The Hierarchy of Public Goods

— Mainstream economic theory just assumes a market and just assumes a state that can correct market failures and provide for public goods. But the world doesn't work this way, and it's a problem that some economists think it does.

There are always markets of some sort or other. But they're fairly primitive and limited except under pretty special conditions. And there's not always an agency that can provide public goods through a system of public finance. Most places try to set one up, but it often doesn't work because people don't like to pay taxes, and the people who are supposed to collect them end up stealing the money, or the people running the state steal the money and buy themselves palaces, or warehouses of rocket propelled grenades, instead of building a sewage system like they said they would.

If G is a public good, and M is a mechanism for providing G, then M is a sort of public good, too, and so are the conditions for the functioning of M. If M requires tax compliance, and non-predation and non-corruption by agents of the state, then those things are what we might call higher order public goods. And we get these things by getting even higher order goods, like a certain socially prevalent level of trust, a not-too-high discount rate on future value, and the internalization of certain kinds of social norms. If we think of THESE things as higher order, and logically prior, kinds of public goods, then we'll get over thinking of public goods as things that states provide. For in order for states to provide anything other than abuse, these things have to already be in place. We'll also get over thinking of public goods as things that markets can provide better than states, because these are precisely the sorts of things that have to be in place in order for markets to work in anything other than a very limited and atrophied way. In order for markets to do much by way of providing lighthouses, to take a famous example, the market has to be developed enough to coordinate complex enforceable agreements. Getting to that point is itself a big achievement.

We need to get over stipulating ideal markets and ideal states, and work harder at understanding how even partially functional markets and states get to be partially functional, as opposed to fully non-functional, in the first place. How do higher order public goods like prosperity-conducive belief systems and social norms ever get going? How can you ever get a predation-limiting constitution that people don't just ignore?

That's what I want to know. Now, hurry!

  • I’m pretty sure that, if we make a Venn diagram of the people bringing guns to town halls, and the nativist immigration restrictions you disagree with quite severely, we’ll see a fat overlap.

    There’s been a lot of necessary talk about these protests and the manners of the people engaged in them. What I hope you’ll avoid is assigning to these people all manner of virtuous intentions and nobility simply because they are spotlighting an issue that you care about. The behavior of many of these people is inexcusable, even if they are within their legal rights in what they are doing.

    • restrictionists, that is.

  • KenM

    “No, this is very silly! (See what I did there?) The silliest thing is Zengerle’s casual assumption that if the free and peaceful exercise of an enumerated constitutional right ‘takes up resources,’ then the state may therefore limit it.”

    I’m taking a flight from Atlanta to San Francisco tomorrow. Suppose I’d like to express my Second Amendment rights by visibly carrying a handgun onto the plane? Or, the next time I visit Washington and go to watch a session of Congress, perhaps I’d like to express myself in a similar manner. The truth is the “state” (federal and local) is empowered to limit this exercise of expression, and does so all the time.

    • uknowbetter

      Next time you are at a protest I want the state to step in and punch you in the face.

  • Other possible sets for Venn diagramming fun: the people bringing firearms to town halls and the people praying for Obama’s death.

    I’d write more, but I have to go pray to the majestic, semi-divine symbol of national identity now.

  • mistermix

    A couple of points:

    First, the problem that I see with taking Frey seriously, even for the sake of argument, is that his cost analysis is way off. The value of keeping gun carriers from intimidating others at political events — even if those being intimidated are silly little whiners who ought to man up — is far more than the value of protecting a politician. It’s protecting the rights of all of those who want to freely assemble at a political gathering, without endangering the rights of gun owners. People walking in bad neighborhoods or hunting bear might need a force multiplier — those attending a political rally don’t.

    Second, your Venn diagram contains a straw man. One needn’t view the President as a demigod to think that the piddling cost of protecting him is well worth it. Repeated, successful attempts at Presidential assassination by any party (or even a number of near misses) would embolden those who at the moment think it’s an impossible task. This would tear the country apart, at a cost that’s many orders of magnitude the cost of the Secret Service.

    • whittems

      Along the same lines, I wonder if Frey hasn’t underestimated the actual costs of this “substitution” of one politician for another. The chaos and uncertainty that accompanies political assassination almost certainly has greater costs than simply finding a replacement politician. Besides the obvious lost productivity that would result nation-wide from people stopping work to try and find out exactly what had been going on, government activity is severely curtailed and the normal act of governing is pushed to the back burner.

      http://iterativeprocess.wordpress.com/

    • stephen

      The value of keeping gun carriers from intimidating others at political events

      It seems to me that the packing of heat at a political event is a signaling mechanism similar to the way people will sport signs, partisan clothes, or participate in silly chanting. It seems that guns are now a part of the mix. The “content” of the message is pedestrian and beside the point. Signaling which team you play for is the real game.

      I could be wrong, but signaling tells a more plausible story, to me anyway, then raw intimidation.

      • Hunter

        Yes well, it seems to me that intimidation is just signaling that we don’t feel is legitimate. In this case, I’d say bringing a gun to a political rally, with that sign, in this political environment qualifies as intimidation. Will apparently disagrees. But the signaling story is by no means exclusive of the intimidation story.

        • uknowbetter

          Your existence anywhere (at a protest, walking down the street, in your house) is intimidation for me. So please fix that by not existing.

          You don’t care about my rights? Then I don’t care about any of yours.

  • Vangel

    Actually, the solution is very simple. Hold the event on private property where property owners prohibit the presence of firearms. The right to carry a gun does not mean that a person can carry that gun on property where entry is dependent on not carrying a gun. Obama does not want to take this route because by doing so he encourages a debate about property rights that neither the Democrat nor Republican politicians want to have with the libertarians.

    • Glen Raphael

      Actually, the solution is very simple. Hold the event on private property where property owners prohibit the presence of firearms. […] Obama does not want to take this route because by doing so…

      Huh? Obama *did* take this route. He held the event in a convention center. These guys weren’t in the convention center – they weren’t on the same property as Obama – and there’s no evidence anybody with a gun was allowed to enter the property where Obama actually was.

      • Vangel

        My argument is that there is no problem here if we look at the issue from the perspective of property rights. Obama and the democrats want to avoid such a debate as do many Republicans because when the argument is framed that way both parties lose to the consistent argument provided by the libertarians. The major parties do not want any argument that would diminish their pro-state position.

  • peorgietirebiter

    Freddie rightfully points out the problem in blithely accepting Mr. Wilkerson’s supposition; “…that the act of visibly carrying a firearm is intended as an act of political expression asserting the legitimacy of the right to do so.”
    It seems more likely these folks are advocating armed resistance to legitimate outcomes of democracy that they find disagreeable. The “tree of liberty dude” was obviously ignorant of what Jefferson was actually saying. That in a vibrant democracy, ignorant armed mobs are inevitable, but still preferable to a disengaged citizenry.

    • toc001

      No, that guy was not ignorant of the quote. He was being cute and somewhat cowardly because he wanted to intimidate, but just enough to not get arrested.

      If he had balls and was really ready to make a statement, he would have gone all the way and carried a sign with the unedited quote.

      • uknowbetter

        I consider your criticism of someone quoting Jefferson to be intimidation.

        • toc001

          Then you are a coward also. I criticized him for half a quote and not being man enough to display the whole thing.

        • uknowbetter

          tocoo1, hilarious. Maybe he only wanted to use that portion.

          As for you, you are an evilbushhitlercon for intimidating people 😛

  • Jim-John-James

    Umm… the question is not CAN you carry a gun to a presidential event: it’s WHY you feel the need to carry one.

    • uknowbetter

      Why do you feel the need to comment on this blog?

      • toc001

        Why do you?

        • uknowbetter

          Irony appreciation fail.

  • uvasig

    Vangel,
    I suppose Obama could have events with “free speech zones” as W did…

    Will, I think I understand what both you and Megan are saying and this is, in effect, that the right to bear arms near the president shouldn’t be trumped by the fear or the probability that something might happen to the president because that probability is rather low, given the secret service protection, etc.

    Is that at least in the general ballpark of what you guys are saying? I’ve been trying to follow this discussion and I can’t find the right things to say about it. I do not like guns, but as someone who believes in the constitution, I understand that there is a right to bear arms, as much as I disagree with some aspects of what that means.

    I do think, despite arguments to the contrary, that the presence of guns at political rallies sets a bad precedent. This country does have a history of political assassination and it seems that we want to not take that into account just because the odds on something happening to the president are low. This, to me, should be a simple common sense issue. Just because you can bring a gun does not in fact mean that you should being a gun to a political meeting! Megan has argued that the presence of guns lowers the probability of anything happening, but all it takes is one person to lose it for something awful to happen. Yes, I know…the chances of that happening are not especially high, but if we can have zero chance, shouldn’t we go for that?

    As you said, it’s hard to talk about this rationally and I fully admit my biases. I’m an African-American and I know how hard the deaths of JFK, RFK and MLK effected my mother and I can’t even think about how she, or I, would feel if something were to happen to Obama. So yeah, I’m totally not thinking clearly on this but I’m prepared to go as far as saying that I know that these people are within their rights to bring their guns and that they’ve done nothing (as of now) in violation of the law. I think they’re freaking idiots for doing so, and I’m not going to apologize for that.

    I know that Megan at least has said that she thinks it’s unwise for the guns to be there, but her most passionate defense is that people should be allowed to carry their guns to the events. I guess that’s fine, but I do wish people would concentrate more on why this is a bad idea instead of just saying that you’re some kind of weak in the knees liberal for being concerned over where this could end up

  • Ajay

    You have become a lunatic. Time to go. On the other hand, you will be now a full steam wing nut.

    • uknowbetter

      Those making arguments: lunatics.

      Those calling others lunatics with no argument s: sane.

      According to your retarded paradigm, I’ll happy use the word ‘lunatic’ because it obviously means something else to you.

      • uknowbetter

        Edit fail on that post.

        • toc001

          Epic fail on all your posts.

        • uknowbetter

          tocoo1, epic fail on your life. Go try and buy a new one.

  • paulopinion

    While it is a defined right for U.S. citizens to own and bear arms (I am all for it), it is excessively provocative and unnecessary to do so at an event where the President is attending and/or speaking. I am not a fan of President Obama. I do respect him and the office that he holds.
    Whatever our views are on the debate over gun control, we are not a banana republic and I am certain that a big reason why people want to live in our country is that we have so far not succumbed to anarchy. If I was the President, I would certainly wish to limit individuals with guns attending my appearances to the secret service.

  • shinobi42

    Or, y’know, responsible gun owners interested in promoting acceptance of guns and gun safety could not bring loaded guns to crowded rallys where accidents can happen.

    I have carried guns to restaraunts and other weird places because I had them with me, and it was unsafe to leave them in my vehicle. But I would never bring a gun to what is ostensibly a peaceful protest.

    Lets say the people carrying the guns are totally rational people. What about the irrational people who are there? What if, because these individuals aren’t cops or military and have no semblance of authority or any backup, some crazy decided to grab their gun and then shoot the president or fire into the crowd. How much combat training do these individuals have/ Could they defeat someone hand to hand who was trying to take their gun? Or do they assume that having a gun makes them safe from assault.

    I obviously support an individuals right to carry a firearm. However I think that that responsibility must be taken very very seriously. Having firearms creates potential for negative events that don’t exsist when a firearm is not present. No one can get shot if no one has a gun. And while the secret service, police, and the military, are presumably armed they have all had extensive gun and fighting training which the average gun toting civilian has not. (Some may, some may not have.)

    Also as a responsible gun owner I would never bring my gun to a peaceful protest as it would significantly increase the likelyhood that I WOULD GET SHOT. (Because the police and secret service would be watching me more carefully) It didn’t take being armed for those protesters at Kent State to get shot. Being armed would only serve to justify law enforcement to take action against me if they thought I was behaving dangerously.

    Also, I’m not saying we need a law against it, I’m saying people just shouldn’t do it. I would encourage the NRA and other gun rights organizations to discourage their members and responsible gun owners in the US from carrying firearms to political rallys.

  • uvasig

    Shinobi, that’s a good comment. Thanks for that.

  • kirk

    I am glad for this in a sense, because I think it actually points out the absurdity of having a constitutionally protected right to bear arms in a purported democracy. If this were carried out to its logical conclusion you would have crowds of gun toting citizens confronting one another. For me this is not at all about protecting the President. It is just that there is no way that carrying guns to a debate or protest is conducive to a healthy democracy which requires space for the safe expression of ideas, and not just actually safe space, but the preception of a safe space. Quite frankly, I am truly surprised that this is not obvious to everyone.

    This is the primary reason why a minimal protector state is required to protect the basic liberties of its citizens. Continuing to enshrine and protect the right to bear arms will eventually lead to the erosion of all other liberties. This may be paradoxical to all those who inisist that firearms are necessary to protect us from the gov’t itself, but I would ask those people to point me to an armed revolt in the last century that actually turned out well for the population of that country. I think a little historical reflection would show that the track record for peaceful measures is as good if not better.

    • Paul Zrimsek

      Will continuing to enshrine and protect the right to bear arms lead to the erosion of all other liberties anytime soon? It’s been more than 220 years already, and not even erosion fans have infinite patience.

      • kirk

        Valid point. I should have more properly just stated that the right to bear arms is in tension with other liberties, rather than supportive of other liberties. That said, I would actually argue that the US has only very rarely been a good example of a healthy democracy. There are other countries out there that have managed to protect liberties arguably just as well or better and with fewer civil wars and political assasinations and less slavery. I don’t necessarily intend to connect those issues with gun ownership, just suggesting that the US might not really have ever been the proper “land of liberty.”

        Anyway, I guess a person could also ask when the time will come that we will need armed militias to resist the government. We’ve been waiting for that for quite a while as well. Again I see little empirical evidence to support that line of argument. I need someone to use real world examples in explaining to me how an armed populace has furthered the cause of freedom in the last 100 years for any country.

  • Somerville61

    So far, no one has made a comment about the last sentence in the Frey quote

    The extent of overprotection is larger in dictatorial than in democratic countries.

    Is the failure to comment on this by our host, just a slip or a subtle comment on our present political system?

    The descriptive word “glibertarian” is beginning to take hold in the blogosphere, perhaps as a result of articles like the one here. How many of those advocating for free carry of firearms have ever needed to use one against another human? How many of the open carry people have the training to appropriately and (semi)safely use a firearm in a public place? Every day we read of ‘trained’ police officers who fire many rounds while only hitting their human target a couple of times – even when the range is no more than a few feet. There is a great deal of stress on a person when they are being shot at or even when they think they might be shot at – it destroys rational thinking for most people.

    • rightwingextreme

      Somerville61

      I have used a firearm against another human/human 26 times. Granted 24 were for the army so they do not count. One was a shotgun against a home invader. Result: had to patch 3 holes in the wall and get a cleaner out to get the blood and stink out of the hard wood floors. Next was a pistol against a robber who was trying to steal from a restaurant my friend and I owned. Result holes to patch in 2 walls. We both shot the slime ball and did not miss once. The holes were a result of over-penetration. Result: Purchased lower velocity frangible ammunition. (Spackling is a pain) Self defense is a right, just like your right to say damn foolish thing you like.

    • uknowbetter

      Please go learn how to read and then go read a few things to clear up your ignorance.

      There are all sorts of Americans who carry guns all the time who don’t have any problems. I understand that doesn’t mesh with the ignorant ideas in your head, but that’s your problem.

  • Michael

    I’ve always looked at people who insist on carrying guns everywhere to be paranoid sissies who are too imbalanced to be trusted with firearms.

    I say this as an assault rifle, shotgun and pistol owner, a Southerner and a hunter.

    • uknowbetter

      I view people who call others ‘sissies’ to be brutish meatheads who are too imbalanced to be trusted with life.

  • zilifant

    Any post which connects McArdle and sensible is instantly self-refuting. The gross irresponsibility of the modern glibertarian never ceases to amaze. No-one “needs” to take a gun to a political event, any more than one needs to take a knife to a law court. Guns don’t make arguments – but they do suppress them and intimidate others. But then, why would a libertarian focus on the right to a civil debate without intimidation? McArdle and Wilkinson only care about the rights of rightwingers, not those of real Americans.

  • SenyorDave

    I assume the writer was more than a little put off by the Bush “protest pens” that were in full bloom during GWB’s presidency. Don’t talk about guns, under the Bush presidency you probably were allowed in the area if you protested at all.

  • ice9

    The thread, and the debate, hinges on a misconception (a conscious one, commonly called a ‘lie’) that the second amendment creates a pure freedom to keep and bear arms. It does not; the supreme court has consistently said it does not (though with one rather bizarre recent exception.) The famous assault weapon-carrying guy (and others) were in Arizona, where they were permitted to do what they did by virtue of a state law that draws its authority more from the ninth than the second.

    The imaginary second amendment right is a political construct used as a weapon against moderate politicians. Those who wield this ‘right’ hope to lever their way in other issues, such as health care. The NRA-style political action groups that focus the gun right hold tremendous power over rural and suburban politicians, so the gun right is in fact a form of political threat completely divorced from any reality of self-protection. Oddly, I hold with those who imagine that a visible gun is less of a threat than a hidden one; it’s much, much more of an intimidation, of course, but less of an actual threat of violence. It’s one thing to to claim the right under the second, or any state law that permits carrying; it’s another to carry a gun as an act of free speech. We curtail free speech all the time, especially that which is dangerously inflammatory. What you say while wearing a gun is not the same as what you say.

    Few people who make edgy speech pause to consider the constitutional nuances of what they are doing, of course–except in some well-known examples. Shouting ‘fire’ in a crowded NRA meeting is an act only Libertarians would find reasonable, and of course only in the abstract, in discussion over a glass of red wine and a doobie in somebody’s backyard. There’s no doubt that an armed person is intimidating, and in a public place that intimidation is too much.

    Finally, nobody knows more than hunters that the possession of firearms is extremely constrained by a deep and wide network of state laws. I did not get a citation last fall when I violated a perfectly reasonable state law by failing to case my shotgun while riding from one grouse hunting spot to another–it was bungeed on the front of the ATV, on top of the case but not inside it, unloaded. The CO was kind enough to accept my honest apology and issue a verbal warning. He could have taken my gun and vehicle. Why is it that the gun owner in a hunting situation is so perfectly happy to abide by the laws, but at a political rally they are belligerent, and defended by numbskulls armed with hypotheticals?

    ice9

  • Guest

    “The social cost of political assassination is much smaller as politicians are replaceable.”

    I sure hope this guy mentioned Archduke Ferdinand. Small costs indeed.

    And he’s an idiot if he doesn’t think the assassination of the first black president in U.S. history wouldn’t cause enormous psychological and social damage to the U.S. People riot over sports championships, fer pete’s sake.

    • uknowbetter

      I think Joe Biden as President would do more damage.

  • AdrianLesher

    This “cost-benefit” analysis of assasination is repugnant. All politicians are not fungible and the breakdown in social order and the machinery of democracy posed by assasination has its own very significant cost.

    • linusbern

      Yes, I wonder how much it would cost for the country to erupt in race riots.

  • linusbern

    Where were all these defenders of freedom and expression when people were being arrested for wearing anti-Bush t-shirts outside his town halls? So there is no reason to worry about someone (who attends a church whose pastor openly preaches sermons where he prays for Obama’s death) carrying an assault rifle to an Obama town-hall, but wearing a shirt with the name Bush crossed out and you are a major threat.

  • jord

    What is this “glibertarian” BS? Is it a new phrase of convenient dismissal, like “wingnut” or “moonbat”? Real mature. Look, libertarians make a pastime out of defending the indefensible, so long as aggression isn’t being committed. That’s what separates them from all the other fair-weather friends of personal freedom–a consistent commitment to principles (that everyone pays lip-service to), even when it’s incredibly unpopular, seemingly impractical and offensive to bourgeois sensibilities.

    Everybody is trying to focus solely about the appropriateness of guns being toted and displayed at political rallies; fair enough, opinions will differ. But fundamentally, its about the state of individual liberty in the modern era. Bush and Cheney with “loyalty oaths” and “free-speech zones”. And now establishment types reacting to armed albeit peaceful and lawful private citizens with what can only be described as paranoid hysteria. Good for libertarians for being consistent, selfless defenders of other people’s freedoms, regardless if they personally endorse their expression. Shame on the rest of you ninnies.

    • adagio4639

      >”But fundamentally, its about the state of individual liberty in the modern era.”<

      Your concern about individual liberty ignores the fact that that individual liberty must co-exist within a society of individuals that also expect their rights to be observed. If you can carry a handgun to a town hall meeting then why not a machine gun? Why not just drive up in a tank? Why not simply use common sense? This isn't about individual liberty. It's about intimidation. The person isn't hunting anything. He's making a statement that he's armed and dangerous, and everyone needs to know that.

      • jord

        “Your concern about individual liberty ignores the fact that that individual liberty must co-exist within a society of individuals that also expect their rights to be observed.”

        I never suggested the contrary, you’re rebutting a straw man. Handguns and rifles have legitimate self-DEFENSE utility in the context of private society in peacetime. Those who disagree have never been criminally assaulted. They can be used aggressively sure, but so can a knife, or your fists. A machine gun, or a bomb has self defense utility only in the context of wartime, otherwise, they are offensive weapons by design. Anything that can cause a lot a collateral damage regardless of the intent of the person using it has no self-defense viability and, in a perfect world, shouldn’t be in the hands of anyone. But we trust government agents with them, who are almost never accountable under the laws and moral strictures of private society.

        To the point about intimidation…If you’re intimidated into self-censorship by the very sight of a weapon, that’s on YOU. you’re scared because you assume anybody who walks around packing heat must be mentally unstable. That’s not the case, they just don’t share your bourgeois values. They know that if they physically threaten anyone, they lose the argument, and their credibility. Liberals should be hoping that someone looses his cool and draws a piece. It will be a huge political victory for them, and force right wingers to marginalize their own base.

        These people with weapons are saying “you have nothing to worry about as long as you don’t F*** with my “right” to own this implement of self-defense.” To me, that’s not unreasonable at all.

    • mikesch

      Look, libertarians make a pastime out of defending the indefensible, so long as aggression isn’t being committed.

      That’s why we saw so much libertarian outrage about the Bush people isolating protesters in “free speech” zones. Or perhaps you did. I don’t recall any.

      • Glen Raphael

        That’s why we saw so much libertarian outrage about the Bush people isolating protesters in “free speech” zones. Or perhaps you did. I don’t recall any.

        I do. You might have missed it because it was so predictable that they’d be upset about it – a “dog bites man” story. Ron Baily and James Bovard were all over this issue in the libertarian and conservative media, respectively. Two examples:
        http://www.reason.com/news/show/33381.html
        http://www.amconmag.com/article/2003/dec/15/00012/

      • uknowbetter

        Wow, well if you only get news from commie sources like DailyKossacks, then yes, you are going to be ignorant.

  • adagio4639

    This is one of the dumbest defenses of stupid behavior I’ve seen lately. This statement; “No, this is very silly! (See what I did there?) The silliest thing is Zengerle’s casual assumption that if the free and peaceful exercise of an enumerated constitutional right “takes up resources,” then the state may therefore limit it. I doubt he’d like to generalize this principle. Of course, the real issue is likely that Zengerle is not impressed with the idea of an individual right to bear arms. So he’s untroubled by limiting it on the grounds that it might cost a little money or slightly affect the probability of harm to the president.”, assumes that everyone bringing a gun to a presidential appearance is going to be law abiding and not take a shot at the president.

    Your absurd concern over the idea of limiting an enumerated constitutional right which you deem necessary to demonstrate regardless of the danger involved is beyond over the top. You have a right to free speech but you don’t have the right to yell fire in a crowded theater or call for the assasination of the president. Those people bringing guns to a town hall meeting are bringing weapons. The question is Why? What is the purpose of the weapon? They aren’t hunting. ( hopefully) In fact they are wearing hand guns strapped to their legs. They are weapons for the purpose of defense or for killing someone. There is one other possibility: For intimidation. The very notion that all of these people that are carrying guns are law abiding citizens is a ridiculous assumption. It utilizes inductive reasoning that assumes since nobody shot anybody, then everyone must be law abiding and something like that could never occur. How can you possibly know that the next person with a gun won’t be law abiding and take the shot? The fact that it wasn’t done, doesn’t prove that it won’t be done. As long as that possibility is real, the carrying of guns to a public meeting should be restricted. You may ask, should all people be denied the right to carry a weapon to a public meeting because of the possibility of assasination? The answer is yes. If your right to carry a gun in a clearly hostile environment has the potential of denying somebody their rights to life, then it should be restricted to insure that everyones rights are respected. Under these circumstances common sense should dictate that there is no reason to feel a need to demonstrate an enumerated right simply to intimidate others. The meeting is for peaceful purposes is it not? If something happens, there are trained people to handle the situation are there not? There is no reason to carry the gun, when there are others at the event are carrying weapons to insure the safety of others including the president or a senator or a congressperson. Therefore the reasoning for doing so clearly demonstrates a psychological need for attention to what this person deems a threat to him personally. To counter that perceived threat, he carries a gun, letting everyone know that if push comes to shove, he has a gun and is willing to use it. It is for intimidation purposes since there can be no other valid purpose. The psychological need to demonstrate a right when there is no threat at all to this person is glaringly obvious. A gun is a weapon. It has a purpose. Anybody that psychologically screwed up presents a threat. Please don’t try to suggest that wearing a gun strapped to your leg is not threatening.

    There are and have been many instances over the past 8 years that compromised our rights and took up resources for the purposes of a countering a perceived threat, but you have to draw the line at this?? In a country which has experienced political assasination. A country in which this president has received 3 times as many death threats as any former president. A country where racism still holds a grip on an uneducated class that cannot accept a president that doesn’t look like them? A country in which a public is being baited by hateful rhetoric on the radio aimed at elected officials as our perceived enemy…you are concerned about whether your right to carry a gun is being infringed upon? Over the past 8 years demonstrators were herded into “free speech zones” a mile away from the president. Did you have an issue with that? No of course not. Now we have the gun as a pacifier. The absurdity of right wing logic is astounding. If they aren’t waving a Bible in your face, they’re waving a gun in your face. Usually it’s both.

    • asteinkuehler

      The slippery slope argument you put forth in your previous comment- “why not a tank?” – is a typical straw man. A handgun has a range of use that, while nevertheless a potential tool of aggressive, deadly force, is probably the most sensible armament for purposes of self-defense. A tank, on the other hand, is slightly more obtrusive. Now, I don’t have very warm feelings for either guns or tanks, but the intent of the 2nd amendment most definitely sanctions the free possession of the former, while it would take quite an interpretive stretch to understand the text as allowing for the latter.

      • atalex

        As I recall, the NRA made much of Justice Sotomayor’s hostility to the 2nd Amendment based on her ruling in a case involving nunchucks. The amendment talks about the “right to bear arms” not “bear guns,” and if the SC ever acknowledges an unfettered right to gun ownership, plenty of people will be ready to claim it extends to AK-47s, Howitzers and god knows what else.

        • asteinkuehler

          Well, the NRA won’t rest until every child can carry a .45 to school in their power rangers lunch-box, but that’s a whole different story. They seem much less concerned in acting an advocate for individual liberty or freedom than in working as a lobby for the small-scale weapons manufacturers. But that’s the nature of the Leviathan. As to your argument…

          Indeed, the 2nd amendment does state a right to “bear arms,” not to “bear guns,” but considering the context (local militias, etc.) in which it was written there can be little doubt that the rifle and the pistol were effectively within its sanction. I should also say that I highly doubt that the SC will ever acknowledge an “unfettered” right to gun ownership.

          And thanks for mentioning the Sotomayor nunchuck case, I’ll have to read her ruling sometime soon. I can just imagine Charlton Heston or whoever the current goon the NRA’s got proselytizing for them these days holding up a pair of nunchucks and proclaiming with risible gravitas, “From my cold, dead hands!”

      • adagio4639

        >”The slippery slope argument you put forth in your previous comment- “why not a tank?” – is a typical straw man.”<

        So which is it a slippery slope or a straw man? They are two different types of fallacy's. Lets examine why it's neither. It's NOT a slippery slope because I"m not saying that carrying a gun leads to a machine gun or driving a tank. I already know that it won't. I'm asking why should it NOT be permissable. I'm trying to follow the logic. Why draw the line at all? If you have a right to carry a handgun to a rally, then logically why not a machine gun? It's also not a straw man because I'm not seriously suggesting that we change the course and argue over driving a tank to a town hall meeting. I'm being facetious. Whether a weapon is used for defensive purposes or offensive purposes doesn't alter the effect that it has on the person that's on the receiving end. A bullet doesn't care whether the gun is for hunting deer or people.

        If handguns are allowed at public gatherings in public parks then why not public buildings. Why not the White House itself. Or perhaps the Capitol?

        • asteinkuehler

          Okay, so straw men cannot slide down slippery slopes. You win. As far as the logic for limiting public-carry weapons at handguns, the value judgments to be made are inevitably subjective (e.g., my previous statement that a handgun is “the most sensible armament for purposes of self-defense”) and have more to do with tradition and culture than anything else. So I’ll concede on this point as well. A defense mounted purely on the grounds of tradition without some basis in objective logic is a defense I’m unwilling to make today. I think I was just feeling like being contrary on Friday.

      • adagio4639

        “A defense mounted purely on the grounds of tradition without some basis in objective logic is a defense I’m unwilling to make today.”” I think I was just feeling like being contrary on Friday.”<

        I think that's my normal state of mind.

  • linusbern

    It would probably easier to accept these “second amendment activist’s” right to express themselves how they choose if it wasn’t so obvious that their intention was intimidation to keep other people from expressing themselves..

    • jord

      Like the govt. does all the time? If you think the presence of guns has a chilling effect on debate, you have it backwards. The first side to pull a weapon looses the argument by default. therefore, argue with confidence! If they threaten you, THEY lose. However, if you censor yourself in the presence of an armed opponent , YOU lose.

      • linusbern

        I see so the presence of guns actually fosters an open exchange of ideas. Interesting. I guess following your logic, if they shoot me I really win the argument

        • jord

          Yup. You’d be shot, but so it goes. Thing is, those who are ready to shoot people they disagree with usually don’t waste time with arguments. That’s why I’m not afraid of these people. They’re intent is to make a political statement, and they certainly know that if any of them confirm and validate their critics fears and suspicions about them, they will lose all political and moral credibility.

          You’re still worried that they’re all secret crazies. That’s prejudice!

        • linusbern

          I don’t recall his name, but this past year two policemen were killed by someone who was making a political point about how the government was going to take away his guns. I bet those cops felt pretty good about how this guy discredited his own argument.

      • adagio4639

        >”If they threaten you, THEY lose.”“The first side to pull a weapon looses the argument by default.”<

        By that logic, we lost the argument with Iraq.

      • adagio4639

        >”You’re still worried that they’re all secret crazies. That’s prejudice!””They’re intent is to make a political statement”<

        So that's what this is really all about. Making a political statement. They need to bring a weapon to a town-hall meeting with an elected official to make a political statement. It isn't enough to bring a sign that claims that the Tree of Liberty needs to be watered with the blood of Tyrants and Patriots. You need to bring a gun as well? To a meeting where the president is speaking. And intimidation has nothing at all to do with this?

        We intimidate nations around the world with an arsenal of nuclear weapons that they don't have. The concept is that if they know that we have them and are crazy enough to use them if we feel threatened, then they won't screw with us. The same logic is used by the person wearing a gun to a public gathering. I have a weapon and you don't. If I perceive you to be a threat to me, I just might use it. So the public has to trust this persons powers of perception and his ability to reason as being 100% accurate 100% of the time. The idea that he needs to make this political statement under these circumstances already throws his ability to reason into question.

        The selective logic of this always amazes me. The NRA and gun rights people think everyone should be armed. That would lead to less crime because everyone has a gun and would use it thereby deterring the criminal actions of a nutcase. But by the same token we want to limit the aquisition of nuclear arms, because we don't know what somebody we perceive as unstable might do if he has one . But if everyone had nukes would that not insure peace in the same manner as an armed populace would reduce crime?

  • asteinkuehler

    I think the basic argument here is simple enough: constitutional rights should be upheld and defended whether or not one agrees with the manner in which they are exercised. There’s the obvious parallel to the defense of free speech, which reminds me of Chomsky’s defense of French Holocaust-denier Faurisson. It is difficult, however, to deny that a coercive effect is brought to bear on a debate (to the extent that these town halls can be described as debates) in which one participant is openly carrying a fireman. Of course, that the government exercises this form of coercion by arms on the public pretty much 24/7/365 is an underlying fact of our social order. As an indirect (or direct, depending on your perspective) result, the American public-private media has managed to stifle intelligent debate outside narrowly defined ideological parameters for years and years now. Considering this, it seems a little silly to be hyperventilating over a private citizen carrying a handgun to a town hall meeting.

    • adagio4639

      >”Considering this, it seems a little silly to be hyperventilating over a private citizen carrying a handgun to a town hall meeting.”<

      Until of course, somebody decides to use one. We have abortion Doctors being murdered because somebody is convinced they are doing the righteous thing. We have a guy walk into the Holocaust Museum to kill people. We have a guy kill three cops in Pittsburgh because he thinks Obama wants to take away his guns, and we have unbridled hate speech aimed at the president and other members of congress, and you don't have a problem with letting people bring guns to a town hall meeting in which seething hatred is on full display for the public to see? You think this is "silly". I don't see the humor in it.

      • asteinkuehler

        And what would you propose as a policy response to this sort of violence? A state monopoly on the possession of weaponry? Both of the acts you cite are deplorable, but while I support stronger gun control laws in general, I don’t think either situation would have been prevented by their enactment in the relevant states or municipalities. The 2nd amendment exists for a reason- to defend, by force if necessary, individual liberty against state tyranny. Now I don’t think we’re on the road to serfdom or anything, but this right seems incredibly important in light of historical precedent. Free, open societies have descended into autocracy before and the fact that our constitution enshrines a private right to defense against such large-scale coercion is a powerful tribute to the liberal (as in Mill) spirit of our national foundations. Now if we could only show respect for these same rights to the nearly 700 Pakistanis dead from drone bombings (a few of them were “terrorists” – YAY!), we might do that spirit better justice.

        • adagio4639

          >”And what would you propose as a policy response to this sort of violence?””The 2nd amendment exists for a reason- to defend, by force if necessary, individual liberty against state tyranny.”“Now I don’t think we’re on the road to serfdom or anything, but this right seems incredibly important in light of historical precedent.”<

          Which historical precedent? Give me an example.

  • dhex

    It would probably easier to accept these “second amendment activist’s” right to express themselves how they choose if it wasn’t so obvious that their intention was intimidation to keep other people from expressing themselves..

    does it work?

    • linusbern

      Probably not, but it doesn’t change their reason for doing it.

      • uknowbetter

        So now you can read minds?

        I’m going to posit that your reason for commenting on this blog is because you want to intimidate people because you are a woefully insecure poor excuse for a human being and you know it.

  • scottpuck

    Politicians destroyed by assasination will be replaced by increased new politician production. If assasination of politicians exceeds production and no improvements to capacity can be added to existing infrastructure, the construction of new politician factories will be necessary to meet demand.

  • toc001

    I would classify these people as Gun Fetishists nothing more. It’s creepy and paranoid.

    • uknowbetter

      I would classify you as a fetus and nothing more. I don’t know why a fetus would want to exercise its first amendment rights by commenting on a blog.

      • MillionDollarJoeSuits

        I haven’t laughed this hard in a long time. Thank you.

  • Kent

    Will, I’ve always suspected that you’re either a little autistic or a perpetual adolescent male. Your inability to grasp the threat created by people who show up armed for a heated political argument only serves to deepen my suspicion that you are completely out of touch with salient social realities that are easily grasped by the average adult.

    • uknowbetter

      I think you are projecting, boy. The Secret Service is showing up armed to political events. Are they warped?

      I would argue yes, because anyone who works for the government is warped.

      • toc001

        Idiot. It’s the job of the secret service to protect the President from harm. Their guns are part of their job.

        Are you an anarchist? Is your postman warped? Are your local Firefighters warped?

        You’re not working with a full deck, that much is obvious.

        • uknowbetter

          You are projecting too. ‘omgz, it’s their jobsz!!!111!! Thus, it ok.’

          Whatever Obama, Mao, Stalin, Hitler big-daddy king Camelot government do, is ok by you.

  • orogeny

    I’m just trying to understand the argument here. Are you pro-gun folks saying that the government has no right to limit the carrying of firearms in public?

    For example, I live in Alabama and have a permit to carry a concealed weapon (I do inspections of abandoned buildings and one never knows what you’ll run into). If I go to the courthouse, I would not be permitted to take my weapon into the building. Even something as legal and relatively harmless as my Swiss Army knife is banned. Are y’all saying that the government should not be allowed to place these kind of restrictions on citizens?

    It seems to me that any SANE gun owner should know that there are places that it is inappropriate to carry a gun and a presidential rally is one of those places. Anyone who would decide differently is, prima facie, crazy as an outhouse mouse and probably shouldn’t even be allowed to own a gun.

    • asteinkuehler

      For the sake of social stability, the government does have a legitimate right to limit those spaces in which a gun can be carried. My issue is with those left-wing folks decrying the blight of Glenn-Beck-watching, gun-toting rednecks, while failing to get similarly worked up about war crimes by America abroad. Even as Obama justifies the right to health care on moral grounds, our commander-in-chief continues to tolerate the immense amount of human collateral damage being inflicted by our “War on Terror.”

      • linusbern

        Who are these “left-wing folks” who don’t care about the slaughter the US is committing abroad?

        • asteinkuehler

          When I wrote left-wing folks, I suppose I was speaking more of politicians and commentators ostensibly on the left (i.e., the democratic party and its propagandists), who don’t tend to accurately reflect the views of the so-called “fringe lunatics” on the genuine left. In particular, I was speaking about those apologists who insist that they opposed the war in Iraq on “tactical” terms. Yes, it would have been lovely if our invasion of a sovereign state and the resulting human toll could have been accomplished more efficiently, but that old George W. had to go and screw everything up. So I most definitely heaped the same opprobrium on Bush during his term- and much more hysterically, at that. Unfortunately, the imperial policies of the US government don’t tend change much from administration to administration.

      • Guest

        “When I wrote left-wing folks, I suppose I was speaking more of politicians and commentators ostensibly on the left (i.e., the democratic party and its propagandists), who don’t tend to accurately reflect the views of the so-called “fringe lunatics” on the genuine left.”

        In other words, you’re just as bad as those you criticize. Nice.

        • asteinkuehler

          Fair enough. It’s been a while since I commented and I seem to be getting caught in the tangle of my own arguments.

      • adagio4639

        >” My issue is with those left-wing folks decrying the blight of Glenn-Beck-watching, gun-toting rednecks, while failing to get similarly worked up about war crimes by America abroad. Even as Obama justifies the right to health care on moral grounds, our commander-in-chief continues to tolerate the immense amount of human collateral damage being inflicted by our “War on Terror.””<

        I think that by definition this would qualify as a straw man.

        1. Person A has position X.

        2. Person B disregards certain key points of X and instead presents position Y.

        You're apparently trying to dismiss one argument by introducing another which has nothing to do with the original.

        • asteinkuehler

          Though my argument was a bit clumsy, I wasn’t trying to erect a straw man or dismiss legitimate concerns over the president’s safety. I was simply venting my frustration that while we seem easily aroused to anger by a single gun-toting civilian at a town hall meeting, our nation’s military is currently occupying two sovereign states, largely against the will of their populations, with thousands of highly armed soldiers. However, I understand that these concerns are not mutually exclusive and that the far-right segment of the American citizenry (to which our strapped friend undoubtedly belongs) and their congressional representatives are a significant impediment to ending these occupations. I admittedly took off on a tangent, but to throw one last barb out there I would ask whether or not you consider the Black Panther Party’s march on the California state capitol to protest gun control laws to be a legitimate exercise of 2nd amendment rights?

          To quote from an account:

          “A group of thirty young black men and women, dressed in black leather jackets, berets, and dark glasses, crosses the lawn to the steps of the state capitol. Many of them are armed with shotguns, though they are careful to keep the weapons pointed towards the sky. As they approach the entrance to the capitol building, Governor Ronald Reagan, speaking to a cluster of schoolchildren nearby, catches sight of their advance, turns on his heel, and runs. Still marching in tight formation, the group reaches the steps, faces the crowd, and listens attentively as their leader, Bobby Seale, [1] reads Executive Mandate Number One of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense to the startled audience. The mandate, addressed to “the American people in general and the black people in particular,” details the “terror, brutality, murder, and repression of black people” practiced by “the racist power structure of America,” and concludes that “the time has come for black people to arm themselves against this terror before it is too late.” [2] Cameras flash as Seale finishes reading and the defiant group proceeds into the building. One wrong turn, and the delegation stumbles onto the Assembly floor, currently in debate over the Mulford Act, aimed to prohibit citizens from carrying loaded firearms on their persons or in their vehicles. Chaos ensues: legislators dive under desks, screaming, “Don’t shoot!” and security guards hurriedly surround the party, grabbing at weapons and herding everyone into the hallway. All the while cameramen and reporters run back and forth, grinning in anticipation of tomorrow’s headlines…”

          The response of the Black Panthers was in this case a direct response to state-sponsored police-enforced tyranny in and around their neighborhoods. I happen to sympathize much more with the Panthers than the town hall guy, but it seems that whether or not the tyranny is real (as in the Panthers’ case) or merely perceived (as in the town hall guy’s case) some legitimate space exists for guns generally as symbols of one’s readiness to defend oneself against external powers.

          Now, I’ll admit this example doesn’t exactly jibe- if the Panthers had come remotely close the president they would have most likely been shot on sight. However, there do exist certain parallels that I thought were worth mentioning, merely for the sake of argument.

          For whatever it’s worth, I wouldn’t like to live in a society where the threat of armed insurrection loomed on a daily basis.

    • adagio4639

      That’s what I call responsible gun ownership. You own a gun. You have conceiled permit, and a very good reason for having it. You understand the responsibility that goes with your right. If only others were as sane as you are showing, we’d have a much safer and less threatened society.

  • jimmy

    Gosh, it’s so hard to understand why people think Libertarians are egomaniacal twits whose sole purpose in life is to make prima facie ridiculous arguments just to try to prove some juvenile point of some mythical infringement of their rights by the govt.

    God, when are you dweebs going to grow up?

    • jord

      Well, if being consistent in moral principles is childish, does growing up mean becoming a selectively-moral opportunist? I didn’t know arbitrary hypocrisy on ethical issues was a sign of maturity.

  • This Frey paper is a joke, right Will? Reading it:

    “The social cost of political assassination is much lower as politicians are replaceable. If one is killed, there are normally many others who can substitute for him or her.”

    That’s it. There are no, absolutely none, transaction costs in the replacement of politicians? He didn’t even bother to try and guess some of what they might be.

    Citizens in that paper are indifferent as to their politicans getting blown away. What a nasty world – if a citizen values the President not being killed at 1/100,000,000 of the President’s value of his life, then we are at a 1:3+ cost-benefit ratio to let him spend away the nation’s resources protecting himself. Again, no estimate.

    I want to try to take Public Choice Theory seriously Will, but what should I think at how terrible the second tier stuff is…

  • jc

    The best part of comments on the internet is that they always stick to the topic at hand and never derail into strawmen and rants that are only tangentially related to the original topic.

  • fjp

    How about a Venn diagram that shows the overlap of your head and your ass?

  • CraigMcGillivary

    I have more or less come to see that gun control laws are a bad idea. That said it is is stupid that this particular right has constitutional protection. I can imagine a world in which we are less free with respect to guns and more free in other ways and I don’t see why gun freedom should get special privialage. Gun control might be a better way of directing our authoritarian impulses than the death penalty or Clafiornia’s insane three strikes law. If you were writing the constitution today what would you put in the bill of rights?

    • Steve C

      If you touch the 3rd amendment I’ll send my 3rd amendment lynchmob after you.

  • Steve C

    I guess I don’t understand why libertarians get so crazy about gun rights. I can build a ground-up-from-first-principles, complete with contemporary citations of importance, for freedom of speech, religion, press. Plenty of countries ban guns and are free, by that I mean it’s not a 1984-style nightmare, quality of life meets or exceeds that of the US, and people are free to speak out, assemble, etc.

    I can understand and respect a tradition/culture-based argument for allowing gun ownership. But why is it anything like the cornerstone of liberty? Wouldn’t you say that the degree of acceptance of rejection of, say, the executive’s right to torture captives is much more indicative of the state of liberty in a given country?

    You could ban guns tomorrow and I suppose that would make us less free by definition, but not in any way important to maintaining a healthy liberal democracy (we know this because it’s an empirical matter).

    Watching libertarians go berserk over this stuff (is there any other issue that gets you flinging hyperbole and founding-fathers and whatever else sticks, faster?) is about as strange as seeing someone get really worked up and indignant over the 3rd Amendment.

    • CraigMcGillivary

      While I am very much inclined to think that gun rights are way overrated, it doesn’t really bother me to see people get worked up about it. I do afterall think there is no good reason to have gun control laws. I get worked up when people want to ban video games so I appreciate the sentiment. My only concern is that we seem to be giving this attention at the expense of other stuff. Even in the narrow space of law enforcement it would make a lot of sense to have less people in prison than we do for instance.
      Asside from that I tend to think that some of these protesters showing up armed to the campaign events seem to be engaged in bad behavior. You are allowed to walk down the street with an assault rifle, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t scare people. Just like you are allowed to acuse Obama of setting up death panels even though thats a lie. I will defend peoples’ right to do it, but I won’t defend what they are doing.

      • Steve C

        I wholeheartedly agree with the first part. The second – I don’t get why that situation is so sacrosanct. Would it be so unreasonable to expect that people have their guns safely packed up when transporting them in public? Especially in high-density areas? This just like any community-standards-type law.

    • Vangel

      All rights are property rights. If you stand aside and let any one of them be taken away or restricted you make it possible for the same to happen to all of the other rights. And I do not see libertarians going ‘berserk’ on this issue. The libertarians tend to same the rational, logic based approach as they do when they defend other rights. The ‘berserkers’ usually come from the extreme liberals or conservatives, who usually agree with certain libertarian positions.

      • Steve C

        “All rights are property rights” – only true if you bend those terms until they’re meaningless. As a simple matter of language this is obviously untrue.

        “I do not see libertarians going ‘berserk’ on this issue” I guess if you are one, you don’t think you’re going berserk. A huge % of Libertarians are in the party because they’re gun nuts. They (going back to my example) are more or less unmoved by the 3rd amendment or other parts of the constitution like the 14th amendment.

        As gets pointed out in many of these debates there are all manner of arms you’re not allowed to own. I don’t think it’s at all unreasonable to expect that the state ought not let you own a .50 cal rifle or a grenade, for example. The discussion at that point isn’t about lofty principles but rather about community standards and sanity.

        Libertarians may try to sell others on the idea that restrictions on gun rights are a step onto a buttered slide that ends at 1984 or some Atlas Shrugged nightmare, but not many people outside the movement are buying. Look around the West, people get along fine without guns, people get along fine with guns. It’s just not a big deal either way.

        • Vangel

          “”All rights are property rights” – only true if you bend those terms until they’re meaningless. As a simple matter of language this is obviously untrue.”

          Let us take freedom of speech for an example. You don’t have the right to say what you wish on property on which you are unwelcome and are trespassing. You only have this right on your own property or on property which you have rented or leased. Even your corrupt courts have agreed that there is no separate right to free speech, and have allowed the state power to suppress it. (See Schenck v. United States at http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?court=US&vol=249&invol=47)

          But in a typical fashion the courts got it wrong because they did not consider the argument from the perspective of property rights. As Woods, Rothbard, Rockwell, Paul and others have pointed out on various occasions, the statement by Justice Holmes, “The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man in falsely shouting fire in a theatre and causing a panic,” entirely misses the point because the court failed to consider the problem in terms of property rights.

          The reason why you can’t shout ‘fire’ in a theatre has nothing to do with freedom of speech but is entirely about property rights and contractual obligations. The person shouting in the theatre could be the owner or a patron. If he is the owner and disrupts the performance by falsely shouting fire, he is violating the contract that was made by the patrons, who have every expectation to see the performance for which they purchased tickets without disruption. If you as the owner interfere with the performance, you are violating the contract that you have with the customers. If you shout fire and are a patron than you are violating the contract as well because you are permitted in the theatre on the ground that you would not disrupt the performance or interfere with other patrons. In either case, you are punished because you are violating a contract, not because your right to free speech needs to be restricted.

          The same argument stands for gun rights. You have no right to carry a gun on the property of others unless you are given permission to do so. If the Democratic Party or the White House rent a hall and have individuals make speeches you have no right to take a gun to the event unless you have specific permission to do so because for the duration of the rental agreement they have control over that property.

          “I guess if you are one, you don’t think you’re going berserk. A huge % of Libertarians are in the party because they’re gun nuts.”

          That is not true. I am a libertarian who does not care much about guns and have never owned one. Libertarians believe what they do because they prefer liberty to serfdom. Many people like you have trouble with liberty and want to restrict it because you feel that people are not entitled to making their own decisions about how to interact with others and want to regulate voluntary social and/or economic transactions. Those on the right usually want to restrict social liberties while those on the right want to restrict economic liberties. They are essentially opposite sides of the same totalitarian statist coin.

          “They (going back to my example) are more or less unmoved by the 3rd amendment or other parts of the constitution like the 14th amendment.”

          You just lost me. I have not heard too many libertarians talking about the quartering of soldiers in private homes without the owner’s consent, which is what the third amendment is about.

          And you are also missing the point. The libertarian objection to the misuse of the fourteenth amendment, not the amendment itself. Since I am not an American I am not entirely familiar with all of the important arguments regarding the fourteenth amendment, so I will restrict my comments to Brown v. Board of Education. From what I can see, it is clear that the Supreme Court made an error in Brown v. Board of Education because it made exceptions for government actions that seemed ‘noble’ but weren’t consistent with the Constitution. Given the fact that 24 of the 37 states that ratified the 14th amendment had segregated schools it is tough to believe that the state legislators would have overlooked school segregation when debating the amendment. You can read more about this at: http://oll.libertyfund.org/?option=com_staticxt&staticfile=show.php%3Ftitle=675&chapter=106923&layout=html&Itemid=27 and try to come to your own conclusions on the basis of reason instead of emotion. I would particularly pay attention to the Alexander Bickel analysis, which concluded that, “it is impossible to conclude that the 39th Congress intended that segregation be abolished; impossible also to conclude that they foresaw it might be, under the language they were adopting.”

          “Libertarians may try to sell others on the idea that restrictions on gun rights are a step onto a buttered slide that ends at 1984 or some Atlas Shrugged nightmare, but not many people outside the movement are buying.”

          I agree. Voters on the right want to restrict social freedom. Voters on the left want to restrict economic freedom. That is why you don’t have nearly as much freedom as you used to.

          “Look around the West, people get along fine without guns, people get along fine with guns. It’s just not a big deal either way.”

          If it isn’t then change the Constitution by the amendment process. The fact that you can’t do it means that many Americans are not buying what you are selling.

        • adagio4639

          You say this: >”You can’t falsely yell ‘fire’ in a crowded theatre not because you don’t have the right to speak freely but because by speaking on the property you would be violating the contractual agreement with the other patrons and the owner.”””But in a typical fashion the courts got it wrong because they did not consider the argument from the perspective of property rights.The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man in falsely shouting fire in a theatre and causing a panic,” entirely misses the point because the court failed to consider the problem in terms of property rights.entirely misses the point because the court failed to consider the problem in terms of property rights.””The reason why you can’t shout ‘fire’ in a theatre has nothing to do with freedom of speech but is entirely about property rights and contractual obligations.”<

          You're saying that the court got it wrong, and yet the court pointed to the fact that freedom of speech is NOT an absolute. And why not?The conditions of the argument of yelling Fire in a crowded theater are already understood to involve the property issue are they not? The results of doing such a thing will result in a variety of problems for the patrons who are there as a result of the perceived contract with the venue owner. Even if the venue is publically owned they are there to enjoy the show. All of that is a given. The court by stating that your freedom of speech is NOT absolute in regard to disturbing that performance and endangering others is obviously a breech of trust or contract. It strikes me that you are only upset with the decision because they pointed to the obvious results of yelling fire, and not the general issue of property.

          I should think that as a Libertarian you should understand that if all Freedoms are property rights then your freedom of speech is actually not something universal and only extends to your own personal space. Maybe you already see it that way. But in that sense it seems that your rights don't extend beyond the tip of your nose or the boundries of your real estate.

      • adagio4639

        >”You don’t have the right to say what you wish on property on which you are unwelcome and are trespassing. You only have this right on your own property or on property which you have rented or leased.”<

        Nonsense. You can walk down the street and say anything you like. You can sit in a public park which you don't own and say what you like. You can even post your thoughts on this website which is not yours. The government doesn't have the authority to deny that to you, however you don't have the right to make threats against another person, especially an elected official such as the president. The owner of this website might not want it. ( In that sense property rights are in play ) However, even on your own property where your comments might originate, the issue is in effect. For example you don't have the right to build bombs in your home. You could try to call it a political statement. You could even try to call it art. But I don't think you'll be taken seriously in court. You don't have the right to download child pornography. If your crazy, being crazy on your own property isn't going to give you a pass if your judged to be a menace to society.

        I work in the arts. I hate censorship. I don't want anybody telling me what I can read, or see, or listen to. I'm old enough to censor myself without anybody's help. I'm also aware of the impact that my views might have on those around me. I don't feel the need to push buttons simply for the sake of pushing them. For every action there is always a reaction, and to not be mindfull of that basic fact is both dumb and arrogant.

        • Vangel

          “>”You don’t have the right to say what you wish on property on which you are unwelcome and are trespassing. You only have this right on your own property or on property which you have rented or leased.”<

          Nonsense. You can walk down the street and say anything you like."

          I think that you are confused. I claim that you do not have the right to say what you wish on property on which you are trespassing. You argue about your ability to say what you wish on common or public property.

          "You can sit in a public park which you don't own and say what you like."

          Again, that is public property. But if the park had rules that only people who were silent could use it, you would not be permitted to say what you want because you would violate those rules.

          "You can even post your thoughts on this website which is not yours."

          You can do that because you have Permission to post statements that meet certain standards. If you started to insult everyone or use bad language that the person who controlled the site did not like, he would purge your statements, as would be his right.

          "The government doesn't have the authority to deny that to you, however you don't have the right to make threats against another person, especially an elected official such as the president."

          The government has said that it does have the right to deny free speech and the Supreme Court has backed it up. (That is where the Holmes statement that you don't have the right to yell 'fire' in a crowded theatre comes from.)

          "The owner of this website might not want it. ( In that sense property rights are in play ) However, even on your own property where your comments might originate, the issue is in effect."

          That is my point; the wishes of the owner matter and he has every right to limit your speech on his property.

          "For example you don't have the right to build bombs in your home. You could try to call it a political statement. You could even try to call it art. But I don't think you'll be taken seriously in court. You don't have the right to download child pornography. If your crazy, being crazy on your own property isn't going to give you a pass if your judged to be a menace to society."

          The fact that society regulates voluntary activities that do not involve force or fraud is not in question. All regimes that limit freedom have some restrictions on liberty.

          "I work in the arts. I hate censorship. I don't want anybody telling me what I can read, or see, or listen to. I'm old enough to censor myself without anybody's help. I'm also aware of the impact that my views might have on those around me. I don't feel the need to push buttons simply for the sake of pushing them. For every action there is always a reaction, and to not be mindfull of that basic fact is both dumb and arrogant."

          Your statement does not challenge the argument that I made. You know that I don't have the right to say what I want on your property if you do not give me permission.

      • adagio4639

        >”Even your corrupt courts have agreed that there is no separate right to free speech, and have allowed the state power to suppress it.”<

        Do you disagree with the reasoning of the court? They said this:

        "We admit that in many places and in ordinary times the defendants in saying all that was said in the circular would have been within their constitutional rights. But the character of every act depends upon the circumstances in which it is done. Aikens v. Wisconsin, 195 U.S. 194, 205 , 206 S., 25 Sup. Ct. 3. The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man in falsely shouting fire in a theatre and causing a panic. It does not even protect a man from an injunction against uttering words that may have all the effect of force."

        Do you feel that the right of free speech should extend to yelling "fire" in a crowded theatre knowing that it would cause a panic? If you believe as you claim that the freedom of speech is Absolute in all circumstances then you must agree that you do have the right to do this. Does the charactor of every act NOT depend upon the circumstances in which it is done? Shooting a man is wrong. Shooting a man in self-defense is not wrong.

        • Vangel

          “Do you feel that the right of free speech should extend to yelling “fire” in a crowded theatre knowing that it would cause a panic?”

          You do not read very well. I said that the court was wrong because it isn’t a freedom of speech issue.

          You can’t falsely yell ‘fire’ in a crowded theatre not because you don’t have the right to speak freely but because by speaking on the property you would be violating the contractual agreement with the other patrons and the owner. Customers buy tickets in the expectation that they could enjoy a performance without being disturbed. When a ticket is purchased by a customer it is done with the knowledge that the customer has no right to disrupt the performance for others.

          “If you believe as you claim that the freedom of speech is Absolute in all circumstances then you must agree that you do have the right to do this.”

          I claim that you have the right to say whatever you wish on your property. That you have the right to print pamphlets and give or sell them to whomever wishes to read them. That is different than going on the property of others and violate the rules established by the owner. Why you can’t follow the simple logic is something that you have to explain because I can’t figure it out.

          “Does the charactor of every act NOT depend upon the circumstances in which it is done? Shooting a man is wrong. Shooting a man in self-defense is not wrong.”

          Initiating force against others is always wrong. When you shoot a man in self-defense you are not the person who is initiating force. Can’t you tell the difference between the two? And if you can, why are you arguing a point that you can’t support?

      • adagio4639

        >”The reason why you can’t shout ‘fire’ in a theatre has nothing to do with freedom of speech but is entirely about property rights and contractual obligations. “<

        Unless of course you are at a public venue in which case nobody owns it. It's public property. You can't purchase it. Nobody can. Everyone owns a piece of it through the taxes they pay to provide it. In that sense nobody can lay claim to ownership.

        Nobody has a natural right to property. Property is aquired. Unless of course you've inherited it, but even then it was something that was aquired and passed on to you. It isn't an inalienable right. It is a tangible asset. The freedom of thought is intangable. Property can be measured. You own x amount of property. It can be taxed by measuring the amount you possess. Thought is immeasurable. There is no way to empirically determine the richness or extent of ones mind. John Locke spoke of the rights of Life, Liberty, Property. Jefferson changed that to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. These things are intangable. They are immeasurable.

        You might note that our first amendment guarentees freedoms of conscience. Not property. It was the first because it was considered to be the bedrock of freedom. The mind must be free to think without coercion. The aquisition of property is secondary. You can gain property…lose it…and then regain it. You can do this several times.

        • Vangel

          “Unless of course you are at a public venue in which case nobody owns it. It’s public property. You can’t purchase it. Nobody can. Everyone owns a piece of it through the taxes they pay to provide it. In that sense nobody can lay claim to ownership.”

          Anyone can go into the uncontrolled wilderness or public commons and say what he wishes. And you don’t ‘own a piece’ of a public venue because if you did you would be allowed to sell your share.

          “Nobody has a natural right to property. Property is aquired. Unless of course you’ve inherited it, but even then it was something that was aquired and passed on to you. It isn’t an inalienable right.”

          That is not true. Picasso could create a painting and sell it to others. That painting did not exist before he created it and he has the right to sell it as he wished without anyone telling him what he could or could not do with it. You could write a book and sell its rights to a publisher. I could make shoes that I could sell to someone who needed them and was willing to pay me a price that I found acceptable.

          “It is a tangible asset. The freedom of thought is intangable. Property can be measured. You own x amount of property. It can be taxed by measuring the amount you possess. Thought is immeasurable. There is no way to empirically determine the richness or extent of ones mind. John Locke spoke of the rights of Life, Liberty, Property. Jefferson changed that to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. These things are intangable. They are immeasurable.”

          I suggest that you are not as familiar with the meaning of the text as you should be. When Jefferson wrote, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness,” he did not say that men have no right to property because without a right to keep what it yours you cannot pursue happiness. And the text, “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness,” makes it clear that government is there to protect the natural rights of man, not to grant them rights that they already have.

          “You might note that our first amendment guarentees freedoms of conscience. Not property. It was the first because it was considered to be the bedrock of freedom. The mind must be free to think without coercion. The aquisition of property is secondary. You can gain property…lose it…and then regain it. You can do this several times.”

          You are floundering again. As I said, you have the right to say what you want on your own property or on property on which the owner has given you that right. No matter how you try and spin any narrative you cannot dispute that simple and obvious fact.

      • adagio4639

        >”Your statement does not challenge the argument that I made. You know that I don’t have the right to say what I want on your property if you do not give me permission.”<

        But your original statement was this: "All rights are property rights." That's an absolute statement. It must therefore be true in all cases. However that assumes that all things are matters of private property. Not all property is privately owned. Some property is neutral in that regard. The very air that you breath is property neutral. I'm sure Libertarians would like to figure out a way to privatize that as well. I think that it probably goes without saying that nobody has the right to defile somebody elses private property. I have freedom of speech but that doesn't mean that a newspaper must publish my words. That's all understood by every person with a brain. However it seems to me that the Libertarian perspective is to reduce all things to one context and that is "property". That is the issue I was raising in response to "all rights are property rights". The extreme example of that would be the ascetic who rejects all worldly things such as what a buddhist priest might do. He is attached to no property whatsoever. You could argue that his very life is his property but he'd tell you that he doesn't own that either. I also think that its rather dangerous to think of life in terms of property. When we begin to see human beings as property, it tends to lead to some very ugly results.

        • Vangel

          “But your original statement was this: “All rights are property rights.””

          Yes I did. How do you exactly have something if you do not own it?

          “Not all property is privately owned. Some property is neutral in that regard.”

          Neutral? That is not exactly the word I would have used. Where exactly do you find this ‘neutral’ property that you write off. From what I can see what does not belong to individuals has been claimed by states or alliances. I can’t go to the Arctic, stake off a piece of property, and start looking for mineral deposits that I can own outright. I would have to go and ask some bureaucrat to lease me the land that the governments of Alaska, Nunavut or Yukon have claimed as their own. If the property does not ‘belong’ to them than it is probably claimed by the federal level.

          “I think that it probably goes without saying that nobody has the right to defile somebody elses private property.”

          Are you saying that you prefer anarchy instead where property is not recognized? Or an all-powerful sate that controls everything?

          “I have freedom of speech but that doesn’t mean that a newspaper must publish my words. That’s all understood by every person with a brain.”

          But it isn’t. As I pointed out above, in the Schenck case the Supreme Court ruled that although the text was clear that, “Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press,” the Founding Fathers didn’t mean it. Congress was actually allowed to make a law that could limit the freedom of speech. Many people reading this thread believe that the ruling is valid because they keep repeating the faulty argument by Justice Holmes that shouting in a theatre was a freedom of speech issue. They conveniently forget that by the time the US v. Abrams case come around Justice Holmes dissented and no longer believed the opinion that he wrote in Schenck.

          “However it seems to me that the Libertarian perspective is to reduce all things to one context and that is “property”. That is the issue I was raising in response to “all rights are property rights”.”

          As I asked above, how can you have something that you do not own? It is my belief that you are making an emotional response rather than a rational one. How exactly can you be free and ‘Pursue Happiness’ if you have no right to property?

          “The extreme example of that would be the ascetic who rejects all worldly things such as what a buddhist priest might do. He is attached to no property whatsoever.”

          But where exactly does that buddhist priest live? How does he eat? How does he clothe himself? The misdirection here is the use of the word ‘attached.’

          “You could argue that his very life is his property but he’d tell you that he doesn’t own that either.”

          That would have him argue that it is all right for anyone to come along and take that life. I would disagree with that view.

          “I also think that its rather dangerous to think of life in terms of property. ”

          I think that it is clear that the opposite is true. If your life is not your property than it is all right for others to do with it what they will. That is the morality of serfdom that others may find attractive but libertarians reject. I guess in your world view that the Nuremberg Trials were not valid and that when Martin Luther King wrote in his Letter From a Birmingham Jail he was just a religious extremist who did not really understand law, nature and society. That these are just empty words with no basis in reason: “To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas: An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law. Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust. ”

          Personally, I think that the judges at Nuremberg and MLK were right. That there are natural laws that must be obeyed and that whey those natural laws become subservient to legal positivism society descends toward totalitarianism.

          For the life of me I can’t figure out why rational and educated adults can’t figure this part out when even my eleven-year old can understand the concepts. He was watching some program on the History Channel about the battle for Moscow and noted that the Russian women disobeyed orders not to bury the bodies of German soldiers. When I asked him about whether it was right to disobey orders he said yes and used the defense Antigone gave for the burial of Polyneices to support his views. He agreed with Antigone that there was a higher law that that of Creon, who was the legitimate king of Thebes, even if that law did not come from Zeus. He also agreed that many laws are clearly unjust and need to be repealed and that justice and morality do not have to depend on the belief in God. If a child can understand the issues, even if he has a lot of trouble with some of the concepts, why can’t an educated adult? What is so appealing about an amoral world of serfdom when the alternative is justice and liberty?

          “When we begin to see human beings as property, it tends to lead to some very ugly results.”

          I never claimed that human beings were property. I claimed that they have property rights. You seem to deny those rights and by extension see no problem with the state, some powerful group or the courts confiscating what has been earned by some so that it can be used by others.

        • adagio4639

          >”Neutral? That is not exactly the word I would have used. Where exactly do you find this ‘neutral’ property that you write off. “”Are you saying that you prefer anarchy instead where property is not recognized? Or an all-powerful sate that controls everything?””All regimes that limit freedom have some restrictions on liberty.”<

          Vangel…what world do you live in, in which there is NO limitation
          on Freedom or restriction on liberty? I'm serious. Are you conducting an experiment here or what? All organized societys have laws. A law is always a restriction on your liberty and a limitation to your freedom. Do you advocate anarchy? No laws, therefore no restriction on your liberty. No restriction on your freedom.
          In any civilized social structure especially a democracy the social contract exists betweeen a government and the governed. The people are willing to give up something in order to be guarenteed others. If everything is property rights then that must include Freedom itself. Liberty is a property that can be bought and sold for a negotiated price. We can therefore put a pricetag on freedom. How much is it worth to you?

      • adagio4639

        >”That is not true. Picasso could create a painting and sell it to others.””he did not say that men have no right to property because without a right to keep what it yours you cannot pursue happiness.”<

        I don't think you can demonstrate that as being true. First of all, I doubt that he needed to include that. Jefferson would be more inclined to believe that the pursuit of happiness is what an indivdual deems it to be. A priest for example would not be inclined to be oriented toward worldly possessions. You're speaking in terms of all people having material interests. That is probably true for most people, but can't be said to be absolutely true.

        • Vangel

          “But being familiar with the creative process, I doubt that Picasso set out with the idea of selling a property. The fact that the painting would be valuable to anybody was not likely his concern at the time of it’s creation. In other words his concern over the piece of art was not about property rights. Those would be secondary to the creation of the work.”

          Your statement shows that you don’t know very much about Picasso or art in general. Picasso was not some struggling artist who cared about art but a shrewd businessman who understood how to use his skill sets to become very rich. Although many people think of him mostly as a painter he took interest in anything that would make him money. When he discovered that he can make a nice return for his efforts Picasso decided that he was a ceramic artist and turned out thousands of plates, vases, jugs, and other pieces. He used mass production techniques which would reproduce the images and forms that he created onto clay that would be painted and fired into a final piece that can be sold at a very high price because it was a Picasso. He created a brand and marketed that brand in lithographs, etchings, original posters or ceramics, and illustrated books. Picasso was a commercial artist who was very interested in creating wealth for himself and his family. When he died he left an estate that was very conservatively estimated to be worth more than $250 million in current dollars.

          And if you think that professional artists don’t care about money you probably don’t know many of them very well. Most of the artists that I know are always complaining about the fact that the market offers great rewards for the few while the majority have a hard time making a living. The snobbishness is ironic because the arguments they make against the popular taste is very similar to the ones that the critics made against Shakespeare or Dickens, both of whom had to work within a very competitive commercial marketplace.

          Let me get this back on track. My example shows that people can create property. The world is not the zero sum game that you seem to assume that it is and by using their talents and by trading with others people can create wealth that did not exist before. They can create property and because they created it, they should be permitted to use it as they wish because no-one should have the right to take it away from them by force. Unlike you, I do not look kindly to looting, even when it is done by governments.

          “I don’t think you can demonstrate that as being true. First of all, I doubt that he needed to include that. Jefferson would be more inclined to believe that the pursuit of happiness is what an indivdual deems it to be. A priest for example would not be inclined to be oriented toward worldly possessions. You’re speaking in terms of all people having material interests. That is probably true for most people, but can’t be said to be absolutely true.”

          Well, you just showed that you know as little about your Founding Fathers as you do about artists. I suggest that you read carefully the abundant material that they left behind and learn. Your Founding Fathers understood that one cannot have freedom unless s/he had a right to property. Even your priest example falls apart when you realize that unless the Church can have claim on its property he may not be able to pursue his vocation unless he had permission from powerful interests that allowed the Church to operate.

          You also seem to be unaware of the lessons of history. It clearly shows that societies that protect property rights and intrude less do better than those where there are no property rights or they are far less secure. A society that does not protect property rights does not produce great men like Andrew Carnegie, James Hill, Andrew Mellon or John Rockefeller because nobody would risk capital on risky ventures unless there was a certainty that profits would not be confiscated by the ruling elite. Deng Xiaoping, who was a very smart man, could not get the best and the brightest planners to prevent China from sliding into an economic morass that produced poverty and misery. To get them out of that morass he simply allowed the people to keep what they earned for themselves. The recognition of that natural right that your Founding Fathers thought essential to a free society created the greatest anti-poverty program that the world has ever known and over a generation we have seen the average Chinese worker improve his standard of living to an unimaginable level.

        • adagio4639

          >”I never claimed that human beings were property.”<

          Why not? What makes the human being special and exempt from simply being property? A human being is nothing without his own concience and mind which is his property to do with as he wishes. He can sell it to the highest bidder if he wants to. His body is his property. If that's true then all human bodies are propertys belonging to somebody. Hopefully the person that animates that body and instructs it. But in the case of slavery…that isn't the case is it?
          So human beings are really the property of somebody. Usually the person themselves but property nonetheless. And Freedom and Liberty are in themselves ideas that are of course property that can be bought and sold, through negotiation and barter. What would stop a person from selling himself into slavery, thereby selling his private property ( his body ) and his own intangable asset (his freedom) Would you make a law restricting that practice? In order to protect ones freedom, a law woud be necessary to restrict ones freedom.

  • I just do not understand arguing the right to possess a weapon based on the statistics of people who have used those weapons in the past.

    By this logic, all countries should be allowed to possess nuclear weapons, since apart from the original US ‘atom bombs,’ no countries with nuclear weapons have ever used them against other countries. That must mean possessing them is perfectly safe.

    Who actually thinks this makes sense?

    • Vangel

      “I just do not understand arguing the right to possess a weapon based on the statistics of people who have used those weapons in the past.”

      Statistics? That is not the basis of the argument. People should be allowed to own weapons because they have the right to try to preserve their own lives.

      • adagio4639

        Does that extend to nations as well?

        • Vangel

          Yes it does.

        • adagio4639

          >”Does that extend to nations as well?””Yes it does.”<

          Then on that basis we have no right to tell Iran or NK that they cannot own Nuclear weapons. There are a good number of nations that are in the nuclear club today. Nobody has ever used them other than us. It's pretty clear that possessing nukes serves as a deterrent to anybody that might think of attacking a country that is armed with them. In the mind of the Iranians or the North Koreans, they may very well have determined that after being labled as the Axis of Evil by us, and taking out Iraq, that we have our sights set on them and have shown a willingness to take action on them. They would logically see us as a threat to them, and want to arm themselves with the knowledge that we won't attack another nuclear country.

          If we were in their shoes would we not demand the same sovereign right to defend ourselves against a country that has not only threatened us but actually taken action against one our targets.

  • Steve C

    “The same argument stands for gun rights. You have no right to carry a gun on the property of others unless you are given permission to do so.”

    Everything you say is both true and totally orthogonal to what people mean when they talk about the right to own a gun. A person must always be standing somewhere on the planet, that does not make that the primary perspective through which a “right” ought to be interpreted. You may choose to do so. But for most people, right to speech, or press means those rights are freestanding and only bent when the negative practical implications far outweigh the general principle.

    “That is not true. I am a libertarian who does not care much about guns and have never owned one.”

    I don’t claim that all actual Libertarians are gun nuts, just that at least 50% (likely far exceeding that) are.

    “Libertarians believe what they do because they prefer liberty to serfdom.”

    Libertarians are also prone to motherhood-and-apple-pie arguments. Pretending that serfdom is a real alternative to the status quo makes you a drama queen/teabagger.

    “Those on the right usually want to restrict social liberties while those on the right want to restrict economic liberties. They are essentially opposite sides of the same totalitarian statist coin. ”

    zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. It’s 2009 dude.

    “If it isn’t then change the Constitution by the amendment process. The fact that you can’t do it means that many Americans are not buying what you are selling.”

    I don’t wish to change the Constitution, but I mean to try to convince libertarians to be a bit more empirically-oriented, not just taking the titles from Hayek books, mixing in some hyperbole, and pretending like that’s an internally consistent and externally relevant political philosophy.

    • Vangel

      “Everything you say is both true and totally orthogonal to what people mean when they talk about the right to own a gun. A person must always be standing somewhere on the planet, that does not make that the primary perspective through which a “right” ought to be interpreted. You may choose to do so. But for most people, right to speech, or press means those rights are freestanding and only bent when the negative practical implications far outweigh the general principle.”

      I think that you are missing the point. I am not making the case just for the second amendment and the ‘the right of the People to keep and bear arms,” but for all rights. I have simply pointed out that Rothbard was right when he wrote that, ‘the concept of “rights” only makes sense as property rights.’ (http://mises.org/rothbard/ethics/fifteen.asp)

      As Rothbard points out, the well known ‘absolutist,’ Justice Hugo Black, was very clear in his critique of the Holmes argument, that as far as he was concerned, the freedom of speech was based on the right to private property. Justice Black wrote:

      “I went to a theater last night with you. I have an idea if you and I had gotten up and marched around that theater, whether we said anything or not, we would have been arrested. Nobody has ever said that the First Amendment gives people a right to go anywhere in the world they want to go or say anything in the world they want to say. Buying the theater tickets did not buy the opportunity to make a speech there. We have a system of property in this country which is also protected by the Constitution. We have a system of property-, which means that a man does not have a right to do anything he wants anywhere he wants to do it. For instance, I would feel a little badly if somebody were to try to come into my house and tell me that he had a constitutional right to come in there because he wanted to make a speech against the Supreme Court. I realize the freedom of people to make a speech against the Supreme Court, but I do not want him to make it in my house.

      That is a wonderful aphorism about shouting “fire” in a crowded theater. But you do not have to shout “fire” to get arrested. If a person creates a disorder in a theater, they would get him there not because of what he hollered but because he hollered. They would get him not because of any views he had but because they thought he did not have any views that they wanted to hear there. That is the way I would answer not because of what he shouted but because he shouted.”

      The same argument holds for the right to bear arms. I would not argue that the Second Amendment gives you a right to go anywhere in the world that you want to go with a gun. If you take a gun and come to my house you would not be arrested because you took a gun but because you did not have permission to come to my house with a gun.

      “I don’t claim that all actual Libertarians are gun nuts, just that at least 50% (likely far exceeding that) are.”

      I don’t believe that is true. Most libertarians care far more about rights than they do about guns. I think you just made up a number and confuse right wing conservatives with libertarians.

      “zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. It’s 2009 dude.”

      Yes it is. What is your point?

      “I don’t wish to change the Constitution, but I mean to try to convince libertarians to be a bit more empirically-oriented, not just taking the titles from Hayek books, mixing in some hyperbole, and pretending like that’s an internally consistent and externally relevant political philosophy.”

      You mean you don’t want libertarians to keep insisting that the government and the courts pay attention to the Constitution because you can’t actually amend it. You just want to use words like ’empirically-oriented’ to create a smoke screen for the inconvenient fact that you support that government should violate the Constitution. There is nothing emirical about that.

      • SRdV

        You seem to be confused about the interaction between the right to speak and the right of property owners over their property.

        Following Justice Black’s comment, a protester has the right to make a speech against the Supreme Court, but that right doesn’t remove Justice Black’s right to say who may and may not be in his house.

        Entering a private residence doesn’t change what I am legally permitted to say, and it doesn’t need to. Entering a private residence depends on the permission of the property owner. A property owner can the expel a person (as long as they don’t have a contract right to be on the property) without any reason at all. Businesses are more complicated, but that complication involves contracts spoken or unspoken.

        An example, a person isn’t allowed to falsely shout fire in a crowded theater in order that panic and disruption might be avoided. A person doesn’t have the right to falsely tell a person that there is a bomb in the local high school, no matter where the speaker is when he says it.

        As far as gun rights, IF I have the right to own and bear a gun on public property in front of your house, then I still have the right to own and bear a gun in your house. If you wanted to sue me, it could be on trespass or, perhaps, for threatening you, but it couldn’t be a simple “He brought a gun into my house.” However, it could be a simple “This person entered my house without my permission.”, which would not require any particular mention of a gun.

        • Vangel

          “You seem to be confused about the interaction between the right to speak and the right of property owners over their property.”

          Not at all. I merely point out that the right to speak is limited because one cannot say what he wished on privately owned property where he has no permission to enter or make speeches. You can’t disturb theatre goers no matter how eloquent your speech because you have no permission from the patrons or owners to do so.

          “Following Justice Black’s comment, a protester has the right to make a speech against the Supreme Court, but that right doesn’t remove Justice Black’s right to say who may and may not be in his house.”

          He can’t make the speech in Justice Black’s house, or yours for that matter, if he does not have permission.

          “Entering a private residence doesn’t change what I am legally permitted to say, and it doesn’t need to. Entering a private residence depends on the permission of the property owner. A property owner can the expel a person (as long as they don’t have a contract right to be on the property) without any reason at all. Businesses are more complicated, but that complication involves contracts spoken or unspoken.”

          Yes it does, because you are not permitted to legally be in that residence unless you have permission. I can’t break into your house and call Bush or Obama an idiot no matter how strongly I believe that they are idiots.

          “An example, a person isn’t allowed to falsely shout fire in a crowded theater in order that panic and disruption might be avoided. A person doesn’t have the right to falsely tell a person that there is a bomb in the local high school, no matter where the speaker is when he says it.”

          No. A person is not allowed to disturb a performance period. Yelling fire is not a sufficient reason to get arrested because yelling anything will do the trick. As I said, freedom of speech is not the issue no matter how the narrative is spun by those that want to make it one.

          “As far as gun rights, IF I have the right to own and bear a gun on public property in front of your house, then I still have the right to own and bear a gun in your house.”

          No he does not. There is a natural right to self preservation, which is where the basis of the second amendment comes from. But there is no natural right to trespass or initiate force against others. You have no right to enter my house unless I let you enter my house. And if I do, you have to abide by the rules that I set, which may include that you check your weapon at the door.

          “If you wanted to sue me, it could be on trespass or, perhaps, for threatening you, but it couldn’t be a simple “He brought a gun into my house.” However, it could be a simple “This person entered my house without my permission.”, which would not require any particular mention of a gun.”

          Your logic is poor. You still can’t carry a gun to my house because you have no right to carry a gun on my property.

      • Steve C

        Vangel you clearly want to (falsely) reduce all rights to property rights, which is just ridiculous on its face. But I understand some of where you’re coming from when I read stuff like:

        “I have simply pointed out that Rothbard was right when he wrote that, ‘the concept of “rights” only makes sense as property rights.’ ”

        If your world is 100% Austrian school, I suppose it’s not a breathtaking assertion to say “was right” (by what standard or authority? God? Peer-reviewed scientific journal? other Austrians?).

        • Vangel

          “If your world is 100% Austrian school, I suppose it’s not a breathtaking assertion to say “was right” (by what standard or authority? God? Peer-reviewed scientific journal? other Austrians?).”

          Not God. You don’t need to believe in God to understand the concept of Natural Rights. Certainly many of your Founding Fathers were not believers but they had no problem with the argument. Reading the Constitution and the debate between the Federalists and Anti-Federalists might help you understand the issues better. Why you debate issues when you don’t understand the history of your own country and the ideas on which it was based is somewhat of a mystery.

      • adagio4639

        >”You just want to use words like ’empirically-oriented’ to create a smoke screen for the inconvenient fact that you support that government should violate the Constitution.”<

        Nope. Not at all. Steve C is quite correct. Unless you can actually demonstrate what your saying is true, and provide some kind of methodology to support your opinions, then they really don't stand up to any empirical proof of anything. Hayek would be the first to tell you that. He agreed with Popper on that very subject, and Hayek was NOT a libertarian ( he didn't like the word) or much less a conservative. He considered himself a classical liberal or old Whig.

        • Vangel

          I agree that Hayek was not a libertarian or a true Austrian. I certainly do not see him as a Whig.

          I also do not see how you can create any experiment to look at any complex situation regarding the economy as you would a physics experiments where the particles have no free will. As such, the empiricist pretence is just a smoke screen. For the mathematical economists who use models to come up with various scenarios for real world problems they have to make up all kinds of assumptions that are not actually reflective of reality. As such they and their work is not very useful.

        • adagio4639

          >I agree that Hayek was not a libertarian or a true Austrian. I certainly do not see him as a Whig.”<

          Perhaps not. But he did. Read his essay, "Why I'm Not a Conservative".

          "I also do not see how you can create any experiment to look at any complex situation regarding the economy as you would a physics experiments where the particles have no free will."”For the mathematical economists who use models to come up with various scenarios for real world problems they have to make up all kinds of assumptions that are not actually reflective of reality. As such they and their work is not very useful.”<

          I think that was the point that Steve C was trying to make.

  • CraigMcGillivary

    I just have to respond to Vangel’s nonsense. Suppose I go into the forest and make a notch in a tree and say ‘this tree belongs to me’. Then someone else comes along and cuts the tree down and drags it to their home. Then they say ‘this tree belongs to me’. Who does the tree belong to? It belongs to which ever one of us has more power. So when you think you own something all that is really going on is that you have the power to control that thing. So the question is whether people cooperating through their government should be able to protect their ability to buy and own guns. As a practical matter we have spent a lot of human history figuring out how to construct governments that work well. All I am saying is that it doesn’t necessarily make any sense for a goverment to put a right to bear arms in its constitution. A government without such a right in its constitution might still protect people’s ability to own guns, but the process for changing that would require less agreement.

    • Vangel

      “I just have to respond to Vangel’s nonsense. Suppose I go into the forest and make a notch in a tree and say ‘this tree belongs to me’. Then someone else comes along and cuts the tree down and drags it to their home. Then they say ‘this tree belongs to me’. Who does the tree belong to?”

      You are confused. You can’t go out and put a notch on a tree to signify that it is yours. You have to build a fence around the property that you wish to claim and work that property so that it can be distinguished from the undeveloped wild. It is only after you make a legitimate claim by mixing the wild land with your labour and capital that you can claim it to be your property. (Didn’t they teach Locke in your school?)

      ” It belongs to which ever one of us has more power. So when you think you own something all that is really going on is that you have the power to control that thing. So the question is whether people cooperating through their government should be able to protect their ability to buy and own guns. As a practical matter we have spent a lot of human history figuring out how to construct governments that work well.”

      Actually, we haven’t, “spent a lot of human history figuring out how to construct governments that work well.” Most governments initiate force against citizens and trample on their natural rights. Governments that actually protect their citizens from force and fraud and recognize their natural rights are quite rare. Most governments are tyrannies of one man, a class, or of the mob that tend to be run by a political elite that transfers wealth from taxpayers and consumers to its patrons.

      ” All I am saying is that it doesn’t necessarily make any sense for a goverment to put a right to bear arms in its constitution.”

      But the people that rebelled against the tyranny of King George did because they recognized the natural right to preservation of life and property.

      ” A government without such a right in its constitution might still protect people’s ability to own guns, but the process for changing that would require less agreement.”

      If you are an American you have that right in the Constitution. All you need to take it away is to repeal the amendment. Good luck on that one.

      • adagio4639

        >”Most governments are tyrannies of one man, a class, or of the mob that tend to be run by a political elite that transfers wealth from taxpayers and consumers to its patrons. “<

        Sounds like the Bush administration to me. Although wages have stagnated since Bush took office, corporate profits have doubled. The gap between the nation’s CEOs and average workers is now ten times greater than it was a generation ago. And while Bush’s tax cuts shaved only a few hundred dollars off the tax bills of most Americans, they saved the richest one percent more than $44,000 on average. In fact, once all of Bush’s tax cuts take effect, it is estimated that those with incomes of more than $200,000 a year — the richest five percent of the population — will pocket almost half of the money. Those who make less than $75,000 a year — eighty percent of America — will receive barely a quarter of the cuts.

        • Vangel

          “>”Most governments are tyrannies of one man, a class, or of the mob that tend to be run by a political elite that transfers wealth from taxpayers and consumers to its patrons. “<

          Sounds like the Bush administration to me. "

          The Bush administration was not all that different than that of Clinton or of Obama. You still have a government of a political elite for the benefit of its sponsors.

          "Although wages have stagnated since Bush took office, corporate profits have doubled."

          Actually, wage growth for public unions was spectacular under Bush. And corporate profits have collapsed. Much of the great wealth that supposedly accrued to the richest 1% turned out to be an illusion as a change in the market trend wiped out many of the richest. Sadly, that process continues as Obama continues many of the Bush policies and appoints the very Wall Street insiders who helped create the problem and never saw it coming. But what would one expect from economic illiterates like Bush and Obama.

          "The gap between the nation’s CEOs and average workers is now ten times greater than it was a generation ago."

          The last time I looked nobody was forced to work anywhere. If people could get better pay elsewhere they moved to the better job. And if some shareholders overpay CEOs but choose not to overpay workers that is their business.

          " And while Bush’s tax cuts shaved only a few hundred dollars off the tax bills of most Americans, they saved the richest one percent more than $44,000 on average. In fact, once all of Bush’s tax cuts take effect, it is estimated that those with incomes of more than $200,000 a year — the richest five percent of the population — will pocket almost half of the money. Those who make less than $75,000 a year — eighty percent of America — will receive barely a quarter of the cuts."

          Actually, the percentage decrease was highest for the lower tax brackets. In 2006 the top 1% of income earners paid about 40% of all federal income taxes, which was more than when Clinton was in office. At the same time the bottom 50 percent paid around 3%, which was less than when Clinton was in office.

          You made a grave error because you could not figure out the difference between a percentage reduction and the absolute amount. Some reading might help you.

          http://navaleadership.blogspot.com/2009/03/bar-stool-economics.html

  • Mark

    Since your principle here appears to be that constitutional rights trump all possible considerations of public welfare, I assume, then, you must also support the right of citizens to shout “fire” in a crowded theatre.

    The funny thing is, though, that protecting individual rights *always* consumes resources, and there is *always* a consideration of how much it is worth to ensure a given level of individual rights.

    • Vangel

      “Since your principle here appears to be that constitutional rights trump all possible considerations of public welfare, I assume, then, you must also support the right of citizens to shout “fire” in a crowded theatre.”

      I don’t because, as Justice Black noted, nobody has the right to create a disturbance in the theatre. And as much as the Supreme Court wished to make it, it is not a freedom of speech issue.

  • CraigMcGillivary

    I don’t think repealing the 2nd. Amendment is really important, but I think it should go, along with the US Senate. The point I am trying to make is that the idea is silly.
    As to not learning Locke, I confess that what I know about him is that he influenced the thinking of some of the people who wrote our constitution. Locke isn’t really relevant to electrical engineering which is what I do for money.
    I think that this idea of natural rights is pretty fishy. I did take a Meta-ethics class just for fun. Sounds to me like you are committing the naturalistic fallacy, but our founders didn’t know about that. Now maybe you do have a right to own guns, but it doesn’t come from where you think it does.
    Finally I think you underestimate the value of government. Most of the governments in the world today are preferable to anarchy.

    • Vangel

      “Locke isn’t really relevant to electrical engineering which is what I do for money. ”

      But he is relevant to this particular discussion.

      “I think that this idea of natural rights is pretty fishy. I did take a Meta-ethics class just for fun. Sounds to me like you are committing the naturalistic fallacy, but our founders didn’t know about that.”

      Your Founding Fathers were a lot smarter than your professors. And if you do not understand natural rights well enough, it is difficult to come up with a conclusion that is not based on emotion.

      “Now maybe you do have a right to own guns, but it doesn’t come from where you think it does. ”

      It comes from the right of self preservation.

      “Finally I think you underestimate the value of government. Most of the governments in the world today are preferable to anarchy.”

      Possibly but it is a certainty that most governments are too big and should be at least 90% smaller than they are.

      • adagio4639

        >”It comes from the right of self preservation. “<

        No it doesn't. There are many ways to maintain self preservation. If that were the purpose of the amendment they'd have to enumerate every possible way to preserve yourself. The right to own a gun or bear arms is specifically described in the 2nd Amendment. "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."

        Now…that is what it say's. We have a great argument of interpretation of the constitution in this country, and people demanding a strict constructionist position. What you have just done is invoke your own personal interpretation on what the amendment means. You're embellishing it for your own purposes.

  • uknowbetter

    “But if we can apply cost-benefit analysis to taxpayer-funded end-of-life medical treatment, we can apply it just as well to taxpayer-funded bodyguards and bullet-proof limos.”

    You just stuck a giant telephone poll deep up the backsides of most Liberals. Good job.

    • RememebrNovember

      Right,

      and you should take that away from taxpayer-funded veterans as well.

      No one is going to be taking away legal gun owner’s guns. It’s about plain common sense. Not paranoid Glenn Beck wall scrawlings. Bringing guns to a town hall about healthcare does not equate to the issue at hand. How is having a government option that runs alongside private insurance going to take away your right to bear arms?

      Bircher.

      Obviously you have no idea what it takes to repeal/ratify the second amendment- or any constitutional amendment for that matter.

      • uknowbetter

        You are right they won’t be taken away because people like you will get the bullets first.

      • Vangel

        “Obviously you have no idea what it takes to repeal/ratify the second amendment- or any constitutional amendment for that matter.”

        The Constitution is very clear. It makes it hard to deal and govern in whims. If you can’t repeal an amendment it stays until you can get enough support just as the system intended it.

  • uknowbetter

    Let’s hand all guns over to the state because Mao, Stalin, and Hitler did such a good job with that.

    • Vangel

      Sadly, many of the statists here want to do just that. While they claim to stand for some freedoms they have no problem with the state taking others away. The problem is that once a country starts down that slippery slope it is hard to reverse course.

      • RememebrNovember

        Votes in Congress? Bills in the House? What evidence do you have of this happening underneath your noses by a secret cabal of statists? Again, more anti-government hysteria by people unarmed with facts. It’s still a state’s right issue. Don’t like the gun laws in your state? Move. Or convince your representatives to do otherwise. morans.

        • Vangel

          The evidence is clear and shows up in the fund-raising data. It is no secret why Obama, who got the most amount of money from the Trial Lawyers, is not looking at tort reform when trying to reform healthcare. He talks about unnecessary tests but does not point out that the reason why so many tests are done is because of the lawyers. It is clear from the polls that voters do not support the Waxman-Markey tax and trade bill because it will do nothing but transfer wealth from taxpayers and consumers to special interests. While you wind up paying more the players at Goldman Sachs, Acorn, General Electric, Duke Power, etc., will become a lot richer. And speaking of Goldman Sachs, Bush and Obama wound up keeping them from bankruptcy by using taxpayer funds to bail out the bad bets made by the financial sector. So what we have is a weak economy that is as vulnerable as it has ever been at a time when GS managers and employees are collecting massive bonuses. Whether you like it or not, the evidence is that the system is set up to benefit special interests by transferring wealth from the ordinary worker and consumer. The question is how to respond to that evidence. Since I am not an American there is little I can do with the political process. I certainly have no interest in initiating force against anyone because it violates my principles so I am left to taking advantage of the great opportunity that the American voters have created for those that are actually awake and paying attention. It is my belief that we have a once in a lifetime opportunity that is even bigger than the one that was presented in the 1930s. I intend to take advantage of that opportunity. From what I read on this blog and elsewhere few others are interested in taking that opportunity.

        • adagio4639

          >”It is no secret why Obama, who got the most amount of money from the Trial Lawyers, is not looking at tort reform when trying to reform healthcare.”<

          One of the major complaints over the bill seems to be the lack of Tort Reform. However under a government run healthcare program, my understanding is that you would not be permitted to sue the government thereby removing the need for Tort reform altogether. The military for example cannot sue the government on medical care issues. I don't think that you can in other countries either.

  • RememebrNovember

    @uknow. Yeah Ill get the bullets and lock em away from crazies like you. Jacktard. I could outshoot you any day, any way.

    nice to see the sane people visit Wilkinson’s site. G’bye. Good luck, yer gonna need it.

    • uknowbetter

      You and your kind will. Hardly any of you have weapons and just thinking of them scares you.

      Currently people cannot legally own a handgun in Chicago and the 2nd amendment has not be repealed. It’s because of Leftist freaks who have no problem denying Americans their fundamental rights.

  • RememebrNovember

    “Me and my kind” what the hell does that mean? You mean people who grew up with guns in the home, learned gun safety, were Boy Scouts and earned Sharpshooter merit badges, belonged to a gun range and later on realized that there is a difference between owning a gun and honoring the second amendment and those that are just using it as an excuse for their sociopathic tendencies.

    Neanderthal. diaf.

    • uknowbetter

      Leftists who are scared of people actually exercising their rights.

      ‘omg, someone who is not a Statist goon wearing a gun in public!!111!1’ *wets pants*

      Sounds like you still have some issues to work out. I suggest you seek professional help.

  • RememebrNovember

    Not scared of exercising their rights….

    You have the right to remain silent, you have the right to an attorney…how about those? We’re not scared of those…
    How do you know I’m a “Leftist”? Did you peek at my secret FBI file? Or is it in your parochial worldview of “us” or “them”..! You don’t want me to tell everyone what i found in yours…

    What your incurious mind fails to realize that there is a time and place and context for this.

    Everyone’s got issues, but issuing veiled threats of violence towards people of differing opinion will only get the attention of the authorities. Mark this,any continued innuendos of gun violence ( to mention the fact that it negates your argument )towards anyone will be taken seriously and consequences may result that you might not like. Even if WIll has no spine to do it, I do.

  • Paul_G_Brown

    See … here’s the point.

    I’m old-school. I’ve done not only the NRA courses. I’ve lived a small shard of the life.

    A Gun Is A Tool.

    Got that?

    You pick up a gun to use it. Not to waltz around with it on your hip. UNLESS you’re purpose is to us the weapon as a tool of terror, intimidation, fear.

    In which case? Fuck ’em. Their either liars, or cowards. Either way ….

    • Vangel

      “You pick up a gun to use it. Not to waltz around with it on your hip. UNLESS you’re purpose is to us the weapon as a tool of terror, intimidation, fear.”

      The question is one of rights. If the individual had the right to carry a gun and exercised that right it isn’t your business or mine. If you are disturbed by a right to carry or own the gun then change the Second Amendment.

      • adagio4639

        >”If the individual had the right to carry a gun and exercised that right it isn’t your business or mine.”<

        I really think thats a bogus arguement. None of my first amendment rights have the potential to take the life of somebody at a political meeting especially one where the president is attending. My second amendment right does contain that possibility and therefore it should in fact be taken as something different then the other rights in the BoR. Yes you have a right to bear arms, but that right should be tempered according to the circumstances. It is impossible to determine the mindset of every person that carries a gun to a political meeting. We don't know that persons intentions. After the fact, is too late. We truly cannot afford to risk the possibility of effecting the lives and the rights of others because of the potential for serious damage who considers his right more important than the security of the president. My Fourth Amendment rights were obliterated by the Bush administration in the name of national security, and I'm supposed to be sympathetic to the same people that applauded that systematic destruction of my 4th Amendment rights, and be intimidated by them over their second amendment rights? Why should I? Bush violated the 1st, 4th( search and seizure), 6th (Jury trial and Habeus Corpus), 8th ( cruel and unusual punishment ) You say that it isn't our business, but considering that the safety and security of somebody like the president is involved….that makes it our business. People were arrested for wearing T-shirts that have Bush's face and a circle and slash sign. That wasn't even the issue of a gun that could kill somebody. How does a T-Shirt threaten the president of the United States?

        • Vangel

          “I really think thats a bogus arguement. None of my first amendment rights have the potential to take the life of somebody at a political meeting especially one where the president is attending. My second amendment right does contain that possibility and therefore it should in fact be taken as something different then the other rights in the BoR.”

          Talk about a bogus argument. First, every time you get behind the wheel of a car there is a, ‘ potential to take the life of somebody,’ particularly if your quality of driving is similar quality to your knowledge of the Constitution and your own history.

          “Yes you have a right to bear arms, but that right should be tempered according to the circumstances.”

          If people have to temper rights than they do not really have them. As I said, the answer to your objections are simple. All you have to do is to pass a law that will repeal the Second Amendment. That would take away the right of law abiding citizens to possess guns and the only people that would carry them are criminals and the state police forces.

          “It is impossible to determine the mindset of every person that carries a gun to a political meeting. We don’t know that persons intentions. After the fact, is too late. We truly cannot afford to risk the possibility of effecting the lives and the rights of others because of the potential for serious damage who considers his right more important than the security of the president.”

          But I can point out that it isn’t possible to determine the mindset of every person that drives to a political meeting. We don’t know that persons intentions. After the fact, is too late. We truly cannot afford to risk the possibility of effecting the lives and the rights of others because of the potential for serious damage who considers his right more important than the security of the president. If we follow that logic we would have to agree that everyone would have to walk to political meetings. After all, getting run over by a car is can kill you as easily as getting shot.

        • adagio4639

          >”First, every time you get behind the wheel of a car there is a, ‘ potential to take the life of somebody,’ particularly if your quality of driving is similar quality to your knowledge of the Constitution and your own history. “”If people have to temper rights than they do not really have them.”<

          People should be able to temper them on their own through common sense rather then abuse that right by insisting on a need to display it in everyones face. Instead we have the creature from the second amendment showing up at the presidents rally armed to the teeth. How red, white, and blue of him. He's as American as apple pie and conspiracy theories.

          There is a growing domination of hate radio as one of the crucial elements in a "culture of cruelty" spurred on by eliminationist talk, increasingly marked by overt racism and disdain for others coupled with a simmering threat of mob violence toward any political figure who believes healthcare reform is the most vital of safety nets, especially now that the central issue of life and politics is no longer about working to get ahead, but struggling simply to survive.

          Add to this mix somebody's warped need to send a message to all around him including the president that he's armed and dangerous and is not going to let this president take away his guns and you are inviting a disaster that we have seen before in our history. Assassination of a political leader.

          If guns are not permitted inside a public building such as the Capitol or the White House. They should not be permitted at public gatherings and political events. A gun is not an inalienable right. You weren't born with a gun in your hand. You don't need a gun to defend yourself in a fight. Our rights are somehow viewed as absolute when in fact they aren't. You have the right to the freedom of your own conscience with regards to religion for example. That is absolute. You do NOT however have an absolute right to practice that religion. You don't have the right for example to practice human or animal sacrifice and claim it as protected right of the first amendment. You can't commit a crime and claim that you're protected from prosecution through some idea that it's part of a religious practice that's protected by the first amendment.

    • Paul_G_Brown

      The question is one of rights.

      No right is absolute. Your right to swing your fists around, famously, stops at the bridge of my nose. Your right to free speech and free association is suspended when that activity involves planning a murder. We’ve decided, somewhat controversially, that even utterances that might give rise to panic are out (yelling ‘fire!’ in a crowded theater).

      Allowing that you have a right to carry a gun, the point is that with that right comes a shit-ton of responsibilities. You would feel uncomfortable, surely, attending a crowded, emotionally charged event. Respecting the wishes of others to feel free is one of the responsibilities that comes with that right.

      I’m no more disturbed by the rights articulated in the second amendment than I am by the rights in the first. But I’m also aware that these rights aren’t unconstrained.

      • Vangel

        “No right is absolute.”

        Of course it is. That is what makes it a right.

        • adagio4639

          .>””No right is absolute.””Of course it is. That is what makes it a right”<

          I'm afraid you're wrong about that. As far back as 1878 the Supreme Court said, ""Laws are made for the government of actions, and while they cannot interfere with mere religious beliefs and opinions, they may with practices." The court later stated that although the freedom to think and worship any religion is an absolute right, the freedom of excercize was not.

          In his letter to the Danbury Baptists, Jefferson pointed out "the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions,". Religious beliefs for example are simply opinions.

          Furthermore, the absolute freedom that you are now claiming falls apart in light of what you were arguing just moments ago. In other words, you're contradicting yourself.

          Free Expression on Private Property

          The first attempt to provide a constitutional basis for the protection of free expression on private property occurred in the mid-1940s. In Marsh v. Alabama, 326 U.S. 501 (1946), the Supreme Court held that the owners and operators of a company town could not prohibit the distribution of religious literature in the town's business district because such expression was protected by the First and 14th amendments. Id. The majority reasoned that the town displayed many of the attributes of a municipality; therefore the state-action requirement was satisfied for constitutional purposes of sustaining the rights of free expression. As stated in Marsh, "the more an owner, for his advantage, opens up his property for use by the public in general, the more do his rights become circumscribed by the statutory and constitutional rights of those who use it." In striking a balance, the Court concluded that the free-speech rights of the individual were paramount over the property rights asserted by the company. The Supreme Court's finding in Hudgens incontestably favored private-property rights over individual free expression.

          In other words, property rights superceded the right of free expression. There are always going to be situations in which one right is in direct conflict with another. Something has to give. If a right is absolute, then resolving the conflict would be impossible.

  • Gil

    Of course it could be asked: were those carrying guns near the President, members of the AZ militia and called up for active duty because the AZ government wanted to make sure the President would stay safe?

  • Vangel

    “One of the major complaints over the bill seems to be the lack of Tort Reform. However under a government run healthcare program, my understanding is that you would not be permitted to sue the government thereby removing the need for Tort reform altogether. The military for example cannot sue the government on medical care issues. I don’t think that you can in other countries either.”

    Why should a government plan have to comply with the same rules and restrictions as a private plan? If Obama is admitting that Tort Reform is needed if there were to be a single payer government system why not have Tort Reform for the current system?

    • adagio4639

      >”Why should a government plan have to comply with the same rules and restrictions as a private plan?””If Obama is admitting that Tort Reform is needed if there were to be a single payer government system why not have Tort Reform for the current system?”<

      That's an assumption on your part. Where has Obama admitted that? Simply calling for a public plan is not an admission of any such thing regarding Tort Reform. Tort reform becomes a natural byproduct of the public option. He wouldn't be going for a public option in order to bring about Tort Reform. You seem to be assuming thats the public option purpose. It isn't.

      • Vangel

        “Why shouldn’t it? On the other hand, why shouldn’t a private plan meet the same restrictions as a public plan?”

        I think that you are confused. I am arguing that if there were tort reform to liming people suing government insurance programs the same limits should apply to suing private insurance companies. But Obama does not want to go in that direction and ignores one of the biggest cost drivers in the system. The unnecessary tests he blames on doctors and hospitals are driven by fear of lawsuits. If Obama really wanted to get rid of those unnecessary tests all he needs to do is to tackle tort reform.

        “Isn’t that the essence of competition? The main difference here is that the public plan removes the profit motive that is involved in a private plan.”

        Once again, you show confusion. There is no barrier to entry to non-profits to compete against private insurers. And the last time I looked the private sector was very capable in competing with the public sector when it was allowed to do so. Just look at the Post Office for a perfect example. It gets many subsidies, is granted a monopoly on the delivery of first class mail and yet has trouble competing with FedEx, UPS, DHL, etc. Imagine if the private sector were allowed to handle licence renewals. Do you really think that you would have to line up for an hour and have to tolerate rude and inefficient clerks?

        “Where has Obama admitted that?”

        I don’t think that he has. He was the biggest recipient of campaign contributions from the trial lawyers and will certainly do what he must to protect his donors. And it is hard to know what he really thinks because he has been all over the place on this issue and the White House has yet to come up with its own bill.

        From what I see Obama is even more over his head than Bush was. For the life of me I could never have predicted that Americans would be stupid enough to find a man that was even less competent than Bush but my inability to imagine the inability of voters to think rationally did not permit me to see that the election would be a contest between two men as unqualified and unsuited to the Office of President as Obama and McCain.

        “Tort reform becomes a natural byproduct of the public option.”

        If tort reform were a good idea if there were a public option why would you not support tort reform now?

        • adagio4639

          >”But Obama does not want to go in that direction and ignores one of the biggest cost drivers in the system.””The unnecessary tests he blames on doctors and hospitals are driven by fear of lawsuits.””If Obama really wanted to get rid of those unnecessary tests all he needs to do is to tackle tort reform. “”He was the biggest recipient of campaign contributions from the trial lawyers and will certainly do what he must to protect his donors””For the life of me I could never have predicted that Americans would be stupid enough to find a man that was even less competent than Bush “<

          You know what Vangel..You really are a pompous ass. You don't live here. You aren't a citizen of this country. And yet you presume to understand our constitution better then we do. Our history better then we do. You actually have not one single original thought in any of your posts. Your actually a pretty small minded weakling that read Ayn Rand and is infatuated with an idealized version of a black and white reality that doesn't exist. I read Rand in my 20's. I didn't take it seriously then and I find it laughable that anyone would find it worthy of their time today.

        • adagio4639

          >YOU…”If Obama is admitting that Tort Reform is needed if there were to be a single payer government system why not have Tort Reform for the current system?”Me…””Where has Obama admitted that?””YOU…”I don’t think that he has.”<

          Ok…that was an exchange between the two of us. And you say this: "I think that you are confused". Two things come to mind. One of us is definately confused. Either I'm confused by your contradictory statements…OR…you're confusing yourself. Frankly I think you're confused by your own ideology which can't stand up to critical analysis. Do you think that it's possible that you might be wrong about any of this, or is your ideology infallible?

  • Vangel

    “>”I never claimed that human beings were property.”<

    Why not? What makes the human being special and exempt from simply being property?"

    A human being can think and has will.

    "A human being is nothing without his own concience and mind which is his property to do with as he wishes. He can sell it to the highest bidder if he wants to. His body is his property. If that's true then all human bodies are propertys belonging to somebody. Hopefully the person that animates that body and instructs it. But in the case of slavery…that isn't the case is it?"

    You are confused because you are not familiar with the concept of the inalienability of free will of the individual and the self-ownership principle. Because the individual's self-ownership over his will is inalienable, the individual cannot be forced to continue an arrangement where he submits his will to another. If it were otherwise we could not obtain a divorce because the marriage contract agreed to the 'till death do us part bit.'

    "So human beings are really the property of somebody. Usually the person themselves but property nonetheless."

    Humans can never be the property of anyone in an unhampered market. Your statement is only valid for a tyranny.

    "And Freedom and Liberty are in themselves ideas that are of course property that can be bought and sold, through negotiation and barter. What would stop a person from selling himself into slavery, thereby selling his private property ( his body ) and his own intangable asset (his freedom) Would you make a law restricting that practice? In order to protect ones freedom, a law woud be necessary to restrict ones freedom."

    As I said, you need an education about the subject. It might help you to learn what Jefferson meant when he wrote, "We hold this truth to be self-evident that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain UNALIENABLE rights, that among this are life liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

    • adagio4639

      >”A human being can think and has will.””You are confused because you are not familiar with the concept of the inalienability of free will of the individual and the self-ownership principle. Because the individual’s self-ownership over his will is inalienable, the individual cannot be forced to continue an arrangement where he submits his will to another. If it were otherwise we could not obtain a divorce because the marriage contract agreed to the ’till death do us part bit.'””Humans can never be the property of anyone in an unhampered market. Your statement is only valid for a tyranny.””As I said, you need an education about the subject. It might help you to learn what Jefferson meant when he wrote, “We hold this truth to be self-evident that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain UNALIENABLE rights, that among this are life liberty and the pursuit of happiness”<

      I don't think so. I write for the History News Network and I'm quite familiar with Jefferson and own a copy of everything he wrote. First of all, I have no argument with anything Jefferson said. He's one of my hero's. So you don't need to try to explain him to me. I understand his concept of creator is vastly different from what you may attribute to him. He has stated the fundimental concept of democracy. Something I hold very close to my heart. However democracy and conservatism are at odds with each other. Conservatism is rooted in Aristocracy, Monarchy, Theocracy, and authoritarianism. Liberalism opposes all of the above. The freedom of speech, religion, etc..these are NOT conservative ideas. They are liberal ideas. There is a reason for it being called a "liberal democracy". There is no such thing as a conservative democracy.

      You might also note that the very concept of unalienable rights coming from a creator is a concept that cannot demonstrate itself as being true, unless you think that you can prove the existance of a creator. Assuming there is one, doesn't make it true. Jefferson gave a nod to those with religious tendencies, although he had nothing to do with religion as such. It's also important to note that the term creator is deistic. Acknowledging something but without specification; he left it at that. His own views were always kept to himself. When asked what his religion was, he stated that he had his own, and left it for others to speculate on.

  • Vangel

    “I like owning things. They’re nice to have. But they can be replaced. They’re material in nature.”

    How can you own things if you do not believe in property rights? If someone can come and that your things away without your assent how can you own those things?

    “You’re attempting to place all things under the catagory of property. I simply don’t see things in that light. But if you insist then you must regard your freedom as a property right as well.”

    I just made the case that it is a property right. I have yet to see you make a valid case against it.

    “Vangel…what world do you live in, in which there is NO limitation
    on Freedom or restriction on liberty? I’m serious. Are you conducting an experiment here or what? All organized societys have laws. A law is always a restriction on your liberty and a limitation to your freedom. Do you advocate anarchy? No laws, therefore no restriction on your liberty. No restriction on your freedom.”

    I don’t advocate anarchy and have no problem with laws that are designed to protect individuals from those that would initiate force against them, take or intrude on their property or commit fraud against them. I simply argue that we don’t need government to intrude in voluntary transactions and that we don’t need laws to regulate how much salt a product must contain, where an individual can smoke, limit what one can do with one’s own body, etc. Most laws and regulations need to be repealed because they do much more harm than good and because they limit personal liberty.

    “In any civilized social structure especially a democracy the social contract exists betweeen a government and the governed.”

    Does it? A contract is not what I would call the arrangement because it keeps getting amended as government intrudes more and more into people’s lives by limiting their liberty. Income taxes were supposed to be temporary and limited to a small percentage of earnings above a certain amount that was chosen to be quite high so that few people would be impacted. Now we see that taxes are the biggest burden for most working families. When the govenrment was created nobody agreed that it could violate state rights or tell free individuals how they must conduct their daily lives and voluntary transactions.

    “The people are willing to give up something in order to be guarenteed others.”

    Nobody asks the people if they want to pay more in gasoline taxes so that GE’s wind turbine business can be subsidized. Nobody agreed to carbon trading schemes that will make trading companies and well connected individuals very rich as consumers are forced to pay much more for many goods and services. Nobody voted on govenrment regulating the amount of salt that companies add to the food that they sell.

    “If everything is property rights then that must include Freedom itself. Liberty is a property that can be bought and sold for a negotiated price. We can therefore put a pricetag on freedom. How much is it worth to you?”

    You can’t sell inalienable rights. As I said, you can agree to stay with someone for the rest of your life but nobody can hold you to that promise because you are free to change your mind.

  • adagio4639

    >”How can you own things if you do not believe in property rights?”“we don’t need government to intrude in voluntary transactions and that we don’t need laws to regulate how much salt a product must contain,””Does it? A contract is not what I would call the arrangement because it keeps getting amended as government intrudes more and more into people’s lives by limiting their liberty”” When the govenrment was created nobody agreed that it could violate state rights or tell free individuals how they must conduct their daily lives and voluntary transactions. “”You can’t sell inalienable rights.”<

    Then in that case, they aren't property rights since they can't be sold. So all rights are NOT property rights. Inalienable rights are not property. They are not material rights. They are NOT tangable assets. They're metaphysical in nature. You are born with them whether you wanted them or not. If you can't sell them then they aren't actually governed by free will. You have no right to sell it as property. That's because they can't be defined as property in the same way that material objects can, which was the gist of my argument when I disagreed with your claim that ALL rights are property rights. Inalienable rights obviously by your own claim (You can't sell inalienable rights) do not fit the definition of property as most people understand it. Property can be bought and sold. Inalienable rights cannot. Therefore, logically inalianble rights cannot be property under the same definition.

  • Vangel

    “I never said that I don’t believe in property rights. What I said was that I disagree with you that all rights are property rights.”

    Fair enough. But to support my claim that rights only make sense in the context of property I gave you the example of free speech and the right to carry guns. You have said that you disagree but have yet to provide an argument to support your belief. I have no trouble doing that and provided perfect examples for both the right to own guns and the freedom of speech.

    “How about the amount of lead or asbestos in a product? As for government intrusion into voluntary transactions, don’t you think that’s a broad brush you’re using? Doesn’t it depend on the type of transaction? What if the transaction can do harm to the public?”

    The government does not need to insert itself into voluntary transactions. No manufacturer or retailer has the right to harm a customer so the law already protects individuals from bad products. If Wal Mart and Mattel sell toys that harm children in the ordinary use of that toy than they already liable for any damages cause by the use of those toys.

    Look at the system in place now. It rewards a woman $1 million because she spills hot coffee on herself as she is driving. Do we really need laws to force sellers of coffee to remind customers that the coffee is hot and that they should not be driving and drinking at the same time?

    “Yeah, it does. The constitution was designed to be amended. Do you expect us to live the way people lived 200 years ago? I doubt that the framers did. That’s why they included the amendment process. They didn’t even have electric lights then, let alone the internet. The population back then was nothing like it is today.”

    As I wrote before, go ahead and try to amend the Constitution as is your right. But until you do I do expect you to obey it as it should have been obeyed 200 years ago. The fact that it has not been obeyed explains the decline of the US and the state that it is in.

    You are also confusing the changes brought about by technological change and the need to obey the laws. No matter what technological changes come our way we still need to have clear laws that respect individual liberty and hamper the natural tendency for systems to move towards tyranny.

    “Lets be honest here ok? When the government was created we had slavery. Women couldn’t vote. There were no child labor laws.”

    I am being honest. I have never said that all of the conditions lived up to the words in the Declaration of Independence. I am merely claiming that the writer of the Declaration was right to claim, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

    “As for “state rights” that is nothing but a euphamism for the institution of slavery, Jim Crow, and segregation.”

    This is the cliché used by those that are not familiar with the history of the United States, or Western history in general. You seem to believe that rights flow from the federal government to states and individuals rather than the other way around. There are many points and arguments that I can make here but I will limit my response to just a few.

    First, the states delegated to the federal government very limited powers and the Tenth Amendment makes it clear that, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

    Second, the debate between the Federalists and Anti-Federalists acknowledged states rights. Even Alexander Hamilton argued that the states could restrain the federal government. In Federalist #28 he writes, “It may safely be received as an axiom in our political system, that the State governments will, in all possible contingencies, afford complete security against invasions of the public liberty by the national authority.” (And that is a centralizer and a believer in big government writing.)

    Third, the states were weary of any situation in which federal officials would interpret what was legal. That is why New York, Virginia, and Rhode Island included clauses in their ratification documents to permitted them to leave the Union if they did not like where federalism was taking the country. Virginia cited this clause when it left the Union in 1961. The principle of co-equality provided all states with the rights held by New York, Virginia, and Rhode Island.

    And I do not think that you appreciate how the concept of states rights actually threatened the institution of slavery that you claim that it really supports. Woods also points out that states’ rights could be used to oppose slavery. The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled that the Fugitive Slave Act was unconstitutional, and the state did not have to enforce it. If other state courts made similar rulings slavery could not exist just as it could not survive for long if the South had been allowed to leave. Lincoln understood that and tried to have the Southern states brought back into the fold by promising an amendment that would not interfere with slavery.

    “It was the battle cry of George C. Wallace and racist to the core. I don’t know how old you are, but I’m old enough to have witnessed it.”

    The fact that the US was racist has nothing to do with the issue being discussed. Your statements just divert attention from the debate around state rights, probably because your knowledge of history is weak and you are not familiar with the facts.

    “The 14th Amendment made everyone born here a citizen of the US. (All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States) ;My allegience is to the United States. Not to Florida. The US flag flies over all state flags. When I hear somebody evoking states rights, I see a person echoing the sentiments of Wallace and the old south. I know where that is coming from.”

    The 14th Amendment does not change the Constitution by taking away the powers that were never granted to the federal government from the states and people. I think that you need to read up on your history. You might want to read the Federalist and Anti-Federalist Papers, the writing of Lysander Spooner, William Lloyd Garrison, and a guy that you should be familiar with, Thomas Jefferson.

    • adagio4639

      >”The government does not need to insert itself into voluntary transactions.No manufacturer or retailer has the right to harm a customer so the law already protects individuals from bad products.””Look at the system in place now. It rewards a woman $1 million because she spills hot coffee on herself as she is driving.””The fact that it has not been obeyed explains the decline of the US and the state that it is in.””This is the cliché used by those that are not familiar with the history of the United States, or Western history in general. “”Second, the debate between the Federalists and Anti-Federalists acknowledged states rights. Even Alexander Hamilton argued that the states could restrain the federal government.”<

      And yet, in 1787 Madison wrote "Encroachments by the States on the federal authority.
      2. Examples of this are numerous and repetitions may be foreseen in almost every case where any favorite object of a State shall present a temptation. Among these examples are the wars and treaties of Georgia with the Indians. The unlicensed compacts between Virginia and Maryland, and between Pena. & N. Jersey–the troops raised and to be kept up by Massts.

      • Vangel


        “Sorry but that isn’t good enough. I’m really more interested in the prevention of an accident then I am in prosecuting the results of an accident.”

        That would give the govenrment unlimited power. It could claim that driving by anyone over 50 or under 20 should be banned because statistics show that older and young drivers are less safe. It could ban the sales of chocolate unless every batch goes through a test to ensure that there is no peanut contamination that might kill someone who is allergic to peanuts.

        All kinds of imagined ‘accidents’ could be used to justify meddling but no such powers have been granted to the government. What I find ironic is that lefties like you will be the first people to complain when such schemes wind up protecting big businesses that have contributed to political campaigns and will call for even more government to fix the problem that was caused by big government.

        “That’s what regulations are for.”

        No they are not. Regulations are barriers to competition and are designed to protect special interest groups such as industry groups, farmers, etc. There are already laws to handle unsafe products and damages that keep companies and individuals from being allowed to harm consumers.

        “All companies must meet a standard of safety for the public that is consuming their products.”

        Of course they must. Consumers need to be confident or a company can’t sell its products. No government is required for that.

        “Don’t tell me about laws that will prosecute some company that has poisoned people. A company must comply with standards that prevent that from happening in the first place.”

        That is what the laws are there for. If you harm individuals you have to compensate them.

        “Protecting the public should be the governments job #1. Lets call it…I got it…Homeland Security. Catchy name don’t you think?”

        Great; what the US needs is a move towards fascism. And what a great job the government did on 9/11. Its employees let 19 people with box cutters get on aeroplanes and kill everyone aboard plus many people on the ground. How about how they protected people from Bernie Madoff’s fraud. Or discovering that Enron was not quite what it seemed. The private sector had no problem sniffing out the fraud but the bureaucrats had little incentive to do their jobs properly.

        “Well that’s an anecdotal incident that everyone is aware of. The woman was stupid. And McDonalds now has advised it’s customers. However that isolated incident does not mean that you don’t regulate business. The public safety is always concern #1.”

        You missed the point. Your system rewarded stupidity.

        “The last administration violated the constitution constantly.”

        Of course it did. Most presidents have trampled on the Constitution. And they keep appointing a judiciary that expands their power and that of the federal government while they limit state and individual rights.

        “They considered it a “GD piece of paper”. They had lawyers looking for ways around the constitution. If they were doing something that broke the law, they simply created a euphamism to call it something else. The United States has been decimated both at home economically, and abroad by the past 8 years of the worst administration in our history.”

        It was hardly the worst administration in history. Wilson, Lincoln, FDR, Hoover were worse.

        “No. Actually, you’re providing the cliche’ response to what every American that went through this BS as a justification for segregation understands. Unlike you, I am familiar with the history of MY country. I live here. I’ve seen it close up and personal unlike you. I actually write for the History News Network. Basically, you really are a dilettant with no direct knowledge of what you speak.”

        You don’t seem to be familiar with your history at all. You are only familiar with a version of it that does not stand up to scrutiny.

        “And yet, in 1787 Madison wrote “Encroachments by the States on the federal authority.
        2. Examples of this are numerous and repetitions may be foreseen in almost every case where any favorite object of a State shall present a temptation. Among these examples are the wars and treaties of Georgia with the Indians. The unlicensed compacts between Virginia and Maryland, and between Pena. & N. Jersey–the troops raised and to be kept up by Massts.”

        The fact that some states may have intruded on powers granted to the federal government does not excuse the federal government taking powers not delegated to it by the Constitution. Like I said, it might help you to actually read some of the writing of your Founding Fathers.

        • adagio4639

          >”That would give the govenrment unlimited power.””It could claim that driving by anyone over 50 or under 20 should be banned because statistics show that older and young drivers are less safe.”“”That’s what regulations are for.””No they are not. Regulations are barriers to competition and are designed to protect special interest groups such as industry groups, farmers, etc.””Of course they must. Consumers need to be confident or a company can’t sell its products. No government is required for that. “”That is what the laws are there for. If you harm individuals you have to compensate them.””Great; what the US needs is a move towards fascism.””Or discovering that Enron was not quite what it seemed. The private sector had no problem sniffing out the fraud but the bureaucrats had little incentive to do their jobs properly. “”You missed the point. Your system rewarded stupidity.””It was hardly the worst administration in history. Wilson, Lincoln, FDR, Hoover were worse.””You don’t seem to be familiar with your history at all. You are only familiar with a version of it that does not stand up to scrutiny. “”The fact that some states may have intruded on powers granted to the federal government does not excuse the federal government taking powers not delegated to it by the Constitution. Like I said, it might help you to actually read some of the writing of your Founding Fathers.”<

          Like I said before, the 14th Amendment makes all people born here citizens of the US. My passport is a US passport. Not a Florida passport. The states are individual parts of a greater whole. That's the United States. The states in and of themselves have no direct sovereignty. They cannot act outside of the nation to form their own treaties or alliences. Those that don't like it, can drop dead as far as I'm concenrned. They're anti-American and a blight on the nation. Frankly if they want to seccede again, this time I'm for cutting them loose. I would have no problem watching Texas become a third world nation. The next time a hurricane hits them they can bail themselves out.

  • Vangel

    “>””No right is absolute.”

    “Of course it is. That is what makes it a right”<

    I'm afraid you're wrong about that. As far back as 1878 the Supreme Court said,

    ""Laws are made for the government of actions, and while they cannot interfere with mere religious beliefs and opinions, they may with practices." The court later stated that although the freedom to think and worship any religion is an absolute right, the freedom of excercize was not."

    It is no surprise that a court appointed by a federal government would say that. But the court is wrong. The federal government has no business in the religion business because the words, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;…,” leave no wiggle room. They limit the power of Congress and the federal government, not the states.

    "In his letter to the Danbury Baptists, Jefferson pointed out "the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions,". Religious beliefs for example are simply opinions."

    The purpose of the letter was to address the Baptists' fears of an establishment of a national government-supported church. To see what Jefferson believed about the subject you are better off looking at this Inaugural Address, in which he stated, "In matters of religion I have considered that its free exercise is placed by the Constitution independent of the powers of the General Government. I have therefore undertaken on no occasion to prescribe the religious exercises suited to it, but have left them, as the Constitution found them, under the direction and discipline of the church or state authorities acknowledged by the several religious societies." Jefferson was clear that the Constitution left no place for the federal government in the issue of religion. That was a matter left up to the churches, individuals and the states.

    Of course, I agree that Jefferson did not believe that freedom of religion, speech, the right to carry arms, association, etc., were inalienable and could be regulated by the states. It is only inalienable rights that cannot be intefered with by either the federal government or the states.

    I have to say that this is an interesting approach that you are taking. Usually the left argues that states cannot establish or support a specific religion but you are supporting an argument that they can and brining up evidence that it is only the federal government that has no business dealing with the subject of religion. You might turn out into a supporter of states rights after all.

    “Furthermore, the absolute freedom that you are now claiming falls apart in light of what you were arguing just moments ago. In other words, you're contradicting yourself.”

    Where did I say that you had absolute freedom? I said that you could not trespass on the property of others or initiate force against anyone. I just said that if you had a right to something it was absolute because if it wasn’t it would not be a right but permission.

    “Free Expression on Private Property

    The first attempt to provide a constitutional basis for the protection of free expression on private property occurred in the mid-1940s. In Marsh v. Alabama, 326 U.S. 501 (1946), the Supreme Court held that the owners and operators of a company town could not prohibit the distribution of religious literature in the town's business district because such expression was protected by the First and 14th amendments. Id. The majority reasoned that the town displayed many of the attributes of a municipality; therefore the state-action requirement was satisfied for constitutional purposes of sustaining the rights of free expression. As stated in Marsh, "the more an owner, for his advantage, opens up his property for use by the public in general, the more do his rights become circumscribed by the statutory and constitutional rights of those who use it." In striking a balance, the Court concluded that the free-speech rights of the individual were paramount over the property rights asserted by the company. The Supreme Court's finding in Hudgens incontestably favored private-property rights over individual free expression.”

    The Fourteenth Amendment has done a great deal of damage to your country and has been applied improperly on all kinds of cases. Its intent was to ensure that recentrly freed slaves had the right of citizens and has nothing to do with the distribution of leaflets on private property. Of course, given the fact that FDR had appointed anti-property judges, it is no surpise that the court would have ruled against a company. FDR, who is the fourth worst president on my list, was never big on property or markets.

    http://www.amazon.com/GOVERNMENT-JUDICIARY-RAOUL-BERGER/dp/0865971447/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1252549843&sr=1-1

    http://www.amazon.com/Fourteenth-Amendment-Bill-Rights/dp/0806121866/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1252549911&sr=1-3

    “In other words, property rights superceded the right of free expression. There are always going to be situations in which one right is in direct conflict with another. Something has to give. If a right is absolute, then resolving the conflict would be impossible."

    As I said, the freedom of speech is is not inalieanable and is a property right. You still can’t come into someone’s house and try to express yourself unless you have permission to do so. And let us note that Marsh v. Alabama was a weird case that was not applicable to any other situation. When Cyber Promotions cited Marsh v. Alabama as an attempt to get AOL to allow it to send mass e-mails for promotional purposes the Supremes upheld the property rights of AOL shareholders and dismissed the case.

    • adagio4639

      >”It is no surprise that a court appointed by a federal government would say that. But the court is wrong.””The federal government has no business in the religion business because the words, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;…,” leave no wiggle room. “”They limit the power of Congress and the federal government, not the states.””The purpose of the letter was to address the Baptists’ fears of an establishment of a national government-supported church.”“Of course, I agree that Jefferson did not believe that freedom of religion, speech, the right to carry arms, association, etc., were inalienable and could be regulated by the states. “”Usually the left argues that states cannot establish or support a specific religion but you are supporting an argument that they can and brining up evidence that it is only the federal government that has no business dealing with the subject of religion. You might turn out into a supporter of states rights after all.””The Fourteenth Amendment has done a great deal of damage to your country and has been applied improperly on all kinds of cases.”<

      You've avoided addressing the issue of a contradiction in your claim that a right is absolute. Obviously it isn't. Very often one persons "right" is in direct conflict with anothers. Something has to give. In the case I cited, the property right outweighed the free speech right. So when a statement is made that "No right is absolute." and you state, "Of course it is. That is what makes it a right"”As I said, the freedom of speech is is not inalieanable and is a property right.””You still can’t come into someone’s house and try to express yourself unless you have permission to do so.”<

      Of coures you can. You may be thrown out as a consequence of what you say, but there is literally nothing to censor you from saying what you have to say except yourself. Your property right doesn't constrict my vocal chords if I choose to say something that you don't like. You can tell me to leave if you like, but that's really after the fact now isn't it. The words were said and no property right that you have could have prevented it. In fact the only thing that has any effect here is whether the person chooses to respect that property right or not. His freedom to speak is actually unconstrained by anything beyond his respect for the persons property.

  • I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

  • Vangel

    “Ok…that was an exchange between the two of us. And you say this: “I think that you are confused”.”

    But you are confused. On one hand you are suggesting that the private insurers and the public plan will be treated the same and on the other you suggest that tort reform will evolve so that the public plan cannot be sued as the insurers are.

    Of course, Obama is even more confused because he claims that the public plan will get no subsidies at one time but says that it will work like the public universities, which get plenty of subsidies on the other.

    We also seem to be having two one way conversations because you keep ignoring the points that are made and bring up other points and deal in narratives rather than facts.

    “Two things come to mind. One of us is definately confused.”

    You certainly have shown confusion and an inability to think clearly or do your research. As I said, it would not have taken much digging to find that the insurers favoured Democrats over Republicans when it came to campaign contributions but you claim that the Republicans owe more to the insurers than the Democrats do. You do not seem to support tort reform, even though unnecessary costs and preventative medicine add huge costs to the system. You also fail to admit that the government has shown that it can’t control costs well even though Medicare shows its total incompetence.

    “Either I’m confused by your contradictory statements…OR…you’re confusing yourself.”

    My statements are not contradictory. They are in response to contradictory claims made by the Obama administration or its supporters. Like I said, you can’t say that there won’t be any subsidies for a public plan but say that it will be run just like the public universities on the other. You can’t claim that you want to save money and not deal with tort reform. You can’t claim competence when government programs like the VA and Medicare have issues with quality of care or cost overruns.

    “Frankly I think you’re confused by your own ideology which can’t stand up to critical analysis.”

    Actually, the preference for liberty is very consistent. You reject government meddling with voluntary transactions and limit its functions to protecting individuals from force and fraud.

    “Do you think that it’s possible that you might be wrong about any of this, or is your ideology infallible?”

    Of course I could be wrong. Obama could be a bigger incompetent than I believe that he is.

  • adagio4639

    >On one hand you are suggesting that the private insurers and the public plan will be treated the same and on the other you suggest that tort reform will evolve so that the public plan cannot be sued as the insurers are.”“You certainly have shown confusion and an inability to think clearly or do your research.”<

    I hear that alot from people like yourself that can never demonstrate how anything that they are saying is actually true. Like, I'm supposed to take your word on some opinion that is nothing more then your own value judgement. Haven't you figured it out by now, that I never regard opinion as having any significance at all? I am only interested in things that can be falsified. Everything else carries no significance whatsoever to me. I don't hold to tradition at the expense of progress.

  • Vangel

    “That’s right. As far as regulating interstate commerce goes, that’s correct. I have absolutely no issue with that. In fact, I expect it. Call it protecting the American citizen. You know…like Homeland Security. Do you actually think that a company should be able to police themselves?? If so, why? Why should I or anybody trust them to do that when they have a profit motive involved?”

    Interstate commerce? The federal government goes well beyond ensuring that interstate commerce can take place without state tariffs and protection schemes. The federal government uses the interstate commerce clause to overrule the State of California, which allows terminally ill patients to grow marijuana for their own use. As Justice Thomas wrote in his dissenting opinion, “Respondents Diane Monson and Angel Raich use marijuana that has never been bought or sold, that has never crossed state lines, and that has had no demonstrable effect on the national market for marijuana. If Congress can regulate this under the Commerce Clause, then it can regulate virtually anything–and the Federal government is no longer one of limited and enumerated powers. … By holding that Congress may regulate activity that is neither interstate nor commerce under the Interstate Commerce Clause, the Court abandons any attempt to enforce the Constitution’s limits on federal power.”

    Why can’t you understand that the clause has been used to limit your rights even though the government has no such authority? Did you like the Bush Administration’s anti-liberty stance so much that you do not care about the fact that Congress or the Executive keep using the Commerce Clause to justify what they want? And if you didn’t why is it OK if Clinton or Obama do the same?

    “Do you really think that you’re the first historical revisionist I’ve encountered?? Think again.”

    The fact that you have failed to learn from the actual facts is your problem, not mine.

    “Like I said before, the 14th Amendment makes all people born here citizens of the US. My passport is a US passport. Not a Florida passport. The states are individual parts of a greater whole. That’s the United States. The states in and of themselves have no direct sovereignty. They cannot act outside of the nation to form their own treaties or alliences. Those that don’t like it, can drop dead as far as I’m concenrned. They’re anti-American and a blight on the nation. Frankly if they want to seccede again, this time I’m for cutting them loose. I would have no problem watching Texas become a third world nation. The next time a hurricane hits them they can bail themselves out.”

    As I said, you need to read the Constitution as it is written. The misapplication of the 14th Amendment to advance certain political agendas is a perfect example of how the Constitution is misinterpreted by the Courts and misused by various administrations. Sadly, you put your leftist ideology ahead of the Constitution as do those on the right.

  • Plaidpundit

    Did not in fact the man who showed up to see Obama, legally armed – actually, literally prove – unequivocally that the people who were the biggest threat to the President and the Secret Service were the people WITHOUT weapons draped over their shoulder or on a belt ?….