The Militant Libertarian

I'm pissed off and I'm a libertarian. What else you wanna know?

Saturday, May 01, 2004


I hope Thursday's post, given two days to sink in, has done so. Now for something a little lighter:

At one time in my life, I thought I had a handle on the meaning of the word "service." "The act of doing things for other people."

Then I heard the terms:

  • Internal Revenue Service

  • Postal Service

  • Telephone Service

  • Civil Service

  • City/County Public Service

  • Customer Service

And I became confused about the word "service." This is not what I thought "service" meant.

Then today, I overheard two farmers talking and one of them mentioned that he was having a bull over to "service" a few of his cows.

SHAZAM! It all came into perspective. Now I understand what all those "service" agencies are doing to us.

Have a wonderful day, and I hope you are now as enlightened as I am.

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Thursday, April 29, 2004

Lest We Forget...

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Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Even Blind Old Ladies Terrify The Cops

Sunday, April 25, 2004

She was 71 years old.

She was blind.

She needed her 94-year-old mother to come to her rescue.

And in the middle of the dogfight -- in which Eunice Crowder was pepper-sprayed, Tasered and knocked to the ground by Portland's courageous men in blue -- the poor woman's fake right eye popped out of its socket and was bouncing around in the dirt.

How vicious and ugly can the Portland police get? Ladies and gentlemen, I think we have a winner. This 2003 case is so blatant, the use of force so excessive, the threat of liability so intimidating that the city just approved a $145,000 settlement.

But all those gung-ho fans of the cops can relax. Nothing has changed. Nothing will upset the status quo.

The cops aren't apologizing.

The cops aren't embarrassed.

The cops haven't been disciplined.

And the cops are still insisting, to the bitter end, that they "reasonably believed" this blind ol' bat was a threat to their safety and macho culture.

Eunice Crowder, you see, didn't follow orders. Eunice was uncooperative. Worried a city employee was hauling away a family heirloom, a 90-year-old red toy wagon, she had the nerve to feel her way toward the trailer in which her yard debris was being tossed.

Enter the police. Eunice, who is hard of hearing, ignored the calls of Officers Robert Miller and Eric Zajac to leave the trailer. When she tried, unsuccessfully, to bite the hands that were laid on her, she was knocked to the ground.

When she kicked out at the cops, she was pepper-sprayed in the face with such force that her prosthetic marble eye was dislodged. As she lay on her stomach, she was Tased four times with Zajac's electric stun gun.

And when Nellie Scott, Eunice's 94-year-old mother, tried to rinse out her daughter's eye with water from a two-quart Tupperware bowl, what does Miller do? According to Ernie Warren Jr., Eunice's lawyer, the cop pushed Nellie up against a fence and accused her of planning to use the water as a weapon.

Paranoia runs deep. Into your life it will creep. It starts when you're always afraid . . .

Afraid and belligerent. "Cops have changed," Warren said. "When I grew up, they weren't people who huddled together and their only friends were the cops. You had access to them all the time. You weren't afraid of them."

What did Police Chief Derrick Foxworth have to say about the case? "This did not turn out the way we wanted it to turn out," Foxworth said Friday. "Looking back, and I know the officers feel this as well, they may have done something differently. We would have wanted the minimal amount of force to have been used. But I feel we need to recognize Ms. Crowder has some responsibility. She contributed to the situation."

Granted. But Eunice was 71. She was blind. That probably explains why a judge threw out all charges against her and why the city, in a stone-cold panic, settled ASAP.

"This was like fighting Ray Charles or Stevie Wonder," Warren said. "It wasn't a fair fight."

No, but it was another excuse to haul out the usual code words about the cops' "reasonable" belief that they were justified to use a "reasonable amount of force to defend themselves."

If you have a different definition of "reasonable," you just don't understand the Portland police. You need to remember the words of Robert King, head of the police union, defending Officer Jason Sery in the March shooting of James Jahar Perez:

"What sets us apart from people like most of you is that you'll never face a situation in your job where -- in less than 10 seconds -- the routine can turn to truly life-threatening," King wrote. "When that happens to us, when we have to make that ultimate split-second decision, we don't just ask for your understanding, we ask for your support."

She was 71 years old. She was blind. She was lucky, I guess, that these cops -- set apart from people like most of us -- didn't make the usual split-second decision and draw their guns.

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Mysticism VS Rationalism

Mysticism VS Rationalism

by Cat Farmer

Religion adopts two distinct and diametrically opposed forms: inwardly or outwardly focused, or "prophet versus high priest." Religious hierarchies have generally considered the living prophet the most dangerous of rebels because prophets expose the deceits and pageantries of outwardly focused religion. The visionary draws prophetic ability from within himself, perhaps from his imagination (Aldous Huxley or George Orwell, for example). A prophet who ostensibly draws inspiration from intercourse with a divine spirit (Jeremiah or John the Baptist) simply exerts authority over himself: he shears the veils of illusion woven by priests and politicians who wish to exert lordly authority over the masses. The prophet's keen observations, humble garments, and simple admonitions contrast starkly with the obtuse mumbo jumbo, ritualistic or regulatory hoopla, and pretentious attire of haughty priests who aim to gain authority, control, and wealth through confusion, superstition and intimidation.

Rationalism, like mysticism, appears to take opposing forms: one benign, and one that I consider treacherous. A person appropriately makes rational decisions on his own behalf, in light of his knowledge and experience, and exercises individual autonomy. However, if I apply my individual rational processes as a standard to judge the rational processes of other autonomous people I attempt to substitute my own inward authority as an unhealthy external surrogate for the inward authority of others. Religious and political strife appear primarily to arise from this insidious type of subtle, largely invisible aggression. read more click here.

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Were the Founders Libertarian?

Were the Founders Libertarian?
by Tibor R. Machan

In the fall 2001 issue of The National Interest, Francis Fukuyama writes in response to my brief statement of the meaning of the term “natural rights,” namely, that “properly understood, [they] are liberties, spheres of personal authority within which one does as one judges fit-even if it may be unwise, imprudent or cowardly-and others must gain entrance by permission. Fukuyama responds that “Mr. Machan's point is, as I understand it, that the United States was founded on what we would now label libertarian principles. This is simply not true: most of the American Founding Fathers believed that virtue was necessary for a successful democracy, to the extent that many believed that the states (though not the Federal government) had a right to establish religious belief. Most would almost certainly have disapproved of individuals consuming pornography in the privacy of their own homes. We have moved toward what Michael Sandel labels "procedural liberalism" in which the state takes no interest in virtue or individual ends only in the second half of the 20th century. I am in fact a supporter of classical liberalism, at least of the Tocquevillian variety, which implies the need for certain values beyond the bare-bones procedural institutions to guarantee the possibility of ordered liberty.”

I return to this exchange because it comes up often when conservatives discuss the American founding. It is their customary theme that the Founders were really not interested in human liberty but rather in instilling virtue in us all. Both Fukuyama and these conservatives are wrong. read the rest, follow this link.

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Monday, April 26, 2004

Grand Western Conference II Report

Originally written at 10:00am (give or take), now re-edited for completeness and to include promised photos.

Well, I'm back. We got in late last night. I'm currently guzzling coffee to try and keep awake while I catch up on four days of emails and whatnot.

We had a great time. While the conference itself was dubiously useful, the people we met and the fun we had was well worth the trip.

First, how we got there: my friend Fran (his blog is at this link) was invited to the Grand Western Conference last year (GWC) and was again invited this year (GWCII). He in turn invited myself and our mutual friend Dale. So all three of us piled into Fran's pickup truck and drove up to Montana with our camping gear... I should probably mention that we're all over 250 pounds each... Big guys crammed into a pickup. It wasn't as bad as it could have been, I guess. We could have tried to pile into MY truck, which is about 1/2 the size. :)

We stopped the first night in Ennis, MT, and found a fishing tackle/guide/outfitter with camping spaces on his property. We got fishing licenses and stayed there for the night. It was COLD!

We then continued on to Three Forks and the conference.

If you're ever in Three Forks, MT, I highly suggest you spend some time in the Sacajawea Hotel bar (hotel pictured to left) and say "hi" to Mary, the bartender. She's hilarious. Make sure to mention that Aaron from Utah told you about the bar-rag chicken and ask her to show it to you. It's hilarious.

Three Forks is a cool town - no stop lights, one cop (very nice), and generally nice people all around. We invaded the town with a group of about 75 people (probably doubling the town's population:). Events were held in a building directly across from the hotel.

Many of the panels were pretty lame. For instance, the panel about "real estate" and finding a place to live (officially titled "Jobs, Business, and Real Estate") was heavily inundated by pro-Montana (vs. pro-Wyoming) people and was chaired by a real estate broker who obviously had a conflict of interest... It sounded more like a sales pitch than it did a free state west panel.

There were a couple of incidences like this that were a little disconcerting (lots of people running for office spoke as well). However, the networking and meet-and-greet aspects of it were well worth the trip.

There were freedom-minded people from all over: Canada, Illinois, Colorado, Montana, Wyoming, California... Pretty great to meet all of these people. We did some great socializing, discussing common interests, and drinking... :)

As an added bonus, especially since we were skunked fishing, the town had their annual wild mustang drive through downtown Three Forks! This was pretty cool. A couple hundred head of horses were driven through town, escorted by cowboys, the town cop, etc. Aweful cool. I was going to include video of this, but the video inadvertently caught faces of some people who probably don't want themselves posted on the 'Net. Oh well. Here's a photo at any rate.

On whole, the conference itself was kind of a waste of time. Nothing new was really talked about there and I'm sorry, but a room full of libertarians will never come to agreement on anything without hours of argument over where commas, semicolons, quotations, etc. need to be. Luckily, this conference had a fair share of "doers," something unusual in a group of libertarians (who are usually just thinkers with no action).

Despite the lame setup, it was worth going anyway. The people that were there and the great interaction (especially between panels, over lunch, and in the evenings) made it worth going. Lots of great people with awesome ideas. Most of us seemed to agree that Wyoming was the place to go (thanks to Boston T. Party's thorough research and arguments).

Some quick highlights of the event:

** The initial confusion about check-ins, conference fees, etc. on Friday afternoon. We had been told registration began at noon. It started at 7:00 pm, though they were late with that as well. Whoda thunk?

** General fun and comraderie as people began to talk to one another and learn who we are and what we're about. By the way, Montana has good beer.

** The horse drive on Saturday.

** J.J. Johnson's standing up of the event, thus leaving a wide-open door for ignoring a couple of hours of the event (since their ad-hoc replacement was a "discussion" of what the free state west's "slogan" should be...libertarians {rolling eyes}...I suggested "Freedom, not Free Shit"). Most of the dweebs stayed inside to discuss this while the rest of us went out and had a good time socializing and (of course) drinking.

** Mary the bartender and her great attitude and fun nature. She made the bar fun despite the fact that they didn't serve hard alcohol.

** The Booze Hounds - a band that played at the event Saturday night. Pretty good stuff considering how new they are. They made me forget about the asshole government apologist I'd argued with in another bar in town earlier (causing me to lose my hard-earned buzz, that SOB).

** One of the attendee's home brew. Some of the best beer I've ever had!

** The final event where we all broke into discussion groups by state of choice: Montana or Wyoming. Over 80% of the room was at the Wyoming table. HA!

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