Archives for posts with tag: coercion

Philadelphia Dec. 23. 1791.

I would rather be exposed to the inconveniencies attending too much liberty than those attending too small a degree of it. — Thomas Jefferson

A friend posted on Facebook about the Oklahoma State Question 788 legalizing marijuana per doctor’s note. I had commented about the legal prohibition forcing me to be responsible for the harm caused by the law.

I was camping for a few days, so now I’m able to take time to write a bit. We Oklahomans vote on the matter tomorrow (26 June 2018).

To be blunt, I oppose all legal prohibitions of vices. If there is no victim, there can be no justification for laws criminalizing the action. (Rationalizations and mental gymnastics should be employed for liberty, not for coercion.)

I’m using the word vice to mean actions that are reasonably called bad, even harmful to oneself, and perhaps, by extension, hurtful to ones loved-ones. I mean actions that are done willingly, even if unwisely, with malice toward no one. That is, if I abuse a substance, I will likely harm myself, but I’m not doing it with malice. I don’t intend to harm anyone, even if the end result will hurt those who care about me. On the other hand, there are natural crimes where my actions intentionally, or at least directly, harm someone else. The most obvious is murder.

It’s a hell of a thing, killing a man. Take away all he’s got and all he’s ever gonna have. Will Munny (Clint Eastwood’s character in Unforgiven.)

If I may use “natural crimes” to mean that which victimizes at least one other, and vices to mean that which harms no one directly except the doer, then perhaps I can be clear.

I first must set forth my consideration of law, any law, every law. When I consider whether a law is justifiable, I use this criterion: If someone was about to violate the law, and if I had a gun to the would-be criminal’s head, would I be willing to say, “Stop, or else!” If they persisted, would I be willing to pull the trigger?

If the law they are violating is life, if the perpetrator is about to commit murder (a natural crime), or inflict grave injury and harm, then, yes, I could suppose I’d be willing to pull the trigger, and I suppose I would be justified.

If the law they are violating is texting while driving, or smoking a joint, no. Don’t be absurd. Of course not. Yet, we have the laws.

Sure, driving while intoxicated or negligently distracted is dangerous, but it is not intentionally malicious. If someone is negligent along such lines, we have reasonable and justifiable liability laws. We hold them accountable.

Someone might object that a negligent driver may accidentally take a life as a result, and liability and reparations cannot bring back the dead nor satisfy the bereaved. Certainly, but let us consider the natural and often likely extreme; if law-enforcement attempts to apprehend the negligent driver (for citation or arrest), the driver may refuse to comply, and it doesn’t take much for someone to die in such circumstance. A high-speed chase is too often fatal. A “criminal” who objects to being criminalized for a vice often becomes belligerent, and, far too often, such situations end in someone dying.

In many instances, our protection is merely hypothetical. How can we justify proactively coercing someone to protect a life, when the coercion itself is an evil act and very well may result in loss of life. Life for life in the abstract is not justifiable. Life for life can only be justified when the threat of death is clear and imminent. Even in war, it is morally reprehensible for me to take the life of an enemy combatant who is clearly attempting to surrender.

Here is the point I hoped to make on Facebook regarding State Question 788 and the decriminalization of marijuana if a doctor signs off on it. The Law currently criminalizes the possessor or seller of a naturally grown plant. Said criminal is subject to all manner of force and coercion at the hands of law enforcement officials. I cannot justify sending our police to enforce such unjustifiable laws. Our police are armed, and they are trained to use force, even deadly force, to uphold the law. Whether the law is justifiable or not, I am literally responsible, given that is our system, and in it, I am the authority and basis of the government. The government rules by my consent. If I consent, I am responsible.

As Thomas Jefferson pointed out, I am much more willing to deal with the problems attendant to too much liberty. I do not have a clear conscience if I am responsible for too little liberty. I am responsible, in our society, here in the USA, here in Oklahoma, if our government is, in fact, tyrannical. I will act in legal, civil, and voluntary ways to increase liberty and to minimize tyranny. I must make a legitimate effort to repeal unjustifiable and unnecessary laws. I must support decriminalize of drug use, even if it is only halfway.

The same goes for immigration, but that is not the topic here. We must have constraints on immigration, but our laws are too restrictive, and worse, too complicated and hard to enforce. Many of our laws are based on fear. Many of our laws are based on favoring some at the expense of others. That is tyranny, and it is wrong.

I hope my point is clear. I oppose prohibitions on vices because I find the prohibitions more immoral than the vices prohibited. I oppose prohibitions on vices because such prohibitions require our police to enforce unjustifiable laws. Further, unjustifiable laws result in unfair enforcement and unfair judicial practice because mercy and justice cannot be consistently considered. Further still, excess laws, unjustifiable or simply unneeded, push our police beyond their warrant. Excessive laws force our police to overextend, increasing their risks unjustifiably.

Specifically, how many police have died because of a marijuana arrest? How many times have drug raids and drug enforcement deprived a more worthy use of police capabilities?

Again, all of this is my fault, our fault, collectively, because we vote for it. We don’t bend the ears of our legislators and peacefully persuade them to repeal the unjustifiable laws. We don’t vote them out and install representatives who will listen.

Prohibition of vices causes more harm than good. Prohibition of vices is more immoral than the vice.

We have the example of alcohol. Of course, it is different. Yet, it is simply a vice. Many people, good, bad, innocent, and otherwise, died trying to prohibit alcohol in our country. We have many problems associated with alcohol. Many people suffer, and many people die. Yet, we don’t cause it. We, collectively, are not responsible for suffering and death resultant from free choices of free people. Our responsibility ends with our innate obligation to love our neighbor as ourselves. I have a simple obligation to my neighbor, my relative, my friend, who has a problem with addiction, or whatever, in so far as I care about them and want the best for them, within my capabilities.

Passing a law and sending the police to enforce it is not the same; it is not a way to fulfill my obligation to love my neighbor. It is coercion, and coercion is evil.

Coercion, being evil, is only justifiable when the coercion enforced is obviously less evil than the harm prevented. By obvious, I mean a clear and imminent harm.

Again, I stand with Jefferson. No doubt, there are problems associated with decriminalizing drugs, but the problems of liberty are not immoral. The problems caused by coercion are immoral. Let us all choose to stand for liberty. Let us all honor every individual as self-sovereign. Let us all refuse to coerce.

 

 

 

But hatred is best combined with Fear. Cowardice, alone of all the vices, is purely painful—horrible to anticipate, horrible to feel, horrible to remember; Hatred has its pleasures. It is therefore often the compensation by which a frightened man reimburses himself for the miseries of Fear. The more he fears, the more he will hate. And Hatred is also a great anodyne for shame. To make a deep wound in his charity, you should therefore first defeat his courage.

Screwtape to Wormwood, per C.S. Lewis

Mr. Gornoski has hit it.

I add my agreement. I add CS Lewis:

“When the time comes to you at which you will be forced at last to utter the speech which has lain at the center of your soul for years, which you have, all that time, idiot-like, been saying over and over, you’ll not talk about the joy of words. I saw well why the gods do not speak to us openly, nor let us answer. Till that word can be dug out of us, why should they hear the babble that we think we mean? How can they meet us face to face till we have faces?”

Faces. We all have one, and only one, even if we try to present more than one. The gods, our God, only knows the one face. Each of us must present our truest face as truly as we are able, and we must each consider the face of our neighbor, be it black, or any other color. Be it gay, addicted, prostituted, abused, rich, powerful, humble or proud, we must face each other openly and equally.

We must speak in truth. We must try to understand. Sure, we need tolerance to ensure we only bounce, that we don’t break, but we need so much more. We must try to understand, and we must walk in love in the understanding.

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Who among you will carry out the next act of violence against your nonviolent neighbor? We cannot hide behind the veil of the voting or jury booth. Face to face, we must make our choice.

Source: Law Has Become the Anonymous Violence of the Crowd | Foundation for Economic Education

What is socialism, even in the ideal, if not state-enforced charity?

1“Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.

2“Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 3But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

Is not this a direct injunction directly from the mouth of our lord against socialism?

 With socialism, not only does our left hand know what our right is doing, but so does half the government.

 Forced charity, forced humility, is worthy of no accolades.

Regarding a bullet list about prohibition that my daughter shared Facebook:

http://www.history.com/news/10-things-you-should-know-about-prohibition?cmpid=Social_FBPAGE_HISTORY_20151205_295901407&linkId=19331652

The fact is, we are free. Also, coercion is evil.

We need some laws for civic tranquility, but mostly, we must count on people to behave according to good order.

Also a fact, the state wields power from the barrel of a gun. We need to consider all laws with this simple test: “Am I willing to force people to obey this law at gunpoint? Further, am I willing to pull the trigger if they don’t?”

Make it personal. Understand the logical conclusion, and consider it.

Is this or that law worth me taking a life over? Your answer should be no for nearly everything.

I’m still reluctant to legalize drugs, but our current status is broke. When something is broke, we must fix it. I see no alternative to legalization. Sure, there will be new problems. Overall, I’ll take the problems rather than participating in the evil of coercion.
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We are all someone’s daughter or someone’s son.
How long will we look at each other down the barrel of a gun.

Some will recognize that line from “You’re the Voice”, written by John Farnham.

Rebecca St. James recorded it,


But Farnham sang it earlier, and at least as well.

A market is a place where individuals can meet to cooperatively interact, voluntarily, as individuals. The Market is the same. It simply facilitates the cooperative actions of individuals. It cannot be personal. It cannot have objectives. It is simply the mechanism whereby individuals do what individuals agree together to do. What’s not to like?

The gravest sin of humanity has nothing to do with equality or inequality, it is simply coercion. If I force you against your will in anything, I am a grievous sinner, having sinned against you, against your Creator, even against all humanity and what being human means.

GARY M. GALLES writes for FEE.org here, http://www.fee.org/the_freeman/detail/papal-indulgences-and-impersonal-markets, and he takes the Pope to task for anthropomorphising the market.

Sure, the market is impersonal, but it doesn’t exist except for the individuals that participate in it. There is no snowstorm if there are no snow flakes. There is no market if there are no individuals. There is no morality except in an individual and in recognizing each individual’s God-given uniqueness and worth.

It is simply a fact that no external force can truly control an individual. Each individual must exercise self-control and act morally in all. It is a heart issue. When all participants in any interaction act morally and with integrity, then all benefit. Not only does each get a fair (though unequal) slice of the pie, the pie gets bigger. The market helps facilitate the right actions of each individual, but it is the individual heart where it starts, or it cannot happen. Out of the corrupt heart, flows only corruption.

Noteworthy quote, “Restricting markets does not mean that what would take their place would be caring, personal relationships—it may well be abuse of others by governments (as so dramatically demonstrated by our past century’s experience). Overriding the voluntary arrangements people create for themselves means depriving them of their liberty and forcing them into collectivized alternatives they do not choose. That in no way guarantees a more loving or caring society. That cannot be created by force.”

That last line is particularly important. Nothing good can be created by force. Nothing can. It is impossible for compulsion and coercion to create any good. Good can arise in spite of coercion, but that is because of the nobility of the human spirit and the unlimited power of a determined soul.

 

What Are We Doing Wrong for Our Schools?

I’ve written about the first problem before, and will again; our first and most fundamental problem is compulsion. We must repeal all truancy laws, or we can expect no reform to succeed.

Perhaps, though, our biggest problem is being overly emotional and protective of “the children.”

It seems so natural to want to protect and hold up the children, but while they are certainly our children, they are more. They are not ours in any sense of ownership. They are only ours because we are responsible to provide that which parents must provide. We do, in fact, take that too far if we start with emotion and the ideal of doing all “for our children.”

Any sacrifice seems warranted when we know it is for the good of the children, when it increases their chances for success. Of course, taking that a little too far and adding a bit of sentimentality leads inevitably to claims and demands that help only the few in control, in power. Sometimes, the motives of those in power are supposed to be pure, and sometimes they are not intentionally malicious and greedy. But sometimes their motives are even worse, yet they proclaim, “Don’t you want to support the children?” Guilting us with the skill of the most manipulative mother.

Fundamentally, our children our people, persons, citizens, humans in their own right, each an individual entitled to all the rights, privileges, protections, and responsibilities of each of the rest of us.  Read the rest of this entry »

I recommend this article. If you favor war, you should read it and think. If you oppose war, you should read it and reflect if your reasoning is right.

Three years ago,  LEONARD E. READ wrote an article for FEE.org. I’ve used his title for this article. In the article he sets the stage, which is “his” dying moments on a lonely battlefield in Korea. He has a conversation with his conscience, which is all he has left.

In his lead up, Mr. Reed states: “War is liberty’s greatest enemy, and the deadly foe of economic progress. If war be evil there must be a way to avoid it; there must be a rationale, a type of thinking, patterns for living, that lead to peace. These ways cannot be simple or we would invoke them. They are not easily explained or we would know them.”

Read more: http://www.fee.org/the_freeman/detail/conscience-on-the-battlefield#ixzz2eMk4rewC ”

Here are some quotes from his conscience:

“Among the cardinal sins, however, is the failure to make earnest attempts at minimizing error.”

“Most persons believe some form of government to be necessary as a means of achieving maximum liberty. But unless they succeed in properly limiting government, they will surrender some – or even all – of their personal rights and responsibilities to it. Unless they understand the nature of coercion – its power only to suppress, restrain, destroy – they will yield to it and lose their ability to act creatively. Government has the necessary and logical function of protecting the property and life of all citizens equally. But if people fail to understand the nature of coercion they will attempt to use this force of government even for creative purposes; they will vainly attempt to use a negating physical force – government – as a means of accomplishing a positive good. Unless they comprehend coercion, many of them will rob in the name of charity, plunder in the name of prosperity, and kill in the name of God.”

“However, as I said before, you should have sought my services sooner. While I, too, am finite and subject to error, I am as close to God as you can get on this earth. It was your task to join with me in order that together we might search for Truth—-the vital element in your earthly purpose of Self-realization.”

Seek truth. Be committed to truth. Truth above all.

Innocent until proven guilty, right? It is a bedrock of law in our society. However, there are a couple of notable exception. Truancy is the big one. In general, any state or school official (not just Sheriff’s deputies and police officers) can detain any child not in school. That can cause some significant problems here in the Oklahoma City metro, especially since the OKC Council beefed up the state laws and applied them locally. Our schools are not all on the same schedule.

OKC Council members acknowledged the ordinance is strong-armed. “The system is so out of control that it’s going to take this kind of measure to move it back,” Ward 4 Councilman Pete White said. You can be fined simply for forgetting to call your child in sick for a day. Strong-armed is an understatement.  Read the rest of this entry »

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