Writing on the Double Yellow Line

Militant moderate, unwilling to concede any longer the terms of debate to the strident ideologues on the fringe. If you are a Democrat or a Republican, you're an ideologue. If you're a "moderate" who votes a nearly straight party-ticket, you're still an ideologue, but you at least have the decency to be ashamed of your ideology. ...and you're lying in the meantime.

Name:
Location: Illinois, United States

Monday, August 14, 2017

For Immediate Release

For Immediate Release: Presidential Statement on the Events in Charlottesville − as they should have been given
©2017   Ross Williams



Ladies and gentlemen of the press…

We have recently seen unacceptable events happening in Charlottesville Virginia.  Many people have been injured, and at least one has been killed.  This is never to be tolerated in the United States.

In that regard, many have been demanding that I take a stand against the virulent positions of the groups at the heart of the events.  As the President of a free people living in a free nation, I cannot do that.  I represent the government; I represent the powers that enforce freedom and liberty, and for those powers to promote certain positions and deny other positions would be to impose a tyranny of the exact same sort, however well-intended, that we rebelled against in the first place 240 or so years ago.

Instead, we are guided in these circumstances by the First Amendment, which protects our citizens’ right of Free Speech.  The First Amendment right of Free Speech has two aspects.  The first aspect is for the government to protect the right of a citizen − any citizen − to say what he wants to or about the government, or its agents, to the government’s face or behind its back, without the government being able to do a single thing about it.  The citizen may bear no repercussions for bawling out his government, however rudely and intemperately he does so.  This holds true in letters to his Congressman or Senator, while standing in line at the DMV, while discussing local policy at a city council or a school board meeting, or generalized political disaffection of the type so often leveled at me.

The second aspect of government duty regarding the First Amendment right of Free Speech is that it permits the citizen − any citizen − to say what he wants to or about any other citizen or group of citizens, without the government being permitted to take sides.  The very moment the government takes sides over the matter of rude, intemperate or disgusting speech, and chooses which speech is to be acceptable and which not, is the moment the government imposes censorship of political ideas.  The government of a free people may never do that.

This second aspect of Free Speech permits, indeed protects¸ and demands the government act to protect, the right of stupid people to make stupid statements about others, the right of bigoted people to make bigoted statements about other people, the right of assholes to make assholish statements about other people.  If those who are being targeted by stupid, bigoted or assholish statements wish to stand on the other side of the street and scream insults back, that is their collateral right under the First Amendment right of Free Speech.  The government will protect both sides’ right to scream themselves hoarse.

The only duty the government has in this situation is to ensure that anything beyond speech is dealt with properly.  The moment a stupid, bigot asshole uses one of the sticks holding his protest sign to whack someone he doesn’t like over the head, that is the first moment the government has an obligation.  That obligation is to arrest him for assault.  The very moment a counter-protester uses the stick holding his counter-protest sign to whack a stupid, bigot asshole over the head for being a stupid, bigot asshole, that is the moment the government has an obligation.  The obligation is to arrest him for assault.

You may say what you like in the United States; you may simply not do anything beyond that.

With specific reference to the circumstances in Charlottesville, it is not the prerogative of the government to decide which political ideas are proper and appropriate to entertain for free citizens of this free nation; that is the duty and the responsibility of you, you people, of this free nation.  If the ideas you see being discussed are abhorrent or appalling, then it is up to you, the people, to defeat those ideas with better ideas, and do so peacefully.

The government’s obligation is merely to stop those who have gone beyond the verbal expression of ideas.  In that regard, the person who used his vehicle as a weapon against those whose ideas were different from his own, who killed one person and injured several others, has been arrested and charged.  That is the only duty a government of a free people has in the clash of ideas among its free citizens.

If you don’t like the ideas being discussed, yelled, or screamed in Charlottesville, then it is your duty to defeat them with better ideas.  Do not demand that the government do your job for you.  That is cowardly and childish.

The government has done what is required of it.  The people have not.

Thank you.  I will take no questions and the matter is closed.



Wednesday, July 26, 2017

He Turned Me Into a Newt!

He Turned Me Into a Newt!
©2017  Ross Williams




Quoting old movies is fun, particularly when they involve surreality.  Government functions are almost entirely surreal, but quoting them is rarely fun … unless Trump is somehow involved.  Love him or loathe him or something in between, he’s brought fun quotes back to self-governance.  And with them come the witch hunts.

There are ways to tell if someone is a witch.  What do you do with witches?

Burn them!

And what do you burn apart from witches?

Republican officiocrats who work for a loathably abrasive New York democrat twitter freak holding the White House as a republican that the Deep State Swamp is desperate to delegitimize because he’s declared war on it.  In other words: more witches.

Never mind that Medusa sold foreign policy futures to foreign government agents in the guise of contributions to her and Cuckold Bill’s charitable foundation.  The real issue is that members of the Trump campaign met with Russian government provocateurs who − wink wink nudge nudge, your wife’s a goer − had “information” on Medusa that would “bring down” her campaign.

Therefore, he’s made of wood.

And this contact wasn’t disclosed on the security questionnaire, which means he lied.  The only reason you lie about something this substantial is to hide the truth.

Therefore, he weighs as much as a duck.

The officiocrat’s security questionnaire was amended four times, and now contains hundreds more foreign contacts.

Therefore …?  A WITCH!! BURN HIM!!

Time the fuck out.  Has anyone ever completed one of those security clearance questionnaires?  I have.  Multiple times.  I’ve held a clearance for most of the time since 1980 when I joined the Air Force.  It is form SF86, in case anyone wants to follow along.  It can be found online.  Giving answers that can be construed as lies by those wishing to do so is trivially easy, for the form was devised by bureaucrats and their legion of loyyers.

The current version [as of 2014] is 157 pages long in its raw form on paper, including instructions and multiple release of liability and signature pages.  Paper applications are no longer accepted; it is now completed online requiring a government login ID and irrationally long gibberish password that cannot be remembered and must never be written down.  You will be calling the toll free help desk repeatedly to have your password reset.

You may not advance to the next section of the form until the current section is completely answered.  Unless you are fresh from the womb, you will have scores of addenda and explanation pages to add information.  These addenda are needed for families larger than you and two parents and one sibling, for any travel farther afield than the local Walmart, and for anything you’ve done more complex than buying a stick of gum.  God forbid you have a relative − to include in-laws − born in a foreign country.  I have such an in-law.

But still, I’m an incredibly boring individual with a relatively small family and no social or civic affiliations to speak of.  I’m a libertarian and thus have no meaningful political affiliation, either.  One investigator in the 90s looked at me and my paperwork and said, “Ah … N J.”  I quizzed, “N J?”  He replied, “Non-joiner.”

My most recent clearance application ended up being 380+ pages long.  …Not including instructions and signature pages.  It took me over five weeks to complete.

The online form has pull-down menus for standard fill-in-the-blanks.  But just try explaining where your father-in-law came from.  He’s been living in the US since the age of 9, but was born in a village in Yugoslavia to German parents.  He spent the first 7 years of his life in Nazi, and then Soviet, prison camps.  The online form no longer lists Yugoslavia as a legitimate nation [I used Angola, since it was listed first and I was not about to dignify their inept system], nor does it accept his home town.  The village itself was obliterated de facto by the Wehrmacht and de jure by the follow-on Tito government.  After the dissolution of Yugoslavia, the specific location may be in Serbia, or Bosnia, or Slovakia, no one is quite sure.  Not that it matters anyway; it’s gone.  His naturalization document lists a naturalization center in the US no longer in existence and therefore not in the pull down list.  His naturalization is identified by a certificate number using a layout no longer recognized as valid − not enough digits.  My father-in-law is just generally suspicious, I suppose.

Explaining this one fairly trivial matter that I covered in one paragraph took − I recall − 15 additional pages on the SF86.  Maybe more.  One’s eyes tend to glaze over after a certain amount of useless necessity.  In any event, it took 15 pages too many.

But then comes the sections of the questionnaire that has caused Trump teammates so much trouble, and which would cause me the same trouble were I a republican party officiocrat instead of a mere libertarian DoD data analyst: section 19, about halfway through form SF86, “foreign contacts”.

I have been on eleven cruises, and I’ve met literally thousands of foreigners.  Most were wearing name tags, and many of those who weren’t told me their names.  I wrote down none of them.  With the exception of maybe a half dozen, I couldn’t tell you much more about them than their first name, sometimes not even that.  There is Pedro [last name unknown], the effusively friendly manager-slash-head waiter of a little cantina [forgot the name] on the second floor over a souvenir shop [forgot the name] on the main tourist drag [forgot the name] of San Miguel on the island of Cozumel.  We visit the place for lunch every time we’re there.  Pedro’s head is shaped like a bowling ball, if that helps the investigators any.

There is Major Tom [last name unknown], the unofficial greeter for the nation of Belize, and head of the Belize City Chamber of Commerce.  He runs several tourist excursion operations, including one we took our first time there.  He used to be in the Belizi army − hence his title of Major.  He looks like a young Ricardo Montalban, or did the last time I saw him.

There is Ngede [last name unknown], our Indonesian head waiter on not one but two cruises, on two different ships … and what are the odds?  Highly suspicious if I were a republican officiocrat.  He has his First Night patter down: the nearest any English-speaker can ever come to pronouncing his name is “g’day”, so just say G’day.  He has an advanced degree in engineering, but works as a waiter on US cruises because at $10 a day plus tips he makes more than an engineer in Indonesia. …where you have to be politically connected [i.e., the correct race, the correct tribe and the correct religion, none of which includes him] in order to get a job that pays more than twenty-five cents an hour.  He is now considered extremely wealthy among his countrymen … at least on his time off when he goes back home.  He showed us how to make a rat out of a linen napkin.

There’s the guy on Cayman who runs Moby Dick’s − the stingray encounter excursion.  His name is Richard something, and he’s from England.  He charges almost $100 American for a thirty minute boat ride and a bucket of squid to twenty folks at a time to feed the stingrays tamed by generations of hand-feeding on a sandbar in the sound.  Wouldn’t know him on sight.  He was thoroughly unremarkable, apart from being well-tanned.

On the ship, I try to find one of the bars with a particularly attractive bartender and get my glass of before-dinner wine or after-dinner drambuie from her.  The last two cruises these bartenders were in the form of a cutey from Ukraine, and a hotsy from Brazil.  I impressed the Ukrainian by knowing how to say please [pazhalsta], thank you [spaseeba], goodbye [da svedanya] and I’m bored [mnya skuchnya] in Russian.  I made my bartender from Ipanema laugh by butchering the words to Mas Que Nada.  I have long forgotten their names.

But by far, the most memorable foreign contact I had was a little boy, maybe four years old. He was paying close attention to the cracks in the sidewalk while walking with his mother, an attractive twenty-something, and older brother, maybe seven years old.  This was down one of the back streets of San Miguel on Cozumel.  I was searching for a cheap cantina serving actual Mexican tacos.  The older brother was in navy blue shorts, starched white shirt, and a solid black tie.  His shoes were polished black.  He was going to school, and mom was walking him there.  I was approaching them on the sidewalk, and as we neared I smiled and said, “Hola.”  Mom smiled back, and the older brother looked puzzled.  Both said “Hola.”  The four year old boy, though, looked up from the cracks under his feet, directly at me.  He pointed and announced, in surprise, “Mama!  Gringo!”

His mother was mortified, and stammered a Spanish apology interlaced with scolds directed to her child.  I laughed and told her “De nada.”  I still laugh when I replay it.  But that was it; that was the entire foreign contact.  I never quizzed them for their names.  Were I a republican officiocrat I’d be required to.

Section 19 of form SF86 requires full names, addresses, dates and places of birth, employer[s], all nicknames, not to mention affiliations, and purposes, and outcomes of all foreign contacts.  Per instructions, it limits the contacts required to be disclosed to those of “close and continuing” nature, but one’s definitions of “close” and “continuing” are extremely subjective, and might well rely on political partisanship.  Very few of the items under foreign contacts allow for the option of declaring “I don’t know”.  “I don’t remember” is not permitted at all.

As someone who’s had a clearance for over thirty years and a Top Secret clearance for all but my four years in the Air Force, I know exactly what they’re trying to get at here.  They want to know if a clearance candidate has ever encountered any foreigner who went out of his way to indicate that he was trying to dig for information about things he shouldn’t be digging for.  “Has any foreigner you’ve ever encountered asked you nosy questions about what you do, who you do it for, or otherwise acted like a spy?  If yes, list as many details as possible.

That’s what they’re trying to ask, but they don’t.  Instead, they require that anyone wanting a security clearance from the US government act like a spy themselves every time they encounter a foreigner, by getting full names, addresses, dates of birth, employers, the foreigners’ affiliations and purposes for existing … none of which anyone ever does.  You don’t go on a cruise with a notebook and stubby pencil demanding the names of every vendor hawking his souvenirs upon every passer-by.

Come in! Come in! We have condition air.  Feel all cool and cold while buy your pretty wife a necklace, eh?

Not until I know your full name, date of birth, nationality, who you work for, and what civic groups you participate in.

… yeah, not gonna happen.  As a result, almost everyone filling out this form leaves these things out.  And no one cares that you leave these things out.  …unless you’re a republican officiocrat working for an outsider president that everyone loathes because he’s harsh, abrasive and an outsider who’s declared war on the Deep State Swamp which creates − among other things − obscenely obstreperous national security clearance questionnaires.

Section 20 of form SF86 inquires after “foreign activities”; subsection A deals with foreign holdings, of which I have zippo.  Oh, drat.  I have a self-directed IRA which has mutual funds which hold foreign stocks and bonds.  Subsection A is trying to find out if I have meaningful holdings.  Never mind that “meaningful” is arbitrarily and subjectively determinable itself.  Ah, the hell with it; “No”.

Do I own, or plan to own, property in a foreign country.”  Yes, I plan to retire to Mexico.  I like Mexico.

Give the date of purchase, or planned purchase.  Where do you plan to purchase property, and what price are you paying for it?”  What? The hell?  I veered off onto one of the “explanation” pages with the following:  Listen, guys, if you think I can give you the speculative date and speculative location and speculative price of a speculative purchase of a retirement home for a speculative retirement and have this information mean a single god damn, then you must think I have a crystal ball.  If I had a crystal ball I’d be using it for personal enrichment and wouldn’t need a job which requires a clearance.  I plan to retire in Mexico, at some point, don’t know where, when, or how, but a guy can dream.  That’s all I’m saying about it.

I’m not going to describe the other 5 pages of this subsection.  Needless to say, it’s more of the same useless necessity.  Each item must be answered; “I don’t know” is not usually accepted.

Subsection B: foreign business, professional or government contacts.  Uh oh.  I’ve had literally hundreds of contacts with foreign government agents. … that I know about.  Knowing the nature of government, I’ve probably had dozens more government contacts that I don’t know about.  Eleven cruises, multiple port calls each cruise, encountering customs agents, port security wonks, police − in Limon Costa Rica, we were trying to find an outlet for the local coffee so I could bring home a few pounds of whole beans.  Had a conversation with dos policia who knew bupkus English.  With my formal Spanish lessons ending in 7th grade forty years prior, and my informal Spanish picked up in bits and pieces [Dos cervezas, por favor.  Muy Frijo.  Donde es el baño?] … my wife reports it was an amusing conversation to watch, and it would undoubtedly have been fun to participate in had I not been hung over.

Do I have to list these government contacts, to include full name, nationality, government agency and rank or title, date[s] and purpose of contact and all “offers” made?  I do if I’m a republican offiocrat working for the aforementioned outsider president loathed by the Deep State Swamp.  Does el policia pointing me at a bodega which sells coffee beans constitute an “offer”?  If I’m a republican officiocrat, yes.

Additionally, I’ve undoubtedly run across government agents burrowed into excursion outfits watching for illicit activities − you know what those Americans are like when they get closer to the source of their recreational drugs.  Many Americans attempt to score their own while visiting drug exporting nations, and their arrogant, self-absorption is a direct contributor to the unsolved murders of dozens of us a year.  But do I know they are undercover government agents?  No I do not.  Does it matter?  Do I have to list them as well, even though I don’t know who they are?  Only if I’m that republican officiocrat.

There are another 7 pages of this subsection that I won’t go into.  All items must be answered; almost none apply.  “I don’t know” is only acceptable for a small portion of the items.

Subsection C: foreign travel.  Once again: eleven cruises.

Specific dates [which I no longer know] for each nation visited.  And for each nation describe once again the information previously inquired after in section 19.  This was the section that was trying to, but did not, ask, “did any foreigner get too nosy about things that are none of his business?

It had taken me three weeks to get to this part of form SF86.  I’d long ago exceeded my tolerance for bureaucratic impertinence, and used one of the many “explanation” pages to freeform the following paraphrased blowback: Lookit, my wife and I have taken one cruise a year between 2004 and 2012, and one year we took two when we had both our parents along.  You have much more access to the dates of our cruises than we do at this point; all I can tell you is that they were usually in May.  We’ve met thousands of foreigners, and over a hundred foreign government weenies, and not one of them was any more forward than to pester us about emptying our wallets in their particular store.  No one asked what I do, or who I do it for, and no one especially asked if I had any government secrets to give out.  The only thing any of them wanted was my business.

I bawled out the apparatchik in the Deep State Swamp with irreverent, impetuous scold.  And once again, does this matter?  The answer is, once again: only if I am a republican officiocrat working for the well-loathed outsider New York democrat holding the White House as a republican and who declared war on the Deep State Swamp.

The nature of government bureaucracy is to evolve into an endless stream of gotchas.  It is these gotchas that are levied against anyone chosen to be the witch du jour.  You would have to be blind or a partisan shill to fail or refuse to see who is being gotchaed at the moment.  The republican officiocrat was doing opposition research during the presidential campaign, and was contacted about gaining opposition candidate spice.  He showed up to get the spice and met two Russians, neither of whom said, “Hey!  I’m with Moscow and work for Putin!” thus cluing him into it being a government contact.  The meeting was short, and the subject was not juicy gossip about Medusa; it was about US sanctions that resulted in Moscow curtailing Russian adoptions to the US.  The meeting was abandoned and none of the players ever met again.

Section 19 of SF86 requires − per instructions − “close and continuing” contact with foreign nationals to be disclosed.  A single meeting with a female Russian loyyer and her [from all accounts] silent partner is neither “close” nor “continuing”.  Unless, of course, you have it in for the republican officiocrat and the well-loathed guy he works for.  Therefore … a witch.

In contrast, the encounters with my bartender from Ipanema, occurring each day of the cruise before dinner for a glass of wine, and after dinner for a glass of drambuie was, in comparison, intimate and perpetual.  Even though I no longer remember her name − it was five years ago now − I learned much more about her than any republican officiocrat ever knew about the two Russians.

But it doesn’t matter because I’m not a republican officiocrat working for a New York democrat playing a republican president on twitter, and who declared war on all the jealously self-important bureaucrats who spend their days constructing 157 page long gotchas with which they can play king for a day.

King?  Pffft.  We didn’t vote for them.

You don’t vote for kings.

How’d they get to be kings then?

The Deep State of the Swamp, arm clad in the purest shimmering samite held aloft Regulation, signifying by authoritarian providence that they, the bureaucrats, should rule this land.

Listen, mysterious functionaries lying in ambush distributing arbitrary rules is no basis for a system of government.  Supreme executive power derives from broad support of the masses, not from some farcical procedural ceremony.

I fart in your general direction.

Ni.

You’ll be dead in a minute.

BU-U-U-URN him!!


Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Veiled Threats

Veiled Threats
©2017  Ross Williams




It was early in the morning; I hadn’t had coffee yet.  I turned on my facebook news feed to see that Seth Rogen had just married a muslim dude in England.  The happy couple were hoping to show all that you could be both muslim and gay.

Wait.  What?  Seth Rogen?  Who knew?

I opened the newslink in another window, rubbed my eyes, and re-read it.  It was Sean Rogan, not Seth Rogen.  Okay, that makes a little more sense.  But the “muslim and gay” thing … does the rest of islam know about this?

I briefly perused some of the public posts about the matter, and it seems that islam-at-large was well aware of the nuptials and was uniformly irate about it.  …and probably not because they weren’t invited, either.

Since I’m grouchy before my two cups of coffee, I decided to zero in on one of the public posts and be deliberately provocative.  I chose a post made by some group [in England, I surmised] by the name of London Internationals friends.  Their facebook photo [currently] shows a red heart with a banner across it emblazoned with Grenfell.  Awww.

This group’s solidarity with human decency ends there, apparently, for their public comment on the matter equivocated a gay wedding with a muslim spouse as being The West telling other nations how to live their lives.  And this, of course, would mean “we will bomb you and be having fun slaughters your entire population.”

…yes, that is a direct quote.

I badgered, mocked and harangued the London Internationals friends’ idiotic challenge, and each of their replies, for the next hour or so, until they replied with the islamist trump card: US militarism.  The US has bombed 30 nations since the end of World War Two, I was reminded.  The accusation came with an internet link, so I knew it to be scrupulously honest and true.

Yeah?  Not one of those nations was bombed because two dudes decided to get married.  Islamists murder for exactly that reason − or near-enough that the difference is negligible to any but a sophist deliberately dodging the point.  And this muslim promised to do exactly that.

That isn’t even to mention the fact that Islamists have, themselves, bombed twice as many nations in half the time.  If the point is that the US is a bully, then to deny that islamism isn’t twice the bully is to be a hypocrite and psychopath.  Besides which, most of US militarism of the past generation is predicated, specifically, on islamism going out of its way to respond with war [and war-like] to issues that had not been intrinsically militaristic in nature until islamists made them that way.

Let us not forget that among the official excuses used by pan-islamist paramilitary outfits for targeting Western and US concerns, up to and including 9-11, is that we in the west commit cultural warfare upon islam in the form of Hollywood movies, cosmetics sales to women enslaved behind burqas, promote atheism, homosexuality, judaism … and other corruptions.  These long predate any “you turned us into terrorists by bombing our homes” rationalizations, as well.  Blaming the victim is so … progressive.

And while we’re on the general subject of rationalizing islamism, let me just remind everyone of the French burkini ban of roughly a year ago, and the seemingly universal libertarian response to it.  Not to mention the gross disconnect their response had with the libertarian non-aggression principle.

Once again, the holy NAP prohibits the initiation of force, but permits force to be used in self-defense or in the defense of others, including − presumably − when the one being coerced cannot defend himself, or does not understand the issue to need self-defense.  The initiators of force in the Burqini Faux-Show were not the boorish Frog Police making the poor muslim woman remove her head covering in public; it was and always will be the institution of islam which denies women the bodily autonomy to have the legitimate choice of what they wear in the first place, denying them self-determination from birth.

A muslim woman who actually chooses to not wear the muslim symbols of oppression are seen, by islam, as turning their backs on islam.  They are called apostates for doing so.  The official islamic response to apostasy is death − preferably by stoning.  It is considered an “honor killing”.  These happen from time to time in the US, and significantly more frequently in England and the rest of Europe.  Does anyone seriously wish to claim muslim women have an actual choice in the matter?

They don’t and never have.  Until islam grows up and joins the rest of the world in the 21st century by leaving the 12th behind, muslim women are nothing but second-class citizens − if that − millimeters above dogs and jews.  …and atheists, and homosexuals, and Hollywood, and cosmetics sellers.

But, interestingly, not slaves.  Islam officially frowns on killing slaves, particularly if they are not one’s own.  But islam doesn’t frown on the fun of “slaughters your entire population” over a muslim having a gay wedding in England. 

Why, it’s an attack on Greater Islamia.  With bombs and everything.  …practically.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Diogenes, the Libertarian

Diogenes, the Libertarian
©2017  Ross Williams



By now most of us have read the articles and laughed, and some of us have watched the videos and guffawed.  A drunken strumpet having a bad hair day gets booted from a comedy club, then arrested, and then lays into the cops in slurring, vitriolic invective.  She [it was a woman] attempts to parlay her status as a television reporter into some kind of Get Out Of Jail Free card − it doesn’t work.  Another comedian at the club records her performance art on his phone and posts it to the internet.  The following day she claims, though her family attorney, to have been drugged.  She was fired from her television reporting job anyway.

It was a classic object lesson in the negative aspects of self-important, anti-social tantrum.  She was charged with disorderly conduct, criminal mischief [whatever that is], and resisting arrest.  Resisting arrest is the pile-on feel-good charge offered up when cops don’t really have anything substantive.  We never see murderers or armed robbers charged with murder or armed robbery … and resisting arrest.  Whenever resisting arrest is announced, it’s fairly prima facie that the major issue is that the cop’s ego was bruised, the poor dears.

The essential sequence of events is this:
* - Drunken strumpet heckles performer
* - Performer can't handle heckler
* - Club employees escort drunken strumpet from venue to public sidewalk where cops were waiting
* - Cops confront drunken strumpet about her actions inside venue
* - Drunken strumpet lambastes cops for being, well, cops
* - Cops cuff drunken strumpet
* - Drunken strumpet continues to berate cops
* - Cops eventually haul her away

What happened next, though, is Grade-A statist apologism and rationalization.  People the nation over cheered and huzzahed.  Many manly he-men volunteered assorted fisticuffs to punctuate their disapproval of her actions.  It would be one thing − and completely understandable, if still distasteful − were these statist apologists the standard democrats and republicans who celebrate hyper-reactive government involvement in nearly every aspect of human interaction.  But they weren’t.

They claimed to be libertarians, which makes it inexcusable.

The worst part about it, none of those professing to possess libertarian sensibilities could understand why their hairy chest-pounding was putrid statism. 

The first and most common excuse offered up is that the woman at the center of the nothingness assaulted someone by spitting.  First … there was nothing in any of the written accounts that asserts she definitively spit on anyone.  Second … we’re supposed to be libertarians here.  Spitting is, under the worst of circumstances, little more than a second grader’s preferred method of making the girls in class run screeching, next to eating bugs and turning eyelids inside out.  Big-girl panties, guys; pull ‘em up.

To be fair, there were multiple accounts stating that the cop-denouncing woman − and I will quote from one of those accounts − “appeared to attempt” to spit, but the target of her expectoration changed from version to version, rendering the accusation suspect at best and contrived at worst.  I have no doubt, though, from what I remember about my, and observed in others’, bouts of pronounced drunkenness that more than a few people in her vicinity were hit with spittle from the volume and relentlessness of her tirading.  But spray is not the same thing as hocking a loogie.

Yet it was over this assault-by-saliva claim that most of the − ahem − libertarians offered to deconstruct the orthodontics her parents had paid for.  “Self-defense”, more than one suggested.

Sorry, no.  Self-defense, under law, permits only those actions which are necessary to prevent another similar assault, while using the minimum force available.  Someone spitting at you is not justifiably met with a punch to the teeth any more than it is justifiably met with a folding chair across the shoulders or a gunshot to the torso.  Minimum necessary force to prevent being spat upon a second time by a woman handcuffed by police consists of moving out of loogie-range, and not a lot else.

Self-defense against projectile saliva under libertarians’ holy Non-Aggression Principle, however, would be a different matter.  Does the NAP justify disproportionate response?  Dunno.  A quick straw poll of libertarians on US self-defense against terrorists knocking down some really tall buildings in 2001 and the 16-year war waged since then might prove illuminating.

The relevant question is: what would the NAP allow as self-defense against the appearance of an attempt to perform juvenile micro-aggression?  Would it allow more than the appearance of an attempt at self-defense?

The follow-on statist argument made by non-libertarian libertarians is, “Yabbut … spitting is assault, and attempting to spit is attempted assault.  Both are crimes!”

The State defines many things as crimes, including not buckling up, not buying health insurance, and smoking “herbage”.  The State does these things because it can and because not enough people call them on it.  Courts certainly aren’t about to do their duty and nullify laws made in excess of the government’s defined power to make law.  Not without a revolution waiting in the wings.  We’re supposed to be libertarians here; we understand that just because The State calls it a crime doesn’t mean squat to libertarian political philosophy.

Assault-by-saliva is one of those crimes.  It is childish and repulsive; nothing more.

Other excuses made for the arrest of this drunken strumpet over her outburst are that she was drunk in public, which is a crime.  Again, just because The State calls it a crime …

She was a possible danger to herself.  But we’re still libertarians; The State is not defined to be our Mommy.

The government has an obligation to provide public safety.  Apart from “providing public safety” being impossible without locking everyone up because they’re suspicious, it is only actually attempted by a police-state.  A free country housing free citizens requires that the government only pester those who have actually committed crimes falling within the legitimate authority of that government to define crime, and then only when there is enough evidence to support pestering them over it.  This drunken strumpet had done nothing that reached that lofty elevation; at most the police should have shooed her to a cab, or taken her home themselves.

She was asked to leave the comedy club; she was therefore trespassing.  No, crime cannot retroactive, and trespassing is no different.  She was escorted out of the comedy club to the sidewalk. … where she stayed. … partly because she was almost immediately handcuffed, but still.  Among the crimes that she had not committed was especially trespassing.

It’s real simple, here: we’re libertarians.  We do not advise or condone the involvement of The State merely because of a squabble between self-interested private parties.  In this case, the self-interests were a drunken strumpet who couldn’t hold her liquor and a comedy club whose comedian couldn’t handle a heckler.  Liberty requires the freedom to squabble and the freedom to handle those squabbles privately, without The State.

If you want police in the vicinity just to make sure nothing gets out of hand … fine.  Hey, there might’ve been a few barrel-chested libertarians wanting to take the opportunity to slug a drunken strumpet appearing to attempt to hock a loogie.  But unless things do get out of hand, the cops are there, just like everyone else, to eat popcorn and watch the squabble.

Nor does being libertarian and reducing the involvement of The State to observer status mean that we condone anti-social behavior and immature outbursts.  Even if those outbursts are First Amendment-protected and − when directed at the cops − largely accurate and deserved.  It means we take videos on our smart phones and post them on the internet to serve as an object lesson in knowing one’s upper limit on alcohol.

Non-state social sanction is, in the long run, a far better deterrent to these tantrums than heavy-handed police-statism if only because it deters a state becoming a police-state.  Again: we’re libertarians; we’re supposed to live and breathe this philosophy.  So live it and breathe it; own your philosophy.  I shouldn’t have to keep reminding everyone what they claim to stand for.


Sunday, May 21, 2017

I Know Why the Caged Libertarian Chirps

I Know Why the Caged Libertarian Chirps
©2017  Ross Williams



I receive far too many rations of shit from my fellow libertarians for pointing out things that President Cheeto is doing to further libertarianism.  Specifically, he is reducing government regulatory intrusion into business, he is calling out the corrupt and disingenuous press, and he is doing his damnedest to throw a monkey wrench – albeit incoherently at times [like, all the time] – into the unelected bureaucracy that actually runs everything political in this nation.  The Swamp, the Deep State, whatever you want to call it.

The rations of shit I receive go like this, “Yabbut, yabbut … he’s not a libertarian – you have no grounds to support him!”

I never claimed, nor have I ever implied, Donnie Combover to be a libertarian.  He is libertarian only to the degree that libertarian ideals are not inconsistent with his own priorities.  I’ve simply acknowledged that some of the things he’s doing are in our favor.  Until libertarians stop gazing into their navels and create a cogent, coherent political philosophy that deals with reality in a manner that large numbers of our fellow citizens can accept, the only way libertarians will get any part of their philosophy enacted is by such coincidence.  As long as Trump is doing those things that I – and we – favor, I will acknowledge that he’s doing them.  …as should every other libertarian, frankly.  Intellectual honesty counts for something.

The next ration of shit I am attempted to be force-fed is, “Yabbut, yabbut … he’s doing X, Y and Z that are very very anti-libertarian!!”

No kidding, and when the subjects of X, Y or Z come up – as they have many times – I will be found among the libertarians criticizing his policies or other efforts.  To be honest, I will criticize those efforts  substantially more intelligently than most other libertarians can muster, judging by what I’ve seen from fellow libertarians.  For I will criticize those policies, whether directly from him or from those in his administration, consistent with libertarian philosophy, and not from a position saturated with personal desire.

Case in point: the caterwauling over the directive given to federal prosecutors to advise mandatory minimum sentencing laws be invoked once more upon drug offenders.  We had just gone through an eight year hiatus from those laws under the Justice For Sale Barry Hussein administration.  I will say once again: the Attorney General does not have a legitimate luxury of picking and choosing which laws he will enforce, contrary to what Shyster Generals Holder and Lynch claimed.  The Executive branch is the law enforcer, not the law maker, nor the law reviewer.  If laws are stupid, then it is the legislature’s obligation to correct them.  If laws are unconstitutional, then it is the courts’ duty to nullify them.  I understand that mandatory minimums are stupid but, libertarians, please remember what political philosophy you claim to support.  Stop justifying a government that does what it wants despite the rules it must follow.

Besides which, because the nation is now beginning to wake up to the dual realities that mandatory minimums are stupid, and that drug prohibition in general – and marijuana specifically – is stupid AND not a legitimate federal power in the first place, the draconian enforcement of mandatory minimums on drug offenders may just push enough of our major-party fellow citizens out of their statist stupors to support a widespread correction of the matter.  But in the mean time, let’s pretend we’re better than idiot liberals.

It’s often at this point of the conversation that I point out that among the non-libertarians are both Ron and Rand Paul, Thomas Massie, and Justin Amash.  They, also, are simply doing a few things that lie coincidentally in the direction of libertarian ideals.  These individuals are simply more libertarian than, say [and my apologies for once again picking on liberal democrats], Maxine Waters, Nancy Pelosi, Chuckles Schumer, John McCain, Lindsey Graham …

But libertarians they are not.  If Rand Paul were a libertarian, he would not continually sponsor tepid legislation that would permit the courts to ignore mandatory minimums if, like, no one had a problem with it, or anything.  He’d instead sponsor a law that would completely rescind mandatory minimums.  And he’d also sponsor legislation taking drug criminalization out of the hands of the federal government and its unelected DEA dictators.

Similarly, if Justin Amash were a libertarian he wouldn’t be playing into the hands of the Deep State swamp by enabling the swamp’s frantic histrionics over a political outsider threatening the Deep State’s unelected way of life.  Libertarians who are libertarian are noticing that “the appearance of impropriety” is suddenly an impeachable affront to our form of governance when it has never been before.

Libertarians who are not libertarian, though, are lauding Amash for having the principle to acknowledge that the corrupt FBI director being fired for being corrupt looks bad enough to be impeachable, so therefore it is.  It looks bad because the corrupt FBI director was in charge of the agency investigating the allegations of collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign to swing the election to Trump.   It becomes “Obstruction of Justice” – i.e., inappropriately using the influence of the position of President to sway the activities of others.

Those investigations are continuing.  Firing Comey didn’t even provide a speed bump to them.  The “looks bad” argument is thus unsupportable.  No justice was obstructed there nor, by the looks of it, will it ever be.

Russia could not have swung the election by any illegal means in the first place.  Everyone with at least two brain cells to rub together in sentience understands this … which necessarily excludes most liberals.  The Deep State swamp understands this as well, but they’re too busy whipping up their insentient supporters to care.

For the record, the only two ways of illegally swaying an election are as follows:
1] Rig the vote-counting mechanisms so that 2+2=5 in Column A but 2+2=3 in Column B.  This did not happen; all precinct totals were tallied multiple times and – thanks to Jill Stein – tallied once again just to make sure.
AND
2] Create individual votes that do not belong, or alter individual votes after they have been cast.  Because the US no longer uses paper ballots, altering votes after they are cast is simply impossible.  But it is very possible to create votes that do not belong … by voting multiple times under false names, or in multiple locations.  I don’t think I need to remind anyone of which political party does not wish to have Voter ID laws to reduce the occurrence of improper voting…

No.  If Russia did anything, it was to serve as a conduit for, or even instigator of, political espionage that made internal democrat party data public. …data that made Hillary “Medusa” Clinton look like the manipulative, drunken, corrupt, vile-tempered shrew she is.  Data that pointed out who manipulated her own party’s primaries to the dismissal of the socialist twit Bernie “Trotsky” Sanders.  In other words, if Russia did anything at all, it did what a free and independent press would have done to the democrats, just as they had been doing to the republicans, were there a free and independent press in the United States to do it.  But of course there isn’t, because they are corrupt and disingenuous as all libertarians understand.

Nonetheless, the libertarian hero, Justin Amash, abets the corrupt and manipulative unelected Deep State swamp by signing onto their frantic hyperbolizing about the “looks” of impropriety.  And he is called principled for doing so.

Yet where was Amash during the Barry Hussein administration when Barry impropriously attempted to manipulate a federal court reviewing his Obamacare, by claiming that courts do not have the Constitutional authority to review legislation for constitutionality?  The answer is: he was in Congress saying nothing about it.  He was especially not saying that Barry Hussein’s infantile challenge to the federal courts was a bad looking attempt at Obstruction of Justice at least as onerous as Trump firing the corrupt and mealy-mouthed FBI director Comey.  Amash didn’t have principles at this point.

Where was Amash during the Barry Hussein administration when Barry created, and validated, a treaty with Iran to the exclusion of the Senate which is Constitutionally required to ratify all treaties prior to their validation?  The answer is: he was in Congress saying nothing about it.  He was specifically not saying that the Iran deal was a thorough subversion of the Constitution by power manipulation and thus comprised an actual threat to the republic.  Actual power manipulations are significantly greater than the mere appearance of power manipulation.  Amash didn’t have principles at this point either.

Where was Amash from the winter of 2015 to the late summer of 2016 when Medusa  was found with tens of thousands of emails from her days as Secretary of State sloughed off onto a private, unsecured computer server hidden in her bathroom, among which were hundreds of classified conversation threads and – significantly more damning – evidence that the Clinton Foundation was selling foreign policy considerations to the highest foreign bidder, to be delivered upon the election of Medusa as President?  Answer: he was in Congress saying nothing about it.  Still no principles to be found in Justin Amash.

Where was he when Medusa’s husband, Cuckold Bill, visited Barry Hussein’s second Shyster General, Loretta Lynch, who was in charge of investigating the mishandling of classified information by ex-government officials … to “talk about grandchildren”?   By coincidence, or not, it was immediately afterwards that any meaningful investigation into Medusa’s classified data problem and her sale of future US foreign policy was dropped onto the lap of the same corrupt FBI director Comey.  Amash was in Congress saying nothing about it.  Still no principles.

Where was he when the corrupt FBI director Comey invented a brand new caveat under the “mishandling of classified data” laws saying that even though Medusa did in fact violate the same laws that hundreds of normal people are in prison for violating, and thousands more have permanently lost their clearances and can never hold a job for the government again, somehow, because Medusa did not “intend” to violate the law, there was no prosecutable violation of the law?  He was in Congress saying nothing about it.  A continuation of no principles.

If Amash – not to mention his libertarian acolytes – wish to claim that holding our government officials’ feet to the fire in the face of appearance of impropriety is a libertarian principle, I will eagerly agree.  Government officials in a free society are required to be beyond reproach.   …whether they are elected, appointed, or hired … But Amash did not realize he had a principle on this subject until Trump fired the corrupt FBI director for being corrupt.

The sad fact of the matter is, there isn’t a government official whose actions are anything but reproachable.  This includes Amash, Massie, either of the Pauls – and certainly includes Trump, his imperious authoritarian predecessor, and his drunken, psychotic challenger.

But Amash doesn’t stand on principle, here.  He forfeited any claim to principle when he sat idly by during the reign of Barry Hussein silently watching the guy, and virtually everyone under him, abuse their power.  I do not accept that Amash suddenly found Mises and became a born-again libertarian.  Anyone who claims Amash is acting to further libertarian philosophy for any reason other than coincidence is delusional.  Amash is furthering libertarian ends only insofar as they are not inconsistent with his own priorities – which in this case is significantly more consistent with protecting the Deep State swamp.

Except for protecting the Deep State swamp, he’s not much different from Trump.


Wednesday, April 12, 2017

The Law is Sometimes a Pain in the Ass

The Law is Sometimes a Pain in the Ass
©2017  Ross Williams



As military operations go, the one staged last week against Bashar al-Assad’s airbase which began the gas attack on the Syrian city of Homs was small potatoes.  It was smaller than small potatoes.  It was tater tots.  But you can’t convince some people of that.  They’re too busy with the cigarette lighter and gasoline trying to set their hair on fire.

To recap: Syria dropped sarin bombs on their own people in Homs, because the city is crawling with ISIS.  ISIS is busy trying to topple Bashar al-Assad’s government because the leader of ISIS, Abu Bakr, wants all the land in the region for himself.  After all, the land is the ancestral home of Bakr’s tribe, and apart from Syria includes most of Iraq, parts of Jordan and slivers of Turkey, Saudi and Israel.  Two days after the chemical attack on Homs, the US launched an even 5 dozen cruise missiles at the airbase from which the Syrian bombers took off − one missile malfunctioned and fell into the sea. Since then, every ignorant screaming meemie in the world has been screeching their particular ignorance.

Those whose comprehension of world politics begins and ends with denouncing “neocons” are declaring that Trump is a crypto-neocon − just like they always knew he was, even [presumably] when he was a New York democrat.  This attack on Syria signals, to them, the new US intention of commandeering yet another nation in the Middle East for its oil, of which Syria has almost none.

On the flip side of this fantasy are the cheers of elation from a large group of Syrians who desperately hope it’s true.  There’s a reason Syria is stuck in the middle of a six-year civil war: Bashar al-Assad is a junior-grade megalomaniac and expert-level machiavellian asshole.  Syrians have been trying to get out of Syria for six years, and go somewhere, anywhere else − perhaps you’ve heard.  It’s not because Assad’s Syria is a paradise, even without a civil war romantically illuminating the night sky.

Happily for those who see neocons in every closet, and sadly for the Syrian outliers, Trump’s attack on the Syrian airbase was a direct response to Syria’s use of chemical weapons; nothing more and nothing less.  It doesn’t signal anything except that Syria violated International Law by using chemical weapons − again − and don’t do it any more.  The US attack is what Barry Hussein implied would happen almost four years ago, the first time Syria used chemical weapons.  [http://dblyelloline.blogspot.com/2013/09/just-do-it.html]

The world’s sympathy junkies, on the other hand, those who see all the atrocities committed by megalomaniacal, machiavellian assholes and bawl, “somebody needs to do somethi-hi-hi-hingggg” have gotten exactly what they have perpetually demanded …  and they don’t like it, nosir, not one little bit.  Personally, I plan to be surprised by their unsurprisingly inarticulate geopolitical hypocrisy when I have more time in my schedule; March of 2075 appears open.

Not to be outdone, at least one group of pseudo-libertarians posted a thoroughly moronic internet meme advertising that this group of libertarian is completely unaware of what is commonly considered the central theme of libertarianism.  They once again renounced the holy “non-aggression principle”.  The non-aggression principle − or NAP as it is usually short-handed in libertarian circles − is very simple in its theme: never, ever initiate force; the only legitimate use of force is in self-defense, or in the defense of others.

The pseudo-libertarian meme equivocated the US attack on the Syrian airbase − in defense of Syrian civilians from chemical weapons − to Clinton’s siege of the Branch Davidians in Waco Texas.  It then suggested that Argentina would arbitrarily have been justified in attacking the US because of it.  One of my most consistent criticisms of libertarianism as it is smugly practiced by far too many is the libertarian willingness to cite the holy NAP right up until its principles would be acted on.  This has become utterly predictable and cliché, and serves only to support the claim that libertarians are poorly closeted pacifists unwilling to put their jealously protected Second Amendment where their big fat mouths are.

Either the non-aggression principle says what it means and means what it says, or it does not. If it does, then the only philosophically consistent libertarian position is that Trump was justified in attacking Syria for using chemical weapons against [mostly] defenseless Syrian civilians merely because ISIS forces were nearby.  Please note, being justified is not the same as being wise.  There are many valid arguments for the US attack being unwise.  The only problem for libertarians is that before one can make those arguments, one must first have a fairly solid grounding in International Law, foreign policy practicum, and military doctrine − all traits that are vanishingly rare among the pacifist, isolationist libertarians whose main talent seems to be quoting theory from the safe-space confines of their own navels.

On the other hand, if the non-aggression principle does not say what it means and means what it says, then it’s as useful as week-old fart gas, and should be dispensed with immediately.  I often suggest this option, considering how frequently and thoroughly the principle is abandoned by its pseudo-libertarian proponents when push comes to shove.

The one, unifying characteristic of all the flame-pated mopes surrounding this event, though, is the nearly complete non-comprehension of International Law.  Those parts of International Law which actually are understood are nearly universally misapplied. 

International Law, for those who do not know − which is, as I say, virtually everyone in my audience − does not consist of a library full of leather-bound law books stuffed with internationally-concocted statute from the wise statesmen embodying an international legislature.  There is no such legislature.  There are no such statutes.

International law is the accumulated body of treaties between nations, supposedly guiding how those nations interact with each other.  An action that is described as a “violation of International Law” is an action that abrogates one or more conditions of a treaty to which that nation is signatory.  Some treaties are private contracts between a small number of nations; other treaties are required to be joined by any nation wishing membership in the Old Boys Club of nation-statehood.  One such treaty is the Chemical Weapons Convention, which prohibits − among other things − the use of chemical weapons on anyone, anywhere, at any time, for any reason.

Without going into the long and tedious history of the evolution and migration of International Law from its Treaty of Westphalia origins to yesterday afternoon, a short course on International Law relevant to this incident would be:
1] a civil war is no other nation’s business apart from the nation which is fighting it and its treaty partners;
2] killing civilians is only prohibited if done knowingly, deliberately, and with no pretense of having a military target; accidental or “collateral” civilian casualties are permitted;
3] the use of chemical weapons is always prohibited;
4] …I’ll get to number four after a few paragraphs.

For better or worse, the US is considered a treaty partner with Syria in fighting off the ISIS rebels in Syria’s civil war.  Our most recent ex-president finally realized he could not convert Syria’s two-sided civil war into a ménage a trios, and stopped attempting to create a group of “good rebels” to arm and fund.  All arms and funds the US had previously provided to the nonexistent “good rebels” went to the ISIS organization.  The US has a few thousand soldiers currently in Syria undertaking special operations against ISIS rebels.

The Russians, for what it’s worth, are also Syria’s treaty partner; Syria is and has been for generations, Russia’s client-state in the Middle East.

A current tactic of the ISIS rebels is to place a sniper on the roof of a Syrian apartment building, school, hospital [etc] and randomly shoot whoever is in range. The hamfisted Syrian and Russian military response to this has been to obliterate the entire building − typically full of Syrian civilians who don’t want to leave it for fear of being shot by the ISIS sniper.  The Syrians and Russians kill a lot of Syrian civilians this way.  This is rude and barbaric, but not a violation of International Law.  The US typically complains about it, but does nothing else.

Last week, the Syrians used chemical weapon bombs in place of conventional bombs against a similar target in the city of Homs.  The US complained about it and very broadly hinted that it would do something about it.  Two days later, it did.  It fired 60 cruise missiles at the airbase that housed the aircraft which staged the chemical attack.

Just like there is no international legislature which debates and legislates international law, there are no international cops with a sworn duty to run around the world arresting heads of state who give orders, field commanders who parcel out orders, and soldiers who carry out orders that violate International Law.  There are no international enforcers of International Law.

At this point, those willing to advertise their complete ignorance of foreign policy are going to say, “Yabbut… yabbut … what about the UN?  What is the UN doing about this?”

The answer is: exactly what the UN was designed for.  Bickering.  The UN was created specifically and deliberately to be a “deliberative body”.  The UN was created specifically and deliberately to have no enforcement mechanism or power.  The UN is for debate … argument … lecturing … posturing … preaching … pontificating … whining … wetting one’s panties on a world stage … demonstrating the quality craftsmanship of Russian shoemakers … but not being able to do one damned thing about any of it.

Yet many people want International Law to be enforced, and violators of International Law to be punished.  Without enforcement and punishment, what good is it?

Indeed.  That is a very good question.  It is answered by point number four of International Law relevant to this matter that I skipped earlier:
4] violation of a treaty provision is considered by International Law to be an Act of War against all other signatories to that treaty.

Enforcement of International Law and punishment for the violators is done, traditionally, by warfare.  An aggrieved nation uses its time, effort, money, international reputation, and the lives of its soldiers to compel other nations to abide by the terms of the treaties they share, and to militarily punish nations for breaking those terms.  If International Law is to be enforced, it will be done − ultimately − in exactly the way the US responded to Syria’s use of chemical weapons.

Violations of treaties do not oblige military action, it simply legitimizes it.  There are countless violations of treaties every single day which are not rejoined by military force.  There are even many violations of treaties to which the US is among the aggrieved nations to which the US does not respond with military force. …and look no further than the current situation with North Korea. …or Iran.

In the absence of any nation willing to enforce treaties and the International Law they foster, treaties guiding the conduct of nations are pointless, and International Law is null and void.

If we want treaties against the use of chemical weapons, then nations must be willing to use war to punish nations which use those weapons.  If a nation is willing but the people of that nation demand the nation cease its attempts to compel others to comply with the treaty because doing so is rude and “imperialistic”, or the action of a “neocon”, then the nation may as well remove itself from that treaty and become a pariah nation existing outside the law … that no one is willing to enforce.  If no nations are willing, then the treaty against chemical weapons is useless and should be − just like the perpetually renounced holy NAP − dispensed with.

International Law is a noble idealism, but it relies on base, crude violence to make it work.  How important is International Law to everyone?

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Follyswaddling Healthcare

Follyswaddling Healthcare
— or —
How to Abandon Libertarianism in One Intemperate Moment of Political Insecurity
©2017  Ross Williams



I'm going to remind libertarians of many thing they already know, but generally forget they know when it comes to the idiotic national conversation we've had about healthcare in the last decade.

First, rights are not what the government gives out to its citizens; rights are what the government — in our nation, with our definition of governance — is required to protect.  That is the sole government responsibility regarding rights.  What the government gives out to citizens are called entitlements, and the list of entitlements the US Constitution authorizes our government to dispense are as follows:
1. not a damned thing;
2. the list ended three bullet-points ago.

Second, rights are free for the taking, but they are certainly not free.  They are simply what the government leaves the citizen alone to acquire for himself, to the degree the citizen wishes it, and has the capacity to acquire or make use of it.  The examples to illustrate this are infinite.  The First Amendment, for example, acknowledges a citizen's right to property.  But property does not appear out of thin air; it generally belongs to someone else first.  Does a citizen's right to property compel the current owner of the property to deed it over to the citizen who desires it?

Of course not; that is both stupid and confiscatory.  What the right to property permits is the current owner and the potential future owner to arrive at a mutually agreeable price and other terms under which the transfer of ownership shall be made.  The government isn't obliged to give anyone forty acres and a mule, nor to compel others to provide same.  If a citizen wants these things, the citizen is instructed to save his money and find someone who wishes to trade for it.

Third, rights include — essentially — everything that isn't nailed down.  Rights are, Constitutionally:
1] not limited to what Amendments 1-8 specify as rights [9thAM];
2] include every aspect of human interaction not directly given to the federal government and not prohibited to the states to control [10thAM]; AND
3] the states are prohibited from legislatively controlling anything that was not also given to the feds [14thAM, Sec 1].

Protectable rights are, in a very real sense, any power to act that is not listed in Article I, Section 8 of the US Constitution as a power for Congress to make law upon — and those Congressional powers to legislate are very very few.  Congress is given no authority, for example, to regulate who is allowed to use our roads, therefore driving is a right.  States cannot deny that right in their own laws, though they are allowed to regulate how the roads are used — speed limits, rights of way, skills tests, et cetera.

Congress is given no authority, for another example, to regulate who may marry whom, therefore marrying your homosexual lover is a right.  States may not deny that right in their own laws, though they may regulate certain aspects of marriage, such as the minimum age necessary.

These are all things that libertarians comprehend about rights.  Hell, these are all things that virtually all Americans, libertarian or not and adequately inculcated in American civics, understand about rights, even if they do not like the specific consequences. …and I'm thinking particularly of the religious right morons and gay marriage, here.  Even they understand this, as it makes their skin crawl.

So how is it, then, that we conveniently throw all this comprehension of rights to the four winds when the subject becomes healthcare?  Healthcare is not an issue given to the government to control; it is therefore a right.  Why do we indulge the facile and insupportable, and claim a governmental role in healthcare when government involvement does not join with any other right?

We have the right to say what we wish.  But if we have stage fright, does the government provide us assertiveness training?  No it does not.  If we are inarticulate stumble-tongues, does the government provide us speech therapy?  No it does not, not even when Dubya is elected President and could have used it.  Does the government provide a bullhorn? …a soapbox?  Does the government reserve a sidewalk on a popular street corner? …compel the first four hundred random passers-by to stop and grant rapt attention?  And if we are unable to think of anything to say, does the government provide a pre-written speech?

No.  It does not.  Our right to say what we wish begins and ends with our own willingness and ability to actually use the damned thing.  If we cannot speak in public, or cannot make others listen, or cannot think of what to say that anyone would want to hear, the government has no obligation or duty to assist.  The lack of government providence does not negate our freedom of speech.

We have the right to write what we wish.  But if we are illiterate and cannot strings words together into sentences, sentences into paragraphs, and paragraphs into thematic essays, does the government provide literacy training?  No, it does not.  Even when it tries to it doesn't.  …as anyone even marginally familiar with public education in the United States knows.  If we have nothing to write with, does it give us a pen?  If we have nothing to write on, does it give us paper?  If we have a batshit manifesto burning a hole in our Kaczyniskiist hovel, does the government provide us a publisher?

No.  None of these things.  And yet, the absence of government assistance does not erase our freedom of the press.

We have the right to marry the person of our dreams, because the Constitution does not give the government the power to stop us.  But if that person does not wish to marry us back, does the government compel the object of our affection to meet us at the altar?

Of course not.  Logistically, it would be a nightmare for people like Jennifer Aniston.   But this doesn't affect our right to marry whom we wish.

We have the right to employment, because the Constitution does not give the government the power to prevent it.  But if a citizen wishes to be employed as the bazillionaire CEO of Microsoft, does the government oust Bill Gates and install the new hire?  If a citizen wishes to be employed as the next Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars franchise, does the government do lunch with George Lucas and make it happen?  If a citizen simply wants to be hired by any old company at any old position making any old amount of money, does the government impose itself to make even that happen?

Absolutely not, and this still doesn't deny our right to a job.  Something about a free market.

We have the right to buy the shirt we like, the sports car we want, the home we pine after in the neighborhood we covet; in short, to acquire property.  But if we don't have the money necessary to complete the transactions, does the government give us the money?  Alternately, does the government coerce the transaction without it?

Certainly not.  If we need money to buy what we want, we are advised to avail ourselves of our right to a job.  But the government's hands-off attitude toward our right to accumulate property does not invalidate our right to accumulate property.  Our failure to accumulate the property we want only speaks to our priorities, financial abilities and other manifestations of a free market, and nothing else. 

We have the right to a haircut, a pedicure, a Papa John's pizza, and a Caribbean cruise — and every other service you can name.  But if we don't have the money for these because we used all our money on that fancy sports car two paragraphs ago, does the government step in with the cash? …with coercion?  …with even so much as a coupon?

Not a chance.  A commercial service being a right does not suddenly imbue the government with the authority to compel the service to be provided, nor its terms and conditions.  More free marketeering.

Healthcare is a right simply because the government is given no defined authority to control it.  It is a service — just like the haircut we have a right to get.  Our right to acquire healthcare, as with the haircut, does not grant the government any authority to compel it, nor to set the terms and conditions of its acquisition.  Our ability to acquire healthcare rests entirely with us, with our priorities, and with our financial abilities.  The free market, when applied to the right of healthcare, does not suddenly mean that the commodity being sought must be free of cost, or that the cost must be borne by the government.

Yet healthcare today is exclusively discussed as a government providence.  This is what democrats use to base their baseless belief that it is a right, and what republicans and libertarians use to claim that it is not.

Libertarians should know better.  Libertarians should be smart enough to avoid the equivocative word traps laid out by the mealy-mouthed  Bernie "Trotsky" Sanders and other "progressives".  Any libertarian who does not know, and cannot recite at a moment's notice, the very specific and crucial difference between a right and an entitlement has no claim to calling himself a libertarian.


This is a "taxation is theft" moment in a "taxation is theft" conversation.  Rights are what the government leaves you alone to get for yourself; entitlements are what the government gives you.  This is true whether it is speech, press, property, employment, pedicures or a prescription.  If the government is providing healthcare, coercing it upon reluctant patients and setting the terms and conditions for its providers, then it is an entitlement and not a right.  If healthcare is a right — and it is — then the government must stay out of the picture.

As libertarians, we know this.  Let's pretend we're libertarian, m'kay?