Posts Tagged liberty
Penn Jillette has a great op-ed at the Wall Street Journal about the passing of the Hummer.
Hummers are stupid and wasteful and if they go away because no one wants to buy one, that’ll be just a little sad. It’s always a little sad to lose some stupid. I love people doing stupid things that I’d never do—different stupid things than all the stupid things I do. It reminds me that although all over the world we humans have so much in common, so much love, and need, and desire, and compassion and loneliness, some of us still want to do things that the rest of us think are bug-nutty. Some of us want to drive a Hummer, some of us want to eat sheep’s heart, liver and lungs simmered in an animal’s stomach for three hours, some us want to play poker with professionals and some of us want a Broadway musical based on the music of ABBA. I love people doing things I can’t understand. It’s heartbreaking to me when people stop doing things that I can’t see any reason for them to be doing in the first place. I like people watching curling while eating pork rinds.
But if any part of the Hummer going belly-up are those government rules we’re putting in on miles per gallon, or us taking over of GM, then I’m not just sad, I’m also angry. Lack of freedom can be measured directly by lack of stupid. Freedom means freedom to be stupid. We never need freedom to do the smart thing. You don’t need any freedom to go with majority opinion. There was no freedom required to drive a Prius before the recall. We don’t need freedom to recycle, reuse and reduce. We don’t need freedom to listen to classic rock, classic classical, classic anything or Terry Gross. We exercise our freedom to its fullest when we are at our stupidest.
John Stossel at Townhall writes about prohibitions for things relating to your use of your own body and victimless crimes. No matter what it is you want to do, it seems someone in power will tell you that you can’t, because it’s for your own good. I can determine my own good without your elite and expert opinion, thank you very much.
The prohibitionists say their rules are necessary for either the public’s or the particular individual’s own good. I’m skeptical. I think of what Albert Camus said: “The welfare of humanity is always the alibi of tyrants.” Prohibition is force. I prefer persuasion. Government force has nasty unintended consequences.
I would think that our experience with alcohol prohibition would have taught America a lesson. Nearly everyone agrees it was a disaster. It didn’t stop people from drinking, but it created new and vicious strains of organized crime. Drug prohibition does that now.
Yesterday the Supreme Court heard oral arguments on the McDonald case, in which it will decide if the Second Amendment actually applies to the States. Unlike the rest of the Bill of Rights, which has been acknowledged to be incorporated to the states through the 14th Amendment, the Second Amendment has not had such recognition, so left-wing politcians and activists have seen fit to infringe the right to bear arms as they please, usually by resorting to spurious arguments and fabricated data.
In the McDonald case, Chicago’s somplete ban on owning firearms is being challenged. In light of the overturning of a similar ban in Washington DC, prospects for this ban being overturned look good. Read the rest of this entry »
Doug Bandow at American Spectator argues that the best way to help third world countries is to protect their property rights. Citing studies by the Property Rights Alliance, Bandow points out that countries with the strongest property rights — including intellectual property — tend to do better economically. Read the rest of this entry »
A group of 80 conservative leaders met in Mount Vernon to sign a sort of declaration of principles for the conservative movement. Many on the Left will decry this as “purging” the Republican Party, while ignoring the masive groupthink in the Democratic Party and the ostracizing of any Democrat that doesn’t toe to the party line. Needless to say, the Statement has generated a bit of buzz, as it purports to be a defining statement for American conservatism. Read the rest of this entry »