Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Carnival of Liberty XLIX

Welcome to the 49th Carnival of Liberty. These Carnivals celebrate the "unalienable" rights of life, liberty, and property -- all of which are essential to the pursuit of happiness.

Carnivals (of the real kind) attract a motley cross-section of humanity. Carnivals of Liberty similarly attract a varied cross-section of blogdom. This 49th Carnival of Liberty offers as many views of life, liberty, and property as there are entries -- 35 of them, by my count. Instead of simply giving you the basics (blogger's name and links to his or her blog and Carnival entry), I am including brief excerpts of most entries, to entice you to read further.

The good news is that you'll find much that conforms to and confirms your own views. The better news is that you're sure to find much that challenges you and makes you think more deeply about liberty: what it is and whence it comes, how best to defend it, the role of government in defending it (or suppressing it), who its friends and enemies are, how it fares abroad, and how the blogosphere fosters it.

Now, on with the show . . .


Francois Tremblay of The Radical Libertarian argues (in Using "the poor" as a moral totem) for "market anarchy" as the source of liberty. For example:

What it boils down to is, who gets to dictate how you live your life? You, or someone else? In a market anarchy, the answer is "me". . . .

Only states can force me to accept their rule, because states, as monopolies of force, are not accountable to anyone except their leaders' own basic sense of decency.

A direct answer to Francois comes from Nick of The Liberty Papers. In Why Any Rights At All? he offers "a classical liberal's response to the challenge of anarchy." In the course of a thoughtful and carefully argued post Nick says that the "anarchist turns a blind eye to the difference between the perfect world of their assumptions and the real world."

I must admit my agreement with Nick. See, for example, A Flawed Defense of Anarcho-Capitalism, where I give some of my reasons for rejecting the viability of market anarchy. I also link there to several earlier posts in which I challenge various tenets of anarcho-capitalism.

Dana, the proprietor of Principled Discovery, sees liberty as a birthright that is secured by social processes. In Freedom: An Ancient Custom of Rights and Responsibilities she writes: "It . . . stems from our belonging to a group of free people governed by law. Our connection to one another is as important as our rights."

The importance of Christian morality to liberty is a subject of TF Stern's post, Are We Fully Ripe With Iniquity?, at T. F. Stern's Rantings. For example, he quotes Robert Bork, who points out that

[r]eligion accounts for civility and self-restraint in our society, which is vanishing as religion has been marginalized and pushed to the sidelines of the debate. The Supreme Court has played a large role in doing this.

NStalker of Pragmatic Speak, in a post titled Their Rights In Exchange For Mine And Yours? addresses the question "How can the rights of one individual or group impinge on the rights of another?" His legitimate concern is about the ability of protestors to impose costs on the rest of us through the exercise of their speech rights. I must say -- as a former resident of the D.C. area -- that I'm quite sympathetic to his case.


In D-day & Reflection on the War on Terror at ROFASix, NOTR takes exception to the idea that U.S. forces are in Iraq and Afghanistan for the purpose of exporting democracy:

D-day is . . . a good time to reflect and question whether the evil that threatens us today will rob us of our freedom, liberty, and way of life if we should not defeat it. Why else would we fight in Iraq and Afghanistan? If is for the people of those countries then we need to question why we fight there. If we are in those countries attempting to foster the growth of new nations for our national interest, then the cause is right. If the people there benefit, then it is a freebie for them, but ultimately we must do it only for us, for America, not them.

Bull Jones at The Bull Speaks! presents Salute to our Flag, our Sailors, a Victory, & Franklin. Bull pays special tribute to "MA1 Anthony LaFrenier, USN. . . . He is even now on duty somewhere over in the Sandbox protecting our Freedoms and bringing those Freedoms to the Oppressed." Who is Franklin? Read the Bull's short post to find out.

Remember the Second Amendment? The Framers saw the right to bear arms as a bulwark of liberty, as does Stan at Free Constitution, where he posts a feature called Second Amendment Saturday. Apparently there is an effort by our "friends" at the U.N. "to finalize a U.N. treaty that would strip all citizens of all nations of their right to self-protection, and strip you of your rights under the Second Amendment."

Peter Porcupine thinks that in our preoccupation with the Mexican border we are Looking in the Wrong Direction: "It is worth noting that so far, every successful terrorist has entered the United States from Canada." Why? Peter has some thoughts about that. Go there.

Enough of war, guns, and borders. As we were reminded rudely by last year's infamous Supreme Court decision in Kelo v. City of New London, the power of eminent domain poses an omnipresent threat to property rights. Ogre, of Ogre's Politics and Views, discusses the efforts of the NC Property Rights Coalition toward "a state Constitutional amendment to ensure that North Carolinians’ private property is safe from eminent domain abuse."

On that topic, Carola Von Hoffmannstahl-Solomonoff of Mondo QT offers Revitalization, My Lovely: Chapter 7. She says:

It's the latest chapter of a serial satire drawn from personal experience in, and observation of, political life in the northeast's post industrial cities. Though fiction, every word is true.

Then there's the issue of jury nullification, which is the subject of Warning About Nullification by Dave at Tucents. You should read Dave's post to find out why he favors nullification, but here's a peek at what he has to say: "If the government is violating your civil rights (in this case, your right to judge the law), why are you morally obligated to obey the law and cooperate with the violation?"

Matt Barr of New World Man has more to say about jury nullification in Buying a juror's vote to acquit: A primer. Here's a sample of what you'll find there:

Is incentivizing a juror to exercise his or her right to nullify a verdict "corrupt"? I have a feeling the consensus would be that it is. But it isn't a slam dunk. As long as you don't do any of this in writing.

Housing Bubble Death Trap, by Dan Melson of Searchlight Crusade, is about property -- but not about property rights. I include it nevertheless because it's analytical and well written. Here's a key paragraph:

This then, is what I call the Housing Bubble Death Trap. People who bought too much house with unstable loans, then had the market recede a little on them. Now they are upside down (owe more on the property than it is worth) with a loan they cannot refinance and cannot afford, and they can't sell for as much money as they paid.

Dan explains how this happens and offers some advice about how to avoid it.


Michael Hampton at Homeland Stupidity asks What's an essential government service? It's evident that government doesn't know the answer. As Michael says, with due sarcasm, "it’s so comforting to know that FEMA is watching out for the public libraries in the event of a nuclear or terorrist attack." Public libraries?

MIchael also takes a swing at the publication of classified information (On publishing secrets). He's scornful of the government's claims that such actions harm national security. That's all I'll say about that.

"Could it possibly be that the people of California are growing tired of the nanny state?" TKC of The Pubcrawler asks that question (and answers it) in his analysis of a typically unbalanced op-ed by E.J. Dionne of The Washington Post. Go to Voting in California gets the quote of the day for the whole story.

Meanwhile, Colorado seems to have lost sight of the right to bear arms. Richard G. Combs (Combs Spouts Off) tells us, in Denver gun control upheld -- sort of, that the "Colorado Supreme Court split 3-3 on the question of whether Denver's status as a "home rule" city trumps state law." He notes that

the legal battle was over Denver's "rights" versus the state's "rights." The rights of us peons apparently didn't enter into the debate, even though the state constitution says our right to bear arms can't even be "call[ed] into question."

Avant News - Tomorrow's news today makes light of the recently defeated Defense of Marriage Amendment in Bush Calls for Constitutional Amendment Protecting Pandering:

During a speech delivered in the White House Rose Garden, President George W. Bush today made the case for an important new proposed constitutional amendment, the "Defense of Pandering Amendment". Under the terms of the proposed amendment, it would become unlawful for journalists, lawmakers and private citizens to publicly identify election-year pandering as election-year pandering during the course of an election-year pandering cycle.

John of hell's handmaiden offers a sober, federalist take on the same issue, in Bush Fights to Limits Rights:

Bush argues that we need to “take this issue [of gay marriage] out of the hands of overreaching judges and put it back where it belongs: in the hands of the American people” and claims that the [Defense of Marriage Amendment] is needed because “judges insist on imposing their arbitrary will on the people”. His position is fairly well absurd primarily because this issue was not taken from the people by the courts, but by federal state and local law and the courts, in acting to protect same-sex marriage, are acting to return it to those people.

And from Rick Sincere News and Thoughts comes Republicans Oppose Anti-Marriage Amendment, which begins with this observation: "Republicans, like gay men and lesbians, do not all think alike. Neither group marches in lockstep with its leaders, nor do they agree monolithically on all major public policy issues." Rick documents that statement with quotations from several "dissenting" Republican sources.

As a reminder of the days when some of us believed in the possibility of the restoration of limited government, here's a personal recollection of the Reagan years. Jack Yoest opens Ronald Reagan Dead, The Greatest American with this: "Two years ago Ronald Reagan died. Charmaine and I watched the funeral with other Reaganites in Washington, DC. And watched the big black Cadillac carry RR away."

Back to the present, I learn in NYPD's mission: to subjugate and harass that Perry Eidelbus (Eidelblog) really, really doesn't care much for the "pigs" of the NYPD. He begins on this note:

To subjugate and harass" as opposed to "To protect and serve." I expect the following will offend some of you. "Law and order" is great, but as with all things, at what cost? What price are you willing to pay to have it? . . . I've really come to distrust and even hate so-called "law enforcement." In fact, my natural skepticism and cynicism of any authority is largely responsible for my libertarian leanings.

I link, you decide.


LeslieCarbone opens Strange Bedfellows with this: "When the Christian Coalition and MoveOn team up, it's bound to be bad. The two special interest groups announced their unlikely marriage via an ad in Friday's New York Times." That's all I'm giving away. You must read the post to find out what the strange bedfellows are up to.

Dan Kauffman (Committees of Correspondence) wants to know When Will They Make Up Their Minds? Who are "they"? I'm not telling; you have to read it.

Is Kos a libertarian? Michael Hampton at Homeland Stupidity doesn't think so. Michael, making his third appearance here, begins Kos is no libertarian with this:

Markos “Kos” Moulitsas writes today that he’s a “Libertarian Democrat.” You won’t believe what he means by that. But then he goes on to demolish his own argument. Kos is not a libertarian anything, just the same state-loving, corporation-empowering Democrat as all the rest.

And Michael tells you why.


Let's begin a whirlwind world tour close to home. Mapmaster at The London Fog presents Canada Post: the power and the glory in one convenient package. I was quite taken by this passage:

Notwithstanding its own added business at the cost of lost jobs for its competitors, elimination of choice for consumers, and the net loss of wealth in the economy, Canada Post still somehow manages to cast itself not as an unscrupulous over-sized agressor but as a defender of Canadian virtue.

Jonn at The Sharpener, in a post titled In defence of small government liberalism, "worries . . . about the structure of British government: it makes a single voice too strong." He contrasts Britain's system with that of the U.S.; for example:

Compare it to the carefully constructed checks and balances of the US constitution. In the US, power is dispersed between the presidency, two houses of Congress elected by different constituencies on different election cycles, and the states themselves. The whole thing is overseen by a judiciary which owes its first loyalty to the constitution itself.

There's a lot more. Americans should read it to gain a better appreciation of the American system -- for all its flaws.

Jorg at Atlantic Review addresses the "World Cup brothels" in Congressman Accuses Germany of "Complicity in Promoting Sex Trafficking". He offers what seems a balanced view of the issue, from a German perspective. There's more to it than prostitution. Thanks Jorg, and thanks also for your invitation to participate in the third Carnival of German-American Relations on July 2 (information here).

Doug Mataconis (Below The Beltway) remembers Tiananmen Square, in Seventeen Years Later. He recalls an article of his that was published in the September 1991 edition of The Freeman, which begins with this:

Every so often, an event occurs that stands as a monument to the continuing struggle for human freedom and serves as a reminder to all who work for liberty that even when success seems farthest from reach, they can make a difference.

And then there was Tiananmen Square, where "a lone man ran into the middle of the street and stood in front of the lead tank, preventing the entire column from moving." But it's a moving post. Read it.

Reporting directly from the China of today, Lonnie Hodge of One Man Bandwith gives us a flavor of the current regime, in New Mysteries of the DaVinci Code in China. A tidbit:

. . . Chinese authorities detained 28 Christians in a raid on an unauthorized church service at a private home in Shanghai.

Three members of the unregistered non-denominational Protestant congregation, including the host and the presiding minister are still behind bars according to the Texas-based China Aid Association.

Meanwhile, in Iran, things are much the same -- if not worse. In The Seventh Seal, a second entry from Committees of Correspondence, Dan Kauffman observes that

we take much for granted here in the West, such as Freedom of Speech. We hear some talking glibly of "Speaking Truth to Power" and they have NO idea what that means. They believe a reduction in CD sales makes them martyrs.

Kauffman contrasts that attitude with the sudden demise of a dissident Iranian blog.


I could have placed IRAN: Must Free Journalists and Bloggers! (from Mensa Barbie Welcomes You) under "Foreign Affairs" because it picks up where Dan Kauffman's post leaves off. But the suppression of bloggers (and journalists) in Iran is grim evidence of the threat they pose to the Iranian regime. As a result of that perceived threat,

scores of Journalists and Bloggers, are being subjected to imprisonment, due to a censorship sweep in Iran. Many were arrested while calling for greater personal freedoms. Some imprisoned while delivering relevant news "found to be inconvenient" by their governmental regimes, and others refusing to follow an imposed line. In fact, many face informal hearings which could impose a death sentence.

Brad Warbiany at The Unrepentant Individual reviews Glenn Reynolds's An Army of Davids in the aptly titled Book Review: An Army of Davids. Reynolds's book isn't only about bloggers; it's more generally about the growing power of individuals, as individuals, to influence events. But bloggers (and the internet) play a key role. A taste of Brad's post:

Reynolds uses the example of the creation of the internet as a global information warehouse, pointing out the naysayers– had they been asked 10 years ago if our current access to information was even possible– would never have thought it could occur. The argument of “it would take every librarian in the world decades to input all that information” doesn’t make sense when you have millions of individuals willing to do it for them, for free, simply because they find it interesting.

Read all of Brad's post, then buy the book, as I plan to do.


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