honest enough to further admit that, had the policies they advocate been in place, those policies would have directly contributed to the deaths of Dr. and Mrs. Peebles and an unknown number of further victims?

    Posted by Tom, 11/25/2003 9:25:00 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Monday, November 24, 2003


    Quote of the Week

    From Ann Coulter:

    But the Democrats have discovered a surprise campaign issue: It turns out that several of them have had a death in the family. Not only that, but many Democrats have cracker-barrel humble origins stories and a Jew or lesbian in the family. Dick Gephardt's campaign platform is that his father was a milkman, his son almost died and his daughter is a lesbian. Vote for me!

    Posted by Tom, 11/24/2003 4:29:00 PM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Libertarians for Dean?

    I'm beginning to not like it. Check out his latest idea: a move toward a more centrally planned economy. Sorry, Libertarians for Dean blogdude, but it's over from where this libertarian sits. Back to what I presume will be another lukewarm run by Harry Browne.

    Posted by Tom, 11/24/2003 3:54:00 PM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Translation

    This article caught my eye; the author doesn't seem to realize what it is he's saying.

    If I knew everybody of legal age was carrying a concealed handgun, and also was knowing that a definite small minority of adults are, unfortunately, prone to react to any slight, supposed or not, I would consider that a great imposition on my freedom as I would be forced to stay mainly within my own security-protected home.

    "I am afraid of guns. Terrified, in fact. So terrified that I will shut myself in my house and never come out. There is no end to my paranoia of guns and my mistrust of my neighbors who have them. Did I mention I'm afraid of guns?"

    Logically, it just doesn't make any sense to put killing power in the hands of any adult and retrogress back toward cavemen times.

    "Because I cannot overcome my fear of guns, anything which casts guns or gun ownership in a positive light must be evil and counterproductive. My fear is the sole determining factor as to whether or not something is a good idea."

    No, to the other direction, i.e., the elimination of any privately owned handguns, would place us on an even higher step of civilization.

    "The world must therefore be constructed so as to allow me to avoid my fear. My fear rules my life, so it is only reasonable that my fear rule everyone else's life as well."

    Of course this person has never gone anywhere outside his state, since all of the states immediately surrounding Ohio have the very law which he is protesting against. I therefore conclude that he has not visited them in the past 3 or so years (since Michigan became the final state with shall-issue). I further conclude that he has not visited the majority of the other states in the nation since around 1995, because they have had these laws as well. With a life so restricted by his fears, one has to wonder how he even gets out of bed in the morning. I hope he's not afraid of anything else, or he'll be in even worse shape.

    Posted by Tom, 11/24/2003 11:36:00 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    "Justice" System?

    Jackson's Legal Team Bears Heavy Burden Of Proof, Expert Says

    Is it just me, or is there something dreadfully wrong with this headline? Isn't the burden of proof supposed to be on the prosecution? The facade of a justice system where we're innocent until proven guilty, and that a day in court is a day to determine the facts, is getting harder and harder to believe with every passing high-profile case.


    Posted by Tom, 11/24/2003 11:12:00 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Friday, November 21, 2003


    Greenpeace Genocide

    I ran across an article at Sierra Times that I found disturbing enough to follow to its source. Eco-Imperialism.com is a site that documents the damage done by envirowackies in third world nations. Apparently there's also a book. The bird's-eye view is not good, as envirowackies spend tons time and money griping about pesticides and such, while blithely watching millions die of insect-borne diseases. When the stacks of corpses get too high to ignore, they blame it on the developing countries rather than the policies they advocate which keep insect populations at dangerous levels. It's enough to make me want to break something.

    Posted by Tom, 11/21/2003 10:17:00 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Thursday, November 20, 2003


    A Parable

    The Mises Institute posts a cautionary tale about the perils of protectionism.

    Posted by Tom, 11/20/2003 4:00:00 PM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Wednesday, November 19, 2003


    War on Terror



    Posted by Tom, 11/19/2003 10:06:00 PM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Simply Put

    Bill Stone writes a great article about socialists, the Free State Project, and the cultural divide in America's different regions. He covers a dizzying amount of ground, but makes several points worth mentioning:

    Left-wing socialists believe that everyone is a little bit stupid and need government to control them for their own good.

    Right-wing socialists believe that everyone is a little [bit] evil and need government to control them for their own good.

    Since both believe that individuals need government control for their own good, the end result of both Left- or Right-wing socialist policy is naturally identical.


    This is why a libertarian is not a traitor to the Republican party. The Republican party simply doesn't believe the same things the libertarian does. There is no continuum of political beliefs that honestly includes libertarian ideals with right-wing socialism. Or socialism of any kind, for that matter.

    Recently, however, an interesting truth of the difficulties in attempting to lead freedom-lovers has reared its ugly head in the FSP. Freedom-lovers are by nature self-reliant individualistic SOBs. They aren't like the rest of the sheep in the country who, when told where to go and how high to jump by their respective Left- or Right-wing tyrants, will kowtow to every demand.

    If freedom-lovers don't like a decision made by the group or by those appointed to lead the group, the[y] don't just go along for the sake of group unity: they loudly shout, "Screw you!" and stomp away to do what they like.


    As someone who has been personally involved in gun politics at the grassroots level, I believe this is about the most accurate assessment one can make. Organizing individualists is an oxymoron. It's like trying to push a wheelbarrow full of bullfrogs. It's like herding cats. It tests the patience of the most patient men.

    The United States covers a geographically enormous area. Much as the socialists in Washington would like to believe otherwise, there is not a single culture in the United States -- nor will there ever be...

    ...The reason that today's Federal Government is viewed with such hatred by the average individual isn't because it constantly violates the Constitution or the Zero Aggression Principle (these being matters left to a small minority of egg-heads like myself). Rather, most people hate the Federal Government because [it] alternately attempts to force the values of the East and West Coast cultures on everyone.


    BINGO! Hallelujah! Hand that man a cigar! The sooner everyone realizes that the United States is NOT a "uniculture" and is indeed culturally diverse even amongst those of European descent, the better off we'll be. I have lived in Ohio, Michigan, and Oklahoma, and each one of these states has decidedly different cultures than the others. I have visited a fair number of other states, and I have never found one where the culture can be described as identical to its neighbors.

    Even within a state, the rural-suburban-urban spectrum is grounds for massive disagreement on cultural standards. How is it then that some are able to believe that an overarching government is capable of making law which respects all of those cultures? Beyond the basic taboos against murder, assault, robbery, and so forth, I submit that it is not.

    Posted by Tom, 11/19/2003 3:55:00 PM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    What the...?

    I can't believe somebody took the time out of their day to excoriate the computer industry for designating hard drives on standard IDE channels as "Master/Slave". Every time I think California can't get any more useless or nutty, they do both.

    On the good side of things, apparently not everyone in the 9th Circus Court of Appeals is completely insane. A recent decision has drawn some boundaries around the Commerce Clause (Commerce Cudgel?), and it's even about an issue near and dear to my heart. What would be really cool is if the Supreme Court struck down any and all laws regarding intrastate manufacture and distribution of firearms. Oh, sure, and drugs too.

    Of course we'd still have our local laws to contend with, but lately things are tending toward the libertarian, at least in Oklahoma. We nuked our socialist license plate law and capped the cost of plates, and we got rid of the stupid "vehicle inspection stickers". "Non-alcoholic alcohol" would be next, if we were smart.

    Posted by Tom, 11/19/2003 1:06:00 PM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Freedom's Ups and Downs

    The good guys got a lift in Hawaii, as US District Judge Alan Kay upholds the right of a private school to set its own admissions policy. The nitwit plaintiff will of course appeal, because nothing says freedom like forcing someone else to accept your view of things.

    And Frank Louse-enberg is at it again, steadfastly refusing to understand why the idea of government "watch lists" and intrusive monitoring could possibly be a bad idea. After all, anyone who buys a gun is a suspected terrorist in Frank's world. The last time someone hated Americans as much as Frank, they bombed Pearl Harbor.

    Posted by Tom, 11/19/2003 10:40:00 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Sex is Good for You

    Yeah, who would have thought? Check it out. Before you RSVP for that orgy this weekend on the basis of your health, however, note that the final paragraph warns against indiscriminate sex or sex with multiple partners. Apparently the emotional stress robs you of any physiological benefit you might have received.

    Posted by Tom, 11/19/2003 8:53:00 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Tuesday, November 18, 2003


    It's a Nice Day for a White Wedding

    So Massachusetts has decided to go ahead with the whole gay marriage thing, and the usual suspects are up in arms about it. This is a sticky situation for someone like me, given that a lot of the people I hang out with are not so "liberal minded" as I, but I really don't agree that this is necessarily a bad thing. I was immediately forwarded a message from the good Rev. Wildmon:

    The Supreme Court of Massachusetts has ruled that homosexual marriage is now legal in that state. This means, according to the "full faith and credit" clause in the U.S. Constitution, marriage between homosexuals may have to be accepted in all 50 states.

    NOW IS THE TIME TO ACT!

    Contact your Representative and two Senators urging their support of a federal marriage amendment.

    The future of the family is at stake. We are working on a massive grass roots campaign to secure passage of this amendment. We must have your help.

    HERE'S WHAT YOU CAN DO. . .

    >>Contact your representative and senators asking them to support a federal marriage amendment.

    >>Forward this message to at least one other concerned friend or family member.

    >>Underwrite our grassroot campaign expenses by giving a generous donation.

    We appreciate your efforts on behalf of the family.

    Sincerely,

    Donald E. Wildmon, Chairman
    American Family Association

    AFA is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization and member in good standing with the Evangelical Council on Financial Accountability (ECFA).


    For me, this falls under the category of using the government to force your morals on others, which is something I can't imagine Christ supporting. I do believe that homosexuality is a sin, but I don't believe that the government has any right to be interfering on our behalf. Lazy and fearful Christians who do not want to shoulder the work of convincing them, one gay at a time if necessary, are the ones who reach for the big government gun and hold it to someone's head. I defy anyone to show me how this is displaying Christ-like love for gays.

    I also don't believe that the government's involvement in marriage should extend any further than that portion of marriage which is contractual in nature. You know, the part that says if it doesn't work out the woman gets everything (a rant for another day). And if the government is limited to interacting with marriage solely on its contractual basis, the government should extend the contractual recognition to all parties who are capable of entering a contract, meaning those who have reached the age of majority and who are of sound mind and so forth. Government should certainly respect the non-contractual portions of marriage, as the First Amendment demands it to in the portion about "...prohibiting the free exercise thereof...". This includes things such as a marriage in which the "wives, submit to your husbands" bit is taken seriously, or various religious doctrine regarding the raising of children. But it should not be in the business of prescribing the marriage sacraments or strictures for all couples, based on a particular set which happens to be popular at this present time.

    In essence, I guess I am arguing for two kinds of marriage: the marriage contract and the marriage of personal belief. So on the one hand, the gays who just want something to say they've "made a lifelong commitment to each other" should find a church or something that will do such a thing, and on the other hand the AFA should question the wisdom of inviting government to dictate religious standards to religious folks. It's only a matter of time before it cuts both ways.

    Posted by Tom, 11/18/2003 3:09:00 PM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Speaking of USA PATRIOT...

    Apparently I'm not the only one who finds it troubling that the present administration so easily equates citizens with "the enemy".

    Posted by Tom, 11/18/2003 2:49:00 PM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Get Ready to Break Something

    This girl's story is unbe-freaking-lievable.

    The Alonzo Family Still Needs Justice
    Speaking up for people who have no voice

    Note to LibertyForAll.net: Make it easier for people (like me) to permalink to your articles. Your system is ridiculous.

    Posted by Tom, 11/18/2003 9:37:00 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Dean Gets the Boot?

    I'm considering no longer considering Dean. In spite of his website carefully sidestepping the issue, I've finally found enough information on his position on gun control that sets my teeth on edge. It really seems like he's trying to burn the candle at both ends, and he requires some careful monitoring. He's in danger of looking like a typical Democrat. The only thing keeping me interested is that Sarah Brady hates him so much.

    You're on notice, Howard Dean! You're walking the thin line between being a good guy and being a twit!

    Posted by Tom, 11/18/2003 9:16:00 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    We Like to Hear Ourselves Talking

    Democratic presidential candidates are lining up to launch broadsides at President Bush's new deals on energy and Medicare. There's only one problem: They haven't a freaking clue what the deals actually contain...

    Even before many of the details were known, the candidates blasted Bush for what they view as shortchanging consumers and using the bills to reward his campaign contributors. "The latest energy plan and the prescription drug benefit are more paybacks for George W. Bush's special-interest friends and campaign contributors," said Sen. John F. Kerry (Mass.), expressing the emerging Democratic message.

    ...

    The candidates are coming together so quickly because they say the bills are bad policy.


    How do you know? What about "before many of the details [are] known" means that you have any idea what the policy is? If you don't know what the policy is, how can you say it is bad? Inferred answer: if Bush came up with it, it must be bad. Or is it something else?

    ...Bush is on the verge of taking away two more political issues and putting Democrats in the unenviable political position of playing defense on energy costs and prescription drug costs...

    I think I've made it pretty clear that I don't like Bush for a variety of reasons, his all-out assault on civil liberties via USA PATRIOT chief among them. But I have to hand it to him, strategically speaking, he does have a way of taking issues off the table. I just wish he would take them off the table by repealing the laws which set the original ruinous policies in place to begin with.

    Posted by Tom, 11/18/2003 8:57:00 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Me Too! Me Too!

    Microsoft is looking to launch their own music download service. Microsoft's legendary security problems should make anyone think twice about this. Get iTunes for Windows instead.

    In other "we copied Apple" news, apparently illuminated keyboards are all the rage now that they're standard equipment on the higher end PowerBook models. Somebody, please, have an original idea.

    Posted by Tom, 11/18/2003 8:31:00 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Monday, November 17, 2003


    Corporations and Profits and Money, Oh My!

    The Mises Institute has a good article about the regulatory effects of government vs market on corporate behavior. Among the many good points is this:

    ...through the promise of favorable legislation in exchange for campaign contributions and votes—as well as the threat of unfavorable legislation without them—Congress effectively extorts American business. Don't expect ethical behavior from anyone you treat that way.

    Add to this the outright hatred that government has for free enterprise (because government is incapable of providing what free enterprise does), and it is a testament to the good will of the corporate world that they haven't simply declared war on government. After all, corporations produce the weapons that government uses.

    The real travesty comes when government plays along with business and continues propping them up with stolen money, as in the Enron debacle (cited in the article). Take away the power of government to forcibly extract the earnings of hard-working folks like yours truly, and Enron would have collapsed under its own weight years earlier. This is a clear argument in favor of regulation by market forces as opposed to government. It's too bad the hand-wringing anti-corporate types among the perpetually indignant can't see it. This is why, when regulation fails, we get calls for more regulation.

    We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.
    -- Attributed to Albert Einstein

    Posted by Tom, 11/17/2003 10:47:00 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Objectivism

    Ray Thomas provides a somewhat skeptical look at Ayn Rand's philosophy, talks about his agreements and disagreements with it, and basically presents a fairly good picture of what it's all about. His best contribution is his steadfast refusal to engage in hero worship where Rand herself is concerned.

    Posted by Tom, 11/17/2003 10:03:00 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    WiFi Gets a Boost

    The FCC has opened up some new spectrum for the wireless broadband set, which they hope will be used to deliver broadband internet to rural areas. Unfortunately, in typical government style they've bungled the job. They're being criticized for limiting power levels instead of licensing the frequencies. But licensing the frequencies would just be another screwup like we have in open-air television transmission. What is really needed is a truly open spectrum where multiple providers can use the same frequencies, with collision detection built in to the system like we have in IP traffic. If you're getting too much noise on frequency A, hop around it using frequencies B, C, and D.

    The FCC is obviously still thinking in terms of thin communications, as opposed to robust communications. The reason the internet works is that there are so many different paths for the data to take. When you have to rely on a single provider for a piece of data, you're out of luck when the provider goes down. But when all providers become common carriers of packet data, it makes it possible to hop packets around and get them to their destination, to be reassembled by software even if they arrive out of order.

    We are headed for the day when licensing spectrum becomes a losing proposition. There's only so much spectrum we can continue to eat up, and we really need to consider the idea of leveling the playing field into a large, broad band (see what I did there?) that anyone can transmit or receive on, with IP-type routing. If the FCC was smart (something they haven't been accused of yet), they'd start doing business this way now, with the unlicensed spectrum, and gradually start reclaiming licenses as the opportunity arises, or simply encouraging licensees to fall into line with the new way of doing things.

    Posted by Tom, 11/17/2003 8:39:00 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Friday, November 14, 2003


    I Knew It!

    Computer games are good for you and your work. I've tried to convince my wife of this for a long time, and now there's scientific evidence to back it up! HA!


    Posted by Tom, 11/14/2003 4:39:00 PM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Plastic Gun Ban

    John Lott has an article griping about the renewal of the "Plastic Gun Ban", which was passed in response to the invention and arrival on the scene of the Glock brand of pistol. Lott correctly notes that the ban actually banned nothing, and that Glocks are well over the minimum metal limit imposed by the law. Nonetheless, he proceeds to excoriate the government for wasting its time on banning nonexistent products.

    Personally, though an all-plastic gun would be cool, I'd rather see the government renew this ban than the 1994 Assault Weapons Sham. If the Republicans are paying attention, maybe we'll be able to get by with a trade... pass the stupid ban on nonexistent firearms and get rid of the Assault Weapons Sham. Then Bush can claim to have "straddled the fence" and "reached out to the middle ground voters" for his election bid next year, while making all of us owners of firearms which actually exist much happier. Strategically, it sounds like a great deal.

    It should also be noted that banning guns which don't exist is exactly the sort of thing that Congress should be doing. So please, Congress, do some more. Pass a law against space aliens landing in cornfields in Iowa while you're at it, too. Anything but stuff that actually affects the rest of us, because in that arena you're more trouble than you're worth.

    Posted by Tom, 11/14/2003 3:54:00 PM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Why Hunters are Important

    Hunters do more than just kill cute fuzzy forest creatures. They kill cute fuzzy forest creatures with rabies. Varmint hunting isn't talked about much... most hunters prefer the "sexier" deer and waterfowl hunting. This story underscores the importance of being involved in varmint hunting as a means of controlling dangerous pests.


    Posted by Tom, 11/14/2003 9:45:00 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Thursday, November 13, 2003


    Paradoxymoron

    I seem to be caught between a rock and a hard place. On the one hand, there is my incessant griping about democracy and the evils it foists upon us in its own name. On the other hand is the essential fact that a free market is the most democratic institution known to mankind, as stated by Ludwig von Mises, among others:

    The direction of all economic affairs is in the market society a task of the entrepreneurs. Theirs is the control of production. They are at the helm and steer the ship. A superficial observer would believe that they are supreme. But they are not. They are bound to obey unconditionally the captain’s orders. The captain is the consumer. Neither the entrepreneurs nor the farmers nor the capitalists determine what has to be produced. The consumers do that. If a businessman does not strictly obey the orders of the public as they are conveyed to him by the structure of market prices, he suffers losses, he goes bankrupt, and is thus removed from his eminent position at the helm. Other men who did better in satisfying the demand of the consumers replace him.

    This puts me in an awkward position. On the one hand, I'm an agitator for free markets (and by extension democratic structure), but on the other hand I oppose democracy politically. I had to spend some time thinking of what it was that made it palatable in one sense but abhorrent in the other. What I finally realized was the crucial difference between the economic market and the political market: both markets allow you to choose which product you will buy, but only the economic market allows you to decide that you're not interested in buying anything. The political market forces a product on you whether you wish to have one or not, so the best you can do if not interested in the choices is to take the one which seems least detrimental to have around.

    So I suppose I must amend my attacks, in that it is not actually democracy which bugs me so much, but the market in which most people expect to use it. The political market necessarily assumes the right of one individual to dictate to another individual. The rest is just superfluous nonsense -- a government is still a government; it inherently tends toward tyranny, and whether the tyrant is legitimized by birth or votes really makes no difference at all.

    Posted by Tom, 11/13/2003 2:01:00 PM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    The Libertarian Tragedy

    "I set out to be a reformer, but only became the historian of decline."
    -- Ludwig von Mises

    Posted by Tom, 11/13/2003 2:01:00 PM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Various and Sundry

    LewRockwell.com has a decent article by an anti-gunner who has seen the light. We really need more like this. I find it astounding that there are so many anti-gun people out there when the position is so clearly out of touch with reality. Elsewhere on the issue, the Lebanon (PA) Daily News has an article by Alan Gottlieb about the Green River Killer and his relationship to guns and self defense.

    In other news, Michael Graham writes an interesting piece for Style Weekly in Richmond, Virginia. They've apparently held a vote recently as to whether or not the current mayoral system (appointed by the city council) should be replaced by a mayor that is directly elected. The issue passed overwhelmingly, which is good in that it shakes up the entrenched powers-that-be, but sort of disturbing in the promotion of direct democracy.

    Meanwhile over at the Federal Observer, Steve Farrell underscores the crucial point that a self-governing people must necessarily be a moral people, with some help from Thomas Jefferson on the issue of education.

    Posted by Tom, 11/13/2003 1:57:00 PM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Wednesday, November 12, 2003


    Still Think Democracy is Wonderful?

    Then check this out. Apparently the results are pretty much the same as non-democratic countries. So again I ask, why aren't we looking for something better?

    Posted by Tom, 11/12/2003 8:23:00 PM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Gun Talk

    Brad Edmonds makes the argument for everyone having a gun. It isn't difficult to see his point, though the usual hand-wringing contingent will start in with the worrying over allowing criminals to acquire guns. If a criminal is no longer in jail, then it should be taken as read that the judicial system no longer considers them a threat. If they were a threat, they would still be in jail. They are no longer in jail, therefore they are not a threat, and as free people they have the right to defend their own lives. Therefore, all this nonsense about background checks should just be chucked out the window.

    Clayton Cramer has started a blog on incidences of armed self-defense. The future of this blog is in question, however, since he started it before realizing that KeepAndBearArms already has a similar project. We'll keep an eye on it for the moment, just the same. If his books are any measure, Cramer often has insightful commentary that KABA lacks.

    Finally, Bushmaster has gotten conditional permission to expand their manufacturing facility (contingent upon the resolution of some minor issues), despite the usual gang of idiots showing up at the planning board meeting. I need to start saving my pennies and buy myself a good politically-incorrect rifle, just to give Sarah Brady something to whine about.



    Posted by Tom, 11/12/2003 12:51:00 PM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Tuesday, November 11, 2003


    All Good Things...

    ...must eventually be regulated by pencil-pushing bureaucrats with nothing better to do than dream up ways to interfere with other people's lives. It appears the UN has its sights set on the internet itself. All this free speech and personal publishing and free trade and open debate cannot be allowed to stand. How long until we have the electronic equivalent of zoning codes, parade permits, and "free speech zones"? It's coming, people. I can feel it in my bones.

    Posted by Tom, 11/11/2003 9:35:00 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Monday, November 10, 2003


    Liberty and Morality

    There can be no truly moral choice unless that choice is made in freedom; similarly, there can be no really firmly grounded and consistent defense of freedom unless that defense is rooted in moral principle. In concentrating on the ends of choice, the conservative, by neglecting the conditions of choice, loses that very morality of conduct with which he is so concerned. And the libertarian, by concentrating only on the means, or conditions, of choice and ignoring the ends, throws away an essential moral defense of his own position.
    --Murray N. Rothbard

    Posted by Tom, 11/10/2003 1:14:00 PM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Gore Making Sense?

    I'll reserve judgment. He's making noise about the Bush administration's assault on civil liberties, which is good. But his own campaign was pretty antagonistic towards the freedoms he didn't particularly care about (like gun rights). The real devil is in the details. Check out the comment about his fellow Democrat Tom Daschle:

    The Senate minority leader, Tom Daschle of South Dakota, said Monday that while he's not ready to support repealing the Patriot Act, he is skeptical of the way it's been used by the White House and said there is "a lot of concern about the assault on civil liberties."

    Translation: Tom Daschle wants the tools of tyranny to exist, he just wants his own guys to have control of them.

    The last comment in the article is just the icing on the cake:

    "The Patriot Act crossed the line on several key areas of civil liberties," Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee (news -web sites) said last month.

    When they say the same about the Assault Weapons Sham, I'll be ready to believe the sincerity of their concern for individual rights.

    Posted by Tom, 11/10/2003 9:47:00 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    In Summary

    A recent, very stressful, and completely misread conversation between myself and another individual resulted in my formulating a summary of what it is that I want, politically speaking. It may encompass what it is that all libertarians want, but being libertarian myself, I will of course not presume to speak for them.

    At its core, my political viewpoint is based on the principle that I should not be able to tell another how to run their life, and the other should not be able to dictate to me how I run mine. We must necessarily respect one another's rights to privacy, property, and self-interest. We engage each other as free, independent moral agents in a relationship of trade, the only boundaries being a mutually enforced prohibition against force and fraud.

    Take that principle, make it immutable, and build a society of 6 billion people on it. That's the world I want to live in.

    The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire. The former are idealists acting from highest motives for the greatest good of the greatest number. The latter are surly curmudgeons, suspicious and lacking in altruism. But they are more comfortable neighbors than the other sort.
    -- Robert A. Heinlein

    Posted by Tom, 11/10/2003 8:59:00 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Run Forest Run



    Posted by Tom, 11/10/2003 8:32:00 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Friday, November 7, 2003


    My South Park Self-Portrait



    Click the pic to make your own!

    Posted by Tom, 11/7/2003 9:21:00 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Safe Guns vs. Smart Guns

    Massad Ayoob, everybody's favorite gun writer (Jeff Cooper being more than just a gun writer), has a great article at Backwoods Home on the issue of safe guns. He compares the current "smart gun" rage with devices that have been out for some time that accomplish the same task with far less cost and hassle. Why haven't we heard about these devices until now? Probably because the media is decidedly anti-gun and would not get to push the smart gun fallacy if they admitted these devices exist.

    Posted by Tom, 11/7/2003 8:58:00 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Wednesday, November 5, 2003


    The Lighter Side

    Americans Demand Increased Governmental Protection From Selves: This is a satire from the Onion. Sadly, I know of far too many people nitwits who would probably think the article "makes a lot of good points". Bleah.

    Posted by Tom, 11/5/2003 4:50:00 PM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    More on Dean

    Republicans for Dean has a cool comment by a black man regarding Dean's desire to include the "guys with confederate flags on their pickup trucks". I'm suddenly excited about this Dean character, though his desire for socialist health care is troubling. I'm trying to decide if I'm enough of a gambler to take the chance that his socialist ideas will be held in check by a Republican majority in Congress. Currently, I'd kind of like to vote for the guy, but the Congressional Republicans are so spineless that it's a risky proposition. Democrats have no shame, Republicans have no backbone. Monitoring continues...

    Posted by Tom, 11/5/2003 1:35:00 PM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Howard Dean?

    The perpetually indignant are now demanding an apology from Howard Dean over his insistence that poor, rural, Southern white folks be included under the Democrat umbrella. I have been skeptical of the flap about Dean being a viable libertarian candidate, but if he sticks by his guns as one of the Democratic party's most sacred oxen gets gored, I'll be tempted to vote for him.

    Posted by Tom, 11/5/2003 10:16:00 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Rules for Relationships

    These are not my ideas, but someone else's as filtered through my consciousness.

    • 1. Show Up. Be present with the people you are in relationship with. Make an effort to be with them. Focus on the togetherness instead of the latest sports scores, your work (if not at work) or your home life (if at work).

    • 2. Pay Attention. Observe everything. Watch what people do and how they do it. Notice if they are hurting, or joyful, or nervous, or excited. Be aware of the feelings and state of mind of those around you.

    • 3. Tell the Truth. Be honest when someone asks your opinion, or even if they don't. If something makes you uncomfortable or hurts your feelings, let it be known. Don't try to moderate your reaction based on how you want others to feel about your reaction. If you're not particularly excited about an activity when asked to join in, be honest about how you feel and give yourself permission to not enjoy it. Pretending to enjoy something you hate is the road to resentment.

    • 4. Let Go of the Consequences. As above, don't try to game-theory your way through life, trying to predict and control the reactions of others -- that's called manipulation. Allow others the opportunity to react to situations honestly. This step starts a repeat of the cycle -- be present with your relationships, pay attention to what others are doing in response to situations, and honestly react to them.


    Posted by Tom, 11/5/2003 9:47:00 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Top Ten List

    Top 10 things that need to be added or corrected at the next Constitutional Convention:

    • 10. Jury nullification: The people need to have a direct ability through juries to state that a law doesn't pass the smell test, Constitutionally speaking. Restore respect for a "plain reading" of the Constitution.

    • 9. Edit the 2nd Amendment: Take out the words "A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state", leaving only "The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." This should not be necessary, but it's faster and cheaper than teaching all the anti-gunners how to read English.

    • 8. Build a House of Repeals: Make a national-level antilegislative house that is solely devoted to repealing laws that are dangerous, repressive, or simply no longer needed.

    • 7. Include Property Rights as a Constitutionally-guaranteed right.

    • 6. Limit the Department of Defense to defending. Better yet, limit it to organizing defense and leave the actual defending up to the states.

    • 5. Gut the Commerce Clause so it can't be used to justify the passage of every pie-in-the-sky cockamamie idea that some nitwit legislator or his pet special interests can dream up.

    • 4. Get government out of the welfare business once and for all. This includes economic manipulation, business subsidies, social engineering, and individual welfare.

    • 3. Abolish the income tax and mandate (once again) that all future taxes be uniformly applied to all people. No more of this graduated rate crapola. Make all taxes simple and easy to understand, ie "5% of this amount", with no loopholes or breaks for anyone.

    • 2. Include the right of recall at the national level.

    • 1. Restore the right of secession.



    Posted by Tom, 11/5/2003 9:10:00 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Tuesday, November 4, 2003


    Why, These Kids Today...

    In case you, like me, are of the opinion that English is a perfectly functional language and are utterly baffled by the subliterate mumblings of "generation next", UrbanDictionary.com looks like a decent resource for figuring out the latest gutterspeak. I used slang as a teenager myself, but at least I knew how to read and spell.

    Posted by Tom, 11/4/2003 2:45:00 PM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    People in a Snit

    Michael Medved has a hissy fit about libertarians. Unfortunately, no one has apparently schooled him on the proper time to shut up. In his case, the proper time would have been right after this statement: "These people are of course exercising their rights..." Everything else he's got to say is just noise. Once again, for those who aren't paying attention: democracy is the problem. Rather than eating up time and wasting oxygen trying to strategize their way to victory in a democracy, our "political thinkers" like Medved need to be discussing how we can get rid of it and have something better. Personally, I'm beginning to favor a monarchy. I may have said this once or twice before. At least with a monarchy, there's only one guy to shoot when things go south.

    The other people in a snit are the feminists. Cathy Young discusses a recent article in the New York Times about the so-called "glass ceiling" faced by women in corporate America. We can always count on the perpetually indignant to start wailing when someone points out that those they "represent" don't actually agree with them.

    Posted by Tom, 11/4/2003 10:16:00 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    How Taxes Hurt the Economy

    Mises.org has an excellent article about the hidden costs of taxation. Of course, the most interesting effect is also the hardest to measure, which is the cost of lost opportunity through entrepreneurship. The other costs are more visible, and provide a decent defense against those who advocate taxing our way to prosperity.

    The best comment in the article talks about how such disastrous spending actually gets implemented in the first place:

    The harmful effects of taxation are spread throughout the economy, but the benefits can be concentrated on smaller groups. Therefore, although the economy overall suffers from tax-and-spend policies, special interest groups can actually benefit. These special interest groups may be formed on regional, ethnic, class, or even industry lines; anything that allows the politicians to target a bunch of voters. In today's low-turnout elections, politicians can make the tradeoff between a diffuse, and hidden, disadvantage to the many (who probably won't vote anyway) and a well-directed and well-advertised benefit to the few.

    This is exactly the model of what is going on in America today, and the freedom-loving and libertarian among us really need to figure out a way to combat it. Our country cannot afford to keep doing this. Unfortunately, I believe this is a problem that is built into the system, and it's a real-life example of Alex Tytler's axiom about democracy: "It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largess from the public treasury."

    This need not be a statement of doom, as it generally strikes people. It could be seen as a realization that once a sufficient number of voters recognize they are being fleeced to benefit a few, some portion of them will recognize that democracy itself is the problem, and that this feeding of special interests at their expense will never be eradicated until democracy itself is thrown out for something better. Our founding fathers thought they had something better in their republic, but it allowed enough wiggle room for the egalitarian hordes to turn it into something increasingly more like democracy, work which continues even now.

    What we need is some way to protect the structure of government for the things for which it is actually needed (organizing national defense, for example). At the same time, we need to make the ruinous costs of government spending immediately and viscerally apparent to anyone with input into the system (voters) so as to limit the amount of spending that actually gets proposed. The greatest tragedy of democracy is that once we had it, we stopped looking for something better.

    Posted by Tom, 11/4/2003 8:59:00 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Monday, November 3, 2003


    A What?

    Federal government takes over robbery case

    Police also said they found a .30-caliber sawed-off shotgun and a robbery note in the vehicle.

    I do not want to be "protected and served" by police this stupid.

    Posted by Tom, 11/3/2003 4:08:00 PM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Fun Stuff

    Television Without Pity has a great recap of the latest episode of Enterprise. (Episode in a nutshell: Zzzzzzzz...)

    And I've just discovered the Sierra Times' Politically Incorrect Movie Reviews. This episode: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003).

    Posted by Tom, 11/3/2003 3:40:00 PM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    More Stories

    Armed Females of America has a heads-up about the renewal of the Assault Weapons Sham. Basically, we are warned to be vigilant for the renewal to be attached to some other bill and snuck through as an amendment.

    Liberty For All discusses the neglected topic of jury nullification, tangental to the right to keep and bear arms. I could really go for a constitutional amendment forcing jury nullification in the lower courts, and it would be really cool to see a jury system added to the Supreme Court to keep those nitwits in line.

    Finally, a self-defense story that doesn't end happily ever after. Given the positively feral way teenagers act today, I have no trouble at all believing that this was a case of self defense. The real tragedy is that our government doesn't consider a teenager's life worth defending, and the jury wasn't honest enough to strike down the conviction on firearm possession. In essence, they're sending a message that says "we're glad you got out OK, but we wish you had been unarmed and helpless." And now the poor kid has to go through all of the lawsuit crap. Wonderful country, ain't it?

    Posted by Tom, 11/3/2003 2:15:00 PM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Let Our Children Go

    Educrats, teacher's unions, and do-badders continue to push government-run education as the panacea that will make us taller, smarter, stronger, and get the chickweed out of our lawns. In California it's pre-schools. Note the insidious progression of milestones in this article, as well as the ultimate goal.

    Elsewhere, the inimitable Vin Suprynowicz takes on a brainwashed teacher, her delusions of "free" education, and her slow-witted failure to grasp the difference between socialism and sharing. The man has the patience of a saint.

    In the first case, my mind boggles at the outright evil, in the second, the outright stupidity. Alone, evil and stupid are unquestionably dangerous. We're in for some dark days now that it appears they've joined forces. By all that is good and holy, if your kid is in a "public" school, get them out as soon as you can.

    Posted by Tom, 11/3/2003 11:25:00 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Saturday, November 1, 2003


    News of the Weird

    11 Die After Grasshoppers Swarm in Sudan

    Huh.

    Posted by Tom, 11/1/2003 12:22:00 PM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...