From Legal Insurrection:
Archive for the ‘Liberty’ Category
My arabic has deteriorated badly since I last used it, but the words he uses that I still recognize fit perfectly with the subtitles.
I’ve read those who speak it well say it’s all pretty much a correct translation.
The preface to this is an article in Salon:
Why are there no libertarian countries? If libertarians are correct in claiming that they understand how best to organize a modern society, how is it that not a single country in the world in the early twenty-first century is organized along libertarian lines?
Short short answer is tyrants, and enabling of tyrants.
It’s the reason why there are still monarchies ruled by hereditary kings, dictatorships, and countries ruled by warlords in the 21st Century. If we were to look at other countries as examples, then one rapidly finds there are plenty of regimes across the world that, by their existence, then must be “better” by this standard.
It’s not as though there were a shortage of countries to experiment with libertarianism. There are 193 sovereign state members of the United Nations—195, if you count the Vatican and Palestine, which have been granted observer status by the world organization. If libertarianism was a good idea, wouldn’t at least one country have tried it? Wouldn’t there be at least one country, out of nearly two hundred, with minimal government, free trade, open borders, decriminalized drugs, no welfare state and no public education system?
Here’s the problem – a peaceful libertarian state would have to overthrow its old government or have it dissolve. Or it would have to be left alone. Or throw off its old government and be left alone on the other side of an ocean.
The United States for roughly the first hundred or so years of the nation was a libertarian nation. It was a Constitutional republic formed on classic liberal ideas from the enlightenment – the value of the individual and the rights of the individual. One country did try it, and it succeeded wildly.
Kowloon is one more modern, (if bizarre) example, and it worked, despite being in an area not known for libertarian ideas. Until China destroyed it.
The welfare state and public education are both schemes cooked up by those who wish to be masters of men – types like Bismarck in Germany who decided that he would bring people closer to the state. The state that he ruled.
Criminalization of drugs is a decision by rulers to tell people how to live, and impositions on trade are attempts by government to steer economies.
As far as open borders go, no libertarian nation can survive truly open borders, and few libertarians actually want open borders. A nation without borders is not a nation. A nation without borders is subject to the political whims of migration as new arrivals bring old ideas and change the political landscape. You can’t invite in tyrants as full partners into a libertarian world any more than a monarchist could invite a follower of Robespierre.
When you ask libertarians if they can point to a libertarian country, you are likely to get a baffled look, followed, in a few moments, by something like this reply: While there is no purely libertarian country, there are countries which have pursued policies of which libertarians would approve…
He didn’t ask someone who understands what they believe and why. (As a fun contrast, if you ask someone why they voted for Obama, you’ll get some much more interesting answers.)
And from here the pro-collectivist anti-liberty hit piece descends mostly into drivel. Why? Because leftists don’t understand other points of view. Those who wish to conserve American liberty (Constitutional conservatives, classic liberals/libertarians, and more open-minded traditionalists, even) understand the left, the left does not understand the right.
Lacking any really-existing libertarian countries to which they can point, the free-market right is reduced to ranking countries according to “economic freedom.”
Wholly, totally, completely wrong. The US up until the advent of socialism’s import around the 1900-1910s is the libertarian country.
And to the “Achilles’ Heel” by EJ Dionne at WaPo:
The ideas of the center-left — based on welfare states conjoined with market economies — have been deployed all over the democratic world, most extensively in the social democratic Scandinavian countries. We also have had deadly experiments with communism, a.k.a Marxism-Leninism.
The Scandinavian countries have been having some major problems with their welfare state as of late. They also prospered, like all of Europe’s socialist paradises, under the protection of the US’s guidance of NATO. Otherwise, they’d have all been Soviet satellites, or starved from defense spending to prevent the Soviets from invading.
Libertarians can keep holding up their dream of perfection because, as a practical matter, it will never be tried in full. Even many who say they are libertarians reject the idea when it gets too close to home.
Wrong. It already has been tried, and it succeeded wildly.
The problem is that a truly libertarian state has to acknowledge that it is a libertarian state, and it does have to make sure its people understand that the benefits of their society come from their freedom. Politicians who serve decades in power are not eager to tell people that they need to live without the politician.
There used to be politicians who were leaders and who would stand up for the fact that the nation is one created in liberty. For example – Democrat Grover Cleveland, discussing giving federal disaster aid:
Federal aid in such cases encourages the expectation of paternal care on the part of the Government and weakens the sturdiness of our national character. . . .
– President Grover Cleveland
Such men existed, and such do exist, but it requires breaking the collectivist nonsense that has been spouted for decades and decades by both tyrants who spout it as a means to power, and individuals who bleat it as a means to security at the expense of their own liberty and dignity.
Those who desire to encourage paternal care, or even coercive paternalism and government force against the citizen, actively desire to weaken the sturdiness of national character, because it makes it easier for them to put themselves in power.
But Dionne lines up another swing that misses the point.
…tea party members, as the polls show, are older than the country as a whole. They say they want to shrink government in a big way but are uneasy about embracing this concept when reducing Social Security and Medicare comes up.
They payed in to a system they were forced to pay into. Government took from them for decades “on their behalf”. There’s a reason they aren’t keen on shedding programs they paid into. But younger Tea Partiers would be willing to forgo so-called “Social Security” and live free with the extra money they have – investing it as they wish.
But this inconsistency (or hypocrisy) contains a truth: We had something close to a small-government libertarian utopia in the late 19th century and we decided it didn’t work. We realized that many Americans would never be able to save enough for retirement and, later, that most of them would be unable to afford health insurance when they were old.
Wrong. “We” didn’t decide that. Politicians decided that. Politicians acting outside the scope of the Constitution – in violation of the Constitution – went out and created a program out of whole cloth. Politicians who promised security told people to trade their liberty, and it worked because the politicians created crises they knew they could exploit. Politicians worked to weaken the national character for their own ends.
And when the Great Depression engulfed us, government was helpless, largely handcuffed by this anti-government ideology until Franklin D. Roosevelt came along.
And here is the great fiction again. The Great Depression was caused by the New Deal and FDR. FDR exacerbated what would have been a jarring market correction, but a market correction nonetheless. He and his retreads from the Woodrow Wilson administration decided to “mold the world nearer to their heart’s desire” by exploiting a crisis they helped to manufacture.
The weakness with libertarianism and the end of the libertarian United States was through the expansion of politicians willing to give people things “for free”. It was a cultural weakening of national character. Things like the Curley Effect may be effective, but it’s also destructive.
It just means that a formerly successful nation can be destroyed through manipulation and political dealing. Just like an athlete can be laid low by a disease, it’s not necessarily the athlete’s fault.
The reason the United States succeeded was because people understood why it succeeded in large part. The yeoman farmer took pride in his nation, and did his best for that nation, and understood the makeup of that nation. The welfare recipient who’s been told for generations that their nation is the worst in the world and that it owes them doesn’t care to defend it.
Individual character matters, and individual character creates an free nation. Individual character that succumbs to collectivism and the misery it produces will create a collectivist nation.
Much of this nation is still libertarian, and succeeding wildly. Part of this nation is collectivist, and seeking to destroy the rest and control it.
A friend of the blog sent this news story a few days back – from the UK Register:
Plans for fully 3D-printed gun go online next week
The Liberator pistol causes political panic
Defense Distributed, the pending non-profit that plans to make 3D-printed weaponry available for anyone with such a printer, will release the blueprints for a fully-working plastic firearm next week.
The UK Register is pretty open about their bias in the story, which they at least try to make funny, but it’s on the level of McNugget jokes. But they do point out that Democrats have never seen anything they don’t wish to control.
“Security checkpoints, background checks, and gun regulations will do little good if criminals can print plastic firearms at home and bring those firearms through metal detectors with no one the wiser,” said Congressman Steve Israel (D-NY) in a statement.
“When I started talking about the issue of plastic firearms months ago,” Israel said, “I was told the idea of a plastic gun is science-fiction. Now that this technology appears to be upon us, we need to act now to extend the ban on plastic firearms.”
HotAir today has a story citing that ol’ Chuck Schumer, who’s never met a ban he didn’t like, and demands total control over you groveling peasants who need to kneel before his Ruling Class dictatorial power – because it’s what’s good for you – also wants to ban it.
Should we light our hair on fire about plastic guns made with 3D printers?
Too late for Senator Charles Schumer. The combustible New York Democrat is encouraging hysteria over the prospect of criminals using 3D printers to manufacture firearms, possibly to assassinate the president. “We’re facing a situation where anyone—a felon, a terrorist—can open a gun factory in their garage ,and the weapons they make will be undetectable,” Schumer said. “It’s stomach-churning.”
Bloomberg’s own people don’t care about actual criminals, though:
…If you’ve got the skills, you can already make a gun in your basement, and there are less complicated ways to do it than using a $10,000 3D printer and computer set-up. Why would bad guys bother making comic book firearms when they can go online and order anything from a Glock 9 mm pistol to a Bushmaster military-style semiautomatic rifle with 30-round ammunition magazines?
Perhaps the evil doer wouldn’t want to leave a credit-card trail. Then he pays cash at a Main Street gun shop, a weekend gun show, or to the criminal down the block who sells black market firepower from the trunk of his car. Or the crook steals or borrows his gun.
Point being, ban real guns first. Get the “dangerous ones”, then ban all the rest.
The plastic Liberator pistol is a very interesting thing, and not just in its mechanics.
Perhaps the most interesting is what’s in the name. A Russian professor of mine that taught Chekhov explained that Chekhov’s names always were indicative of the character; and names are often very, very important. Going a very long way back in history, true names were a method to power over someone – either due to knowing someone and being able to identify them in a time before pictures, or out of a very early belief in names as a form of magic. Here, too, in a very fascinating way, the name was chosen for a reason, and is very indicative of what this pistol really represents.
Here with the plastic Liberator, we have all that liberty and liberation connotates, that this will free the information and free the people to have the tools to arm themselves against tyranny. We also have its historical antecedent, the FP-45 Liberator pistol:
It was made on the cheap, and made to be distributed to resistance fighters.
It had abysmal accuracy, but the purpose of the pistol was very specific.
It was made to shoot occupying forces up close and personal. It was made to shoot Nazi dictator thugs at extreme close range.
Some computer geeks at The Verge yammer on about the convergence between “crypto-anarchists” and guns, but for them, history doesn’t exist before the Palo Alto labs, apparently.
Cyberculture icon Stewart Brand’s famous notion that “information wants to be free” has been an almost ubiquitous refrain ever since utopian-minded hackers began populating computer networks in the 1980s. Today, 3D printing has given the phrase a whole new meaning, allowing raw data to become real world weapons with the click of a button. Cody R. Wilson, the antagonistic founder of Defense Distributed, is taking that idea to its logical — and hugely controversial — extreme.
Except it’s not an extreme at all…
(DefCad’s) his reasoning, he claims, isn’t really about the Second Amendment at all — it’s about technological progress rendering the very concept of gun control meaningless.
“It’s more radical for us,” he told Motherboard in “Click Print Gun,” a recent mini-doc about the dark side of the 3D printing revolution. “There are people all over the world downloading our files and we say ‘good.’ We say you should have access to this. You simply should.”
If this all sounds very similar to the good gospel spread by Brand and advanced by progressives and activists like the late Aaron Swartz, you’re hearing it right. But even without the context of Wilson’s operation, firearms and freedom of information share a strangely similar history, an oft-overlooked ideological confluence between hackers and gun advocates that seems to be gaining momentum.
Except it’s not extreme at all, as guns existed well before computers…
If you go back before 1934, there were no restrictions on guns except if you were black or another wrong color/status. There were restrictions on people, and that’s what was understood. Guns aren’t dangerous, criminals are dangerous because they don’t restrict themselves to any laws or social mores. Guns weren’t dangerous to the people in power, freed black former slaves with guns were dangerous, because guns are tools of power. Today, as then, it’s not the guns that are dangerous – Schumer and his ilk are surrounded by security with guns and send their kids to schools with guns and will come after you with guns – it’s you being armed that’s dangerous to his power. Guns are just a tool, as they always have been.
Guns used to be made by smiths, but anyone with access to some basic tools and a bit of skill can make them. Zip guns have been made out of virtually nothing for decades. Submachineguns are relatively easy to make, and some famous SMGs were even made in facilities as simple as bicycle shops.
The next leftist dictator-tyrant argument is then to control ammo and powder, which has a few major flaws. Namely, their enforcers use them, and their enforcers provide criminals with guns and ammo, so the criminal argument goes right out the window. Of course it isn’t about criminals, it’s about making you into a criminal so they can tell you how to live and make you live the right way. It’s never about the guns, it’s about the control. Components to make ammunition aren’t impossible to come by, and conventional ammunition is only needed once – until an armed instrument of the state has his tools liberated.
The entire concept of homemade guns isn’t extreme. Going back a few decades, not only could you buy a machinegun by mail, no matter who you were, but you could build whatever you liked. There was a great heyday of gun manufacturing in the early 20th century before regulations started becoming overwhelming. John Moses Browning was designing his greatest works in the early 20th Century – from pistols to machineguns, many of which are still in use today. Consider that the M2 heavy machine gun is something that’s been in service for nearly 100 years. It’s not that there aren’t more designers for weapons with better ideas, it’s that government regulations have limited the marketplace and made it more difficult to experiment. Government has stalled technological development – developments that used to be made in mechanic shops when designers and engineers and skilled craftsmen got together and designed new tools.
There were virtually no regulations or restrictions on firearms for a hundred years or more, with the exception of those laws meant to target blacks, American Indians, and other specific groups that the majority wanted to oppress; and a few local laws.
Defense Distributed to some degree is just bringing things back to how they were for generations. Before, the government trusted citizens and so it didn’t restrict citizens, soon, the government simply won’t be able to restrict citizens; and if they do restrict enough, there will be tools of liberation available.
From CNS News:
Twenty-nine percent of registered voters think that an armed revolution might be necessary in the next few years in order to protect liberties, according to a Public Mind poll by Fairleigh Dickinson University.
That’s somewhat substantial.
The survey asked whether respondents agreed, disagreed, neither agreed nor disagreed or did not know or refused to respond to the statement: “In the next few years, an armed revolution might be necessary in order to protect our liberties“
Pretty clear statement.
Results of the poll show that those who believe a revolution might be necessary differ greatly along party lines:
18 percent of Democrats
27 percent of Independents
44 percent of Republicans
That’s very substantial. Consider that only about 3% was historically necessary.
Made a few waves in the media, too.
Tags: Ted Cruz