We Were Free Once, Not Long Ago

Submitted by Bill St. Clair on Mon, 16 Sep 2002 12:00:00 GMT
Fred on Everything - Yes, Mommy: A Well-Regulated State - Mr. Reed reminds us that we are the most regulated, controlled, and obedient people who ever lived on the earth. [trt-ny]
For many it may be hard to remember freer times. Yet they existed. In 1964, when I graduated from high school in rural Virginia, there were speed limits, but nobody much enforced them, or much obeyed them. If you wanted to fish, you needed a pole, not a license. You fished where you wanted, not in designated fishing zones. If you wanted to carry your rifle to the bean field to shoot whistle pigs, you just did it. You didn't need a license and nobody got upset.

To buy a shotgun in the country store, you needed money, not a background check, waiting period, proof of age, certificate of training, and a registration form. If your tail light burned out, then you only had one tail light. If you wanted to park on a back road with your girl friend, the cops, all both of them, didn't care. If you wanted to swim in the creek, you didn't need a Coast Guard approved life jacket.

It felt different. You lived in the world as you found it, and behaved because you were supposed to, but you didn't feel as though you were in a white-collar prison. And if anybody had asked us, we would have said that the freedom was worth more to us than any slightly greater protection against rabies, thank you. Which nobody ever got anyway.

The Libertarian Enterprise - Letter from Warren Tilson - Rick Stanley: "Gunhdi". [tle]

L. Neil Smith at The Libertarian Enterprise - Mars Needs Saloons! - L. Neil looks forward to a new "Wild West" on Mars. Don't you? [tle]

There could well be a permanent human presence on the Red Planet within a century, Sir Smugly boldly predicted (somehow completely unaware of predictions exactly like that having been made for more than a century). He warned his audience that if these settlers are privately funded adventurers of - - gasp! -- free-enterprise, or even anarchic disposition, the result could resemble the American Wild West.

Heaven forfend!

Doesn't everybody know that if humankind continues to insist on expanding outward from Earth, into the rest of the Solar System, that explorers and settlers must be preceded by bureaucrats who will set up offices for the IRS (make that "Inland Revenue for Sir Smugly), the EPA, and the ATF? It wouldn't be real civilization without them, would it?


Me, ladies and gentlemen, I want that "lawless Wild West", he whimpered about, because -- in a way the 20th century has utterly failed to do -- it worked. A sociological study twenty years ago showed that in the third quarter of the 19th century in the "lawful mild East" -- Nantucket, I think it may have been (or is that just the limerick I'm remembering?). No, make it New Bedford, Mass. -- where hardly anybody had a gun and they suffered 140 murders in ten years and a proportionate number of other violent crimes. In Leadville, Colorado, by comparison, a town of similar size and composition, they had exactly zero murders because everyone had guns and knew how to use them.

Patrick K Martin at The Libertarian Enterprise - Let's Roll? - commentary on the government response to 9/11. [tle]

No my friends, nothing has changed, except the level of fear. The question is, what should we fear most, the terrorists, or the government that demands we be defenseless before them? Here's a hint, only one of them is pointing anti-aircraft missiles at your flight, and promising to use them.

Vin Suprynowicz at The Libertarian Enterprise - Searching the Land for a Pro-Gun-Rights Judge - GOA found one, Nevada state Supreme Court candidate Don Chairez. [tle]

I just wanted to know whether Justice Maupin would dismiss all charges under any state statute which infringed in any way the right to bear arms, which he'd already agreed is a constitutional right. Could the Legislature ban .50-caliber rifles, for example, or would that be unconstitutional?

"You're asking me a question about a legal issue that I haven't had a chance to study. There are certain restrictions on articulated rights in the Constitution. I'm not the kind of judge or lawyer that would answer a question like that. ... I believe that it is our obligation as the head of the court system here in Nevada to make sure that there is a no perception out there that judges are pre-judging cases, pre- judging legal issues before they're fleshed out completely. I just can't get into that discourse and won't."

You did catch the "certain restrictions on articulated rights in the Constitution," I trust. How do you suppose a state law would fare that banned churchgoing on the third Sunday of the month, or that barred publishers from printing books of more than 200 pages? It's only our gun rights under the 2nd and 14th amendments that are subject to these so-called "reasonable restrictions," of course. And the double-talk is getting mighty familiar to gun folk.

Compare this to Chairez, who answered "opposed" to every piece of proposed gun control legislation on the GOA questionnaire, and who favors "Vermont-style legislation that would eliminate all requirements to pay fees and register gun owners and simply allow law-abiding citizens to carry firearms openly or concealed (at the individual's discretion) for any reason except for the commission of a crime."

Carl Bussjaeger at The Libertarian Enterprie - The Simon Jester Starter Kit - Mr. Bussjaeger is reviving an idea from Robert A. Heinlein's The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, pro-freedom information sporting the Simon Jester logo. He has a starter kit with some initial ideas. Add your own.

Jim Duensing at The Libertarian Enterprise - The Evil Ones - just who are the "evil ones" who attacked freedom on September 11th? [tle]

One year ago today, two planes flew into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, killing three thousand people. There was an explosion at the Pentagon and a plane full of passengers on flight 93 went down over Pennsylvania.

Even cursory study of the subject reveals that the resentment towards America in most of the Muslim world was not caused by Americans going to shopping malls or watching morally depraved television programs. Imagine convincing persons who are supposed to have frequented strip joints to commit suicide because Americans are too licentious.

It is more plausible, in fact it is quite probable, that most of the Muslim world despises America because the American government sponsors coup-de-tats and struggling despots in order to get better oil prices or to temporarily achieve a slightly more favorable diplomatic agreement with any particular country. In one particular case, the United States government funded an extremist firebrand with a talent for recruiting young Muslim males who is blamed for creating a globalist terrorist network which attacked the Twin Towers and the Pentagon one year ago today.

And, George Bush said the evil ones attacked freedom on September 11th.

Garry Reed, The Loose Cannon Libertarian - A Desire Named Streetcar - someone in Fort Worth Texas thinks they need streetcars. The market thinks otherwise, or they would already be there, privately financed.

Streetcars are the latest transportation fad, second only to kids' Street Flyers with retractable roller-skate wheels. But while the wheelie shoes offer 100 percent occupancy rates, light rail never comes close. In 1990, the US DOT reported average light rail ridership shortfalls of 65 percent below original estimates.

The biggest problem with streetcars and similar light rail schemes is that they cost billions in taxpayer dollars and rarely, if ever, meet their promoter's grandiose promises...

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