Tag Archives: Law

‘Bout says it all…Not that Miranda rights had much impact on a large percentage of people anyway since most people don’t know enough to keep their mouths shut! Never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever ad infinitum speak to law enforcement except to identify yourself and then only if you are being detained!  Know what your rights are and see to it that you make sure they are not infringed. It is not up to them. It is up to you! (E)

Jamiol Presents Friday, 9. August 2013 by Paul Jamiol

Rethinking Intellectual Property: History, Theory, and Economics

Mises Daily: Friday, October 22, 2010 by 

In previous decades libertarians viewed intellectual property as a boring and technical area of the law, the province of legal specialists. They also assumed it to be a legitimate, if arcane, type of property in a capitalist, free-market society. After all, it’s in the Constitution, and Ayn Rand blessed it. But we don’t ignore it anymore, and we don’t take its legitimacy for granted. We can’t. The injustices of IP have multiplied in the Internet age and are staring us in the face.

The advent of the Internet, digital information, and easy file-sharing and duplication have been met with ever-more draconian enforcement of the state’s IP law, and with incessant lobbying for legislation to make IP stronger and last longer. Just as the state wants to tax everything that moves, intellectual properteers want to cover ever-more subjects of life with IP protection. But everyone — the young, students, and libertarians — copies files, and we all regularly hear stories about insane patent and copyright lawsuits. Single moms and college students are sued for file-sharing. The IP barons seek three-strikes-and-you’re-out laws banishing accused offenders from the Internet for life. They seek international enforcement of their national monopoly rights, to harass street vendors in third-world countries. The legislators, who are in their pockets, have already outlawed the possession of devices that might be used to crack encryption codes. Their propaganda — in TV commercials, video games, magazine ads, and unskippable warnings at the beginning of DVD movies — hectors kids and college students about how uncool it is to copy.

We hear regularly about multimillion- or even billion-dollar patent lawsuits, and about the millions of dollars spent by corporations on patent attorneys and litigators just to cross-license with each other, leaving smaller companies outside the walls of the barriers to entry erected on these patent arsenals. In the name of IP, books are banned, movies are ordered destroyed, singers are prevented from singing, car owners prevented from photographing their own cars, churches are prohibited from having Super Bowl parties, and imports of watches and reimports of drugs are blocked. And a little mouse keeps getting his life extended, thanks to copyright — from the original 14 years to over 100. Trumped-up charges of IP infringement are used as an excuse by the government to investigate political opponents.[1] IP may still be arcane, but it’s not boring anymore. Scary and outrageous, maybe, but not boring.

Everyone knows something is wrong here. Everyone. Except perhaps for patent lawyers, federal judges, and Orrin Hatch. I take that back. I think even most patent lawyers know something is wrong. But mired in a mainstream, quasi-statist mindset, most people are unable to think clearly about this issue. For libertarians — especially those with a principled view of individual rights and an understanding of Austrian economics — there is more hope.

We must start by taking a close look at the traditional libertarian assumption that IP is, in fact, a legitimate type of property right. And it turns out that advocates of the free market have made a mistake all along. Patent and copyright, to take the two worst manifestations of IP, are nothing but state monopolies that violate property rights. IP is antithetical to capitalism and the free market.

And should this be any surprise? Copyright is rooted in censorship. No wonder it still leads to censorship today. Patent law finds its origins in mercantilist monopoly grants, and even legalized plunder — letters patent were used to legalize piracy in the 16th century — making it ironic for IP to be used against modern-day “pirates” who are not real pirates at all.

Once IP is seen this way, the scales fall from one’s eyes. It’s a transformative moment in one’s libertarian life, akin to the moment when one finally admits to himself that even the minimal state is criminal and thus adopts anarchism. Realizing that IP is not part of a free-market order makes possible a reassessment of aspects of libertarianism, economics, or social thought hitherto neglected or seen confusingly through the IP haze.

But this does not mean that once you realize IP is unlibertarian that is all there is to know. There is so much more. This is a difficult subject in the sense that it requires serious thought, not just a quick intuition. As noted above, libertarians are beginning to grapple with this issue in recent years as we enter the digital-information age. The realization that IP is incompatible with libertarianism is forcing a rethinking about topics that have been neglected or taken for granted.

While the fairly recent advent of the digital revolution has caused most libertarians to turn their attention to this issue, I started focusing on this issue intensely almost 20 years ago, as a libertarian beginning to practice patent law. I have been criticizing the validity of IP in print since 1995,[2] and I kept learning as other insights unfolded in the ensuing fifteen years. The history of IP is illuminating. For example, it was not simply invented by infallible, well-intentioned, protolibertarian framers of the Constitution, but originated in censorship and mercantilism. Seen in this light, IP is seen as another mercantilist-corporatist state intervention in the free market. And one simply must have a sound, coherent, and libertarian understanding of property rights, the nature ofhomesteading, and the nature of contractual exchange, to understand the IP issue. Or, rather, in wrapping your head around IP, you hone and deepen your understanding of property rights, and make new connections. In so doing, new insights become possible, indeed inevitable.

To develop an understanding of property, contract, and homesteading sophisticated enough to understand the nature of IP and exactly how and why it does not fit into libertarianism and the free market, you must look closer at the nature of homesteading (Locke), contract theory (Evers-Rothbard), and at the nature and function of property rights. This last category, in particular, provides a good illustration of why Austrians are especially suited to libertarian theorizing, as it requires a close study of praxeology and the very structure of human action. On this topic, we must examine the work of Austrian luminaries such as Mises, Rothbard, and Hoppe to fully appreciate the relationship between scarcity and property rights, and the unique role of ideas and emulation in a free market and in society in general.

The purpose of my Mises Academy course, “Rethinking Intellectual Property: History, Theory, and Economics” (six weeks, starting November 1, with Monday evening lecture/question-and-answer sessions), is to explore these issues in detail. The history of IP is little known; we will cover it, and expose its statist, mercantilist, monopolistic origins. Advocates of IP are often shamelessly ignorant of the nature and details of the very system they support; even skeptics and critics are often unclear about what IP law is. The course will therefore provide an overview of modern intellectual-property law, distinguishing between the various types of IP, with examples and illustrations.

The course will explore and offer critical analysis of various utilitarian and deontological justifications offered for IP. We will seek to analyze the proper relationship between property, scarcity, and ideas, and to integrate the proper perspective on IP and the nature of ideas, emulation, and information with Austrian economics and libertarian theory.

As to putting some of these ideas into practice, the course will conclude by studying or proposing various legal and political reforms that might be implemented. Finally, because even those skeptical of IP naturally ask, “but how would I make money doing X without copyright and patent?,” we will discuss likely types of market and social institutions and practices that could be expected to arise in a post-IP world.

Here are some of the topics that the course will cover:

  • The statist origins of patent and copyright, and how IP, used to persecute “pirates” today, was used in the past to support actual piracy;
  • The types of IP, and the difference between copyright and patent — and trade secret, trademark, moral rights, reputation rights, database rights, and sui generis IP rights like boat-hull designs and semiconductor maskwork protection;
  • Problems with utilitarian arguments in general, and with utilitarian arguments for IP;
  • Why empirical arguments for IP’s “success” are flawed;
  • How open-source software depends on IP;
  • Why it’s almost impossible to get rid of copyright, and why it’s not hypocritical to oppose IP and still “have” a copyright;
  • Why patent and copyright cannot originate in the common law (also: what is wrong with legislation, anyway; and what “common law copyright” was; bonus: what’s a “poor man’s patent”);
  • What is the most libertarian type of copyright license to use in today’s world;
  • The relationship between scarcity and property;
  • Homesteading theory, the nature of human action and contract, and their relationship to property and scarcity;
  • Why IP cannot be based on contract;
  • How most patent lawsuits have nothing to do with “copying”;
  • Central mistakes and confusions of natural-law arguments for IP;
  • Common fallacies and mistakes of pro-IP arguments, such as the implicit idea that there are property rights in labor, or that creation is an independent source of rights;
  • What Mises, Hayek, and Rothbard, as well as other notable economists such as Fritz Machlup, thought about IP;
  • The IP arguments of early libertarians like Benjamin Tucker and Lysander Spooner;
  • Legal and political reforms to improve or abolish IP; and
  • Market and social institutions and practices that would arise in a post-IP world.

As noted above, coming to grips with IP is not easy. Thinking it through helps firm up the case for property rights and contract. And the implications of what we learn extend far beyond just this area; it reaches into social theory and competition theory as well.

Mises Academy: Stephan Kinsella teaches Rethinking Intellectual Property: History, Theory, and Economics

Those already convinced by the general argument against IP thus have much to learn in this course, which will deepen and extend their understanding of not only IP theory but also libertarian theory and economics. The course is also ideal for those who are on the fence, or who are confused, about IP; no intellectual conformity is required. Libertarians who think there are good arguments for IP are also welcome — at the least, they can test their arguments against the best we critics have to offer, and perhaps strengthen, modify, or deepen their own views about the nature of ideas, government, and property rights. (For further details about the course, see my interview about it with Jeff Tucker.)

This should be a fun course. I look forward to sharing ideas with you!


[1] Some examples are collected in my post “The Patent, Copyright, Trademark, and Trade Secret Horror Files.”

[2] See my various IP-related publications here.


About the Author

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Stephan Kinsella

Stephan Kinsella is an attorney in Houston, director of the Center for the Study of Innovative Freedom, and editor of Libertarian Papers. See his blog. Send him mail.

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Police State Isn’t Coming. It Is Here Now!

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William N. Grigg
Payette, Idaho, United States
Christian Individualist, husband, father, self-appointed pundit.

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“We’re Fighting A War”: Civilian Disarmament and the Martial Law Mindset

Bonfire of the liberties: Chinese police incinerate "illegal" guns.

Denver resident Shawn Miller is accused of several acts of criminal violence. On one occasion, he and an associate beat a pedestrian, leaving the man with a broken knee and a permanent physical disability. In a second assault, Miller and another buddy beat a disabled Iraq war veteran so severely –using both fists and clubs — that he briefly “flat-lined” as EMTs treated him

The facts in those cases are not disputed, yet Miller has not been charged with a crime. However, he is being sued by Jason Anthony Graber, one of his victims. In light of Miller’s documented history of criminal violence, the plaintiff’s attorney has demanded that the assailant not be permitted to bring a firearm while being deposed.

Miller protests that this is an unconscionable act of “oppression.” With the aid of the Denver City Attorney, Miller — an Officer with the Denver Police Department — has filed a petition with the U.S. District Court seeking a “protective order” allowing him to be armed during the depositions.

The Department’s Operation Manual requires that officers be “armed at all times” — a provision that poses some interesting challenges for officers who choose to bathe, assuming that there are any who do. “Requiring a uniformed or non-uniformed police officer to disarm when he is compelled to give a deposition at an attorney’s office, or at any other unsecured location, presents a significant officer safety issue,” whines an affidavit provided by Lt. Dikran Kushdilian of the Denver PD.

Attorney David Lane, who is representing Graber, quite sensibly insists that some precautions must be taken in deposing people who are “defendants because they have acted illegally and violently toward others in the past.” 

The Denver Police Department has a well-earned reputation for brutality and corruption, and Lane has deposed more than a few abusive cops, and those proceedings “can get very contentious. When I’m cross-examining cops about their misconduct, past and present, they get angry, and I don’t wish to depose angry people who have a long history of violent behavior while they’re wearing a gun strapped to their waist.”

Lane demands that the deposition take place in a setting in which neither side is armed. Denver’s municipal government demands that the examination should take place at the federal Courthouse, where Miller and other officers in similar cases “would surrender their weapons to the custody of the U.S. Marshall [sic], and would be unarmed during the deposition.” 

In other words, it’s not quite the case that Denver officers have to be “armed at all times”; the critical issue is the preservation of the government’s monopoly on the “legitimate” use of force in all circumstances. Lane should counter Denver’s demand by offering to permit Miller to carry his firearm to the deposition, while specifying that he and his associates would also be armed. The official response to that counter-proposal would be instructive.

Leading lambs to the slaughter: "Toy Gun Bash."

While Lane most likely wouldn’t choose that approach, he is sensible enough to recognize that the State’s agents of armed coercion are the most dangerous element in society, and prudent enough to act on that understanding.

Owing to the tireless efforts of the organs of official indoctrination, a large portion of the public assumes that the opposite is true, and as a result can be easily convinced that only those commissioned to commit violence on behalf of government can be entrusted with the means to do so.

A splendid example of this deadly agitprop is offered by the “Toy Gun Bash,” which was first inflicted on Providence, Rhode Island seven years ago by the criminal clique running the municipal government.

Each year around Christmastime, children living in Providence are compelled to line up and feed their toy guns into the maw of the “Bash-O-Matic,” a device described by theBoston Globe as “a large, black, foam creature with churning metal teeth and the shape of a cockroach spliced with a frog.” In exchange for feeding their toy guns into this recombinant monstrosity, each child is given a substitute toy that is deemed to be suitably “non-violent.” They are also forced to endure a harangue regarding “the dangers of playing with guns, real or fake.”

Maintaining the monopoly: Burning confiscated guns.

The Providence event, continues the Globe, is “a version of the gun buyback program in which adults trade firearms for gift certificates.”

In fact, gun “buyback” programs are a form of what Dr. Edward J. Laurance of the UN’s Register of Conventional Arms calls “micro-disarmament” — or, more to the point, civiliandisarmament.

The expression “buyback” assumes that government has a monopoly on the use of force, and that only duly authorized agents of officially sanctioned violence should be permitted to own guns and other weapons — and thus the State is taking back from Mundanes a privilege to which they’re not entitled.

Gun “buyback” and turn-in programs are a common feature of military occupations, both here and abroad. U.S. military personnel in Haiti, Somalia, the Balkans, Iraq, and Afghanistan have employed that tactic (as David Kramer notes, this helps the occupiers to acquire a useful hoard of “drop guns” that can be used to frame innocent people  as “terrorists” or “insurgents”). The same approach was used to disarm American Indians as they were cattle-penned on reservations.

Over the past decade, UN-aligned activists in several countries have staged events in which guns confiscated from civilians have been destroyed, a ritual sometimes called the “Bonfire of the Liberties.” This is in keeping with UN-promoted dogma (expressed most forcefully in its 2000 agitprop film Armed to the Teeth) that the only “legal” weapons are those “used by armies and police forces to protect us,” and that civilian ownership of firearms is “illegitimate.”

The UN’s campaign for civilian disarmament — which, just like matters of national disarmament, is assigned to the world body’s Office for Disarmament Affairs — was inaugurated in 2000 as part of the “human security” agenda promoted by then-UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. In late 1993 and early 1994, Annan — who at the time was head of the world body’s “peacekeeping” operations — presided over the disarmament, and subsequent annihilation, of roughly 1.1 million Rwandans.

Annan was actually an accessory before the fact to that genocide: Informed in early 1994 of the impending slaughter by Romeo Dallaire, the Canadian officer commanding UN peacekeeping troops, Annan ordered Dallaire to pass along his intelligence to the same government that was planning the massacre.

Dallaire, who had been ordered to disarm the future victims, was ordered not to raid the government arms caches that were later used to carry out the murder rampage.

Most of the killing was carried out by machete-wielding mobs acting as government subcontractors. But it would have been impossible to butcher hundreds of thousands ofarmed people, nor would the mobs have been able to round up and annihilate the targeted population without the active support provided by the regime’s armies and police forces — you know, the armed agents of state violence who were there to “protect” those who were hacked to pieces.

Children should learn what happened in places like Germany, Cambodia, and Rwanda(as well as places like Sand Creek and Wounded Knee) when people willingly surrendered their guns to their rulers — but a government school classroom is no place for lessons of that kind.

One of the cases used to promote the Toy Gun Bash in Providence actually underscores the reliably fatal consequences of a government monopoly on force. The Globe points out that as children were herded toward the Bash-O-Matic, they were told the cautionary tale “of a 14-year-old boy who police nearly shot after they confused his air pistol with a real gun.” For rational people, this incident illustrates the compelling need to disarm the police, rather than swipe toys from innocent children.

The same schools that use DARE programs to recruit children into the Pavlik MorozovBrigade consistently force psychotropic drugs on children who display unfortunate symptoms of non-conformity. This principle applies to the issue of firearms: In the name of “Zero Tolerance,” children are routinely punished for such supposed offenses as bringing toy “weapons” to school (including — I am not making this up — candy canes), improvising them from school supplies, or even drawing pictures of guns, yet they are routinely encouraged to write letters to members of the imperial military who are “serving our country”  by killing people who have done us no harm.

Those who insist that religion has no place in the government-run school system aren’t paying attention: The entire purpose of “public” education is to catechize youngsters in the worship of the Divine State. Rituals like Providence’s Toy Gun Bash serve a sacramental function; they are the equivalent of a child’s first communion in the government-sponsored church of collectivist self-destruction.

While the little lambs are taught to be docile, submissive sheeple, the Regime is honing the lupine instincts of those supposedly tasked to protect them.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal recently described how recruits at the Metropolitan Police Department Academy are indoctrinated into perceiving the world as a 360 degree battlefield, where they are perpetually under siege and should be prepared to employ lethal force without hesitation.

“When you put that badge on, there are people who want to kill you,” intoned Officer Wil Germonsen, who — like a large and growing number of local police officers, has a military background.

The Review-Journal plays an extended riff on the familiar, fatuous, and entirely false assumption that law enforcement is a spectacularly dangerous occupation:

“After some time on the street, the recruits will never see the world the same way. They’ll always be on guard — carrying a gun on duty and off, checking out fellow shoppers at the grocery store, thinking about those worst-case scenarios while having dinner with the family. It’s like a switch that flips on and never turns off….”

“I believe every single recruit here, when they put that badge on, they are warriors,” insists Germonsen. “We’re fighting a war.”

What this means, of course, is that the state-created armed tribe to which Germonsen belongs is an army of occupation — primed to kill, given broad discretion in the use of lethal force, and trained to consider all of us who don’t belong to their tribe as potentially lethal enemies. Some way had better be found — and pretty damned soon — to de-fang those wolves in sheepdog disguise.  Meanwhile, it would be wise to do what we can to avoid placing ourselves at a potentially fatal disadvantage when dealing with those who belong to the Brotherhood of Sanctified Violence.

UPDATE: Bringing the War Home

“Many law enforcement officers called up to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan are finding it difficult to readjust to their jobs once home, bringing back heightened survival instincts that may make them quicker to use force and showing less patience toward the people they serve,” reports the AP.
A report compiled last year by the International Association of Chiefs of Police and the Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Assistance “warns that the blurring of the line between combat and confrontations with criminal suspects at home may result in `inappropriate decisions and actions — particularly in the use of … force. This similarity … could result in injury or death to an innocent civilian.'”
The Imperial Military makes increasing use of Guardsmen and Reservists whose “civilian” job is domestic law enforcement, and domestic police agencies increasingly recruit from the ranks of combat veterans. As noted above, police recruits are being trained to consider themselves “warriors” on a battlefield, rather than peace officers. We really should dispense with the illusion that contemporary law enforcement is anything other than the domestic branch of a seamlessly integrated military apparatus.(h/t The Agitator.) 

Second Update: Seattle as a Battlefront

Courtesy of commenter QB we see the following video of 27-year-old Seattle Police Officer Ian Birk gunning down John T. Williams, an artisan who was carrying a carving knife and a block of wood. No more than four seconds pass between Birk’s demand (it wasn’t a lawful order, because Williams was threatening no one) that he drop the knife, and the first of several gunshots fired by the officer. The entire encounter lasted roughly eight seconds.

Williams had a troubled past, but was not known to be violent. He had some emotional problems and, most importantly, was functionally deaf — which meant that he couldn’t hear the demand that he drop his knife — which was closed when photographed by crime scene investigators, despite Birk’s claim that it was open at the time of the shooting.

A peace officer in this situation would have taken at least a little more time to resolve the situation without drawing his gun, let alone discharging it. But, as we’ve seen on numerous occasions, contemporary law enforcement officers are on a war footing, which means that their default setting is “overkill.”

It’s worth noting that one of the officers who responded to Birk’s “shots fired” report tells him that he did the “right thing” — even though the official review subsequently ruled that the shooting wasn’t justified.



Finally, Some Citizens Who Are Not Lap Dogs For Government Liars and Thieves (Er uh… Judges and Prosecutors)!

From: http://www.libertarianstandard.com/

A Drug War Mutiny

Posted By Brian Martinez On December 21, 2010 @ 1:32 am 

Unjust laws exist: shall we be content to obey them, or shall we endeavor to amend them, and obey them until we have succeeded, or shall we transgress them at once?”
Henry David Thoreau, “On the Duty of Civil Disobedience

Of all the injustices perpetrated by the state, the war on drugs is one of the most outrageously evil.  Kidnapping and throwing people into cages for the non-crime of consuming disapproved substances, or for selling them to others, should be condemned by anyone with a sense of justice and morality.  It is the prime reason for using jury nullification : to acquit those accused by the state of violating an unjust law, regardless of the facts; to reject the law itself and the authority of the state to prosecute lawbreakers.

Typically nullification takes place during deliberation, when jurors simply refuse to convict, unconvinced by the prosecution’s case.  But it can be difficult to gain a seat on a jury if one’s intent is to nullify; prosecutors and judges are well aware of the growing nullification movement, and will take steps to screen out potential troublemakers.  Even though juries have a right to nullify, the state will do everything it can to empanel only those citizens who will remain “unbiased” — so long as they promise to convict the defendant if the facts warrant it.

But what if the entire jury pool refuses to hear a case ?

A funny thing happened on the way to a trial in Missoula County District Court last week.

Jurors – well, potential jurors – staged a revolt.

They took the law into their own hands, as it were, and made it clear they weren’t about to convict anybody for having a couple of buds of marijuana. Never mind that the defendant in question also faced a felony charge of criminal distribution of dangerous drugs.

The tiny amount of marijuana police found while searching Touray Cornell’s home on April 23 became a huge issue for some members of the jury panel.

No, they said, one after the other. No way would they convict somebody for having a 16th of an ounce.

In fact, one juror wondered why the county was wasting time and money prosecuting the case at all, said a flummoxed Deputy Missoula County Attorney Andrew Paul.

District Judge Dusty Deschamps took a quick poll as to who might agree. Of the 27 potential jurors before him, maybe five raised their hands. A couple of others had already been excused because of their philosophical objections.

“I thought, ‘Geez, I don’t know if we can seat a jury,’ ” said Deschamps, who called a recess.

Note carefully how the county prosecutor characterizes the jury pool’s action:

“A mutiny,” said Paul.

What is a mutiny?  A rebellion against authority.  Paul, like any other faithful agent of the state, arrogates to himself power that rightly belongs to the people he supposedly serves, and is taken aback by any challenge to his authority.  Jury duty is an obligation, and if the facts demand it, then one’s duty is to convict, and justice be damned.

The residents of Missoula County, some of them anyway, think otherwise.  They recognize the sheer absurdity of prosecuting someone for possessing a tiny amount of a plant that has been cultivated and used by humans for thousands of years.  Would they have convicted the defendant of the more serious charge he faced, distribution of a “dangerous” drug, itself a risible claim, particularly as it applies to marijuana?  People seem to have trouble accepting the idea that if it’s all right for someone to possess a drug, it must be all right for someone else to sell it to him.

But I will take the small victories, and hope for more like them.

Full-time software developer, part-time poker player, occasional blogger. I live in Denver, Colorado.

Brian Martinez
View all posts by Brian Martinez
Brians website

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  2. Randy Barnett’s Federalism Amendment

Update: From http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/

“District Judge Dusty Deschamps took a quick poll as to who might agree. Of the 27 potential jurors before him, maybe five raised their hands. A couple of others had already been excused because of their philosophical objections. “I thought, ‘Geez, I don’t know if we can seat a jury,’ ” said Deschamps, who called a recess. And he didn’t. During the recess, Paul anddefense attorney Martin Elison worked out a plea agreement.”

I am having a difficult time understanding how if a prosecutor couldn’t convince even potential jurors there was a case that this guys attorney would ever allow him to agree to any plea bargain. (Ed)


You Have The Right To Remain Silent: Fifth Amendment Explained

by Bill Rounds
How to Vanish

Recently by Bill Rounds: Avoid Private Investigators

“No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”

Fifth Amendment to the US Constitution

Download This Free Guide

The right to remain silent is a fundamental principle of liberty. It gives American citizens better privacy. The burden falls on the accuser to build a case against a person. If the accuser does not meet that burden, the accused is free to go. The accused never, ever, is required to furnish any evidence or testimony against himself. In other words, liberty requires that you have the right to remain silent.

If the accused were forced to produce evidence that they did not commit an act, innocent people would be forced to prove a negative. Proving a negative is usually far more difficult, if not impossible to do. Anyone without an alibi would be convicted. No one could afford to spend even one minute alone in that kind of world. The right to remain silent preserves a functioning system of justice and a functioning society.

Fifth Amendment Explained

The fifth amendment to the United States Constitution does not say explicitly that you have the right to remain silent. It does say that you do not have to be a witness against yourself. This means that you cannot be compelled to reveal information that might implicate you in a crime.


You Have The Right To Remain Silent Applies To Innocent People Too

Law-abiding citizens are particularly at risk because they think that the truth will set them free. They feel compelled that if they just tell their story they will be exonerated. This is not true. Numerous opportunities abound for an innocent individual to become entrapped by speaking with police.

Fifth Amendment Explained: Exaggeration, Misspeaking, Broad Statements

Innocent people often overstate or understate some fact while vigorously defending their innocence. This makes their testimony technically untrue, or at least a prosecutor can make it look like it’s untrue. Once attention is called to the misstatement, the rest of the testimony is suspect because of the one untruth. This suspicion may be sufficient to land the innocent person in jail.

You Have The Right To Remain Silent: Honest Mistakes

Police officers may make an innocent mistake and not remember correctly what you said. If you claim you told the cop one thing, and he claims you said another, the police officer will be believed over an accused any day. If you had said nothing, the cop would have to flat out lie that you said something. That is not likely to happen.

There may be a witness that will mistakenly identify you as the suspect in a crime. If you claim one thing that is absolutely true, there may be a solid witness that is honestly mistaken about seeing you. If your testimony contradicts theirs, the witness will be believed instead of the accused. If you don’t say anything, there will be nothing to contradict and the honesty of the accused will not be in play.

Fifth Amendment Explained: Overcriminalization

The federal criminal code contains over 10,000 crimes. State laws add even more crimes to the list. Not even the government knows them all. Many of these crimes are for seemingly innocent behavior, such as buying 2 packages of cold medicine, or possessing a flower that any other country in the world has outlawed. Thus, telling your true story about your seemingly completely innocent behavior could, in and of itself, implicate you in a crime, you should never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever speak to government agents, ever.

Criminals know that talking may incriminate them and so are much more aware of their right to silence and are much more inclined to use it. Innocent people like you aren’t aware of these dangers. And, if someone is truly innocent, they need to know this right and know how to use it far more than criminals do.

You Have The Right To Remain Silent For A Reason. Use It For Better Privacy.

Under no circumstances should you ever talk to a police officer, fire fighter, ticket enforcer or street sweeper. All of them are government agents and can be a witness to use anything you say to them against you in a court of law.

The Supreme Court recently ruled that to invoke your right to silence, you have to break your silence and speak. They might need the fifth amendment explained to them again, but that is what they said. A simple phrase such as “I am invoking my right to remain silent” should suffice.

Free Aid For Better Privacy

There is a free and handy insert for your passport that will show you exactly what you need to do to invoke your right to remain silent. It is designed to help you right when you need it. You will have it with you as you go through Customs upon re-entering the US. Customs officers may need to have the fifth amendment explained to them too, so there are several cases which clearly show your right to remain silent in that situation. Remaining silent can give you better privacy when re-entering the country.

Customs will still have the right to do a thorough search of you and your belongings whether you invoke your right to remain silent or not. Threatening a search, or actually subjecting you to search for invoking your rights is within their power.

Avoid Hassle

To avoid being targeted for a search, it helps if you are not the only one invoking your rights. If lots of others are invoking their right to remain silent on a regular basis, no single individual will stand out any more than normal.

To decrease the likelihood of a search and promote even better privacy, share the free guide with everyone that you know. You have permission to post it anywhere, share it with anyone, make copies, print, and distribute it for free in any legal way as long as nothing is changed. The more people that exercise their rights, the better privacy for everybody.

Download This Free Guide

So go ahead and download and distribute this free guide and enjoy.

Reprinted with permission from How to Vanish.


December 9, 2010

Bill Rounds, J.D. is a California attorney. He holds a degree in Accounting from the University of Utah and a law degree from California Western School of Law. He practices civil litigation, domestic and foreign business entity formation and transactions, criminal defense and privacy law. He is a strong advocate of personal and financial freedom and civil liberties. This is merely one article of 73 by Bill Rounds J.D.

Copyright © 2010 How to Vanish


Doug Casey on Juries and Justice

Interviewed by Louis James, Editor, International Speculator

Recently: Doug Casey on Voting

L: Doug, in our conversation last week, we touched on the topic of jury duty, and I could tell that you had a lot of thoughts on the subject. It’s an important topic, since the jury system is, theoretically at least, meant to be the ultimate bastion of justice. But you spoke of how, although most people evade summons for jury duty if at all possible, for you it’s academic, because you’d never be allowed to sit on a jury anyway. Where does that leave things – do you think the jury system is a good idea?

Doug: My view has always been that what really holds a society together is not the body of law enacted by a legislature or handed down by a king, but peer pressure, social opprobrium, and moral approbation. When somebody breaks a society’s rules, a trial of some type ensues, to determine who’s right, what harm has been done, who should be compensated, and so forth. Juries are one way people have developed for helping to determine these things. But I would argue that the state is not a necessary part of any of this.

L: You would probably argue that the state shouldn’t be part of anything at all…

Doug: Yes, but it might be easier for many readers if we start with the minimal “night watchman” sort of state described by Ayn Rand. In her view, the proper role of government is to defend you from force (and fraud). That implies an army to defend you from force external to your society, a police force to defend you from force within your society, and a court system to allow adjudication of disputes without resorting to force.

I could live in a society like that – it would be a vast improvement over what we have now – and the jury system would be part of it. But, as you say, I’d go on to argue that juries and courts should be privatized.

L: Justice is a service for which there is a market. We’ll probably have to come back to that, to explain how it might work – and why it would be better than what we have now – but, whether private or state run, you are agreeing that juries are a good idea?

Doug: Yes, especially when they’re composed of independent thinkers, who aren’t easily swayed by rhetoric, or pressured by groupthink. They are a good balance against the tremendous power of judges. And judges, these days, are either elected officials, which means they have to campaign like any other politician and are subject to the same perverse incentives any other politician is, or they are appointed, which is even worse. Appointees are usually just collecting political favors, and while allegedly more independent, are in many ways even less accountable.

So, in theory, a jury is a good counterbalance to the power of the judge. You need some way to weigh the facts and decide who’s in the right. If all of that were on one elected or appointed man or woman’s shoulders, there could be a lot of problems. But the way juries work in the U.S. today is far from optimal.

L: How so?

Doug: Well, the way juries are run today is really a form of involuntary servitude. You get your notice for jury duty and you either have to serve, whether you want to or not, or come up with excuses the state will deign to accept. Most productive people feel that they have more urgent priorities in their lives than helping to decide court cases, and a court case can go on for months. So the type of people that end up serving on juries these days are generally people with nothing better to do, or people for whom the trivial fee they pay is good money. Neither is necessarily the best kind of person to be deciding weighty matters, perhaps even life and death. In addition, many trials center on highly technical concepts, and forms of evidence, that these people are simply unqualified to interpret.

Worse, there’s the jury selection process we mentioned last time, called voir dire. The notion is to give both side’s attorneys opportunities to remove a few individuals from the jury who might be biased against their case, thus assuring a more unbiased jury. But in practice, it’s an interrogation process by which the lawyers try to ensure they get a jury that will believe whatever they tell them. That usually means that anyone exhibiting the least bit of independent thinking, or who is prone to value justice over law enforcement, gets removed and will never serve on a jury.

L: My friend Vin Suprynowicz at the Las Vegas Review Journal says voir dire is French for “jury tampering.”

Doug: He’s right. And the result is that juries today are several standard deviations below what they should be. Any intelligent person has opinions, and in this day of the internet, almost any person’s opinions are easy to find out. No matter which way your opinions line up, one side or the other in any case isn’t going to like them, and you won’t make it past voire dire. On the other hand, the qualities in a juror both sides will like to see are malleability and an easily influenced mind. The typical juror has no opinions other than on the weather, sports, and American Idol. People who think in concepts are weeded out as troublemakers. The typical juror is somebody who might be a candidate for appearance on Jay Leno’s Jay Walking.

L: You could say it’s the process by which the system assures that no qualified person serves on a jury – or the process by which we make sure to get the dregs of society’s barrel instead of the cream of society’s crop.

Doug: It also makes a shambles of the concept of a “jury of your peers.” The type of people they could rope into jury duty wouldn’t be my peers – they wouldn’t even be the peers of the average person. If I were facing a trial, I’d much rather be tried by twelve people randomly selected out of a phone book than by the type of people who get selected for jury duty.

L: So, what you’re saying is that juries are a good idea, in theory, but in practice, the jury system is so distorted, it’s actually a liability against justice?

Doug: Right. If we’re to have juries, they ought to be truly juries of our peers – people who can understand you and the facts pertaining to your case. But we’re far, far from an ideal system. It’s worse than arbitrary; given that most of those employed by the justice system work for the state, and that it’s the state vs. an individual in so many cases, there’s a huge inherent bias on top of the whole problem with today’s stacked juries.

L: So, what would an ideal system look like to you?

Doug: In my ideal system, courts, judges, and even jurors would compete with each other to offer their services. They’d promote their proven records of intelligence, fairness, speed, and low cost.

L: I know what you mean, but the idea of private courts, judges and juries is probably so alien to most of our readers that the idea won’t compute at all. To explain, justify, and illustrate how such a system might actually work would make a book out of this conversation. So let me suggest a book that already does a good job of doing just this, as well as explore other important ideas: Robert A. Heinlein’s The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, which we discussed in our conversation on speculator’s fiction.

In this book, the moon is used by Earth authorities as a penal colony. The prisoners have no laws – are not allowed to have laws – so the entire society is regulated by custom, or culture. There’s a part of the book that describes effective justice being done in a lawless society – the hero, in fact, gets asked to judge a case by a gang of youths who are offended by a man from earth who kissed one of their girls without asking permission first. Both sides have to pay the hero to accept the case.

Doug: L. Neil Smith’s North American Confederacy books also describe privatized legal systems. And for a full explanation, in a straightforward non-fiction context, I recommend Tannehill’s The Market for Liberty. It’s one of the two or three most important books I’ve ever read, and it can be downloaded as an audio book for free.

L: What do you say to people who argue that private justice services would be biased – they are for hire after all – and that you need the state to insure impartial justice.

Doug: I’d say that they must have had no exposure to the current legal system, which is anything but impartial and has very little to do with justice. If you separate justice and state, for one thing, it eliminates the ability of the state to prosecute phony, made up crimes, especially so-called crimes with no victims. If the state can’t be party to a case, then there needs to be an actual victim to press charges. That right there would eliminate all the stupid, counterproductive wasted resources and trashed lives that result from the U.S.’s various wars against victimless crimes. No one could be prosecuted for having unorthodox sexual preferences, using unpopular drugs, drinking on Sunday, or smoking in a bar for smokers. Or for evading taxes.

L: If whatever governance system such a society had could not prosecute for tax evasion, that system would have to rely on collecting fees for services it renders… which would limit those services to ones people are actually willing to pay for. Instead, in the U.S., the justice system has become a machine for enforcing laws. It’s not about defending people from force or fraud, but about imposing the will of the rulers upon the people. I hadn’t thought of it in just this way before, but separation of justice and state would end the ability of any government to ride roughshod over the people it allegedly serves.

Doug: And it would focus legal action on actual matters of tort, and breach of contract, where it belongs. Further, ignorance of the law is impossible, when the laws are all derivations of the two great laws: Do all that you say you’re going to do, and don’t aggress against other people or their property.

L: Some people might think you’re talking about a sandwich, or a cake when you mention a tort…

Doug: Those are the kind of people who end up on juries today. The point is that justice has to do with righting actual wrongs that have been done to people, not enforcing laws, which means enforcing the will of the politicians, which means nothing more than being the brute squad for the king, as in old times.

At any rate, with privatized justice someone would accuse another, both sides would choose an arbitrator (professional or otherwise), and those two arbitrators would agree on a third to make sure there were no tied votes. They would look at all the facts – not just the arbitrary subset of facts allowed by legal precedent and state machinations – and they would decide. That decision would not be about punishing anyone, but about making the harmed party whole again. Compensation.

L: The key concept here is restitution. A justice system is not a penal system, but a system to set wrongs aright, at least as much as is possible. You steal a hundred dollars, you have to pay back a hundred dollars, plus something for the time and effort involved in recovery. Some harms can’t be undone, like murder. In The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, a man who killed another would be responsible for the deceased’s widow, children, bills, etc. for life. If he didn’t honor those responsibilities, no one would hire him, sell to him, serve him food, or clean his boots. It would become a virtual death sentence, not by execution by the state, but by ostracism – the near impossibility of living in our modern world without any transactions of any kind with other people.

Doug: That reminds me, I oppose the death penalty.

L: I know you agree with me that violence in self-defense is justified, so I know you are not opposed to murderers dying at the hands of their intended victims, who defend themselves at the moment of the attempted crime. You mean that the power to kill citizens in custody should never be given to the state?

Doug: Why people assume the state should have any godlike powers amazes me. On an ethical basis, once you’ve disarmed a criminal and tossed him in jail, he’s no longer an active threat to anyone, and so lethal force can’t be called self-defense. On a more practical level, once you give the power to kill to the state, that power will be abused, and that’s very dangerous.

Entirely apart from that, executing someone makes it impossible for him to ever compensate the victim, or the victim’s estate – at least to the greatest extent possible. Locking people in cages as punishment only costs the victim more money in the form of taxes. It also tends to harden the convict, and the whole enterprise degrades the moral tone of society. And, most important, imprisonment makes it impossible for a criminal to do anything productive to pay off damages owed victims.

L: I’d expect that having to actually pay for your crimes would be more instructive than simply “doing time.” And, if the driving concept is restitution, the harm you do by locking someone up cannot exceed the harm they have done to your person or property. The moment they balance, the offender goes free, or you end up owing him, or her, restitution for your unjust infringement of rights.

Doug: Once again, the key concepts are justice and restitution, not punishment. Punishment, if you actually think about it, rarely serves any useful purpose; it just gives vent to the basest and most reactive emotions of the victim. It sets a “good example” to deter future miscreants; it sets a bad example for society as a whole, by institutionalizing and justifying cruelty.

L: Okay, but what if you kill someone who has no relatives? If the state can’t prosecute you, and the only one harmed is dead, do you go free?

Doug: Almost everyone has some connections. The victim’s employers might sue you for the disruption you caused them… but the main line of defense would probably be insurance companies. It could be anyone with an interest in the victim’s life.

L: Lends a whole new meaning to the idea of life insurance. And I suppose that if someone were such a destitute hermit that he or she had no connections to any others, such that no one would step forward to press charges against you, we’d be talking about the sort of homeless wretch who gets no protection in our current society. A breakdown of the system in such an extreme case can’t be said to be a fatal flaw when it’d be an extremely rare fluke. And it’s one the current system is just as vulnerable to, if not more so, given the mistreatment many in the underclass suffer at the hands of thugs in uniforms today.

Doug: That’s right. And this is not a set of ideals limited to science fiction novels. Private arbitration exists today and is very common. Many contracts you sign these days include consent to arbitration clauses, because people know that any disputes that arise will be resolved faster and cheaper if handled outside the state’s legal system. The state legal system today is a disaster. It takes forever to get your case heard. It will bankrupt you with legal and court costs while you’re there. And once you’re in, you will despair of ever getting out.

The idea you describe from Heinlein’s book is also not new, nor that fantastic; it’s been done. In several ancient societies, especially the Nordic ones, if you had a judgment against you and failed to abide by the terms of the judgment, you became an outlaw. You were literally outside the law. Since you would not accept the judgment of the society, that society would not protect you in your turn – that made you fair game for any one who decided to make furniture out of your bones.

L: Okay, so it’s not just science fiction – but it’s certainly not how things are today. Today we have a penal law-enforcement system instead of a justice system. What do you do if you do get dragooned into involuntary jury service?

Doug: Then you may have a chance to use the power of the jury to overturn unjust laws. Some years ago, I was a director of the Fully Informed Jury Association (FIJA). That organization’s raison d’être is to inform everyone in society that a jury’s proper and historical function is not to enforce laws, but to stand as the final arbiter of law, and thus to protect people from tyranny.

In other words, every jury on every case could act in the way the Supreme Court acts today, judging the law as well as the facts of a case. This is the way America’s founders saw juries – their purpose was not to see if any laws were broken, but to see that justice was done.

L: While you’ve been speaking, I’ve pulled up the FIJA web site, and found some quotes to back you up:

Thomas Jefferson: “I consider trial by jury as the only anchor yet imagined by man, by which a government can be held to the principles of its constitution.”

John Adams: “It is not only the juror’s right, but his duty to find the verdict according to his own best understanding, judgment and conscience, though in direct opposition to the instruction of the court.”

Alexander Hamilton: “Jurors should acquit, even against the judge’s instruction … if exercising their judgment with discretion and honesty they have a clear conviction the charge of the court is wrong.”

I’m not a big fan of Hamilton, but I’d have to agree with him on that last quote. And this is exactly the opposite of what a judge will tell a jury today, when giving instructions before deliberation.

Doug: Yes, judges’ instructions today are entirely improper, and a subversion of what juries are supposed to be. But the fact of the matter is that judges are just government employees. They’re the king’s men, on his payroll.

L: What would you say to people who say that jury nullification – juries refusing to convict lawbreakers – is what allowed white good old boys to literally get away with murder in the old South?

Doug: Lynching was certainly a terrible thing, but in a society so biased and hostile against a minority, the law was not much protection either – and, in fact, many unjust laws were put in place to perpetuate inequality and injustice. But also, as a matter of fundamental principle, it’s worse to convict and punish people unjustly than to let a few guilty ones escape.

Jury nullification is a tool, and like any tool, it can be abused. But though this is a tool that lends itself to occasional failures to see justice done, robotic enforcement of laws by juries is a practice that guarantees and mass-produces injustice. Remember that the states’ laws are not made by infallible gods, but by fallible politicians. It was once legal to own another human being, and jury nullification by abolitionists – who refused to convict those who helped escaped slaves – was a powerful force for justice and social change.

L: Hm. So, if you did get summoned to jury duty, would you ever consider playing the role of Joe Six Pack, to try to get on a jury and see if you could help justice triumph over law enforcement? I see that FIJA actually has a pamphlet on surviving voir dire.

Doug: Well, I don’t think you or I could ever get past the voir dire process and on to a jury, but if by some miracle someone of goodwill and interested in justice were to do so, I’d say yes. By all means, get on a jury, if you can. Striking a blow for justice is worth some inconvenience and effort.

L: Is there hope for the future in fully informed juries, then, Doug?

Doug: No, the situation is truly hopeless. It’s so far gone, I think the best we can hope for is a controlled demolition. But in the meantime, good people who get on juries can help prevent the legal system from creating more injustice, at least from time to time. Even if you’re the only one willing to vote your conscience and refuse to convict on some ridiculous traffic case, or prostitution case, or drug case, you can still hang the jury and prevent conviction, at least at that time. I think it’d be wonderful if people did that – by all means, if you believe in justice, go ahead and see if you can get yourself onto a jury.

L: To get past voir dire, you might have to lie, or at least refuse to give fully honest answers to questions.

Doug: I would say it’s entirely ethical to keep some of your thoughts to yourself in the interests of seeing justice done. Just act uncertain and confused – like all the others certainly are. You’ll be indistinguishable, you should be fine, and might do some good.

L: I’ve thought about that; it’d be fun to help our legal system achieve some justice, in spite of itself. But to show up at a court, as ordered, and to cooperate with a system that presumes to command me to give it my time – it just runs so counter to my nature, I’m not sure I could do it.

Doug: I understand, but if I could get on to a jury and foil an unjust prosecution, I’d love to do it. And I’d encourage each of the 100,000 people reading this to do the same – and more, to spread the word to everyone of goodwill they know. As long as the jury system holds, there’s a chance for people of conscience to overturn unjust laws, at least on a case-by-case basis. This could actually have a far, far larger effect on society than voting.

L: That’s a key point; if we can’t get the skittering creatures under the rocks in Washington to do the right things, we can do the right things ourselves in the courts, which is where the hard edge of the law actually hits people. Especially for those who are unable, or unwilling to vote with their feet, this is a way to fight back, without violence, and without participating in coercion.

Doug: That’s exactly right. And they can take comfort in the fact that as little as 100 years ago, this would not be a subversive act, but was exactly what was expected of a juror. The whole system has been turned upside down, and become the opposite of what it was meant to be.

L: It’s perverse.

Doug: [Laughs] Good word.

L: Are there any investment implications to this? Or is this conversation just a public service announcement?

Doug: Well, I see people being convicted under ridiculous applications of the securities laws, tax laws, and more. In fact, almost all the administrative laws of the myriad of three and four letter agencies – ATF, FTC, EPA, SEC, FDA, etc, etc., are totally bogus and nonsensical “crimes.” And even if you aren’t convicted, it costs you hundreds of thousands, or even millions of dollars in legal fees, plus time, plus lost business, and reputation. All that just to defend yourself from this blindly rapacious system. And as the state grabs more and more power with each passing crisis, the risk of this sort of unhappy attention from the state increases, even for the people with the most innocent and honest of intentions and deeds. This is almost bound to get worse before it can get better, and that has very negative implications for anyone with any wealth the state might decide to question.

That has very serious implications for people in business, for investors, and for the stock market. This is one reason I’m so bearish on the prospects of the current world order; not only are there decades-long distortions in the economy that have to be liquidated, but the whole legal system is rotten to the core. It needs to be scrapped – someone needs to push the reset button and restore justice as its guiding principle – and that too is a distortion that can’t be corrected easily or painlessly.

This is just one more thing to think about as we watch the global crisis deepen, one more trend to be aware of as we make our plans and shift the allocation of our assets.

L: Understood. Another sobering conversation, but it needed to be said. Thanks.

Doug: You’re welcome.

It may be difficult to get justice these days, but taking a look behind the scenes helps smart investors prepare for the worst. That’s why every month, Doug and the editors team of The Casey Report dissect Washington’s and the Fed’s political shenanigans and how they may affect your personal wealth. It’s never been more important than today to see the big picture, in order to discover how you can protect your assets and profit even in the worst of times. Learn more here.


November 4, 2010

Doug Casey (send him mail) is a best-selling author and chairman of Casey Research, LLC., publishers of Casey’s International Speculator.

Copyright © 2010 Casey and Associates

The Best of Doug Casey

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If We Quit Voting

by Frank Chodorov

This essay originally appeared in July 1945 in a monthly newsletter Chodorov established called analysis. It later appeared as a chapter in his book Out of Step: The Autobiography of an Individualist (1962).

New York in midsummer is measurably more miserable than any other place in this world – and should be comparable to the world for which all planners are headed. Why New Yorkers, otherwise sane, should choose to parboil their innards in a political campaign during this time of the year is a question that comes under the head of man’s inscrutable propensity for self-punishment. And if a fellow elects to let the whole thing pass him by, some socially conscious energumen is bound to sweat him with a lecture on civic duty, like the citizeness who came at me.

For 25 years my dereliction has been known to my friends, and more than one has undertaken to set me straight; out of these arguments came a solid defense for my nonvoting position, so that the lady in question was well parried with practiced retorts. I pointed out, with many instances, that though we have had candidates and platforms and parties and campaigns in abundance, we have had an equivalent plenitude of poverty and crime and war. The regularity with which the perennial promise of “good times” wound up in depression suggested the incompetence of politics in economic affairs. Maybe the good society we have been voting for lay some other way; why not try another fork in the road, the one pointing to individual self-improvement, particularly in acquiring a knowledge of economics? And so on.

There was one question put to me by my charming annoyer that I deftly sidestepped, for the day was sultry and the answer called for some mental effort. The question: “What would happen if we quit voting?”

If you are curious about the result of noneating you come upon the question of why we eat. So, the query put to me by the lady brings up the reason for voting. The theory of government by elected representatives is that these fellows are hired by the voting citizenry to take care of all matters relating to their common interests. However, it is different from ordinary employment in that the representative is not under specific orders, but is given blanket authority to do what he believes desirable for the public welfare in any and all circumstances, subject to constitutional limitations. In all matters relating to public affairs the will of the individual is transferred to the elected agent, whose responsibility is commensurate with the power thus invested in him.

It is this transference of power from voter to elected agents that is the crux of republicanism. The transference is well-nigh absolute. Even the constitutional limitations are not so in fact, since they can be circumvented by legal devices in the hands of the agents. Except for the tenuous process of impeachment, the mandate is irrevocable. For the abuse or misuse of the mandate the only recourse left to the principals, the people, is to oust the agents at the next election. But when we oust the rascals, do we not, as a matter of course, invite a new crowd? It all adds up to the fact that by voting them out of power, the people put the running of their community life into the hands of a separate group, upon whose wisdom and integrity the fate of the community rests.

All this would change if we quit voting. Such abstinence would be tantamount to this notice to politicians: since we as individuals have decided to look after our affairs, your services are no longer needed. Having assumed social power we must, as individuals, assume social responsibility – provided, of course, the politicians accept their discharge. The job of running the community would fall on each and all of us. We might hire an expert to tell us about the most improved firefighting apparatus, or a manager to look after cleaning the streets, or an engineer to build us a bridge; but the final decision, particularly in the matter of raising funds to defray costs, would rest with the townhall meeting. The hired specialists would have no authority other than that necessary for the performance of their contractual duties; coercive power, which is the essence of political authority, would be exercised, if necessary, only by the committee of the whole.

There is some warrant for the belief that a better social order would ensue when the individual is responsible for it and, therefore, responsive to its needs. He no longer has the law or the lawmakers to cover his sins of omission; need of the neighbors’ good opinion will be sufficient compulsion for jury duty and no loopholes in a draft law, no recourse to “political pull” will be possible when danger to his community calls him to arms. In his private affairs, the now-sovereign individual will have to meet the dictum of the marketplace: produce or you do not eat; no law will help you. In his public behavior he must be decent or suffer the sentence of social ostracism, with no recourse to legal exoneration. From a law-abiding citizen he will be transmuted into a self-respecting man.

Would chaos result? No, there would be order, without law to disturb it.

But, let us define chaos. Is it not disharmony resulting from social friction? When we trace social friction to its source do we not find that it seminates in a feeling of unwarranted hurt, or injustice? Then chaos is a social condition in which injustice obtains. Now, when one man may take, by law, what another man has put his labor into, we have injustice of the keenest kind, for the denial of a man’s right to possess and enjoy what he produces is akin to a denial of life. Yet the power to confiscate property is the first business of politics. We see how this is so in the matter of taxation; but greater by far is the amount of property confiscated by monopolies, all of which are founded in law.

While this economic basis of injustice has been lost in our adjustment to it, the resulting friction is quite evident. Most of us are poor in spite of our constant effort and known ability to produce an abundance; the incongruity is aggravated by a feeling of hopelessness. But the keenest hurt arises from the thought that the wealth we see about us is somehow ours by right of labor, but is not ours by right of law. Resentment, intensified by bewilderment, stirs up a reckless urge to do something about it. We demand justice; we have friction. We have strikes and crimes and bankruptcy and mental unbalances. And we cheat our neighbors, and each seeks for himself a legal privilege to live by another’s labor. And we have war. Is this a condition of harmony or of chaos?

In the frontier days of our country there was little law, but much order, for the affairs of the community were in the hands of the citizenry. Although fiction may give an opposite impression, it is a fact that there was less per capita crime to take care of then than there is now when law pervades every turn and minute of our lives. What gave the West its wild and woolly reputation was the glamorous drama of intense community life. Everybody was keenly interested in the hanging of a cattle rustler; it was not done in the calculated quiet of a prison, with the dispatch of a mechanical system. The railriding of a violator of townhall dicta had to be the business of the town prosecutor, who was everybody.

Though the citizen’s private musket was seldom used for the protection of life and property, its presence promised swift and positive justice, from which no legal chicanery offered escape, and its loud report announced the dignity of decency. Every crime was committed against the public, not the law, and therefore the public made an ado about it. Mistakes were made, to be sure, for human judgment is ever fallible; but, until the politician came, there was no deliberate malfeasance or misfeasance; until laws came, there were no violations, and the code of human decency made for order.

So, if we should quit voting for parties and candidates, we would individually reassume responsibility for our acts and, therefore, responsibility for the common good. There would be no way of dodging the verdict of the marketplace; we would take back only in proportion to our contribution. Any attempt to profit at the expense of a neighbor or the community would be quickly spotted and as quickly squelched, for everybody would recognize a threat to himself in the slightest indulgence of injustice. Since nobody would have the power to enforce monopoly conditions, none would obtain. Order would be maintained by the rules of existence, the natural laws of economics.

That is, if the politicians would permit themselves to be thus ousted from their positions of power and privilege.

I doubt it.

Remember that the proposal to quit voting is basically revolutionary; it amounts to a shifting of power from one group to another, which is the essence of revolution. As soon as the nonvoting movement got up steam, the politicians would most assuredly start a counterrevolution. Measures to enforce voting would be instituted; fines would be imposed for violations, and prison sentences would be meted out to repeaters.

It is a necessity for political power, no matter how gained, to have the moral support of public approval, and suffrage is the most efficient scheme for registering it; notice how Hitler, Mussolini, and Stalin insisted on having ballots cast. In any republican government, even ours, only a fraction of the populace votes for the successful candidate, but that fraction is quantitatively impressive; it is this appearance of overwhelming sanction that supports him in the exercise of political power. Without it he would be lost.

Propaganda, too, would bombard this passive resistance to statism; not only that put out by the politicians of all parties – the coalition would be as complete as it would be spontaneous – but also the more effective kind emanating from seemingly disinterested sources. All the monopolists, all the coupon-clipping foundations, all the tax-exempt eleemosynary institutions – in short, all the “respectables” – would join in a howling defense of the status quo.

We would be told most emphatically that unless we keep on voting away our power to responsible persons, it would be grabbed by irresponsible ones; tyranny would result.

That is probably true, seeing how since the beginning of time men have sought to acquire property without laboring for it.

The answer lies, as it always has, in the judicious use of private artillery. On this point a story, apocryphal no doubt, is worth telling. When Napoleon’s conquerors were considering what to do with him, a buck-skinned American allowed that a fellow of such parts might be handy in this new country and ought to be invited to come over. As for the possibility of a Napoleonic regime being started in America, the recent revolutionist dismissed it with the remark that the musket with which he shot rabbits could also kill tyrants. There is no substitute for human dignity.

But the argument is rather specious in the light of the fact that every election is a seizure of power. The balloting system has been defined as a battle between opposing forces, each armed with proposals for the public good, for a grant of power to put these proposals into practice. As far as it goes, this definition is correct; but when the successful contestant acquires the grant of power toward what end does he use it – not theoretically but practically? Does he not, with an eye to the next campaign, and with the citizens’ money, go in for purchasing support from pressure groups? Whether it is by catering to a monopoly interest whose campaign contribution is necessary to his purpose, or to a privilege-seeking labor group, or to a hungry army of unemployed or of veterans, the over-the-barrel method of seizing and maintaining political power is standard practice.

This is not, however, an indictment of our election system. It is rather a description of our adjustment to conquest. Going back to beginnings – although the process is still in vogue, as in Manchuria, or more recently in the Baltic states – when a band of freebooters developed an appetite for other people’s property they went after it with vim and vigor. Repeated visitations of this nature left the victims breathless, if not lifeless, and propertyless to boot. So, as men do when they have no other choice, they made a compromise. They hired one gang of thieves to protect them from other gangs, and in time the price paid for such protection came to be known as taxation. The tax gatherers settled down in the conquered communities, possibly to make collections certain and regular, and as the years rolled on a blend of cultures and of bloods made of the two classes one nation. But the system of taxation remained after it had lost its original significance; lawyers and professors of economics, by deft circumlocution, turned tribute into “fiscal policy” and clothed it with social good.

Nevertheless, the social effect of the system was to keep the citizenry divided into two economic groups: payers and receivers. Those who lived without producing became traditionalized as “servants of the people,” and thus gained ideological support. They further entrenched themselves by acquiring sub-tax-collecting allies; that is, some of their group became landowners, whose collection of rent rested on the law-enforcement powers of the ruling clique, and others were granted subsidies, tariffs, franchises, patent rights, monopoly privileges of one sort or another. This division of spoils between those who wield power and those whose privileges depend on it is succinctly described in the expression, “the state within the state.”

Thus, when we trace our political system to its origin, we come to conquest. Tradition, law, and custom have obscured its true nature, but no metamorphosis has taken place; its claws and fangs are still sharp, its appetite as voracious as ever. In the light of history it is not a figure of speech to define politics as the art of seizing power; and its present purpose, as of old, is economic.

There is no doubt that men of high purpose will always give of their talents for the common welfare, with no thought of recompense other than the goodwill of the community. But so long as our taxation system remains, so long as the political means for acquiring economic goods is available, just so long will the spirit of conquest assert itself; for men always seek to satisfy their desires with the least effort. It is interesting to speculate on the kind of campaigns and the type of candidates we would have if taxation were abolished and if, also, the power to dispense privilege vanished. Who would run for office if there were “nothing in it”?

Why should a self-respecting citizen endorse an institution grounded in thievery? For that is what one does when one votes. If it be argued that we must let bygones be bygones, see what we can do toward cleaning up the institution so that it can be used for the maintenance of an orderly existence, the answer is that it cannot be done; we have been voting for one “good government” after another, and what have we got? Perhaps the silliest argument, and yet the one invariably advanced when this succession of failures is pointed out, is that “we must choose the lesser of two evils.” Under what compulsion are we to make such a choice? Why not pass up both of them?

To effectuate the suggested revolution all that is necessary is to stay away from the polls. Unlike other revolutions, it calls for no organization, no violence, no war fund, no leader to sell it out. In the quiet of his conscience each citizen pledges himself, to himself, not to give moral support to an unmoral institution, and on election day he remains at home. That’s all. I started my revolution 25 years ago and the country is none the worse for it.

Reprinted from Mises.org.

Frank Chodorov (1887–1966), one of the great libertarians of the Old Right, was the founder of the Intercollegiate Society of Individualists and author of such books as The Income Tax: Root of All Evil. Here he is on “Taxation Is Robbery.” And here is Rothbard’s obituary of Chodorov.

The Best of Frank Chodorov


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Want an Anarcho-Capitalist Revolution? (lewrockwell.com)


My Reponse to “Follower Of Christ”

Below is a response to a comment that a brother sent after I had commented on his comment about being sober and vigilant. I am not placing this here for any other reason than to clarify some of what I believe about cannabis use and the fact that we live in a nation where our “leaders” have decided this very useful substance should illegal. Toward th end I also get into the whole idea that some believers have that wine in the Bible, at least when in context of believers is, somehow?, not really wine but grape juice. I could write pages about how this is not likely the case and why, particularly evangelical believers, seem to believe this. There is a whole historical reason as to how this idea came into present Christian thinking, (it was not an issue in the nearly 2 thousand year history of the church), and the whole psychology that has developed around this one issue. I may choose to address this in future but for now my comments below will have to suffice. (E)

His Comment

Brother, thanks for clarification.
I used to take cannabis daily as a lost soul, it made me a wreck, psychially, physically, socially…

Sure, it takes away pain and so one, but it is scientifically proven that it does it already in so small amounts without getting a buzz..

I have made the experience that the Holy Spirit is healing my illnesses.
Btw, Timothy’s wine was not fermented wine.

I concur that the US system should give more mercy on small cannabis dealers/users (lesser jail time/punishment), but
1) it IS a crime
2) Romans 13
3) if the people wouldnt abandon God, there would be much less cannabis ABUSE

I think, that this is the true root of evil in this country. Cannabis abuse is “just” a
YHWH bless!

My Response

I agree that it is unnecessary to get a buzz to get relief. I actually had a friend let me have a bit a couple of years ago, (I have Fibromyalgia), I took a couple of “hits” and for 4 hours I was pain free. Now that may not sound like much but I have NEVER been pain free for most of the past 10 years or so. My wide was amazed and tearful because I was like the man she married 15 years ago for those 4 hours. I was not high at all other than a bit of lightheadedness which with the 15 meds I am on for all my other health issues is not all that unusual for me anyway.
Unfortunately, I do not live in a state where medical cannabis is allowed so I would have to break the law in order to have sustained relief of my symptoms. That, in itself, does not bother me except for the fact that if I ended up in jail they might withhold my other meds including insulin and I could die. I have not felt strongly enough about it that I am willing to risk that.
That leads me to a question about your reply. I take it that you accept that if the government makes a law we as believers are bound to that because of what you believe Romans 13 teaches about obedience to authority. My question is whether this is always the case. In other words do you believe that we are to obey even if a law is unjust or immoral?
If that is the case, I guess we would have to agree to disagree because I believe if an authority asks us to violate our conscience we am being disobedient to YHWH who put that conscience in us to help us choose rightly. For instance, if the law says that one must not help the poor or the oppressed can one follow that law when YHWH so clearly says in His word that avoiding to care for those who are poor and oppressed brings His judgment.
I see the issue of cannabis in the same way. The word clearly states that YHWH gave us herbs for our benefit. The fact that some individuals might abuse those herbs does not negate the fact that Daddy gave them for our use. How then do we respond when a government attempts to take away something that is a gift from our Creator? The fact that a government says that something, that for thousands of years was used for mans benefit, is suddenly illegal is problematic.


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A crime by the original definition in common law set down many centuries ago is an act that causes direct harm to another person or that person’s property. By that definition most laws are illegitimate.To me this is no different than the Pharisees making oral law that went beyond or even t superseded Torah. They were adding to or taking away from it in such a way that the people could not even know how to follow the Torah properly. Yahshua made it clear that this was unacceptable.

The principle then is that if man’s laws go beyond or in some way try to negate Gods laws we are to ignore them and follow God. We “ought to obey God rather than man”. How does this apply to our discussion of the use and illegality of cannabis? The principal here is again clear. In the 17th and 18th century it began to be clear, even to unbelievers, that The Creator had invested within each person “certain inalienable rights”, and that among those rights were the right to Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness. These rights are not something that the government can decide to bestow upon the people or, for that matter, remove from them as they are innate to all individuals. That when governments attempt to restrict those rights individuals have a right to ignore the government or, in the case of this country, rise up and overthrow the government. (Revolutionary War)

Basically, this is much the same as what Yahshua stated. We are not to allow men, through any form of authority, restrict us from the right to our own conscience, (the Torah written on our hearts), even if some may misuse the liberty we are given by God. Misuse is no one’s business unless it brings harm to anothers’ property or person.

Romans 13 when studied out in the Greek is talking about giving respect to those in authority not absolute obedience. The best scriptural example of this is in Acts chapter 4 where Kepha (Peter) and Yochanan (John) were taken before the council in Jerusalem and commanded not to preach in the name of Yashua (Jesus). Kepha and Yochanan were respectful in their response. they made it clear that they must obey YHWH rather than the Council. They never say that the council has “no right to tell them what to do”, rather they are respectful and submissive.

Submission does not me absolute surrender of one’s right to hear from YHWH for one’s self. It only means that one acknowledges those in authority to do what they choose even though one may still have to disobey them because of conscience. This has been misunderstood in the Body and many believers have lost or never learned to hear from the Ruach (Spirit) for themselves.

Do not forget that Kepha and Yochanan were later beaten for their disobedience. We find no where in scripture where either man ever spoke against the council for having done so. They allowed that the council had the authority to choose to punish them for their disobedience even though their conscience would not allow them to obey. This is true submission to authority.

So, to conclude. Just because something is illegal does not mean that it is wrong. Certainly the government has a right to make their laws, but as an individual one has a right to disobey if it violates one’s conscience. Of course, one must weigh the consequences of that decision and decide if it is worth the risk. One is not a criminal just because one’s government has made a law against something that one is choosing to do. If you think that incorrect, consider the “criminal” Nobel Prize winner  Liu Xiaobo in China.

One last thing. The idea that the wine that Timothy drank was not fermented can not be proven either scripturally or from contemporaneous writings. Wine is wine not grape juice. New wine, possibly without fermentation, was only available immediately after the harvest, in the early fall. Grape juice, because of it’s high fructose content, will spoil very quickly without modern canning, refrigeration methods or processing it for fermentation. Even so called New Wine had probably undergone some fermentation. Grape juice begins to ferment pretty quickly. I have actually made wine in as little as a month that had a pretty strong alcohol content and had to be watered down.

That being true then, it would make no sense for Shaul (Paul) to recommend a little grape juice for Timothy’s apparent stomach problems. Modern science also helps us to understand why this is likely the case. We now know that many ulcers are caused by bacteria in the stomach. Wine, especially red wine, has anti-bacterial properties that can reduce or eliminate those ulcer causing bacteria and even have some healing properties for ulcers already present. Grape juice has none of those same properties and would, therefore, be of no benefit, and consequentially would not likely have been recommended by Shaul.

Blessings All

The Kidnapping of Cheyenne Irish

Libertarian Standard

by William N. Grigg on October 9, 2010 @ 9:54 pm 


The Regime's youngest political prisoner.



“Happy birthday. You’re property of the State.”

This is the message that was given to Cheyenne Irish, the newborn daughter of New Hampshire residents Jonathan Irish and Stephanie Taylor, who was literally stolen from her parents hours after her birth on October 6.

While there are reportedly some “very serious” criminal allegations involved in this matter, the focal point of the case should be this: Among the reasons cited by New Hampshire’s child “protection” directorate as supposed justification for the seizure of Cheyenne was the fact that “Mr. Irish associated with a militia known as the, [sic] `Oath Keepers,’ and had purchased several different types of weapons including a rifle, handgun and taser.”

“Whether or not the charges against Mr. Irish are true, this action is entirely unconstitutional and represents a very dangerous precedent,” Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes, a practicing defense attorney, pointed out to Pro Libertate.  “Using this man’s political views and alleged affiliations to define parental suitability in any way is entirely illegitimate, and a direct threat to the rights of parents who are political activists of any kind.”

This is hardly the first time law enforcement officials and social workers have cited “political extremism” to justify severe and extra-constitutional sanctions against people who have not been convicted of an actual crime.

Just a few months ago, police in Salem County, Massachusetts arrested an innocent man named Gregory Girard on palpably fraudulent criminal charges because his wife — acting as a dutiful collectivist drone — reported that he had developed “extremist” political views.

Those unsanctioned opinions, coupled with legal firearms purchases, led to Girard’s arrest and detention as a “danger to the community” — but he was never formally charged or prosecuted. He was simply taken into Soviet-style administrative detention while the local members of Lavrenti Beria’s fraternity — that is, the county prosecutor and judge — tried to devise a criminal charge to justify his imprisonment.



Political Prisoner Gregory Girard



After Girard spent four months in jail without a criminal charge,  his case was eventually “dismissed without a finding.” He was designated a “ward of the court,” compelled to undergo routine psychiatric evaluation and treatment, and notified that he could be arrested and subjected to indefinite detention at any time such action was deemed suitable by his persecutors.

This was done to Girard because he was classified to be what law enforcement organs in the Soviet Union called a “socially dangerous person.” This same calculus appears to have been used to justify the government kidnapping of Cheyenne Irish — a much graver crime, given that it involved not merely the seizure of a man’s means of self-defense, but of his newborn child.

Cheyenne “wasn’t even 16 hours old when they came in and stole her from us,” reports her father Jonathan. The head of security at Concord Hospital “had a nurse come in while Cheyenne was sleeping [who] lied to us that they just wanted to take her to the nursery to see the doctor to be discharged. Even though I said NO to have the doctor come in the room they took her anyway…. I followed [them] out to the nursery because I didn’t want my daughter out of my sight, as we were walking out I saw several gentlemen wearing suits with detective badges and my gut just started wrenching.”

“They rushed her into the nursery and locked her in,” Jonathan continues. “[W]hile I was talking to one of the other nurses the head of security comes up behind me, grabs my arm and starts walking me down the hall saying `you need to keep an open mind, you need to just hear them out’ and he just kept repeating himself ignoring my questions as to who ‘they’ were.”



Cheyenne, shortly before her abduction.



How typical of an agent of government aggression to be accusing the victim of “intolerance” even as the crime is in progress. This little touch is a variation on the police tactic of bellowing “Stop resisting!” to a helpless victim at the bottom of a thugswarm.

“When he got me in Stephanie’s hospital room and sat me down on the couch the police department and DCYF [Division of Children, Youth and Family services — that is, the child-snatcher apparat] showed up. Three uniformed patrol officers and 3-4 detectives with 2 DCYF social workers walked in the room…. [One] of the patrolmen asked if he could pat me down. I said NO, not giving my consent…. The officer grabbed my wrist, bent it behind my back and stood me up and proceeded to pat me down anyway.”

After seizing a pocketknife and cigarette lighter and asking if Jonathan had “any other weapons” — officer safety uber alles, you know — the childnappers “gave us a fabricated affidavit … telling us they were taking custody of our newborn daughter.”

Jonathan was then informed that he would be shadowed, Stasi-style, by a “security officer.” When contacted by Pro Libertate at approximately 3:45 MST on October 8, Mr. Irish was being forced to leave the Concord Hospital parking lot pursuant to a “notice” he had been sent by the local police.

“I received a phone call a while ago telling me to go to a website” — that is, a Facebook page — “where a group of people had taken it on themselves to organize a protest and rally,” Irish recounted to Pro Libertate. “I was then sent a document by the Concord Police that said I wouldn’t be allowed to go inside the hospital, or even be in the parking lot, unless it involved a medical emergency, otherwise it would be considered ‘criminal trespass.’”

Irish refers to Cheyenne’s mother, Stephanie Taylor, as his fiancee. The affidavit mentions that the couple had been under DCYF scrutiny “for approximately 21 months … in a case involving two children of Stephanie Taylor; neglect petitions were filed on January 7, 2009 and a Termination of Parental Rights trial was recently concluded as to these two children….”

For reasons not specified in the document, Irish was “ordered to attend Ending the Violence with Scott Hampton; however, to date, has not completed this program.” (Remember this point; we’ll return to it anon.) The police complain that they have “responded to multiple calls” involving Irish and firearms, which resulted in “a pending charge for possession of a concealed weapon without a permit.” It was in the context of that trivial paperwork matter that the affidavit mentioned Irish’s “association” with the Oath Keepers, which was misrepresented in the affidavit as a “militia.”

The Oath Keepers is an organization of current and retired law enforcement and military personnel who have pledged not to carry out patently unconstitutional orders. The group’s founder, Stewart Rhodes, emphasizes that it encourages lawful, peaceful non-cooperation, rather than armed insurrection, as a way of interposing against the all-encompassing criminal assault by the Regime against individual rights.

Had an Oath Keeper been present at Concord Hospital on October 6, he would have refused to be party to the criminal abduction of Cheyenne Irish.

The “association” referred to in that document consists of occasional involvement by Irish and his fiancee in an on-line discussion group involving the Oath Keepers. Mentioning this tenuous connection served the immediate interests of the child abduction bureaucracy, since it created a caricature of the father as a potentially dangerous “extremist.” But it also serves the long-term interest of the Homeland Security bureaucracy by using Jonathan Irish as an indispensable defendant in a potentially precedent-setting case.

“I know practically nothing about Jonathan Irish,” Stewart Rhodes of the Oath Keepers told Pro Libertate. “Whatever we learn about his problems, the real question is this: Why was such prominent mention made of his political beliefs and supposed affiliations?”

If Mr. Irish is a legitimate criminal suspect — as opposed to a troubled parent who is considered a political criminal — why wasn’t he taken into custody? Why was  he left relatively free, while his newborn daughter was wrenched from her mother and father through deliberate deception and the threat of lethal force?

The Oath Keepers have been targeted by the so-called Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), an immensely profitable leftist “watchdog” group run by the degenerate fraud named Morris Dees. Through an illicit relationship with law enforcement agencies, both federal and local, the SPLC has become deeply involved in an effort to indoctrinate police (as well as educators and social workers) regarding the ubiquitous menace of “anti-government extremism.” Rhodes points out that the SPLC, a nominally private group that is unaccountable to the public, is a member of the “Homeland Security Advisory Council” (HSAC) which published a report on domestic “radicalization” and “extremism” last Spring.

A work in progress, the HSAC describes itself as striving to prevent  “violent crime that is motivated by extreme ideological beliefs” through “threat mitigation” and “community policing.” That last term of art came into vogue during the early part of Bill Clinton’s first term: Washington began to lavish funding on states and municipalities for the purpose of integrating the police with the social services bureaucracy, the better to create a seamless web from which no family could escape.



"Community policing"; below, more of the same.



Before she presided over the Holocaust at Mt. Carmel as the federal Attorney General, Janet Reno was a forceful advocate of “community policing” in order to draw recalcitrant parents into the suffocating embrace of the omniprovident Nanny State.

“They sit behind doors and they glare out at officialdom in whatever its form — a building inspector, a Housing and Urban Development manager, a police officer — and they don’t believe that person,” complained Reno in a 1993 speech to the Police Foundation. “They won’t come out. They won’t bring their child to the clinic … because they are suspicious and unbelieving that government really cares.”

That speech, incidentally, was given on April 9, 1993 — just ten days before the government Reno served so eagerly displayed its “caring” nature by immolating the children of the Branch Davidian community.

Reno, according to a Los Angeles Times summary, urged that local governments assemble teams of “community-friendly, highly respected police officers, social workers, public health nurses, [and] community organizers” to pry open the doors of people burdened with a healthy mistrust of the congealed mass of corruption called government.


Elian Gonzalez Reno-style "community policing" strike force.


The group that carried out the abduction of Cheyenne Irish is a perfect example of a  Reno-style “community policing” strike force in action.

Among the reasons cited for seizing Cheyenne was Scott Irish’s refusal to attend a seminar taught by Dr. Scott Hampton, Director of an organization called Ending The Violence. Hampton and his organization offer “training and consultation … to child protective workers, probation and parole officers, judges, attorneys, medical professionals, clergy, teachers, and law enforcement” as well as offering “expert witness testimony in both civil and criminal cases.” Hampton has conducted hundreds of workshops and seminars throughout North America and Europe, and is past President of the National Supervised Visitation Network.

Most importantly, he is an unabashed proponent of totalitarian attitude reconstruction, the sort of social engineer C.S. Lewis referred to as an “official straightener.” Although he eagerly cites the work of “tolerance” peddlers such as Morris Dees, Hampton believes that tolerance is inadequate. Unlike those who believe that only God has jurisdiction over the inner life of human beings, Hampton — like others who would use the power of the State to tear windows into men’s souls — maintains thatthe government literally must reprogram the inner life of people who hold “bigoted” beliefs.

“Tolerance does not require that you give up your hatred. It just tells you how to act when you hate. Not good enough,” sniffs Hampton in his new book Tolerant Oppression. “It is time that we teach people how not to hate.” What this requires, of course, is court-ordered reconstruction of individual attitudes using whatever leverage may be necessary — apparently up to and including child abduction.

The kidnapping of Cheyenne Irish on her birthday bears more than a passing resemblance to a November 2008 incident in Pascagoula, Mississippi. The newborn daughter of Cirila Baltazar Cruz, who was born at Pascagoula’s Singing River Hospital, was abducted through deception and coercion by hospital officials and social workers. The child was placed in the custody of two attorneys who practiced “family law” before the same judge who approved the hasty transfer of custody.

Like Jonathan Irish, Baltazar Cruz was deemed an unsuitable parent on the basis of unproven allegations. An employee at a local Chinese restaurant, she had reportedly come to the United States as an illegal immigrant, and was accused of “trading sex for housing.” Her immigration status would not justify the seizure of her child, and the prostitution charge was never investigated. Nevertheless, it took more than a year and a half for Baltazar Cruz — working with a self-described “public interest law firm” — to regain custody of her stolen child.

A federal lawsuit filed against the hospital and others responsible for this atrocity correctly condemns the “unconstitutional actions” of those who abducted Baltazar Cruz’s child. Their unconscionable acts inflicted severe emotional and physical harm on the bereaved mother, alienated the newborn from parental affection, and “substantially interfered with [their] constitutionally protected right to family integrity,” the lawsuit observes.

Exactly the same case can be made on behalf of Jonathan Irish, Stephanie Taylor, and their daughter Cheyenne. It’s not likely, however, that the legal activist group that defended the parental rights of Cirila Baltazar Cruz — the Southern Poverty Law Center — will volunteer its services on behalf of Cheyenne and her parents, given that organization’s distant but substantive role in the crime that was committed against them.


William Norman Grigg publishes the Pro Libertate blog and hosts the Pro Libertate radio program. He is a Christian Individualist, husband, father, and self-appointed pundit.

No Law? No Warrant? No Problem!

William N. Grigg Tuesday, September 21, 2010

“Do you expect to see any violence here today?”

“I certainly hope so.” —

Narcotics officer Sgt. Stedenko, aka “Hardhat,” answers a reporter’s question at a drug checkpoint on the U.S.- Mexican border, from the film
Up In Smoke.

Sal Agro, a 67-year-old man from Lake Orion, Michigan, died of a heart attack on September 2 . Although those responsible for Agro’s untimely death will never admit as much, he was the victim of an act of state terrorism carried out a week earlier by the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office

Agro, along with his son, helped operate a treatment center in nearby Ferndale called Clinical Relief that provided medical marijuana to physician-approved clients under a 2008 Michigan state law. Sal, who had recently undergone hip surgery, was authorized to grow and use marijuana himself. His wife was authorized both to use marijuana and provide it to others as a caregiver. They had invited local officials to inspect the Clinical Relief facility.

He obeyed the rules, and they killed him anyway: Sal Agro, RIP.

Last June, with at least eight applications pending to open facilities like Clinical Relief, the Ferndale City Council imposed a temporary moratorium on dispensing medical marijuana while it explored new ways to harass the facilities through zoning restrictions. This prompted an objection from Mayor Craig Covey, who pointed out that the medical marijuana clinics would already be covered by existing ordinances. Nor were they likely to be profitable, given the detailed and often self-contradictory regulations inflicted on them under the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act (MMMA), which voters approved by referendum in 2008.

On August 25, the Ferndale City Council lifted the moratorium. On the very next day, the local counter-narcotics Gestapo staged a paramilitary raid against several locations in Oakland County, arresting 15 people, confiscating cash and crops, illegally seizing medical records, and terrorizing unarmed, helpless people who suffer from cancer and other painful afflictions. Most importantly, of course, the raiders got a potent fix of their preferred narcotic — the depraved thrill that comes from making powerless people submit to their whims.

It’s hardly an exaggeration to characterize the Oakland County Narcotics Enforcement Team (NET) as the local “Gestapo.” Agro  used that term to describe the ski mask-clad marauders who laid waste to his home, ripping apart furniture, throwing potting soil into the carpets and — of course — helping themselves to whatever cash they could find.A similar home invasion robbery was carried out at the Lake Orion home of Agro’s daughter-in-law. “She’s approximately five-foot, weighs about eighty-nine pounds, and the masked officers put a shotgun in her face and told her to freeze,” a wearily disgusted Agro recalled to a local reporter.

After learning about the raid, Agro went back to his house, which was swarming with armed tax-feeders.

“I asked what was going on, and they said, `Your house is being searched,'” Agro related. “I said, `Do you have a search warrant?’ They said, `Yes.’ I said, `Can I see it?’ They said, `When we get ready to show it to you.'” Despite the fact that the invaders had a note from a judge supposedly authorizing them to trash Agro’s home, the raid was, as the victim pointed out, an act of “illegal search and seizure,” since the money and property that were stolen had nothing to do with a criminal act.

The same lawless behavior was on display at another facility called Everyone’s Café, where police threw cancer patients to the ground and held them at gunpoint.

“What took place in Oakland is nothing short of armed robbery,” protests Gersh Avery, a local medical marijuana activist. “Patients in those locations had nothing to do with the day-to-day operations, yet their medicine was forcibly taken from them.” The NET, Avery concludes, “deliberately targeted sick innocent people.”

The official sadism continued after the case was split into two groups of defendants. Judge Richard Kuhn of Michigan’s 51st District Court in Waterford refused to waive a bond condition permitting the use of medical marijuana by defendants who had received medical authorization to do so. Astoundingly, 43rd District Judge Joe Longo, who is presiding over the case in Ferndale, permitted defendants with medical marijuana cards to continue using the palliative while out on bail. This, of course, begs the question of why those people are criminal defendants in the first place.

Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard claims that the raid followed “undercover”  investigations of Clinical Relief and Everyone’s Cafe. William Joseph Teichman, co-owner of Everyone’s Cafe, insists that “We check the identification of every patient we deal with, and those undercover cops had either proper ID and paperwork or forgeries so good we couldn’t tell the difference.”

“I said `Hardhat’!”

In a post-raid press conference, Sheriff Bouchard — grasping for a suitable soundbite — described the local medical marijuana market as “something out of a bad Cheech and Chong Movie,” without elaborating as to whether he considers “Up in Smoke” or “Nice Dreams” to be the gold standard of the stoner duo’s cinematic output.

Bouchard himself essays a pretty decent impression of Sgt. Stedenko, the bullying, authoritarian narcotics officer who was a recurring nemesis in the comedy team’s films.

Ryan Richmond, co-owner of Clinical Relief and one of the defendants in the Ferndale case, asserts that Bouchard “simply doesn’t like the [Michigan state medical marijuana] law because it’s too broad. If Bouchard has his way, we, you, have no rights even within the law.”

Bouchard’s critics are not limited to those he has arrested on marijuana-related charges.

“I personally don’t understand why the county would use such a large amount of precious law enforcement resources on something like this,” objects Ferndale Mayor Craig Covey. “This was obviously a political move by the sheriff to flex his muscles and send a message that he does not want medical marijuana clinics in Oakland County.”

Covey also criticized “the use of SWAT teams with masked and armed officers ordering sick, elderly patients to the ground…. Now it’s going to cost the taxpayers and the business owners hundreds of thousands of dollars in attorney fees to sort through this mess.”

Bouchard’s admitted purpose in staging the raids was not to enforce the existing law, but rather to create a “test case” intended to change it, either in substance or in application.  By strict definition, this was an exercise of violence against the helpless intended to bring about political change — that is, an act of official terrorism.

Although Bouchard accuses medical marijuana advocates and providers of engaging in “organized crime,” that description makes a much better fit when applied to the NET, which is a federally designated multi-agency task force.  Thanks to an indulgence granted by the so-called Department of Justice, the NET has a license to steal in the name of “asset forfeiture.”

According to the Madison Heights Police Department’s 2009 Annual Report, last year the NET seized a little more than a ton of marijuana and pilfered nearly $2 million through asset forfeiture. The August 26 raids pulled down tens of thousands of dollars in cash, including money the late Sal Agro and his wife Barbara had put aside toward the purchase of a new car.

Bouchard and Oakland County Prosecutor Jessica Cooper insist that the MMMA is dangerously ambiguous because it supposedly encourages people to flout the state’s existing laws criminalizing the use and sale of marijuana for recreational purposes. They are correct in saying that the law is a masterpiece of self-contradiction, but emphatically wrong about the nature of the resulting danger: The risk of smoking weed without government permission is much less acute than that posed by power-intoxicated armed bureaucrats willing to carry out illegal paramilitary raids that target non-violent, chronically ill “offenders.”

A concurring opinion by Judge P.J. O’Connell in a recent Michigan Court of Appeals case points out that “The MMMA does not codify a right to use marijuana; it merely provides a procedure through which seriously ill individuals using marijuana for its palliative effects can be identified and protected from prosecution under state law.” It creates a narrow “affirmative defense to prosecutions under the Public Health Code, allowing an individual to use marijuana by freeing him or her from the threat of arrest and prosecution if that user meets all the requirements of the MMMA, while permitting prosecution under the Public Health Code if the individual fails to meet any of the requirements set forth under the MMMA.”

The MMMA, furthermore, does not change the status of marijuana under state law, which lists the demonstrably harmless cannabinoid as a “Schedule 1″ controlled substance” that has “no accepted medical use.” What this means, in practice, is that anyone who uses or provides medical marijuana in strict fidelity of the terms and conditions dictated by the MMMA is still presumptively a criminal suspect.

Because of the incurable self-contradictions of the MMMA, Judge O’Connell warns, conscientious people who obey its provisions and seek marijuana for palliative care could still “lose both their property and their liberty” — or even as the needless, government-inflicted death of Sal Agro demonstrates, their lives.

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I’m Fed Up With Constitution Worship!

by Gary D. Barnett

I must say that I didn’t always feel this way, but I am now truly sick of hearing every day about how we should uphold, defend, and worship the U.S. Constitution. Yes, I am aware that if it were followed to the letter that we would all be somewhat better off, but was that ever the real intent? I think not.

As I perused an article recently in the Christian Science Monitor titled “Why Do Americans Get the Constitution So Wrong” by Lion Calandra, I thought it was time to expose some of the misconceptions about our so-called reverent “founding” document. The first few words of that article set the stage for my rant.

The opening statement: “On this day, 223 years ago, the U.S. Constitution was born, giving Americans the freedoms that they hold dear, the freedoms that men and women have died to defend.”

Obviously, the author also got it wrong, because everything in the above sentence is patently false. Our freedoms did not come from any political class or due to any drafting of a political document. Our rights and freedoms are God-given and inherent. They are natural human rights, and cannot be bestowed by men! Our natural rights to life, liberty, and property encompass all others; this a fact barely acknowledged by most. Without the right to life and liberty, no other right can exist. With the right to life and liberty, all other rights are evident.

Also, the notion that men and women died to defend our freedoms can only be correct if one considers those very few who have died fighting against our own federal government’s encroachment against liberty. If the intent here is to laud those who died in warfare, then again, the author is completely wrong. Those who fight in wars are defending and serving the government, and therefore are harming freedom, not protecting it. This may seem a harsh statement to some, but it is this truth that escapes almost all Americans. If more understood this, we would all be much better off. War is the health of the state, and therefore is antithetical to freedom. U.S. wars are directly responsible for a more powerful government and less freedom; the opposite of what is taught in the government-run schools, and what political pundits constantly spew.

Why was the current U.S. constitution drafted and ratified in the first place? Was it because our founders believed that they were doing more to protect liberty? Did they think that this particular document would serve to expand and protect our freedoms? Were the Articles of Confederation, our constitution at the time, anti-freedom or inadequate? Did that constitution allow the federal government more or less power than the new one?

If one answers these questions honestly, many other questions will arise, and the answers to those questions may cause resentment to replace respect. In fact, our current constitution greatly expanded government power over the people, not the other way around, as most believe. Just consider one example: In the Articles of Confederation the federal government had no power to lay and collect (by force) taxes. Any money needed had to come voluntarily from the individual states. In Article 1, Section 8 of our current constitution, the federal government has virtually an unlimited power to tax. This fact alone should have been reason enough to not ratify the constitution 223 years ago. Of course, most of the rest of those powers given to Congress in Article 1, Section 8 should have also caused great concern for anyone sympathetic to liberty.

The Anti-federalists had it right all along. The Articles of Confederation were certainly not perfect, but that constitution was a damn sight better than the one we have now. One single reading of Article 1, Section 8 of the current U.S. Constitution should literally scare the living daylights out of all who believe in freedom and liberty. In my opinion, Hamilton and his followers were able to fool and then co-opt enough of the political leaders of the time to bring about a massive change; a change that ushered in a much more powerful central governing system. This was entirely by design in my opinion, and was never intended to advance and protect the freedom of the individual. Had that been the case, slavery would never have been sanctioned by that same document. Why this system is so revered is beyond me. It can only be due to long-term indoctrination. I have been told since childhood of the greatness of the constitution by peers, by the school system, by politicians, by the media, and by virtually everyone else able to utter the spoken word. Considering this, it is no wonder that this mediocre document is worshiped by so many.

It should be obvious that I am not attempting to fully explain or outline the constitution, nor am I attempting to put forth any expert legal opinion concerning it. This has been done over and over again. I am simply pointing out that this supreme law of the United States is not what it seems. Things are always done for a reason, and in my opinion, the constitution was drafted so as to expand the powers of the national government, and weaken the powers held by the individual states and the people. This has certainly been the end result. I think it is important to remember that many of the founders of this country, while courageous in their fight to free themselves from English rule, were still politicians, and as such had their own agendas. These agendas did not always run parallel with individual freedom, especially considering the Hamiltonians. While this may be hard to swallow for some, it is nonetheless true.

What does all this mean? In my mind, it simply means that a piece of paper does not freedom make. None of us gained freedom due to other men bestowing it upon us. None of us gained our freedom due to men drafting constitutional documents. We gain our freedom naturally at birth, and from that point forward, it is up to each individual to protect it. Freedom can only exist and thrive when individuals understand its importance and defend it at all costs. Not against monsters from abroad as is the opinion of most, but against our own government. No constitution can accomplish this, and any constitution is worthless without the ideas of freedom and liberty living in the hearts and minds of individuals willing to force its compliance. There are some who have the freedom philosophy living in their hearts and minds, but there are very few who are willing to risk all to fight for it. This dynamic will have to change before we again become truly free of this now tyrannical government.

I think the time has come for all of us to reevaluate the meaning of freedom. Freedom comes from within and is natural to the human species. Men cannot give freedom but men can take it away. All government operates by force, and force is the absolute opposite of freedom. Government is never a friend to liberty, so government should be held back and controlled. If some set of rules such as a constitution is the desired vehicle to accomplish order, then those set of rules should not only be strict and limited, but enforced by the people themselves. Without this control, we end up in 2010 America.

The following excerpt from Human Action thoroughly illustrates the antagonism between freedom and government:

It is important to remember that government interference always means either violent action or the threat of such action. The funds that a government spends for whatever purposes are levied by taxation. And taxes are paid because the taxpayers are afraid of offering resistance to the tax gatherers. They know that any disobedience or resistance is hopeless. As long as this is the state of affairs, the government is able to collect the money that it wants to spend. Government is in the last resort the employment of armed men, of policemen, gendarmes, soldiers, prison guards, and hangmen. The essential feature of government is the enforcement of its decrees by beating, killing, and imprisoning. Those who are asking for more government interference are asking ultimately for more compulsion and less freedom.

I will put my faith in God, not men. I will have faith in freedom, not constitutions. Our salvation and return to liberty lies not in faith in men residing in the halls of congress, but in our belief in us as free and sovereign individuals.

September 25, 2010

Gary D. Barnett [send him mail] is president of Barnett Financial Services, Inc., in Lewistown, Montana.

Copyright © 2010 by LewRockwell.com. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.

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When Cameras Are Outlawed, Only Outlaws Will Have Cameras!

by Mark Nestmann
Sovereign Society

If you witness police misconduct and record it as a video on your phone or camera, you won’t be welcomed as a hero. In several U.S. states, you could be subject to a long prison sentence. In recent years, dozens of videos documenting police misconduct have been posted on YouTube. But prosecutors haven’t generally punished the offending cops. Increasingly, they’re arresting the individuals who posted the videos.

The charge? Illegal wiretapping. Yes, wiretapping – what the NSA does with impunity and without a warrant is illegal for us to do when we witness police abuse.

At least two states – Massachusetts and Illinois – make it illegal to record any on-duty police officer in any situation. It doesn’t matter if the officer is in the process of beating someone to death. It doesn’t matter if the recording is in your own home, and the police have just busted down your door in an illegal search. If you record the interaction, you can go to prison.

In ten other states, “all parties” must consent in order for a private person to make a recording of a conversation or personal encounter. Since a police officer acting abusively isn’t likely to give you permission to record the event, if you do so, you could be violating the wiretap statute – and be subject to a long prison sentence.

In Illinois, for instance, a street artist recorded his own arrest for selling artwork without a peddler’s license. He now faces up to 15 years in prison.

Arresting police whistleblowers is a nationwide trend. And the courts approve. For instance, the Massachusetts Supreme Court upheld the conviction of a man arrested for recording a police encounter. Defendant Michael Hyde used the recording to file a harassment complaint against police. Instead, he was convicted of illegal wiretapping. While he was sentenced to only six months of probation, he could have faced a much longer prison term.

Cameras, in effect, are like guns. Point a gun at a police officer and you’ll be arrested. Point a camera at a police officer and you’ll be charged – and likely convicted – of illegal wiretapping.

The fact that wiretapping laws are being used against private citizens is richly ironic, because they were enacted to protect citizens against government oppression. These cases turn that notion on its head because those trying to protect themselves or others from official misconduct ends up being prosecuted.

Since we’re living in a surveillance society where the government continuously monitors our finances, our communications, and our movements, shouldn’t we have the right to turn the tables and, in effect, “watch the watchers?” Yes, but police and the courts disagree.

September 15, 2010

Mark Nestmann is a journalist with more than 20 years of investigative experience and is a charter member of The Sovereign Society’s Council of Experts. He has authored over a dozen books and many additional reports on wealth preservation, privacy and offshore investing. Mark serves as president of his own international consulting firm, The Nestmann Group, Ltd. The Nestmann Group provides international wealth preservation services for high-net worth individuals. Mark is an Associate Member of the American Bar Association (member of subcommittee on Foreign Activities of U.S. Taxpayers, Committee on Taxation) and member of the Society of Professional Journalists. In 2005, he was awarded a Masters of Laws (LL.M) degree in international tax law at the Vienna (Austria) University of Economics and Business Administration.

Copyright © 2010 Mark Nestmann

Can Legalizing Marijuana Save California, Our Republic?

by Eric Blair
Activist Post

America, and especially California, are in dire economic straits.  Their day of fiscal reckoning is coming and it’s not going to be pretty.  Consequently, it has been suggested that something dramatic will have to happen for Congress to pass any form of relief because the American public was bitterly against the TARP and the Stimulus bill.  I’m not advocating another massive bailout for the states, but it seems that if something meaningful is not done soon to restore economic viability to the United States,  it will shatter into a million pieces.

Perhaps a shattering of current systems is what is needed to rebuild local economies with truly free markets. We certainly can’t count on the anti-capitalism mega-monopolies, who have merged with Federal and state governments, to fix this mess and provide for our local well-being.  The economy must grow one town, one city, and one state at a time in a free and organic way.  Incidentally, our Republic was designed to allow this local freedom to govern and grow the economy as they see fit.

// California, because of its rivers of red ink, is the first state making a serious attempt to challenge Federal drug laws by voting on Prop 19 decriminalizing marijuana.  Less than a decade ago, ending prohibition of marijuana would have seemed like a radical idea, but today it seems like a harmless pragmatic solution to an economy in crisis.  Furthermore, the public is beginning to realize that the prohibition of anything we wish to ingest, especially something as mellow as weed, is anti-freedom.

California has already proven that well-regulated medical marijuana markets can work.  It has created jobs, business opportunities, and has helped thousands of ailing citizens who wish to have a healthier alternative to pharmaceuticals. But many pot smokers, dealers, and growers are still considered to be criminals.  Russ Belville of NORML described the current situation as follows:

Most marijuana smokers, believe it or not, are healthy and aren’t comfortable spending money for a doctor to give them permission to use cannabis.  Currently we face a ticket, fine, and misdemeanor drug conviction record for possession an ounce or less of cannabis.  That record prevents us from getting student aid and can cost us our jobs, child custody, and housing, or if we’re on probation, our freedom.  (Even if California succeeds at downgrading possession to an infraction from a misdemeanor, a $100 ticket is a lot of money to some people!)  We face a felony charge if we grow even one plant at home.  For us, Prop 19 is much better than “what we have now”.

Despite the Federal government’s call to halt DEA raids of medical marijuana under Barry “Bong Hit” Obama, they’ve continued to sporadically raid legal medical marijuana grow-ops and dispensaries.  Prop 19 is a major battle for states’ rights as well as for individual liberty.  Decriminalization of weed would be a huge blow to the Federal government — unless of course they finally realize marijuana’s time has come.  It will be very interesting to see how the Feds will manage such a defeat in terms of controlling the flow of legal marijuana out of the state, and their overall approach to enforcing marijuana policy nationwide.

It seems clear that legalizing marijuana will help California’s decimated economy by creating much needed tax revenues, easing the pressure on the expensive law enforcement system, as well as likely creating a massive tourism industry.  It has also been argued by the former Governor of New Mexico, Gary Johnson, that legalization of marijuana will also work to reduce the violent drug wars along the Mexican border that spills deeper into the United States everyday.

So perhaps ending prohibition of marijuana can save California, and indeed solve a few problems at the Federal level as well.  Passing Prop 19 would be a huge win for the Liberty Movement, states’ rights, California’s economy, the border drug wars, and restoring basic sanity to our justice system. It seems like a no-brainer, but will it pass?  With the polls being mysteriously “all over the map” it’s anyone’s guess.

Personally I hate to be this cynical, but I’d wager that no matter what the actual vote is, the powers that be will present a very close final vote of 49% to 51% to the public, a la anything controversial or detrimental to the establishment in the face of public support for pragmatic solutions.  It will be considered an oh-so-close valiant effort — but, sorry, maybe next time. I hope I’m proven wrong and the polls become so overwhelmingly in favor of the measure that the establishment won’t be able to get away with funny business at the polls.

Prop 19 is the liberty and states’ rights battle of our time.  Restoration of our rights has to begin somewhere

The “Ground Zero Mosque” and the Prospects for Liberty

I have to say I agree with this writer. American/Christian exceptionalism has no place in our nation. The attitude christians seem to take against muslims, hispanics and others who have as much right to have the kind of life they choose as any of us, is despicable and completely contrary to The Gospel of The Kingdom.

Muslims did not crash planes into the twin towers on 9/11. a group of radicals did. Hate is a very scary thing. You see the scripture implies that what we hate is what we ourselves become.

As Americans, but especially as believers, we need to welcome the foreigner. In part because we are strangers in a foriegn land ourselves-we are not of this world. More importantly because Scripture commands that the foreigner among us is be treated fairly and kindly. E

by Jacob Huebert on August 19, 2010
The furor over the “Ground Zero Mosque” (which is neither a mosque nor at Ground Zero) doesn’t make me very optimistic about the prospects for liberty.
As a libertarian and just a live-and-let-live kind of guy, I can’t imagine caring much about, let alone vocally protesting, what someone is building two blocks away from me.

Yet apparently many of my fellow Americans are such busybodies that they’ll whine for weeks about something being built hundreds or thousands of miles away from them, in a city where they don’t live and probably won’t even visit. And many of the complainers are among the Tea Party set whom we are occasionally told are “libertarian,” even though they seem to hate Muslims and Mexicans and love war at least as much as they hate the federal government and love liberty.

Jonah Goldberg claims that the conservatives who object “mostly” recognize that the Muslims have a legal right to build their center. But what I hear on talk radio makes me doubt this. A common argument there seems to be that since “liberals” don’t care about the constitution or property rights in general, they aren’t entitled to invoke them now — as though liberals somehow have the power to waive Muslims’ rights.

In any event, even if Goldberg is correct, it’s hard to imagine that the spirit of liberty resides in the sort of people who get so worked up over this sort of thing. The ease with which they’ve been distracted by this issue suggests that reducing government isn’t going to be their top priority once their team is back in control in Washington.

Jacob Huebert is an attorney, a law professor, and the author of Libertarianism Today (Praeger 2010).

Jacob Huebert
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