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September 05, 2006

Carnival of Liberty no. 61

Welcome to the sixty-first edition of the Carnival of Liberty. This is a round-up of blog postings on topics of interest to the Life, Liberty, Property (LLP) group. To skip to a particular set of posts, you can use this short table of contents:

Political Science Department:

Ogre asks why North Carolina's democratic process is so badly broken:

For example, you cannot write-in any names on the ballot. Well, technically you can — on the ballot, there is a blank space for a "write-in." However, if your write-in is not PREVIOUSLY certified, IT DOESN'T COUNT. If that's not deceptive, I don't know what is.

In addition, if you lose a primary, you are barred from participating in the general election. And if you're not a Democrat or Republican, you cannot register, nor be elected in the state — they simply will not allow it. Oh, in theory, you can, but not reality.

Lisa, at London Fog, does a bit of civil disobedience practice with the nice bureaucrats at Statistics Canada:

I've made good use of my census form as a coaster for my wine bottle since I last posted on my adventures with the census bureau and their bureaubats.

As of today, I've yet to directly encounter the hound entrusted with "my case", and no further threatening notices were left for me since the end of July. It just depends on the census worker I suppose, for unlike other people I know who have decided to boycott the census, I've yet to receive my "final" notice, and so far, my guardian angel has refrained from exaggerated and falsified threats of fines and imprisonment [. . .]

Mike, also blogging at London Fog, asks some pointed questions of the current leader of the Ontario conservatives:

Running scams like FREE HEALTH CARE and FREE EDUCATION is one thing, but one would at least expect a prospective leader of government to demonstrate some interest in the whole supposed freaking point for having a government — at least on off days when he can't think of new side-project pyramid scams such as FREE DAY CARE or FREE GOVERNMENT HAIRCUTS. That freaking point would be the bit where the law abiding are supposed to be able to count on the power to call in overwhelming force against criminals like the Qa'aledonia insurgents, in defence of life and property.

But if Tory isn't even interested in law and order, the basics, the only excuse for the existence of the government to whose leadership he aspires — then why would any sensible person vote for him or his party?

Tom Hanna hosts an "MFers Tea Party":

From Thursday September 7th until the general election in November, the McCain-Feingold (MF) act will make it illegal, with very narrow exceptions that the average American and even the average grassroots organization won't qualify for, to publish opinions favoring or opposing the election of any candidate for federal office in that election. It will be generally illegal for websites such as this one to editorialize in the same way newspapers do. The DC Examiner puts it this way: It is the most effective incumbent protection act possible, short of abolishing the elections themselves.

Divided We Stand United We Fall reminisces about an early dalliance and then takes Hand wringing Libertarians to task:

The "limited government" patient is lying unconscious on the ground bleeding to death. Yes, the patient's leg was blown off by a Republican roadside bomb, and we are all angry at the Republicans and feel really bad about what happened. But this might not be the time to discuss where to build a hospital and how to equip a surgical suite to treat the patient. Right now, we really need to apply a tourniquet and stop the bleeding. Divided government is the tourniquet."

OneManBandwidth considers the most recent restrictions on research in China:

I was surfing the news this morning (In China that means you click through the 20 stations replaying the exact same stories) and heard that the Chinese government is looking to reduce outside research studies on Chinese citizens. This move is likely to make that next academic conference speech of yours a bit more allegorical than data based.

Philosophy Department:

Francois Tremblay, at The Radical Libertarian, presents Refuting Anarchy vs State Capitalism:

Oh boy, here we go. I've got some personal investment in this. It's no secret for people who have followed me that I used to be an Objectivist. While I was definitely never of the Randian variety (and despised them more than anyone), much of my philosophical thinking was (and is still) guided by a strong commitment to reality and reason, and by extension individualism. Nowadays, "Objectivist" seems to be a slur word, and I don't know why that is. I think people just hate consistency — after all, if someone is perfectly consistent, how can you convert them to your own belief system?

Paul's Tips suggests that "Sometimes it's better to do nothing":

One of the key philosophies of modern common-sense is that action is always the best strategy. You can see it in the "just do it", "highly effective people", "getting things done" and "power of now" tone to most personal development books. The underlying idea is that inaction is the root cause of many problems.

"Wenchypoo" contrasts the vision of Martin Luther King with today's expectations:

"People bling" has become the new normal; the new standard for which to aspire. You may know it as "excess", and others may know it as "a basis from which to build." Younger generations are molded by the behavior of the adults, and the adults were molded by the actions of their societal adults. Success is signaled by excess, and more equals more — of EVERYTHING.

Matt Barr responds to a comment left at Hit and Run Blog:

I don't care about whether anybody is politically irrelevant or not, just that taking a contrarian position on everything and calling it libertarianism is aggravating. And it's not just the article subscriber is commenting on: the stupid David Weigel teaser says, "Katherine Mangu-Ward discovers that Ray Nagin, and not that Time magazine guy, is the real America's Mayor." Well, no, the article doesn't actually say or argue that. But it probably seemed to Weigel like a libertarian thing to say.

Rick Sincere (who'll be hosting Carnival 62 next week) discusses the common fallacy of thinking that property rights are somehow in conflict with human rights:

The fact is, human rights do not exist in the absence of private property. Property rights are human rights because the rights we are talking about in the phrase "property rights" do not inhere to the property (whether real estate, intellectual property, capital goods, or the clothes on one's back) but to the human beings who own that property.

Economics Department:

Combs Spouts Off about the economic tragedy of falling oil prices:

If prices keep dropping into the fall, I'm sure some demagogue in Congress will schedule hearings to look into it, right? Probably before the election recess. I can't wait to see oil industry executives being grilled by hostile and suspicious senators or representatives:

    "Mr. Big Oil Executive, the American people have been watching these gas prices drop day after day, week after week, and they want to know what's going on! There's no cause that I can see, no logical explanation. It seems to me that you and the other big oil companies have just arbitrarily decided to ratchet down prices and slash your profits, and the shareholders be damned! How do you justify what you're doing?"

Pursuing praxis offers an older post on "Capitalism at Play":

Politics and economics — what is the relation? The association of men. And, as Aristotle pointed out so many years ago, the first, irreducible, irreplacable and unforgettable reason that men associate is in order to trade goods — to exchange value for value, each in pursuit of his own life, his own ends, his own purposes. And the ultimate, civilize medium of human interaction is: money.

Perry Eidelbus asks whether governments should protect people from themselves:

This BusinessWeek Online article talks about the alleged danger of the increasingly popular Adjustable Rate Mortgage. It cites several anecdotes of people who didn't realize what they were getting into and, frankly, should have known better: always read the fine print.

"Those who took the bait" — as if we were dealing with instinct-driven fish, instead of living, breathing capable of intelligent thought. There's the old caveat that "if something seems too good to be true, it probably is," but that doesn't apply here. The lenders aren't scamming anyone, and people should realize almost instinctively that if their mortgage payments are reduced, there will likely be a catch sometime in the future.

Sports Legal Department:

Cody Hersch does some analysis of the NFL and the NFL Player's Association, "arguing that congressional hearings into the close working relationship between the NFL and players association are unjustified."

As we approach the first regular season games for the National Football League, free agency, fantasy games and this year's rookies are not the only thing occupying fans' attention. Members of the House Judiciary Committee are looking into the close relationship between the National Football League (NFL) and the players association (NFLPA). Apparently the tight working relationship between these two parties is cause for consternation among Capital Hill politicians.

Legal Department:

Carola Solomonoff sent in this article posted at Blogger News on the eminent domain battle of Fort Trumbull in New London, Connecticut.

What bites about the Fort Trumbull deal is not that the hold-outs got more than originally offered, but that the money spent on "taking" the neighborhood, doesn't come from the personal coffers of those who strove for years to do so. As in — various officials connected to the state and city government and the unelected NLDC. Instead the cash comes from taxpayers. Including federal ones. Since Connecticut's Department of Economic and Community Development, the financial force behind the taking, razing, and projected revitalization of Fort Trumbull, is partly funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). But hey — you have to spend money to make money. Even if the real estate market is softening, the projected tax revenues from the Pfizer enhancing hotel, condos and offices will be rolling in any day now. As surely as the Thames rolls out to meet the Long Island Sound — round the peninsula where the neighborhood of Fort Trumbull once stood.

Francois Tremblay discusses Net Neutrality:

In previous months, "Net Neutrality" was an Internet firestorm. Throngs of statists were pushing for this measure which, when analyzed rationally, amounts to little more than a corporate legislative war — between the state-appointed telecom monopolies on the one hand, and the Internet giants like Google and Yahoo! on the other.

What was particularly interesting during this whole campaign was the amount of propaganda on the Internet about it, and its sheer absurdity. The name of their campaign was "Save the Internet." This is, of course, nonsense. Whether one group of corporations or the other gets more favours from the state would not destroy the Internet.

Brad Warbiany explores the history and current discussions over the Right to Privacy:

The Founding Fathers certainly believed in a Right to Privacy, insofar as they didn't believe the government had a legitimate purpose to be doing anything which might infringe upon it. In our current Constitutional jurisprudence, the Right to Privacy is an exception to unlimited government power. If we returned to a Presumption of Liberty, the Right to Privacy, along with a host of other rights and liberties, wouldn't be an exception at all, it would be would be the standard.

Environment Department:

Ogre's Politics and Views points out that too many environmental victories are actually defeats for freedom:

If you dare to get your water from a private well on your own property, the "victory" achieved this year was that you might not be able to drink your own damn water if the state decides it's not "safe" enough for you. They put in new standards, with additional spending for testing and compliance for private drinking wells. Sorry, no freedom for you.

Liberty Corner looks at the differences between environmental pressures and mugging:

Most persons who are confronted by an armed mugger will accede to the mugger's demands for wallet, jewelry, etc. The immediate prospect of being killed or injured generally outweighs the thought of resistance or flight, neither of which is likely to be effective and both of which might simply infuriate the mugger. The instintive logic at work in most persons goes like this: My odds of surviving this incident unharmed are much greater if I accede to the mugger's demands than if I try to resist or flee. I value my life and limb more than the money and jewelry demanded by the mugger. Therefore, I will accede to the mugger's demands.

Environmental alarmists react to the very mixed and uncertain evidence about climate change and its causes as if they were facing an armed mugger. Oh, they say (in effect), let's give in to the "mugger" and forswear our wealth so that we might live to see a cooler, less turbulent day.

War Department:

Critical Mastiff builds on a Mark Steyn column and goes further:

A word on sanctity. It necessarily implies that human life is sacred everywhere, at all times, regardless of prevailing social mores or laws. This carries with it the obligation to protect human life everywhere, to the best of our practical ability, and regardless of opposing social mores. Which is why Steyn is horrified that:

    In London last summer, the Metropolitan police announced they were reopening investigations into 120 deaths among British Muslim girls that they'd hitherto declined to look at too closely on grounds of cultural sensitivity. Now think about that. Think about that. One hundred and twenty women are murdered and their murders go uninvestigated because the cops thought it was just some multicultural thing.

Steyn realizes that such murders are common in the Muslim world, of course, which is a large part of his implacable opposition to the spread of Islamic law. But what makes this truly horrifying to him (and to me, frankly) is that these murders went uninvestigated on British soil. That is to say, Britain had consciously abdicated its duty to defend human life even within its own sovereign borders, to say nothing of elsewhere.

Department of "It doesn't fit anywhere else":

Peter Porcupine has a post about personal disaster preparedness:

Porcupine freely admits that he is little better prepared for disaster than a year ago. We are threatened with so many — hurricane, blizzards, bird flu, Triple-E, nuclear accident, terrorist incident — all of us on Cape Cod and the Islands know that whether the disaster in question is howling winds or a pandemic, our reality will be the same. We will be stranded here.

Next week's Carnival will be hosted at Rick Sincere News and Thoughts.

That concludes this edition of the Carnival of Liberty. You can submit your own material to the next edition of the Carnival using the BlogCarnival submission form. Past Carnivals and future hosts can be found on the BlogCarnival index page.

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Posted by Nicholas at September 5, 2006 09:03 AM

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