Archive for November, 2010
David — November 29, 2010
- VIDEO: “Britain’s Trillion Pound Horror Story”
It is said that every generation needs to learn the broken window fallacy.
- Torture Tort Terror
“Obama uses national security as a cover for violating people’s rights.”
- Ideas Are Free: The Case Against Intellectual Property
Stephen Kinsella argues that ideas cannot be owned.
- Boom, Bust, and Gold
A Mises Institute look at what would happen if we switched to the gold standard.
- End the IMF
IMF continues to cause more problems.
- Rare Earth Ruckus
Reason magazine covers China’s recent refusal to sell rare earth metals to Japan.
- Block’s Building Blocks
Walter Block the intellectual successor of Murray Rothbard?
- Doctors’ Orders
“The government’s war on medical ‘price fixing’ squelches speech without helping consumers.”
- Ron Paul, the Fed, and Changing Times
Congressman Ron Paul won the war of ideas. Will the powers that be accept it?
- Let Them Eat Cookies: Canadian Journalism and Medicare
A look at Canada’s health care system.
Dave Killion — November 28, 2010
Victoria Police Officer and Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) speaker David Bratzer is a regular contributor to the blog Cops Say Legalize. In his latest post, Bratzer mentions the video “10 Rules For Dealing With the Police” (watch it here), and asks, “(Imagine) you were making a film for police officers: “10 Rules for Dealing with the Public.” What would your rules be?”
This is a real challenge. The original list is meant to help civilians protect their rights when they deal with the police, but what’s the intention of the proposed list? At first I thought to outline a sort of code of conduct for police, and judging by the comments in Bratzer’s original post, that’s what others thought as well. On reflection, this doesn’t seem the right way to go. After all, police already have a code of conduct, plus they already have practices they are trained to follow to protect themselves physically from potentially dangerous citizens. Should the new list aim to help law enforcement officers protect their rights when they deal with civilians? It never occurred to me that might be a problem. I know of many instances in which innocent citizens have had their rights trampled by police, but when has a taxpayer violated the rights of a police officer?
Ultimately I could only come up with one rule – always assume you are being recorded, and conduct yourself appropriately. That means knowing the regulations you are sworn to enforce and the limits of your authority. I know plenty of bad cops have violated this rule and suffered no consequences, but not everyone gets away. As recording becomes cheaper and more widely available, more bad cops will be outed and there will be more public pressure for action to be taken. Do not doubt that political pressure will cause some decent officers to be sacrificed out of expediency. Do what you can to avoid becoming just such a target.
I hope to hear some other ideas, but like I said, this is a real challenge.
Dave Killion — November 25, 2010
Here in the Capital Regional District (Greater Victoria) we have a ‘blue box’ recycling program. Neither snow, nor rain, nor federal or provincial holidays stay the recycling trucks from the swift completion of their appointed rounds, and that means there are pick-ups on Labour Day, Easter, BC Day, Victoria Day, and just about every other holiday. Since government usually shuts down on these days, I knew there must be a private sector actor involved, and sure enough it turns out that International Paper is paid to pick up recyclables on a per-house basis. As a libertarian, I’m somewhat pleased with this, because it means my recycling pick-ups are more consistent than my municipally-supplied garbage pick-ups. But government suffers from what I call The Minus Touch. It differs from the Midas Touch in that everything the government touches turns to crap, rather than gold. I saw more evidence today that I am correct.
If you don’t live in Victoria, you may not know that snow falls here infrequently, and it doesn’t stay for long. Because of this, residents and businesses simply struggle through these brief interludes rather than keep a stock of the skills and supplies needed to deal with snow. You also may not know that it snowed here on Monday, and last night as well, so the roads are a mess and the recycling trucks are behind schedule. Since today is recycling day, I put my blue box out nice and early, because the truck usually rolls by around 8:30 and gets my side of the street, then loops back around 9:00 and gets the other side. That’s not what happened today. Today the truck showed up at about 11:00, and got both sides of the street at the same time.
See that? They were late, and they got both sides of the street in one trip. That means they were trying to speed things up by being more efficient. Why did they wait until they were late to act more efficiently? Because a government-endowed monopoly protects them from competitive market forces that would have forced them to seek efficiencies earlier on in the process. That means taxpayers like me are paying more for recycling than they otherwise would.
Like I said, the Minus Touch.
Dave Killion — November 24, 2010
If you get a chance to watch The Stossel Show, you should check it out. Stossel is a former consumer journalist turned libertarian journalist, and he has a knack for stating the libertarian position in clear and simple terms. The opposition gets to make their point, so there’s a fair hearing for all sides.
During the episode “Libertarians and the Election”, Stossel spoke with Newsday reporter and Democrat supporter Ellis Henican, and also with Republican Kate Obenshain from the Young America’s Foundation. Listening to folks like this fills me with gratitude for being libertarian, because it reminds me that I don’t have to engage in the intellectual and moral contortions they have to in order to deceive themselves and others. Like what, you ask?
Like this: Obenshain wants Stossel to tell her what women he has spoken to who say they desperately want to be prostitutes. Well, of course she has to use the word ‘desperately’, because exaggeration and distortion are the only way she can get the answer she wants. If she was intellectually honest, she would have to acknowledge that every prostitute (other than literal sex slaves) was demonstrating her preference to work as a prostitute over all other options available to her.
Henican is no better, of course. While discussing social security, he speaks about providing for the elderly and asks rhetorically “… isn’t that part of the deal we have, as decent people?” Ugh. What decency is there in taking money away from people without their consent, and handing it over to someone else who may not even need or deserve it? Isn’t it part of the deal we have, as decent people, to find a way to help others without resorting to theft and the threat of violence against each other?
Such a shame. These are two bright, engaging people, and they could make great libertarians, if they could give up distortion, exaggeration, fabrication, and self-deceit. For the moment, that seems a little too much to ask.