THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 79, July 3, 2000
Letters to the Editor
Send Letters to TLE@johntaylor.org
So there are 20,000 gun control laws already on the overburdened books. I should have known. As my sainted mother said, "Politicians pass laws the way hens lay eggs!" Since a majority of politicians appear to male (I could be wrong), my mother could have been a lot more -- proctological.
Renata Amy Russell firstname.lastname@example.org
P.S. Say high to El Neil and all the gang of contributors. Great Magazine!
P.P.S. You may edit this letter, throw it away, pass it around the office, etc. But don't give it to the Federales. Heavens to Molly Pitcher, they might think I don't like them.
Think of the these three professions: FBI agent, Secret Service Agent and Police Officer. You think of power, good pay, good benefits, long term careers, prestige and respectability.
Now think of these three: Private Investigator, Bodyguard and Security Guard. You will most likely conjure up an image of low pay, marginal benefits, temporary work, thankless job, marginal respectability and lack of authority (or power).
Yet when you strip away the governments monopoly on effective personal protection, the job descriptions in the two sets look remarkably similar.
The Secret Service, with all its high tech hardware, communications linkages, escort and response teams and automatic weaponry are nothing more than glorified versions of ordinary bodyguards. If anything, their jobs are easier because they have much more ability to restrict access to their "principle" and much greater ability remove "potential threats" from the area. Granted, there are more people who may what to harm their "principle", but bodyguards of ordinary people don't have the sweeping powers that the Secret Service does.
Police perform the exact same function as security guards. They just do it over a large region rather than a small piece of property. And of course, they are allowed (by their employer) to use far more force than most employers would dream of allowing a security guard to use. By their employer I mean the government, anyone who actually thinks they work FOR the people they pretend to serve probably is having a heart attack reading this publication.
FBI agents do the same thing as a private investigator, they just do it with an unlimited budget. They also are allowed to use far more force than a private employer would condone. And if you disagree with that, then tell me ... when was the last time a private employer had 83 men, women and children burned to death? Or authorized a PI in his (or her) employ to use automatic weapons and tanks to raid the domicile of someone they were investigating?
Law enforcement has made its non governmental counterparts look shady and disreputable to keep the competition down. And they have even come to believe that their jobs are somehow vastly different. That's why they can never back unregulated carry. Whether it is concealed or open, they all know deep in their hearts that those are the only jobs that would be left open to them if it was implemented on a widespread scale.
Have you seen Sunni's and my new project?
Mebbe we could do a banner exchange, or help promote each other's publications in some way...whatcha think?
Don Lobo Tiggre email@example.com
[I think it's a GREAT idea! -- ed.]
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Doing Freedom! (http://184.108.40.206/) is an online 'zine that will be premiering this week. As the name implies, it is about doing freedom. Our articles focus on how to create more freedom in your life, whether it's from a government that is too intrusive, or from restrictive economic policies, or from personal habits that keep you from living the kind of life you want.
Doing Freedom! offers practical information, from people who know what they're writing about. They'll tell you what worked and what didn't for them, and in many cases, they offer links to good information sources so that you can begin your own research easily.
We cover a wide variety of topics, including youth and international issues. Our goal is to provide valuable information to anyone who values and wants more freedom, anywhere, no matter what age or location.
We feature art that's freedom-oriented -- fiction, music, cartoons, and other graphics. Classified ads put you in touch with other freedom-loving people with goods or services to offer (or desired), creating a network of exchange that is outside the taxing authority of the state. Exclusive commentary from well-known individuals -- Claire Wolfe, Vin Suprynowicz, and Patty Neill are among them -- is a regular feature you'll likely enjoy.
A preview edition of Doing Freedom! is already up, and we invite you to browse it and give us feedback. You're invited to forward this e-mail announcement to anyone you know who might be interested, and to link to the DF! home page (http://220.127.116.11/) from your Web site.
Thank you very much for your time,
And keep Doing Freedom!
Sunni Maravillosa firstname.lastname@example.org
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It is well known that there are drugs which can produce an apparent heart attack.
Dr Peter Wilhelm email@example.com
[WHO IS CARLOS GHIGLIOTTI? -- ed.]
I want to thank every contributor to this forum. I look foreward to reading it, now every week. I have over the years developed into a libertarian and have reconciled it with my spiritual faith and find they support each other. I also find, as I speak with others about political philosophy, that most people are actually deep down libertarians. In this light we just need to find a way of "liberating" them to concious thinking about libertarian ideals. Used to be I would flail into arguments about rights and gun control. Now I know you cannot force logical thought upon those who have their minds made up before the facts are brought to light. Evidence of this was the (supposed) Million (mis-informed) Mom March (stand up?).
I was driving around Fort Worth on Saturday and passed a compact car that had a 6" x 6" sticker on the back window of a handgun (looked like a ruger .22) with the universal red circle and slash through it. Well of course it doesn't take the moron red neck to define this. But I thought it takes a moron to display it on their car. At first the anger flaired up (well she was the enemy after all), but then I calmed down and felt sorry for her. The more I thought about it, I wished for an opportunity to meet with her. I developed a dialogue of my side of the conversation. I wouldn't even bring up the debate about gun control.
I would say "Miss, might I have a few words with you about your bummper sticker?"
"You know I understand your meaning behind the sticker and emotion that goes with it, even though I cannot fathom the logic. But I don't want to get into a debate with you about gun control, human rights, safety, accidents or suicides or homicides with firearms. In fact I want to help you if you will allow me. I want to prevent you from becoming a statistic. I don't think you realize that you have painted a target on your back. You have advertized to one and all burgulars, theives, car jackers, rapists and murderers that you are a willing victim. Do you for a second believe that any of these type of people give a rats ass about your personal space or your human rights and will respect you for your gun control stand? If I were a bystander at the time you will be assaulted I would willingly pull out my firearm to protect your life as well as your rights, but I will most likely not be present at this event. Considering this fact, I am at this time recommending to you, no, I plead with you, remove this sticker. For one thing it will not change my mind for I have thought long and studiously about arms and the rights of men and doubt seriously it will change the mind of anyone else who does'nt already have an opinion. Therefore all this sticker does is make you a target and a future victim. I am just trying to save your life. Take it for what it is worth."
To all my fellow libertarians, if you see this sticker displayed, you may be able to save a life. Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups.
Keep the Faith
Dear Sirs and Mesdames:
Why are there hardly any women authors in your fine magazine? I counted one this year, and she co-wrote the lone article with the help of a man.(Claire Wolfe and Charles Curley, more power to them!) I think I can answer this by pointing to a tabloid one can pick up at the local minimart. "Edwardo Furioso" (not his real name) in the "Weekly Weird News" (not the rag's real name) states that "women are scared of guns" (his exact words).
We are born with only two instincts -- fear of heights and fear of loud noises. Which (as I imagine El Neil's dear friend, Lucy Gallegos Bear, exclaiming) is why we have skyscrapers, fireworks, bungee jumping and rap music.
Women can learn to overcome their fear of guns by learning about them, practicing with them, and buying them. But back to the female author disparity. Where are they?
Renata Russell [We used to have lots of articles written by women -- don't know
what happened to them. -- Webmaster]
[We used to have lots of articles written by women -- don't know what happened to them. -- Webmaster]
There are very important messages that the Drug War today sends to many American "youth" which it targets with advertisements and "educational" programs in school. The programs to encourage students to turn others in for drug use are reminiscent of the "the Spies" club described in 1984.
Message 1: WAR IS PEACE.
The drug war somehow makes America more peaceful. The constant battles between the police, the thefts caused by inflated drug prices, the murderers and rapists set free to make room for innocent marijuana smokers.
David Friedman said: "There was a time when most Americans were opposed to legalizing wine." H. L. Mencken said it much more forcefully: "There is no underestimating the intelligence of the American public." People are actually swallowing this! I'll blame public education for much of it, but I'd like to see thoughts on this from people other than me.
Message 2: IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH.
Big Brother's ultimate tenet against thoughtcrime, American children, supposedly, are encouraged not to think about the drug war issue. "JUST SAY NO!" the ad council blares out of television screens. No debate, no argument, no reason. Instead of arguments against drug use, there are "ways to say no" programs. "JUST SAY NO!" scream the banners and ribbons of right -- thinking students in school. Anyone who doesn't sign the (petition ?) that says "I will stay drug free." is immediately questioned by "authorities." No "I'll think rationally about what actions are best for me," just "I'll do that."
Great. Get millions of children to sign it by pressure, then feel liars when they experiment with drugs.
Message 3: FREEDOM IS SLAVERY.
The freedom to choose what to do to ONE'S OWN BODY is not a good thing. Let politicians decide for you. But if you ever use drugs, prepare! You will never be able to get off. A whiff of marijuana smoke, and your life's ambitions are dashed.
You're not intelligent enough to choose! Let politicians choose for you! Then, exercise your civic duty and vote in more politicians who vow to keep "drugs" illegal. The F. D. A. will decide what drugs you can use, and is therefore good. Never mind the life -- saving drugs that are not available to people that then die for eight years, and the drugs the are OUTLAWED.
There is to be no discussion of whether or not the F. D. A. has incentive to give true reports. There is not to be mention of competition. Adam Smith really proved creeping socialism the best government.
I have never used drugs, and have no plans to. I'd mention romanticizing drug use by illegalization, but I'm a bit physically tires. I have no plans to use drugs. Anyone who cannot understand the damage that the drug war is doing probably doesn't have any brain to damage.
Joshua Freeman firstname.lastname@example.org
The letter to the editor by Rick Trentham makes a very good case, in my opinion. I would like to see further discussion on the pros/cons of this topic. If by some chance this organization comes into existence, I personally would be willing to donate $1000 to it.
I would also like to reply to a couple of the other articles, specifically, the ones reifying the LP and the Harry Browne campaign. The first was a letter to the editor by someone called Rick. In this letter, he states that he knows that some things Jacob Hornberger stated in his attacks on Harry are true, but he can't prove all of them and he can't disprove others. The thing that struck me about his letter was that there were NO listings of specific things that he saw as wrong or improper, even the ones he said he knew were true. Whatever the truth of the NON-SPECIFIED dealings of LP or the Harry Browne campaign, Jacob Hornberger was EXTREMELY out of line in writing the letter to the FEC, pretending to be "just a concerned citizen, making sure you know that my neighbor (whom I happen to not like) might be doing something wrong, so please put him in jail for me." Since he claims to be a libertarian, running to the government when things aren't going like he thinks they should, just like every other Republicrat and Demoblican out there, just doesn't ring true to me. The ONE specific thing I have heard from ANYONE in this whole "Lets all hate Harry, and the rest of those old geezer's" group, was when the other candidate for LP chairman tried to tar and feather David Bergland for the fact that his wife was reimbursed for expenses she incurred during the previous presidential campaign. I don't know about you but when I go on trips for my company, I pay all the expenses and then put in for reimbursement after the trip and I don't see that anything was wrong with what she did. If you expect someone to run up their credit cards and go into debt to help you out, then declare that you don't have to pay them back because they should have done it out of the goodness of their heart, you'll soon find that there won't be very many people willing to help you out ever again. Even El Neil, of whom I have read nearly all of his books, seems to have fallen into the trap of calling certain people, whose names he won't mention, bad names, for reasons he won't specify. If you are going to metaphorically beat up on someone, at least specify the reasons, INCLUDING PROOF, and let those listening/reading decide for themselves who is right, who is wrong, or whether both or neither have a leg to stand on.
The second article I would like to comment on, "The LP and the Lie", states that the big lie is that there is, or will ever be a chance for a libertarian running for president to have a statistically significant impact on the American public. His first basis for this statement is that because it has never been done before, it never will be done. If that were the case, he should probably invent a time machine so that he can travel back to the days of the American Revolution. He could tell our founding fathers that they should just give up and accept the fact that there have always been Kings ruling us, and there always will be, and that one tiny little set of colonies have absolutely no chance of changing the world. His second basis for this is that even trying to make an impact through the presidential election process leads to the "dumbing down" of libertarian ideas. My response would have to be: so? As long as there are a core of people who understand and are willing to work towards the ultimate goal of no or minimal government, it doesn't matter if 50% of the people don't understand the logic behind it except to know that it makes their life better.
I would guess that at least 70% of the American public have NO CLUE why, or even how a computer (or radio, or electric lights, or a jet engine, or anyone of a million different things) does what it does, yet they are willing to accept and use them, because it helps them by making their life easier or more entertaining, etc. Not everyone buys a computer for all the different things it can do; some just want to use it for e-mail, some use it to help them perform research, some use it to play games, some use it to help them run their business, and on and on. Just as with a computer, people have different reasons for liking liberty such as: they want to be left alone, they don't like taxes, they like guns, they want to be able to say what they feel, they want to worship as they wish, etc. Trying to FORCE them to accept ALL of the premises and consequences of the libertarian philosophy at once, or not at all, just doesn't work with most people.
To paraphrase Michael Cloud in his speech at the Advocates for Self-Government anniversary conference, "The Liberty Store", trying to force someone to buy Gun Rights when they are interested in Free Speech or Gay Rights when they are interested in Freedom of Religion doesn't result in very many sales of any kind. Offering them something related to their primary concern usually works a lot better. If I go into JC Penny to buy a pair of pants, the salesperson might be able to interest me in a shirt to go with it, but insisting that for them to sell me the pants I must also buy a dress or a purse, say, will probably instead simply result in no sale. It is possible to gradually lead people in the direction you would like them to go, but trying to force them to go there usually results in them instinctively rebelling and then intentionally rejecting any further attempts to guide them.
On a different note about the method of campaigning, which is also raised, all I will say is the presidential election is not a surprise. It happens every 4 years. If someone is really serious about campaigning properly, there is absolutely no reason why they cannot prepare in advance, especially with the processes of raising funds, organizing the campaign staff and volunteers, etc. From what I have seen, this is the first time that someone in the LP has actually done that, as opposed to suddenly realizing, "Hey, the presidential election is in 4 months. Hurry, find someone willing to run and lets try to scrape together some money to run with." As far as the fact goes that all the money raised by the Harry Browne campaign has been spent, I would have to say that it is the PURPOSE of a presidential campaign to raise money, to be SPENT towards the purpose of getting that person elected. If the campaign can't find enough ways to spend that money raising name recognition of the candidate, and of the party if need be, then they aren't doing their job, especially if they are not getting the free publicity given by the major media to the two halves of the party in power today. As far as Mr. O'Brien's complaint that Harry Browne didn't emphasize rights, the way Mr. O'Brien thought he should, I would like to remind him that Harry came to the libertarian philosophy through the work of Andrew J. Galambos, not Murray Rothbard or Ayn Rand. I've read the book "SIC ITUR AD ASTRA" based on the V-50 course Mr. Galambos taught, and his derivation of the libertarian philosophy is not based on the philosophical theory of rights proposed by Lord Acton but on the scientific method. It does, however, still lead to the same conclusions, which is all that matters. As far as Mr. O'Brien's complaint that a "cabal" is running the LP, David Bergland is not running for re-election as LP Chairman, and announced that long ago. If you are so concerned, why aren't you running?
I read with interest Rick Trentham's ingenious idea of offering rewards for the conviction of felonious officials. I applaud his efforts and hope that they will encourage further thoughts along these lines. However, I regret to say that I find his scheme somewhat naive. Like many another Libertarian proposal it implicitly assumes that politics is a game played by rules. It isn't. The only rules in politics are Hama rules (Hama was a city that revolted against the late President Assad of Syria; he didn't waste time negotiating; he just destroyed it; so a complete statement of the Hama rules is: "there are no rules"). Politicians and bureaucrats crave power, power without responsibility, power to act with immunity, arbitrary power. There is nothing they will not do to maintain it.
Specifically, Trentham's Foundation would certainly be "illegal". By this I mean that (one way or another) the government would declare it an unlawful conspiracy and act accordingly. The precise legal tactics are unimportant ("conspiracy to pervert the course of justice", perhaps, or "conspiracy to bring the government of the United States into disrepute", "contempt of court", or "violating Federal Postal Regulation No 123456789"); the foundation would simply not be permitted to function.
Even if it were possible to demonstrate that the foundation violated no law (and almost everything violates some regulation or other nowadays), this would no more secure its survival than the Bill of Rights can secure your rights against the government now. If it were otherwise, there'd be no need for any such foundation.
Nor would this suppression be entirely unjustified. The whole idea is prejudicial to the rule of law and procedural justice. It would promote and reward malicious prosecution and false witness, and the persecution of an unpopular minority. True, the minority in question is often guilty of far worse offences against the rule of law than this, and I fully sympathise with Trentham's determination to bring the malefactors to book, but two wrongs don't make a right.
Will the foundation's money overseas be safe from seizure? Hardly. In the first place, officers of the foundation can be ordered to disgorge all assets, on pain of unlimited imprisonment without trial for contempt of court (arguing that the foreign and domestic foundations are separate organisations would be futile, since their common purpose would be self-evident). Alternatively, the US Government can coerce the foreign banks in question to hand over the money (small and independent countries, like the banana republics and offshore tax havens, are too weak to defy US threats, whilst the Great Powers, like the UK, are in the present political climate almost certain to cooperate freely -- because in this matter their interests coincide).
Staffing the foundation with close relatives of persons "murdered by the police" not merely "killed by an officer in the line of duty" would probably constitute a criminal conspiracy in itself. Unless a court of law has already proclaimed a given killing unlawful (and there are very few such cases), calling it murder would be a serious libel. Who is to judge? That aside, people with a grudge against the police are not noted for their trustworthiness. Most are criminals themselves.
Then, too, would people really be willing to donate heavily to such a foundation? I very much doubt it. And accepting money from abroad would probably count as treason.
Suppose I'm wrong, and the foundation were permitted to operate. Would it do the job? I think not. Politicians and pressure groups would themselves make use of the foundation against their political enemies (dirty tricks of this sort are not uncommon even now); but by and large it would be the political heavyweights and the ruthlessly corrupt who would survive, and the honest reformers who'd be ruined.
It would even be possible for the government deliberately to arrange the conviction of its own people, claim the rewards, and then, having sucked the foundation dry, quash the convictions, openly boasting of its success against the public enemy.
In the last analysis, if the foundation's activities ever proved a serious threat to the political establishment, Congress would simply pass a Statute of Immunity, granting freedom from prosecution for any acts committed by any agent or officer of the United States in the furtherance of his duties or for the period of his office.
I could easily criticise Trentham's proposal in more detail; I could point out further holes in his arguments; I could even patch some of them up (for example, by using encryption over the internet instead of relying upon a chain of vulnerable attorneys). But the bottom line is that those with the power won't relinquish it and won't hesitate to change the rules so they come out on top.
If we are ever to reverse political encroachment upon our freedoms or the rise of the bureaucratic police state we will need methods that cannot readily be nullified by a stroke of the pen or shattered by the butt end of a rifle. I am not sanguine about the chance of success in our lifetime.
I just read John Trentham's letter detailing his idea for the 'Just Rewards Foundation' and I wanted to add to what I'm sure will be a flurry of letters in support of the concept. Hey, how can they object? After all if they're doing nothing wrong they've got nothing to hide(that sounds familiar doesn't it?). I did have a few thoughts on the subject and here they are: The foundation should have a posse of lawyers working on behalf of the victims that can swoop in after the trials of these government criminals to sue the pants off of them and the government for violating their civil rights. See putting these guys in jail for a few years just isn't enough, I want to take their homes away and garnish their wages for the rest of their lives. Part of the proceeds of these settlements would go to the victims and part to the foundation to pay for future rewards.
Furthermore, while Mr. Trentham's proposal only covered evidence of criminal wrongdoing I'd like to expand it to include just plain old embarrassing dirt on high elected officials. The higher the official, the juicier the dirt, the more odious he/she is to our Constitutional rights the higher the reward. Got compromising pictures of Chuck Schumer with farm animals? We want'em! Got a recording of that liberal senator who's the height of pc-ness when he's in front of a camera using the N word 5 times in one sentence? We pay cash! Been sleeping with that married 'family values' candidate that keeps voting for 'sensible' gun control? Make sure to collect a DNA sample and come on down cause we pay top dollar!
The message to all the politicians would be clear: If you're going to mess with the Constitution you better be so clean you squeak, cause if you're not we'll find you out and air out your laundry in such a way as to maximize damage to your reputation. With big a bonus going to the tipster that forces a politician into retirement.
I'd like to respond to a couple of points by various authors....
First, Alex (email@example.com) said this:
From TLE #73 I conclude that Mr. Bates (aka "Minority Mike") has no clue about the concept of rights. His statement "Listen up, Elian Gonzalez is an illegal alien, he HAS no rights in the United States!" clearly reveals so.
To which I reply: easy there, Alex. While your libertarian passion is appreciated, the fact remains that Mike's statement is not very far from being an accurate statement of the current state of the law in the United States. (A brief perusal of any textbook on immigration law will reveal this.) While we may lament the fact that this is so, I didn't see anything in Mike's writing that indicated that he was applauding the current state of affairs.
Then, Curt (Howland@Priss.com) said this:
Is there a lawyer (gag spit) who reads TLE, or someone with the requisite knowledge to find an attorney for such an endevour?
To which I reply: well, gee, Curt, there probably are. But why should we waste our time on assholes who think they're being clever by pissing all over us?
And then Richard Bartucci (firstname.lastname@example.org), in an otherwise pretty straightforward argument with Neal Horsley, couldn't avoid the usual gratuitous references to the "tort law insanities we suffer in this country," and to the "rapacious members of the American Bar Association."
To which I reply: you might start by noting the comments to Curt above; I'd love to know just which "tort insanities" you think you're talking about. And for the record, I'm not an ABA member, not because I'm not concerned about the bullshit that the "tort deformers"--the useful idiots of the multinationals and especially the insurance companies--are trying to peddle, but because the ABA folks tend to be liberal Demopublicans and Republicrats, and they give me THE WILLIES (for all you John Irving fans).
But you do say something of substance, and of interest, that I would like to addess:
"If you don't vociferously object to what's constantly being done to real pariah groups in this country -- like NAMBLA..."
Now, I've read a little bit about Neal Horsley. However, since his website is down, I'm not sure whether or not he is advocating acts that would take suppression of his site out of the realm of simple "censorship."
NAMBLA, however, may indeed do so.
I had an opportunity to check out their website a couple of years ago. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I seem to remember that they were openly arguing the sanctity of the act of adults tail-gunning very young children.
Now, in order for them to advocate this, and not call it rape, it would seem that they would have to argue that young children are capable of "consent," as that term is legally understood. (BTW, I just checked--their site is back up as of 00-06-25; go to http://www.nambla.org/boys.htm and read the essays by the 11 year-old boys about how grand it is.)
But if they're capable of consent to sex, then aren't they capable of consent to buy the wares of a heroin dealer? Can they not consent to gamble? And be held fully responsible for what happens? And if so, then their parents can certainly decide not to support them, and throw their asses out on the street, yes? That would certainly bring down the price of anal sex....
This is what we're calling ourselves First Amendment warriors for?
A while back, Dave Doctor at Libertarian Rock, an advocate of youth emancipation, published this:
>Vote for Libertarians who will repeal the drinking age and allow
And I replied:
What do you mean, "teenager"? After we Libertarians repeal the drinking age, you think I'm gonna waste good booze on some dried-up, washed-out, over-the-hill TEENAGERS?
No way, man! I mean, repealed is repealed, right? Not just moved down to whatever age your mores can stomach! We've already established, during our earlier exchanges on this subject, that you don't think there should be ANY lower limit on the age of consent for sexual activity; why have any lower limit on the drinking age? So I plan to take MY booze and get a couple SIX year olds to "consent" to gettin' good and likkered up so they can CONSENT to lettin' me buttfuck them!
And I got a bet with a good buddy who's four years old (gambling used to be illegal, but we Libertarians fixed that, and now even little kids can consent to become lifetime debtors) that even a TWO year old, once you get them to "consent" to huffin' enough hooch to "consent" to fall into a coma, won't scream hardly at all, even with full anal penetration. Course, sometimes they don't wake up, but what the hell! They made the decision; they can live (or die) with the consequences.
Right, Dave? Jesus Gawd, I'm glad that a true visionary like yourself is speaking for the Libertarian Party now, and not some repressed old reńctionary like me!
- -- -
I have nothing to say about Neal Horsley one way or the other. But I don't think that one has to speak up for NAMBLA to get any credibility as an advocate of First Amendment rights.
(And keep in mind that the issue here isn't sexual orientation -- I'm a very vocal advocate of gay rights for adults, and I did the AIDS ride myself last year, 600 miles on a bicycle in a week to raise money for research -- it's the preservation of childhood.)
I'm not arguing that we should just castrate the sons of bitches and be done with it. But if it was my child that had "consented" ... that's what I'd do.
President for Life
Life Member, Provisional NRA
email@example.com (personal email)
Speaking as a member of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America's principal prey species (I'm a family physician), any "references" I might make to the tort law insanities we suffer in this country should be received as well-considered and in no way "gratuitous." I have not only successful experience as a defendant in professional liability cases but I've done case review for a malpractice insurance carrier, I've helped organize expert witness testimony in other cases, and I've served as an expert witness myself.
The tort law system in the United States (and in the several states) IS well characterized as an insanity -- and such characterization is charitable in comparison to what might otherwise be said of the damned thing. It is mired in proceduralism at the cost of sound, lucid, and honest consideration of factuality. Its evidentiary standards have been eroded by the acceptance of "junk science" on a par with verifiable, scrupulously confirmed and methodologically sound scientific inquiry. It is infested with influence peddling, "old boy network" collusion, and a sustained, pernicious "redistribute-the-wealth" sensibility which which makes the expression "justice system" an exercise in the sick joke school of humor.
So much for your "love to know just what 'tort insanities'" I was thinking about when I made that not-at-all-"gratuitious" comment. Get ye hence to Peter Huber's Web page (http://www.phuber.com), and most particularly consider his 1988 book Liability: The Legal Revolution and its Consequences ( http://www.phuber.com/huber/liab/lia.html). Also worthwhile is Olsen's The Litigation Explosion. Or just attend any physician group's medical jurisprudential risk reduction seminars and listen to the cautionary tales recited by the MD/JD lecturers therein.
I find Huber's work the most cogent examination of the history of what U.S. trial lawyers -- aided and abetted by law review editors, judges, and law professors -- have done to destroy contract and elevate tort law into an all-consuming Godzilla of a monster over the past half-century. If you're not aware of this history, then I suggest that you get up-to-speed on the subject pretty goddam fast.
As for the matter of NAMBLA and freedom of speech issues, welcome to the taste of your other foot. As an egregious example of that which tests the principles (as opposed to the visceral and unthinking urge to punish) of reasonable, intelligent people, NAMBLA is absolutely perfect. If such "pariah groups" are free to voice their contentions, then so is everybody else. Moreover -- as the precedent-minded graduates of law schools are so fond of invoking in their professional activities -- if it is established that people who voice an urge to "just castrate the sons of bitches and be done with it" (as you'd said you'd do if your child were to have consented to sexual intercourse with an adult member of NAMBLA) have the right to censor (or completely silence) such expression, then how long will it take for some staunch advocate of the Drug Wars (or Social Security, or some other government buy-the-vote program) to shut down the Cato Institute, blow up the Foundation for Economic Education, or ensure that Peter McWilliams dies of AIDS?
Whoops! They just did make sure that Peter McWilliams would die of the complications of his Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, didn't they? Well, at least they didn't castrate him first.
Familiar with the "slippery slope" concept, counsellor? Gee, I kinda thought you would be....
As for the issue of a person below the "age of consent" (however it might locally, arbitrarily, and otherwise senselessly be set) and his/her actual ability to determine consequences and make a choice with as much validity as a "legal adult" might bring to a similar situation, I leave you to consider that there are minor children who:
(1) are awarded medals for risking life and limb to rescue people in danger (or join in armed combat as serving members of the military in a manner "above and beyond the call of duty," as have youngsters like John Clem -- who was promoted sergeant for meritorious performance on the battlefield at the age of 12);
(2) engage with spectacular success in commercial activities (the superbly libertarian movie Kidco was based on an actual series of events);
(3) routinely sire or give birth to children (how many 13-year-old girls have you delivered, counsellor?), which is the biological definition -- sine qua non -- of physiological adulthood;
(4) are considered by the Roman Catholic Church to be capable of committing mortal sin -- which, if left unshrived, condemns the soul to eternal damnation -- at age 7.
Not that I'm the religious type (as my correspondence with Mr. Horsley indicates quite well), but if the Curia holds that they're able to send themselves to hell before they've finished third grade, I should think that there's reason to seriously consider the possibility that they might safely engage in mutual masturbation and suchlike before they're of an age to be permitted the sale of their vote in a public election.
Your attitude toward NAMBLA's freedom of speech -- and, incidentally, your prejudices anent the ability of minor children to make decisions which will impact upon their lives as grievously as do the incursion of gambling debts, the consumption of alcoholic beverages, and their participation in sexual activities with adults (or even just kids their own age) -- reveals that you apparently don't have any sound appreciation of the validity of reasoned argument (the use of NAMBLA as an egregious example, for instance, and not necessarily as a measure of support for the group; I could've just as readily used the Ku Klux Klan, except that NAMBLA tends to bring out the flaming idiot in susceptible individuals).
Also revealed, it seems, is that you're caught up in blind legalisms as you enter discussion on the subject of the minor child and his capabilities "in real life." You don't appear capable of consciously acknowledging those capabilities and proclivities (articulated by Heinlein as "When they're gonna, they're gonna"), and thus suffer under a self-inflicted incompetence to offer reasoned argument on the subject.
The one thing that a physician cannot afford is denial of factual reality. Trapped in a world of legal insanity, however, the "President for Life, Libertarian Trial Lawyers Association," appears to be decoupled from anything but semantically dubious artifice, precedents reeking of double-dealing and political chicanery, statutory law created in a complex of federal and state Bismarckian sausage-factories, and the decisions of juries expressly selected for their members' inability to reason inquisitively, objectively, or logically.
Or so it is readily possible to surmise.
Richard Bartucci, D.O. firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for your post, Jim. Glad to hear from a reader.
I am no expert, but I am a chronic allergy sufferer... I am not sure about the white blood cells themselves, but, yes the body over produces antibody agents (phagocytes I think) and overreacts to otherwise normal events.
This however is not really the case in the above mentioned action. Police officers initiated the violence. These people where bystanders on their own land. These officers took the stand that "if I tell you to do something then you had better do it no questions asked." There is a definite "little people" attitude there.
On the other hand ... should the analogy you bring up be true; then all the more reason to question the training and disciple of a standing police force. An allergic reaction is an abnormal reaction. Remember, the sufferer of the allergy is feeling pain from NORMAL events that others feel no pain from. In many cases an allergic reaction is life threatening leading to anaphylaxis and death. I know that I have spent nearly a million dollars in my life time to fight such reactions that reduced my childhood to a sunless sheltering in climate controlled gilded cages.
If the police are reacting to these citizens as an allergic reaction, then it is time for the desensitizing injections and the regular doses of antihistamines to dull the reaction and save the patient. Otherwise this over-reactive self-defense system will kill the very body it protects.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
After Action Reports,
June 28, 2000 (Boise, Idaho) The 50 Million Round March [www.50mrmarch.com] announced today an initiative to raise significant funds for various second amendment activities. The initiative will involve the creation and sale of an "After Action Report" for each 50 Million Round March event which will include a full color cover of the logo from the respective event, an introduction and mission statement, full color pictures of participants from around the nation (from the 50 Million Round Photo Gallery provided by Sierra Time [www.sierratimes.com]) and verbal testimonials from around the nation.
In support of this initiative, the Maadi-Griffin Company [www.maadigriffin.com] has announced the contribution of a Model 89, all stainless steel, .50 cal BMG rifle to help promote these "After Action Reports". Customers will be eligible, at their sole discretion, to enter a free contest for this rifle, which will also include a Harris bi-pod, a hard carrying case and a Springfied Generation Two 4-14X56 Range Finder Scope. The Springfield Scope is being donated by Frozen Dog Ridge Firearms of Emmett, Idaho.
In commenting on these developments, Jeff Head, the priniciple organizer of the 50 Million Round March said,
"We want to provide a high quality product to those who participate in these events which they can use to commemorate their involvement in this effort to retain our 2nd amendment rights. We also want to provide something that can help raise funds to support many ongoing 2nd amendment organizations and activities across this nation."
Bob Stewart, of Maadi-Griffin, in commenting on the endorsement of, and contribution to, the 50 Million Round March, said,
"We at Maadi-Griffin endorse the 50 Million Round March and are contributing to it because it is focused on getting people active in supporting and defending one of their most important and cherished rights, as enumerated in the 2nd amendment. Those rights are under constant assault and as a result, multitudes of laws, taxes, regulations and administrative rulings directed at law-abiding citizens are causing our Constitution to hang by a mere thread. A grassroots effort of massive proportions is called for to buoy up the Constitution and bear it to safety. At Maadi-Griffin, we view the 50 Million Round March as a significant step in that direction."
Mr. Head also announced today his intention to particpate in the July 4th 50 Million Round March event in Elko, Nevada so that he can attend the Shovel Brigade's [www.stopfedlandgrab] demonstration regarding the Jarbidge Road in Northern Nevada. In commenting on this, Mr. Head indicated,
"It is incomprehensible to me, that the Federal Government would reach into the lives of the common people in Elko County and shut down one of their county roads. It is incomprehensible that the elected county commissioners of this area are being rendered powerless to reopen and maintain a road that has been recognized as a county road in this area for upwards of one hundred years. The "Shovel Brigade" event at Jarbidge to reopen this road, and to garner the support of thousands of Americans to assist, is truly a modern day "Boston Tea Party". In my mind, it embodies the spirit and commitment of the founders of this nation when they faced similar usurpations in their own day."
July 4th will be the second in a series of five 50 Million Round March events targeted at energizing the gun owner community to political action in defense and support of their 2nd amendment rights. Each of these events will be held on an annual basis. The effort has been endorsed by over 160 different web sites, organizations and institutions, and is being carried out at private and public gun ranges around the country.
Please note: Organizers of the Fifty Million Round March event are scheduling talk radio interviews for July. Any interested parties are requested to direct inquiries to Joanie Fischer email@example.com
For more information, please visit www.50mrmarch.com.
A petition I am thinking of circulating, whaddya think?
Marylanders! Take back your rightful home!
The land that the District of Columbia currently squats upon came from the State of Maryland. The land was granted by our state in order to form a city that would be the capital of a great nation.
I submit to you, we have not gotten a fair deal. The District has become a festering boil on the bottom of Maryland, it snarls our traffic and makes our roads impassable, but most importantly, I have strong reasons to believe that many of the scum sucking politicians who feed off the pollution in the Potomac are making their way into our suburbs. Act now, before this festering plague of statism infects your neighborhood! Take back what is yours by right!
Therefore, I offer this solution. When the Puerto Rican community refuses to let the United States Navy continue to test fire weapons on Vieques any longer, the bombed out and abandoned test range seems to be a perfect home for the United States government. Within a year, the native islanders will be begging to be shelled again, and then we will have solved two problems at once, by simply not informing the government of the resumption of live fire exercises.
To this end, we the undersigned affix our signature:
1) The land originally granted for the purpose of the formation of the District of Columbia is hereby reclaimed and shall be assimilated within the state of Maryland.
2) The city no longer being in existance, the nations capital is ipso facto no longer located in the District of Columbia. As much of the city as is possible shall be plowed under and returned to the swamp it was orginally, and then turned into a large zoo -- the kind that generates revenue by charging admission, as opposed to the revenue devouring zoo which is currently installed therein.
3) The future location of the nations capital shall not be within 500 miles of the borders of the State of Maryland.
We've hosted the bloated tick long enough. Its someone else's turn.
Jonathan R. Taylor Schattenwurm@aol.com
I have noticed that some (but not all) people care more about animals than other people. So why haven't PETA and the ASPCA denounced the acts of cruelty to animals at Waco and Ruby Ridge? I am only asking.
Renata Russell, Signatory firstname.lastname@example.org