Archives for posts with tag: liberty

Here is a hard thing. “The only way to grow out of the state is to not treat it as an alien “other” but as a reflection of a violence-addicted culture.”

We, you and I, commit violence against others with our laws, with our regulations, with our prisons.

You and I have blood on our hands. Our lawmakers ensure it.

For every evil a state-enforced regulation alleviates, it perpetrates more, maybe many more, maybe many times worse. You and I are responsible.

When one causes suffering, that one is responsible. When our government, our state, our laws, our police cause suffering, we are all responsible. All of us have the blood on our hands.

“Don’t be evil,” the saying goes. What is evil? It is at least the causing of suffering unnecessarily. Do our prohibitions cause suffering? Yes. You know our drug laws, our prostitution laws, our petty prohibitions of this and that, our requirement of this or that, they all cause suffering. They all result in harming people and families in prisons and other obvious harms. Why continue?

“I would rather be exposed to the inconveniencies attending too much liberty than those attending too small a degree of it.” Thomas Jefferson, Philadelphia Dec. 23. 1791.

If we live to “protect,” how? How can we protect anyone older than about six years? We can only protect people by imposing on them. Coercion is evil. Coercion is always evil. Why commit evil to protect? There is one reasonable justification: when the evil prevented is obviously worse than the evil imposed by the coercion, when that evil prevented was clear, present, and imminent.

Coercion, imposition of law, needs to be stripped of its layers and accoutrements, especially the pretty ones. We pretend our laws are for the good, but what good? Strip the law down to its ultimate: Every law has you, ultimately, holding a gun to someone’s head and saying, “Comply or else!”

You scoff. You recoil. You would never do that. Heck,  you may even protest you own no gun, you may even claim you’ve never held a gun, but did you vote? Did you pay taxes? Don’t you sanction the police, at least when you need them? Did you cheer when the law passed? “No more texting and driving,” you cried in triumph. Yet, what of the young person who does so anyway, who is seen, caught red-handed, by an officer of the law? Who, when the siren sounds and the lights flash, refuses to submit? What then? High speed chase? Property damage, injury, loss of life? All because you insisted on assigning enforcement, the guys with the guns, to enforce your coercive, self-serving, even narcissistic and egotistical, will.

You! You supported that. You are responsible. There is blood on your hands.

We must change our ways. We must change our laws. We must abandon punishment in our civic culture. We all know what harm is. When there is a responsible party, intentional, negligent, or something similar, we understand justice. We understand the harm, the wrong, must be set right in some way. Punishing the responsible party is seldom warranted. Locking the person in a cage, how have we remained so evil so long?

When someone is harmed, we must find ways to set it right, ways that may involve substantial hardship for the responsible party. We can be reasonable, merciful, and still see justice done.

The old rule of eye-for-eye and life-for-life may need to be applied on rare occasions, but we normally have much more rational, even more effective, options.

Imposing harm willingly is the height of evil. Yet, we do it every day.

We harm those who violate our laws daily, and we harm those who love them or depend on them. We cause the harm, and we know it! That is the evil of our society, not supposed slights and unconscious bias.

Our laws need to focus on harm done and reparation. We must abandon punishment in most civil and criminal matters. We must figure out how to stop locking up all but our most dangerous fellow humans.

Here is another idea we must internalize, “There, but for the grace of God, go I.”

I am the monster. You are the monster. Our society, our laws, our enforcement, our systems! We are the monster! “There is none righteous, no not one!

Think, are you not frightened whenever you think of doing something out of the ordinary? Don’t you wonder if it is illegal, if someone might call the police, if the police just might show up for you? Oh, what evil we have wrought! We live in a society where the sensitive among us live in fear of the police, the state. Why?

When we impose regulation on children, on parents, on education, we are restricting, coercing, demanding what is not rightfully ours.

For many thousands of years, we have made do just fine with no imposition of regulations on parents. How can our hubris reach so high as to think this or that rule improves the human lot? Nemesis visits us already. Her reminders to return to humility, to minding our own business, are not usually extreme, but they will become so if we continue our imposing, coercive ways. It is simply the nature of existence. TANSTAAFL and “Mind own business.” That is the existence we have. It is what we should celebrate. We can only have the best when we all trust one another to the good, to be honest, to accomplish our own necessities. Our meddling only, almost always, increases suffering more than necessary.

I allow for the needs, for the necessities, because nothing is ever perfect, at least not in the existence we live.

I want less government, less law, less meddling, less imposition, less coercion. I’m not advocating for overthrow. No! What we have works pretty well. Let’s not blow it up. But, we can start restricting it. We can start repealing laws. We can start lowering budgets and eliminating programs. Such is the road to less harm and more general welfare.

There are no government programs that don’t cause harm. Get it? All government programs, all government action, causes harm. Government programs and actions harm some, some individuals. In many instances, the government action is causing more harm, more human suffering, than it alleviates, even when the best of intentions are legitimate and even when well supervised.

Government causes harm. It is inarguable. Freedom is better. Of course, there are those who will take advantage when opportunity arises, and that is why we need the sanctioned violence, the enforcement, the police, the guys with the guns. Yes, we need them. (We also need to be able to defend ourselves from them.)

However, we need less than we have.

Our needs our meager when it comes to government, yet we surfeit! Why?

Why is government excess the one excess we revel in. Is revelling in excess not sin, simply by definition! Of course, it is. Let us stop insisting on continuing this sin.

Less government, and let’s start with less laws.

 

 

 

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Lawrence Reed, quoting Tocqueville,
“Even despots accept the excellence of liberty. The simple truth is that they wish to keep it for themselves and promote the idea that no one else is at all worthy of it. Thus, our opinion of liberty does not reveal our differences but the relative value which we place on our fellow man. We can state with conviction, therefore, that a man’s support for absolute government is in direct proportion to the contempt he feels for his country” — Alexis de Tocqueville, 1858.
Don’t you agree?
 
“Thus, our opinion of liberty does not reveal our differences but the relative value which we place on our fellow man.”
 
Isn’t it that simple?
 
“We can state with conviction, therefore, that a man’s support for absolute government is in direct proportion to the contempt he feels for his country””
 
Yes! The less willing you are to let your fellow citizens alone, the more you contempt you have for them and the more you distrust the people of your country.
 
Like Thomas Jefferson said, “I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than those attending too small a degree of it.”
 
Forcing people by forcing the armed police to force them leads to all kinds of troubles, all kinds of harm. While it is inconvenient to trust people, since they will so often fail, it does show our love, respect, and patriotism.
 
It is worth it.
Liberty is worth the effort. Every person is worth it, every single person on earth, born or unborn, native or immigrant, legal or otherwise, wise or foolish, healthy or infirm, rich or poor, talented or plain, gifted or needy, yes, every single person!
Mr. Reed ends his statement with the following:
See Jim Powell’s essay, “Alexis de Tocqueville: How People Gain Liberty and Lose It” here: http://bit.ly/211zP8I. Tocqueville warned that a welfare state could seduce people into servitude.

Over the years, life has convinced me the primary difference between left-leaning and right-leaning in politics can be summed in the difference between the reaction, “That is bad. There ought to be a law,” and “That is bad. What can I do about it?”

Oversimplified, certainly, but I ask you to agree. People who lean left in politics generally want to have laws against all things they think are bad. There are, of course, two areas of politics, the civil and the moral. Again, oversimplified, and nebulous regarding the division between those two categories, but the simplification lets me explain.

The left-leaning that’s-bad-so-make-a-law group tends to identify as Democratic in the USA for individuals who emphasize the civil over the moral. Likewise, the left-leaning that’s-bad-so-make-a-law group tends to identify as Republican if they focus on the moral over the civil.

I suspect my readers have to pause and rectify my calling moralist-Republicans “left-leaning.”

Makes sense, doesn’t it? Read the rest of this entry »

For Christians above all men are forbidden to correct the stumblings of sinners by force … it is necessary to make a man better not by force but by persuasion. We neither have authority granted us by law to restrain sinners, nor, if it were, should we know how to use it, since God gives the crown to those who are kept from evil, not by force, but by choice.

Six Books on the Priesthood  |  http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08452b.htm

I suppose that a good translation. I have doubts about persuasion. It is, for the most part, an illusion.

We must live the best we can. We must set the best example we can. We must argue as reasonably as we can. Only God, however, can change a heart; even only God can change a mind.

Keep both open to God and continuously change for the better.

Also,
“For it is not possible for anyone to cure a man by compulsion against his will.”

Writing for the Witherspoon Institute Public Discourse,  writes an insightful article. 

The Fundamental Case for Parental Rights.

I invite you to read her article. I recommend it.

I agree with her without reservation until she gets to “The Role of the State in Educating Children.”

At that point, she simply doesn’t go far enough. She states that coercion by the state should be as limited as possible, but I assert that it is possible to entirely proscribe state interference and coercion. 100%, no coercion. All coercion is immoral. The state, all governments at all levels, must add to their charters, their constitutions, that they shall make no laws regarding establishment of education, and they shall not restrict the free exercise thereof. There should be an even wider separation between education and the state than there is between religion and the state.

Fundamentally, there are no public goods, no needs of society, no compelling state interests that override the sovereignty of the individual over himself. This goes for children just the same, and the parent has the fundamental right and full responsibility to raise the child personally, as partners in the family, free of compulsion and interference of the state.

The state’s obligation, the state’s compelling interest is in protecting the rights of the parent and the child, of the family, to act sovereign within their family to grow and become good people, productive members of society, competent citizens free from any outside coercion. The only true function of the state is to protect us from the outside, too protect us from infringement of our rights overtly. It is just a much the state’s obligation to protect our freedom to mess up.

“Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes.” and “Freedom is not worth having if it does not connote freedom to err. It passes my comprehension how human beings, be they ever so experienced and able, can delight in depriving other human beings of that precious right.” Ghandi

I wrote a little here: https://gottadobetterthanthis.wordpress.com/2014/02/27/ukraine-reminds-me-of-poland-of-1981/ and it is so hard to keep up with something so far away when we have such important things to talk about in the news over here, like whether or not Hillary is really sick, and what the President thinks about March Madness, to name but two.

I found this article from FEE http://www.fee.org/the_freeman/detail/dispatch-from-the-ukraine-a-journalist-describes-the-unrest-from-inside#axzz2um0wpMG8

I’m pasting in the entire article from FEE, giving it one more page for posterity and the search engines.

In the tradition of “Bottom line up front”, Pray for Ukraine!

Quoting FEE:

Note: Events in Ukraine in recent days have gripped the hearts of people around the world. We at FEE are appalled at the repressive measures being taken by the Ukrainian state against protesters, particularly young people who are active there in the movement for peace, liberty, and representative government. We sincerely hope that the brutality of statism, on vivid and tragic display at this very moment in Ukraine, will be crushed by the forces of freedom and with a minimum of bloodshed. Below, we share with our readers a moving account of what’s happening from a Ukrainian journalist who is in Kiev on the front lines of the current upheaval. We withhold his name for his protection.

—Lawrence W. Reed, FEE president.

Dear friends—especially foreign journalists and editors,

These days I receive from you lots of inquiries requesting descriptions of the current situation in Kiev and overall in Ukraine, express my opinion on what is happening, and formulate my vision of at least the nearest future. Since I am simply physically unable to respond separately to each of your publications with an extended analytical essay, I have decided to prepare this brief statement, which each of you can use in accordance with your needs. The most important things I must tell you are as follows.

During the less than four years of its rule, Mr. Yanukovych’s regime has brought the country and the society to the utter limit of tensions. Even worse, it has boxed itself into a no-exit situation where it must hold on to power forever—by any means necessary. Otherwise it would have to face criminal justice in its full severity. The scale of what has been stolen and usurped exceeds all imagination of what human avarice is capable.

The only answer this regime has been proposing in the face of peaceful protests, now in their third month, is violence, violence that escalates and is “hybrid” in its nature: special forces attacks at the Maidan (the central square of Kiev, the Ukrainian capital) are combined with individual harassment and persecution of opposition activists and ordinary participants in protest actions (surveillance, beatings, torching of cars and houses, storming of residences, searches, arrests, rubber-stamp court proceedings). The keyword here is intimidation. And since it is ineffective, and people are protesting on an increasingly massive scale, the powers that be make these repressive actions even harsher.

The “legal base” for them was created on January 16, when the Members of Parliament, fully dependent on the President, in a crude violation of all rules of procedure and voting, indeed of the Constitution itself, in the course of just a couple of minutes (!) with a simple show of hands voted in a whole series of legal changes which effectively introduced dictatorial rule and a state of emergency in the country without formally declaring them. For instance, by writing and disseminating this, I am subject to several new criminal code articles for “defamation,” “inflaming tensions,” etc.

Briefly put, if these “laws” are recognized, one should conclude: in Ukraine, everything that is not expressly permitted by the powers that be is forbidden. And the only thing permitted by those in power is to yield to them. Not agreeing to these “laws,” on January 19 the Ukrainian society rose up, yet again, to defend its future.

Today in television newsreels coming from Kiev you can see protesters in various kinds of helmets and masks on their faces, sometimes with wooden sticks in their hands. Do not believe that these are “extremists,” “provocateurs,” or “right-wing radicals.” My friends and I also now go out protesting dressed this way. In this sense my wife, my daughter, our friends, and I are also “extremists.” We have no other option: We have to protect our life and health, as well as the life and health of those near and dear to us. Special forces units shoot at us, their snipers kill our friends. The number of protesters killed just on one block in the city’s government quarter is, according to different reports, either 5 or 7. Additionally, dozens of people in Kiev are missing.

We cannot halt the protests, for this would mean that we agree to live in a country that has been turned into a lifelong prison. The younger generation of Ukrainians, which grew up and matured in the post-Soviet years, organically rejects all forms of dictatorship. If dictatorship wins, Europe must take into account the prospect of a North Korea at its eastern border and, according to various estimates, between 5 and 10 million refugees. I do not want to frighten you.

We now have a revolution of the young. Those in power wage their war first and foremost against them. When darkness falls on Kiev, unidentified groups of “people in civilian clothes” roam the city, hunting for the young people, especially those who wear the symbols of the Maidan or the European Union. They kidnap them, take them out into forests, where they are stripped and tortured in fiercely cold weather. For some strange reason the victims of such actions are overwhelmingly young artists—actors, painters, poets. One feels that some strange “death squadrons” have been released in the country with an assignment to wipe out all that is best in it.

One more characteristic detail: In Kiev hospitals the police force entraps the wounded protesters; they are kidnapped and (I repeat, we are talking about wounded persons) taken out for interrogation at undisclosed locations. It has become dangerous to turn to a hospital even for random passersby who were grazed by a shard of a police plastic grenade. The medics only gesture helplessly and release the patients to the so-called “law enforcement.”

To conclude: In Ukraine full-scale crimes against humanity are now being committed, and it is the present government that is responsible for them. If there are any extremists present in this situation, it is the country’s highest leadership that deserves to be labeled as such.

And now turning to your two questions which are traditionally the most difficult for me to answer: I don’t know what will happen next, just as I don’t know what you could now do for us. However, you can disseminate, to the extent your contacts and possibilities allow, this appeal. Also, empathize with us. Think about us. We shall overcome all the same, no matter how hard they rage. The Ukrainian people, without exaggeration, now defend the European values of a free and just society with their own blood. I very much hope that you will appreciate this.

Pray for Ukraine!

Read more: http://www.fee.org/the_freeman/detail/dispatch-from-the-ukraine-a-journalist-describes-the-unrest-from-inside#ixzz2um2Vz7IU

I posted a couple of Steve Taylor song’s lyrics a few days ago. He is one of the greats. His songs have gravitas. Some are light, some are silly, some are severe, and some are sarcastic, even severely so. Whether he was addressing a spiritual issue, politics, or common and practical matters, they all say important things. Good stuff!

With a near perfect blend of humor and seriousness with exceptional music driving the lyrics, this one makes a clear statement about the church that has rung a clear tone for decades now. It is at least as applicable today.

A youtube presentation here:
This Disco (Used To Be A Cute Cathedral)
——————————————–
Sunday needs a pick-me-up?
Here’s your chance
Do you get tired of the same old square dance?

Allemande right now
All join hands
Do-si-do to the promised boogieland

Got no need for altar calls
Sold the altar for the mirror balls
Do you shuffle? Do you twist?
‘Cause with a hot hits playlist, now we say

This disco used to be a cute cathedral
Where the chosen cha-cha every day of the year
This disco used to be a cute cathedral
Where we only play the stuff you’re wanting to hear

Mickey does the two-step
One, Two, Swing
All the little church mice doing their thing

Boppin’ in the belltower
Rumba to the right
Knock knock, who’s there? Get me out of this limelight

So, you want to defect?
Officer, what did you expect?
Got no rhythm, got no dough
He said, “Listen, Bozo, don’t you know”

This disco used to be a cute cathedral
Where the chosen cha-cha every day of the week
This disco used to be a cute cathedral
But we got no room if you ain’t gonna be chic

Sell your holy habitats
This ship’s been deserted by sinking rats
The exclusive place to go
It’s where the pious pogo, don’t you know

This disco used to be a cute cathedral
Where the chosen cha-cha every day of the year
This disco used to be a cute cathedral
Where we only play the stuff you’re wanting to hear

This disco used to be a cute cathedral
Where the chosen cha-cha every day of the week
This disco used to be a cute cathedral
But we got no room if you ain’t gonna be chic
——————————————–
sockheaven

Envision if you will, yourself with family members next to you, another family across the studio, and Richard Dawson leans over and asks, “Dim lights, loud music, bright spotlights, colored lights synch’d with the music, and rotating special effects–where are you?” Your family is depending on you. You have to answer, and you say “CHURCH!” Your family members’ faces fall, the audience groans, Mr. Dawson reacts with veiled shock and unbelief, and he turns to the board and exclaims, “Survey says…” You don’t really expect to see that answer turn up do you? [Buzzer sounds!]

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