Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Documentary on money and the Federal Reserve

This is a video documentary on how money works, why inflation exists, and how the federal reserve system and fiat currency act like a massive hidden tax:


Thursday, January 25, 2007

The success of victim disarmament in the UK

The UK has some of the toughest gun control legislation in the world: civilian ownership of handguns is prohibited, and ownership of long guns is tightly controlled. Of course, this has no effect on criminals, who don't obey gun laws and have thus figured out how to take advantage of victim disarmament, according to the Guardian:

Labour has been accused of losing control of gun crime as new figures show a sharp rise in armed robberies.

Guns were used in 4,120 robberies last year - a 10% jump - including a 9% rise to 1,439 in the number of street robberies where guns were used.

There was also a rapid and unexplained increase in the number of times householders were confronted in their own homes by armed criminals. Residential firearms robberies show a 46% leap, a record 645 cases in England and Wales - up 204 on the previous year and four times the level recorded in 2000-01.

Monday, January 22, 2007

The proof is before your eyes

Another post to northeastshooters:
In a Constitutional Republic such as ours, the pure majority does not rule. Even legsilators are constrained by the Constitution. The fact that the Constitution is nowadays ignored often does not condemn the idea of our founding fathers.
Lots of people have great ideas. Sometimes those ideas are implemented well. Sometimes they are good ideas that are implemented poorly. And sometimes those ideas are unworkable. It is commonly accepted that communism is an unworkable idea. But I assert that constitutional republicanism is another unworkable idea... and my proof is the situation we now find ourselves in.

What good are protections that no one can enforce? It certainly isn't in the best interests of government to enforce our rights: they naturally want as much control over us as they can acquire, because it benefits the elite who run it. It is up to we, the People, to do that... but today most people just don't care, so the few freedom lovers out there are forced to live under the same rules as the soccer mom who thinks "guns are just awful" and "we need to do *something* about the poor!"

I certainly judge the founders on the efficacy of their work. And the bottom line is that constitutional republicanism, i.e., classical liberalism, has been shown over the course of the past 150 years to be an abject failure in terms of protecting the liberties of the people, the most important of which are enshrined in the Bill of Rights. The Incumbent Protection Act and the AWB are but two examples of the many instances of even our most basic rights being stripped from us.

If anarchy is what you want, you best find some other place to look for it. There are some, including me, who will fight all the way to restore our Constitutional Republic and keep it from becoming a socialist hellhole or its opposite, an anarchist's wet dream.
You are fighting for a system. I am fighting for an ideal: liberty. The system you advocate is demonstrably incompatible with liberty. The proof is right in front of your eyes.

I've said it before and I will say it again: I would be perfectly willing to live in the system the founders created. You know the one: where the Union is voluntary, where property rights are respected (i.e., a man/woman's home really is his/her castle), where the feds stick to the explicitly enumerated powers in Article I, where I can give any amount of money to anyone for any reason, where that money is backed by something of real value, where an obscene percentage of that money is not stolen from me under the threat of force... and where I can build/buy/possess any weapon of any magnitude up to and beyond owning my own private Air Force in order to enforce those rights. But I contend that such a system is unsustainable: somehow, some way... we will again lose those rights gradually until we end up right back at the point we are now. I'd rather not give up my natural rights in the first place. That's the only way to really protect them.


Monday, January 15, 2007

Don't get the gub'mint to do your dirty work

I just spotted this story linked by Drudge about some gamblers who cheated to win at several casinos in London.
A CHEF who turned high-tech poker cheat with an array of James Bond-style spy equipment to pocket an estimated £250,000 was jailed for nine months today.

Yau Yiv Lam, 45, and two other partners in crime, repeatedly preyed on casinos throughout London using miniature “up-the-sleeve” cameras and virtually invisible earpieces to reverse the odds and chalk up a string of spectacular wins.

Regardless of whether you think there is any such notion as "cheating" in a casino or where exactly that line should be drawn (I've never understood why using your brain to count cards, for instance, is considered cheating), why is it the job of the government to investigate, to prosecute, and to support the incarceration of those who arguably defraud casinos? Specifically, why isn't it the job of the casino itself to investigate and then pursue action against the cheater at its own expense?

I simply fail to see why the government---and, by extension, the taxpayers who are being systematically robbed in the name of this mercantilism---should do the dirty work of a business that simply doesn't want to foot the full cost of its business. This logic certainly doesn't apply only to casinos, but this is a particularly obvious example of an industry that can and should accept all the consequences of its business model.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The importance of diction to liberty

Posted on northeastshooters:
Originally Posted by squarooticus
Don't give in to statist kool-aid/newspeak. There is no such thing as a privately-owned "public establishment". All such "public establishments" are actually private property and should be off-limits to government do-gooders.

If you're a libertarian, yes. If you're in the real world, no.
By even submitting to the term "public establishment," you are providing ammunition to advocates of government control over private property. You call it the "real world"; I call it acceding a battle in the war of rhetoric.

You don't refer to your (perhaps hypothetical) AR-15 as an "assault weapon", do you? By virtue of the existence of that phrase as a term of law for the past 12 years, it certainly has meaning, and it applies to any pre-ban AR-15. But for an advocate of liberty to use that term is to admit that there's something unique about "assault weapons" that may call for restrictions.

The same is true of "public establishment": by replacing "private" with "public," you immediately give credence to the notion that the "public" should have some say about how business is run inside those four walls, when in fact the only people who should have a say are the owners and the paying customers who can choose to patronize it or not.

Be precise. Say what you mean, not what the whack job, nanny state, anti-freedom nutsos want you to say. All principled freedom lovers are libertarians, whether they want to believe it or not. Everyone else is just a statist with different colored stripes.


Friday, January 05, 2007

John Edwards' Real Problem

Reason's Hit-and-Run blog had a story yesterday about John Edwards' hypocrisy with respect to his "Two Americas" rhetoric and his desire to cut the line for a PS3. The second of the two comments below is incredibly incisive and really illustrates the core of the problem with politics in general and with democracy in particular. (Emphasis mine in the below comments.)

Will Allen | January 5, 2007, 4:34pm | #

Joe, as I have understood him, Edwards says he has a problem with what he views as extreme wealth disparity, but perhaps I'm wrong. If he only has a problem with some people being poor, why the reference to the "two Americas"? Why not simply note that there are people who are poor?

Gilbert Martin | January 5, 2007, 5:12pm | #

What Edwards actually has a problem with is that he isn't the president.

He wants to remedy that problem and needs to come up with some rationalization to pawn off on the public as to why he should be president.

Hence, the "two Americas" routine.

In short, his expression of concern for "poor people" is a lie.

But, he's hardly unique in that regard. All the other liberal Democrat politicians in the entire history of the country from FDR to Nancy Pelosi who claim their reason for initiating some government power grab or redistribution scheme was concern for the poor, the children, the middle class or whatever have all been liars.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Military weapons

A few friends and I spent several hours on the afternoon of New Year's Eve at the Lloyd Rod and Gun Club shooting a variety of rifles and carbines. We took a bunch of pictures of our firing one of the guns I brought, a Romanian-made WASR-10, which is essentially a post-AWB, semi-automatic version of the Avtomat Kalashnikova (AK-47), the rifle most often associated with the mujahadeen by Americans.

The videos and photos we took at the range that day were an endless source of entertainment for us and our families and friends: everyone got a kick out of Adam's "cover fire" simulation and the resulting smoking barrel, as well as Walter's scream of triumph upon emptying a 30-round magazine into the 1/4" metal plate swinging from the rig we'd set up.

I did hear the same comment several times from different people, however: "I can't believe they let you have those guns!" Even though most of you who know me understand exactly what I think of the "protections" provided by the US Constitution, when talking with lay people who do actually think the Constitution means something it is helpful to remind them of exactly what the 2nd amendment is there for.

Just as the real purpose of the 1st amendment's protection of speech and the press is to protect political speech---even though it also happens to protect pr0nography, satire, and fair use---the real purpose of the 2nd amendment is to ensure that the government does not have a monopoly on force---even though it also provides for personal defense, hunting, and shooting sports.

There is another unfortunate analogy as well: just as the 1st amendment's primary purpose has been attacked by the incumbent protection act (a.k.a. campaign finance reform), the 2nd amendment's primary purpose has been emasculated by laws like the AWB and the restriction on civilian ownership of machine guns and other forms of military ordnance. The fact that Hustler and a .308 Winchester have better protection in court precedent than an attack ad and an automatic M16 or AK-47 turn on their heads the precise reasons for those two amendments.