Archive for Justice
Dave Killion — March 13, 2013
The passing of noted defence attorney Doug Christie has received enough attention that there is no reason for me to repeat the story of his life, or recount the history of his cases, either of which can be found in any one of many articles. But if you’re looking for a mainstream media article that isn’t slanted against Mr. Christie, I can’t help you. This is one of the better ones, but even so -
“Christie has always been careful not to publicly support the views of his clients, insisting his cases were about protecting the right to free speech.”
In fact, there appears to be no evidence that Mr. Christie ever supported the views of his clients, publicly or privately. But why say that, when you can suggest that he not only supported those views, but was so enthused he had to be careful not to let it slip out publicly! And make sure that when you write about his career, write that he defended holocaust deniers, white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and hate-mongers. That’s more exciting, and most people won’t notice that what he was actually defending was the right of all of us to not only speak, but to hear.
As for Mr. Christie’s critics, the less said, the better. I have seen, repeatedly, condemnations based on the fact that he never defended the free speech of any non-white. Well, when the time comes that hate crimes are charged against a Muslim, a feminist, a Black Canadian, an aboriginal, or anyone other than a white Christian male, then I will give this criticism more weight.
The fact is, there are people who so hate what they believed Mr. Christie’s clients to be, that they hated him for the simple fact that he defended them. Even the ones found innocent. And there is no one who could have defended those clients who would not have been subjected to the wrath of these hate-filled people, such was their rage, their contempt for due process, and their desire to strike down anyone who says something they don’t like. These are the people who truly threaten us, and it was Doug Christie who stepped forward to battle them on our behalf. We have been more fortunate than we deserve.
Dave Killion — March 6, 2013
Over at the website for the Canadian Constitution Foundation, Derek From writes about the recent and terrible outcome of Whatcott v. Saskatchewan Human Rights Tribunal -
“The Supreme Court of Canada’s decision is a devastating blow to free speech and the rights of every individual Canadian. In principle, this decision means that the government can silence your speech on issues of public importance if that speech is deemed hateful. It doesn’t matter if what you said was true, that it caused no one any harm, or that you never intended to say anything discriminatory – you can still be dragged into court and lose for committing a victimless crime.”
Keep in mind that it is not only the right to speak freely that has been harmed here. This ruling violates the right of all Canadians to listen and to watch. You are no longer free to seek out or reject certain ideas or influences without government interference or control. This ruling diminishes each and every Canadian far more than does anything said by bigots.
By the way, I have selected the Canadian Constitution Foundation for this month’s $50 contribution. Please consider supporting them.
Antony Zegers — January 17, 2013
Following on from Dave’s post, I also recently watched the movie version of Les Miserables, and have a few comments. While I agree with Dave’s point that Jean Valjean should not be absolved from guilt for stealing the bread, the legal consequence he suffered were completely disproportionate, and would never occur in a libertarian society. In a libertarian restitution-based justice system, the primary goal of the law would be to seek appropriate compensation for the victim. For such a petty crime, it would not be worth the cost to invest huge resources needed to pursue Valjean over many years, since the damage done was so minimal. It is only by using the resources of the state that Javert’s costly manhunt can be maintained.
The fact that the state has taken over the codification and application of law in our society is what leads to the possibility for these excesses. The criminalization of “victimless crimes” is one example of this phenomenon; in a system of private law focused on restitution, it is unlikely that anyone would devote sufficient resources to banning or regulating acts that hurt no-one. For an excellent analysis of private versus state law, check out this recent talk by Stephan Kinsella.
The principle of restitution-based justice is demonstrated when Jean Valjean’s commits his second act of theft – stealing silver from the monastery. In this case the victim, the bishop, chooses not to seek restitution, in fact he does the opposite and actually gives more silver to Valjean. It is up to him whether to seek compensation, and in this case he exercises his prerogative to give Valjean a second chance, to seek his redemption, thereby setting the stage for the entire rest of the movie.
Dave Killion — October 22, 2012
Advocates of estate/inheritance taxes argue, in part, that the heir has not earned the newly-acquired wealth and is therefore not entitled to keep all of it. But have said advocates considered the ramifications such an argument has for people in poor countries where there are substantial natural resources? Tim Newman asks us to consider…
“… a country which sits on a sizeable mineral wealth which it has no idea how to extract. For hundreds of years this wealth remains unrealised as it sits beneath the ground, whilst the people living above it barely know it exists. Then some foreigners turn up and spend years (sometimes decades), millions if not billions of dollars, and the lives of thousands of individuals working in pretty dire conditions to figure out how to extract this resource and make it worth something. Eventually these efforts pay off, and the foreigners start making some money. Thus far, the locals have contributed next to nothing. So what share of the proceeds are they entitled to?
According to the likes of Richard Murphy, they are entitled to most of it. After all, they happened to be born sitting on top of an oilfield. Yet the same justification is not applied to our fortunate heir in the example I gave above. He is…. reaping the rewards of unearned wealth, whereas the governments of oil exporting countries are reaping the rewards of what is theirs by right.
The two positions are somewhat inconsistent, aren’t they?”
I don’t think Newman is doing much here to counter the estate-tax proponents. All the same, I’m happy to encounter this argument because I have been worried that when I buy oil, gas, and other mineral resources from countries with corrupt governments, I have essentially been buying stolen goods (because those resources are actually the property of the populace, rather than the state). But Newman’s example reminds me that government claims of ownership over dormant mineral resources are, from a libertarian point of view, very weak. In fact, businesses that extract and distribute those resources establish a much more robust claim of ownership, by dint of their efforts and investments. That certainly goes a long way toward alleviating my anxiety.