Thanksgiving, 2002

Submitted by Bill St. Clair on Thu, 28 Nov 2002 13:00:00 GMT
From The Federalist:
"Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations." (Psalm 100:4-5)

From trt-ny:

"We have a criminal jury system which is superior to any in the world; and its efficiency is only marred by the difficulty of finding twelve men every day who don't know anything and can't read." -- Mark Twain

I wrote the following in response to this Democratic Underground thread about L. Neil Smith's All You Democrats:

I agree with you that we don't have an authentic free market and that the government picks the winners. That's why I want to eliminate government regulation, so that the market can truly pick the winners. People and corporations will still be responsible for their actions, but they won't have to ask permission, fill out reams of forms, and pay a fee for every little thing. I also agree with you that people are not perfect. Unlike you, however, I think the market is a better regulator than a bunch of lawyers in Washington. Central planning doesn't work. Evidence the now-defunct USSR. That's gonna happen here, too, folks, if we don't stop the forced redistribution of income. As for the Scandinavian countries, I know very little. The train/ferry system in Denmark was very nice when I visited there in the late eighties and early nineties. I've heard that the bridge/tunnel system they've replaced it with is also very nice. I'll take your word that they have the highest standard of living. Saying that this is because of the best balance between private enterprise and social regulation sounds to me like the daily news saying that the market rose or fell today because of a particular corporate earnings report. Not. Both Scandinavian living standards and market results come from the activities of millions of individuals, motivated by very different reasons.

I have problems with the electoral system in this country too. I think it should be eliminated completely along with the rest of the government. But I don't expect that to happen any time soon. At least not peacefully. In the mean time, I could live with our constitution if it were narrowly interpreted and rabidly enforced. The first amendment's "shall make no law" and the second's "shall not be infringed" are strong language. Enforce it. Jail any politician who introduces or votes for any such law or infringement, and any cop who enforces one.

But to respond on how to fix the electoral system without eliminating the government... The best liars, the least principled, are the ones who can win a mass election; folks who can convince two people with diametrically opposed beliefs that they agree with both of them. The only way to fix this is to limit the number of people that any one person can "represent" and to require a super-majority in the governing body for every decision, or even unanimous consent. Actually, making that one change would vastly improve our national government. "No law will pass the Congress unless it receives the unanimous consent of every representative and senator and the agreement of the president." I could live with that. The electoral college is also a way to limit the absurdity of mass elections. We should see only the names of the electoral college candidates on the ballot, people we might actually have time to sit down and talk with, people who convince us that they know a lot more about governing than most of us are willing to learn. The names of the candidates themselves should not even appear. An electoral college also makes sense for the senate. Until the seventeenth amendment we had one. The state legislatures elected the senators. This was a much better arrangement than electing senators by popular vote.

Laws do not turn murder or theft into crimes. Those have been crimes since the discovery of the idea of property. Laws codify these crimes and provide rules for restitution (or, in our society, punishment, which doesn't work nearly as well). The purpose of the legislature is to DISCOVER crimes and write them down. Not to INVENT crimes in order to benefit their current benefactors or satisfy their personal moral agendas. No victim, no crime. The constitution exists to severely limit the domain of the legislature's law-making ability. If authority for a law isn't explicitly stated in the constitution, the law is null and void. America used to work this way. That's why it took a constitutional amendment to prohibit alcohol. Where's the constitutional amendment to prohibit selling morphine sulfate in the super market? Nowadays, there's a curtsy to the commerce clause in the beginning of a bill, and that's considered sufficient.

The purpose of government is the preservation of individual liberty. Period. This was said very well in the beginning of the Declaration of Independence, which I consider to be an expression of the spirit of the American experiment.

"We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness -- That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its Foundation on such Principles, and organizing its Powers in such Form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."

You, not the government, are responsible for your own and your children's personal security. That includes teaching your children not to ingest the heroin or rat poison or ammonia they find at the local super market. That includes having a shotgun under your bed at night, or a handgun in the quick-opening lock box in the nightstand, and knowing how and when to use it.

Currently, some drugs are illegal. If I use one of them to change my consciousness, the police will arrive at my house and point guns at me to force me to come with them. I haven't used any "controlled substances" since shortly after my college years, twenty years ago. But if I decide to do so, in the privacy of my own home, it ain't nobody's business. No law against it is valid.

I agree that socialism is not necessarily conjoined with democracy. But the current world has plenty of socialist democracies, plenty of socialist non-democracies, and no non-socialist democracies that I can think of. Socialism is a much bigger problem than democracy, but unlimited democracy causes socialism. Note that I consider calling someone a "socialist" to be a curse. Socialism is pure evil. That's why the democratic party is the evil party. Of course, the republicans are socialists too, they just don't admit it.


I'm a complete human being too. But I don't think government has any business telling me anything whatsoever about my interactions with other consenting adults. I also believe that the market does a better job than government of regulating interactions between non-consenting adults.

Societies can exist without taxation. That so many currently use taxation to pay for "public" services doesn't mean we can't create a fee-for-service society where every road is a toll road, every school is a private school, every park is privately owned, every security force works via contract with an individual or insurance company; a society where every human interaction is voluntary.

If you want my property, I don't want to give it to you, and you take it anyway, that's theft. If a bunch of you vote to take my property without my permission, which is exactly what taxation does, why is that any different?

I don't have a rap sheet. I've never been arrested, though my politics are motivated by reading of other arrests and thinking, "There but for the grace of God go I." I've realized that George Washington was correct when he wrote, "Government is not reason; it is not eloquence; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master."

If the CAFE standards are raised and GM decides not to go along, what's gonna happen? Eventually, a bunch of strong guys wearing fancy uniforms and a funny hats and carrying guns will show up at their corporate offices.

If I don't pay my taxes, I'll get a notice in the mail. If I ignore the notice, they'll garnishy my wages and/or take money from my bank account. If I've arranged my life so that my wages are paid in cash and my savings are somewhere the government can't get it's hands on it, I'll get a summons to appear in court. If I ignore the summons, police will show up at my house and tell me to come with them. If I don't go along willfully, they will take me by force. If I attempt to defend myself from their attack, they will shoot me.

Laws are not requests. They are demands. The bottom line of every law is a police officer with a gun.

Lianne Hart at The Los Angeles Times via The Boston Globe - Judge must explain his decision to let crew film jury deliberation - cameras in the jury deliberation room. And I thought trial by jury was dead yesterday. How the jurors arrive at their verdict is nobody's business. They may not be filmed. They may not be watched. Their behavior may not be regulated in any way. But you knew that. [birdman] - Jury - contains the quote above and some other good ones. Apparently, America's trial by jury has been broken for a good long time.

Fox News - Barr to Join ACLU - actually not quite as strange as it sounds. Though Bob Barr and the ACLU differ markedly on many issues, they are both staunch supporters of privacy rights. [libertydogs]

Michael Peirce at - There Is a Storm Brewing - Mr. Peirce says, "We're that close." [lew]

It's not that collectivism/socialism will not stand. No, that suggests that men have become sane. It's that it cannot stand. It doesn't work. God is not mocked.

Charlie Reese - Jefferson Speaks - Contrary to popular belief, Thomas Jefferson was a religious man as evidenced by a short letter he wrote a few months before he died. [lew]

Jefferson grew up with two institutions with which modern Americans have had no experience -- an aristocracy by birth and an official church. The Anglican Church was in his time and is today the official Church of England. In the Virginia colony, people were taxed, and part of those taxes was used to subsidize the Anglican Church. Jefferson believed this wrong, as religion was a matter of conscience, and he did not think government had the right to force a person to support something his conscience did not. Hence, his idea of religious freedom was the absence of an official church or an officially designated religion.

When he wrote in a letter that there was a wall of separation between church and state, he meant just that and only that. He meant that Baptists could not be taxed to support Methodists or vice versa. He did not mean that government must be hostile to religion and ban any display of it from all public places. The same Congress that wrote the Bill of Rights also made provision for chaplains. It was a basic premise of American republicans (little R, having nothing to do with the Republican Party, which was not invented until the 1850s) that only a virtuous people, schooled in virtue by religion, could maintain a free republic.

Robert Weitzel - Reflections on Being Tried for Murder - Dr. Weitzel is a psychiatrist, who was tried for murder because he gave some old people pain killer to ease their final hours on the planet. He was convicted (of negligent homicide and manslaughter) a while back, but was just acquitted at retrial on November 22 on all counts. This piece contains information on the body's natural end-of-life pain killers, which do not function in patients with dementia. Not administering opiates to these people should be considered criminal, IMHO. Dr. Weitzel sounds amazingly optimistic after what he's been through at the hands of a sadistic district attorney.

Our country is currently experiencing something just short of a war occurring between the regulatory agencies and those physicians responsible for compassionate pain control. The knowledge gained just in the past ten years about the proper use of opioids has been significant, and the new knowledge suggests that much of our past use of opioids has been stinting and insufficient. Now that bureaucrats, managers and lawyers have an ever increasing involvement in the way health care is delivered, innovative modalities and changing treatment practices are challenged almost everywhere, as one might expect. Perhaps the successful outcome in State v. Weitzel will help to further assertive and compassionate palliative care; I hope so.

Carl Bussjaeger - Jackbooted Thug of the Month, November 2002 - Principal Carol Mensing of Haude Elementary School in Spring, Texas is this month's goose-stepper. Mr Bussjaeger would have picked the responsible cop, but his name wasn't available. The cop handcuffed a five-year-old autistic boy for throwing a tantrum in school.

JPFO - Innocents Betrayed and Armed Citizen Corps - Dr. Ignatius Piazza of Front Sight Firearms Training Institute has donated $5,000 to JPFO to support their documentary, Innocents Betrayed. He has agreed to donate an additional $300 for each person who enrolls in Front Sight's Armed Citizens Corp course and marks JPFO on their application. Bravo, Dr. Piazza! The course takes five days near Las Vegas and costs $1500 plus 800 rounds of ammo. From the Armed Citizens Corp page: [jpfo]

In response to the fear and retreat from daily activities created by a nearly 500% increase in crime since the 1960's and the current rise in terrorism on US soil, loud voices of the Armed Citizen Corps can be heard at the Front Sight Resort near Las Vegas Nevada yelling, "STOP RIGHT THERE! STOP OR I WILL SHOOT!" The command is often immediately followed by a fusillade of accurate gun fire from law abiding, private citizens who are training to levels that far exceed the levels of the law enforcement community burdened with the impossible task of being on the spot to stop violent crime and terrorism the moment it happens. Front Sight's Armed Citizen Corps is America's new, first line of defense.

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