L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 334, August 28, 2005
Taxation is the fuel of war
Critic-at-Arms: Shudders And Shakes
Exclusive to TLE
In my recent article, "Nehemiah Shudder," I took Dennis Kabaczy to task for comparing Duhhh-Bya to the fabled theocrat Nehemiah Scudder. Mr Kabaczy has responded, but his response is not the below-the-waterline torpedo which he may have hoped that it would be. He starts by showing that he missed a major point.
Mr Kabaczy: "First, he [meaning me] states, "I'll take the "Born Again Christians,""
Me: Actually, no. The first thing that I stated was that those wonderful people who gave us the Tienannmen Square Massacre were atheists. Keep that in mind when you read the rest of this. I am of the opinion that it is a Good Thing (tm) for our leaders to believe that there is a Higher Power. Too many of our Elect Officials clearly believe that, if there is a God, that they are the best people that God could come up with to govern the rest of us.
Mr Kabaczy: "There is evidence, however, that he [Bush] believes he is on a mission from God."
Me: There is evidence that the members of the Continental Congress believed the same thing. The same for Theodore Roosevelt, arguably the greatest of the American presidents. Also Martin Luther King, Jr, For that matter, who among us, having found themselves inexplicably in the right place at the right time to do good for someone else, hasn't felt that God put us there? It doesn't matter who or what we believe God to be, the fact is that the only people who never have this feeling are those whose religious beliefs are that there is no God.
Mr Kabaczy: "Mr. Bush also has introduced "Faith Based Initiatives". This policy of involving religious organizations in the administration of government funded social services has government funding certain religious organizations, as well as dictating to these organizations policies on how the services are to be administrated. Some people may consider this a good thing, but government shouldn't be involved with religion, nor charity for that matter. Do you want your money going to a religion you don't agree with, regardless of the reason?"
Me: Much of my money goes to religions which I don't agree with, because I do business with people who are members of those religions. However, to more directly answer the point, then yes. Who's a better choice to handle charity or aid money, a preacher or nun, or some unionized bureaucrat? When the money is extorted from me, I would at least like it to do the most work that it can.
I also find nothing in the Constitution saying that "government shouldn't be involved with religion."
Mr Kabaczy: "On the second point, that of informants, (TIPS and similar programs) I believe Mr. Wood defeats his own statement. In any crime you need to name the victim and name the harm. As Mr. Wood states, "While the original "We TIP" programs were anti-drug ("We Turn In Pushers"), thus of questionable value, the fact is that there are a lot of times that a tip to the police is a benefit to the victims of crimes. " I don't think anyone would withold information concerning a rape, murder, kidnapping or other violent crime."
Me: This exposes a woeful ignorance of the Real World. An incredible number of people refuse to come forward, for one reason or another, often from fearwhich is why WeTIP was started in the first place (with private funding). Bad guys have bad friends, and in this culture, it is far from certain that the truly guilty will be found guilty, and even if they are, that those who spoke against them will be safe. Aside from the issue of whether the Dope War is justifiable is the fact that the bad guys are dangerous and willing to indescriminately harm or kill others in order to protect their profits.
Mr Kabaczy: "The problem lies within getting the population accustomed to snitching on anything "of a suspicious nature," as you so often hear on the "crimstopper" ads. The Soviets made an art form of this."
Me: I agree with his point here. The real need is for these programs to be in place but governed responsibly.
Mr Kabaczy: "TIA and similar programs. Regardless of how long government has been monitoring citizens, that doesn't make it right."
Me: I disagree. In order to protect the innocentthe one legitimate duty of governmentit is necessary to look for, then keep an eye on, those who wish to harm others. It's the degree of monitoring which most of us would argue about. If your neighbor is setting up a shooting range in his backyard, and refuses to listen to your concerns, then it's appropriate for the government to tell your neighbor to fire in a safe direction with a good backstop. His right to flang that bullet ends where someone else's property begins.
Lives of innocents can be saved by monitoring those who seem to be active threats. I'd be willing to bet that just about anyone on those four airliners would have wished for just a little more monitoring of who was getting on the planes with them.
Mr Kabaczy: "If the Nazi's hadn't had such good monitoring of their population, they wouldn't have sent the Jews to the camps. If the US hadn't had such monitoring of their population, the Japanese wouldn't have been sent to the camps during WWII, either."
Me: While I agree with the sentiment that government shouldn't be deeply involved in the lives of the citizens, devotion to accuracy requires me to point out that Mr Kabaczy is wrong on both counts. The National Socialists didn't monitor the Jews, and even if they had thought of it, the simply didn't have the resources. This is how so many were able to escape.
There was no monitoring of the Japanese-American population, either. If government agents had been watching, they would have known that there was no reason to send them to camps, because they hadn't done anything. Again, it was just bigotry, such as found even today. I recently heard someone tell in a radio interview that the internment was justified because of things like Nisei workers cutting arrows into cane fields on Oahu, thus to guide attacking planes to Pearl Harbor ...the only problem is that this was not true. It was a rumor started soon after America entered World War Twice. As a pilot who has flown over Oahu, I would also mention just how ludicrous it is to imagine that all those planes could navigate directly to that one little island in the middle of the Pacific, but then would be unable to find the southwestern side of the island!
Mr Kabaczy: "Patriot I and II. Again violations of the 4th amendment; as well as potentially the 5th, and the 8th. I understand we are "at war" and I understand we must defend ourselves when attacked. But, when we shred the constitution in an attempt to provide security (which the government has proven it can't or won't do) we advance a tyranny no better (or worse) than that we are opposing.
Me: I was kind of going along with his point of view here, as I am not an expert on the Patriot Acts. However, the "proof" that he offered comes from the ACLU, so that automatically raises the "Bovine Scatology!" flag. Until such time as they give up their viewpoint that the Second Amendment is a "collective" right, they can't be trusted to get anything else straight in regard to the Bill of Rights.
I do find it kind of hypocritical to condemn an attempt to provide security on the basis of government intrusion, then condemn the government for not being willing do what is necessary to provide security.
But let's also note that the tyranny that we are opposing wants us dead, simply for our belief in freedom. You. Me. Mr Kobaczy. That is the goal of the terrorists who have attacked us. It is hyperbole to blithely claim that "we advance a tyranny no better (or worse) than that we are opposing," unless someone has proof that the Bush Administration has similar goals.
Mr Kabaczy: "Censorship. Given that the 1st amendment prohibits, "...freedom of speech or the press..." whether Ms. Jackson's breast was intentional or not is immaterial. Rules prohibiting TV nudity, motion picture nudity, etc. ad nauseum, have no place in a truly free society. All TV's, and radios and all other electronic devices come equipped with a family controlled censorship device called the "power switch."
Me: I'm with him here on his last point, and have said much the same thing to those who demand censorship. The problem here is that people were not given the informed choice not to watchthis was an ambush. It wasn't even an honest mistake. The rules on are pretty liberal, and pretty clear, that you can show whatever you like in a controlled environment, but wide-open airwaves are "held in the public interest" and there are restrictions on what is broadcast over them.
Mr Kabaczy: "Computers may have parental controls. Even Cable has parental controls. TV and radio have channel selectors. Granted Ms. Jackson may have gone overboard, but that should not be a government offense demanding fines of the network."
Me: A control operator is responsible for anything transmitted, whether on a local ham radio station or on a worldwide TV broadcast (we can that the "You Break It, You Buy It" Rule). This is why there are time-delay systems in every live-broadcast control room. CBS engineers are among the highest paid in the industrythat it got onto the network feed, even for a second, indicates that they had been told not to cut it. "You Break It, You Buy It" holds the network responsible, regardless of why it went out.
Mr Kabaczy: "The network disciplining Ms. Jackson due to contract violation is a different story. Government involvement is not and should not be required. Licensing of the airways "in the public interest" basically means if the government doesn't like what you're broadcasting may mean the loss of your license. This means a "free press?""
Me: We are the free press. Here. Online. We are not being censored. However, there is a limit on available broadcasting bandwidth. Prior to the Federal Communications Act, broadcasters, experimenters, hams, military, maritime, government and commercials users were unregulated, and generally acted like it. The Act specified licensing standards, with the understanding that those who provided the greatest service to the public were going to win any contest for frequency allocation. In the case of broadcast TV and radio, there are people just waiting for the chance to take over an assigned channel, because there are usually not any good channels available in major "markets."
In the specific case of Ms. Jackson, if the FCC just let it go, in a year or two there would be "wardrobe malfunctions" all over the place, everyone pointing to the precedent as tacit permission. Instead, the flak that CBS and Jackson have been taking has, if anything, prevented any suggestion of a repeat.
And, really, Mr Kabaczy shoots himself in the foot with this oneor does he think that the Bush Administration likes all of the garbage being tossed around about Duhhh-Bya?
Mr Kabaczy: "Pariahs. If marriage belongs solely in the religious sphere, why do people getting married have to get a civil license?"
Me: A good question. The good answer is because what we currently define as marriage includes certain legal obligations and benefits, for which the license is the registration. There is no good reason to believe that only marriage should provide those obligations and benefits, however.
Mr Kabaczy: "The problem limiting marriage to "one man and one woman" as was recently done here in Michigan, discriminates against non-traditional families. Regardless of what your or my personal beliefs may be, by limiting "marriage" (civilly) to the definition of one man and one woman, many are denied the benefits of reduced taxes, inheritance, insurance benefits, and other factors taken for granted by traditionally married couples. How, by calling a gay union a marriage, is the marriage of any traditional heterosexual couple threatened?"
Me: It isn't. However, there is power in labels, and this one has belonged to man-woman unions exclusively since inception. Take away the label, and most people couldn't care less, according to the polls.
Mr Kabaczy: "Regardless of how religions feel concerning homosexuality, we live in a world where not everyone is religious. As long as the civil contract is adhered to, and any children adopted or otherwise legally obtained are appropriately cared for, why is the adult portion of this family unit not called a marriage? By making the gay union something other than a marriage, they are being made second class citizens who in another time might have to go to the back of the bus, or use separate drinking fountains."
Me: That argument is the equivalent of saying that, since it can't be called "Coke," Pepsi has been made a second class citizen. Marriage is a tradition going back thousands of years, and the word has been around for centuries, always with a fixed meaning. It makes nobody a "second class citizen" to tell them that they can't usurp a trademark, so why should it be any different with a word which has a firm definition?
Mr Kabaczy: "But then again doesn't every tyranny need a scapegoat?"
Me: More hyperbole. We aren't talking about tyranny, nor about scapegoats.
I have no objection to any type of committed union between consenting adults having the same rights (and responsibilities) as marriage. The institution of marriage predates civil registration, and in fact predates the word "marriage," going back to a time when it was solely a religious term. The word has such a high psychological index that it should be left alone. Any other union should be called just that, a union, and let the controversy die off.
Mr Kabaczy: "No, the Bush regime doesn't hold a candle to Scudder's, yet."
Me: Then why did you apply the label, Mr Kabaczy? Why did you force me, in the interest of truth, to defend a Republican (something I generally avoid doing)? There are plenty of true enemies of freedom available to condemn. Some of them would like to kill you, for no better reason than that you aren't slave to their beliefs. I somehow doubt that Duhhh-Bya is of that ilk, and you have provided no evidence that he is.
It seems that you distrust those who are openly religious. You feel safer when surrounded by hypocrites such as "born again" Slick Willie and the adulterous "Reverend" Jesse Jackson, but let someone act like he really believes Christian doctrine, and you are looking for the feet of clay.
Am I a "follower" of Duhhh-Bya? Nope. But I'm not going to stand idly by while someone is unjustifiably smeared, and that's what happened. Bush has done a pretty good job, overall, despite being handed 9/11 and years of hatchet jobs in the legacy media. The press and leftists have even gone after his children, inexcusably violating over 200 years of tradition, all in their desire to do him whatever injury they can.
We, as Libertarians, should be better than that. We are expected to make informed decisions, not blindly follow the herd, chewing our cud and mooing the politically-correct phrases.