The Institute for Justice, which has fought the state on a number of fronts, including eminent domain abuse (the infamous Kelo v. New London case), economic liberty, and most recently political speech in the wake of the Citizens United ruling, is now taking aim at a lucrative revenue stream for law enforcement agencies nationwide, one that doesn’t require higher taxes or even a traffic ticket: asset forfeiture laws.
All it takes for someone to lose their car and everything in it, is to be pulled over by the cops with “probable cause” of wrongdoing. It could even be their house, if the cops suspect any sort of shenanigans such as drug sales taking place there. They don’t even have to find any evidence of a crime, and the owners need not be charged with one. The police can seize the property, sell it, and pocket the proceeds–and in most states, there is nothing the former owner can do about it.
“I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi
“There are only two forces in the world, the sword and the spirit. In the long run the sword will always be conquered by the spirit.”
~ Napoleon Bonaparte
As is my recent and sometimes unfortunate habit, I’ve been actively involved in or passively listening to, debates between libertarians, statists, anarchists talking like statists, statists pretending to be anarchists, self-proclaimed pacifists, libertarian consequentialists, died-in-the-wool might-makes-right psychos and (seemingly) everyone in between. If they’ve had time to kill and a high-speed Internet link they’ve been involved, or so it seems. (Clearly, I’ve got too much time on my hands as well, but enough about me.)
One of the sharper and recurring disagreements I’ve witnessed has been around the justification for self-defense, and why such a justification is vital. This premise–the absolute necessity–and dare-I-say God-given right to defend oneself, has been offered as a proverbial nail in the coffin as to why an ultimate belief in non-violence, otherwise known as pacifism, is doomed. I guess it’s no surprise that gun lovers of every stripe find themselves drawn to libertarianism, and frankly, I cannot fault anyone who seeks to defend himself and his possessions.
There is a trend among young and “eternally rebel” types to try and conflate Capitalism and Interventionism and call the mix “Corporatism” at best or just call it “Capitalism.” This of course is not only a conceptual, but also an strategic mistake. [Keep reading…]
I love food shows, enough to be sucked into watching the first two episodes of “Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution” (I also only have basic cable, so no more Food Network. Sigh.) Last week we followed Oliver as he created a new lunch menu for an elementary school in Huntington, West Virginia, the CDC’s unhealthiest city of 2008. And what did we find? Oliver’s menu of baked chicken, brown rice, and fruit did not meet the USDA standards for a well-rounded lunch. He wasn’t offering two grains! Heaven forbid! Oliver resorted to toasting hamburger buns to serve with the lunch, all the while complaining that this extra starch was just going to make the students fat. The USDA-approved lunch, however, met the guidelines–a slice of cheese pizza is two grains. I think they threw a few carrot and celery sticks and a piece of fruit on the tray as well. Which would you rather your child have for lunch? Well, it doesn’t matter because the USDA demands they have the pizza. [Keep reading…]
President Dmitry Medvedev has pledged to be “more cruel” in fighting the Chechen rebels. While such talk no doubt is appealing to grieving Russians, actually implementing cruel measures will do nothing to prevent such attacks in the future. The attacks will get worse, and the long-suffering Russian people will find the recent freedoms they have enjoyed severely curtailed.
As has been mentioned many times before, terrorism is a tactic, not an enemy. In this case, why not look at why the terrorists are killing people in the first place? The Chechens who are blowing up trains and killing women and children want to secede from the Russian Federation. Considering the terrible things which the Soviet Union did to keep regions enslaved, escaping Russian control hardly seems an unreasonable desire, even if the tactics are horrible. A slave rebellion which engages in murder hardly justifies maintaining slavery, and independence movements which engage in criminal activities do not justify centralizing power.
Russians can and should pursue the individuals who are responsible for murdering innocents. They should not, however, use such a thirst for justice as cause to engage in crimes of their own. That way is the way of the terrorist.