Saturday, December 01, 2007
That is, Where have I been?!!!
You wouldn't believe it....
But I'm thinking it's about time I started blogging again.
Thursday, July 14, 2005
Here's a little something I posted as a Member thereof to the LP California Executive Committee private email discussion list:
Xxxx (and All),
This may be a difficult read emotionally. I urge you to accomplish it just the same.
I have already granted that your position on abortion is, however extreme, consistent with an isolated application of our Principle to your dominion over your body.
However, the LPC is pro-life per its own statement of principles and platform!
I. STATEMENT OF PRINCIPLES OF THE LIBERTARIAN PARTY OF CALIFORNIA
"We, on the contrary, deny the right of any government to do these things, and hold that, where governments exist, they must not violate the rights of any individual, namely:
"(1) the right to life-- accordingly, we support the prohibition of the initiation of physical force against others;"
II. INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS
"RIGHT TO LIFE: People have the right to be free from those who would physically injure or kill them. No one has the right to take the life of an innocent person. The right to life does not preclude the right to self-defense or the defense of another under imminent attack.
"RIGHT TO LIBERTY: People have the right to exercise sole dominion over their own lives, to pursue any lifestyle or course of action they wish, while taking responsibility for their actions and not violating the rights of others in the process."
As you can also see, the LPC has an official position of pro-responsibility to the rights of others.
Note that the word "abortion" only appears once in the entire platform, in Section IV.10.F.1, which opposes government paying for abortions.
So. If you abandon the narrow focus I mentioned in my second paragraph above, you and a lot of other people have got it wrong.
This is understandable, given that the Convention appears to have made an exception through platform Section IV.11:
IV. INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS AND CIVIL ORDER
11. REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS
"The State of California should not regulate, prohibit, subsidize or encourage any reproductive choice. We defend the right of all persons to privacy in and control over every aspect of their biological nature, such as contraception, termination of pregnancy, surrogate motherhood, artificial insemination, cloning and free choice in all consensual sexual relations."
Now there's an apparent catch-22: one section of the Platform seems to be in contradiction to its preamble and to the statement of principles.
How to resolve that?
One way is to simply decide you like one part or the other. Of course, if you take the pro-abortion side, you are denying the statement of principles and you have to stop saying that you support the statement of principles unless you allow every time that you make certain exceptions. Of course, doing that renders the statement worthless, so you might as well just stop saying you support the statement of principles and admit that you're only guidance is a conflicted plank in the platform.
On the other hand, you can choose principle over platform on the grounds that the platform is subordinate in that it is merely an implementation, which is by definition of a lesser rank:
"While recognizing that our society, shaped by government interventions, is complex and resistant to change, unless otherwise stated, the actions called for in the planks that follow are to be taken as quickly and efficiently as possible without interruption or delay."
Huh. Sounds like an issue for the Style and Judicial Committees. But then, maybe not. Nothing can stop the Convention from being inconsistent if a desire for integrity doesn't.
The problem so far, choosing either of the above "resolves", is endless competing purity campaigns.
BUT THEN: maybe the language isn't inconsistent even if the Convention's intent was. Maybe cooler heads prevailed in the details and a reasonable compromise was reached without the majority quite realizing it.
Plank II.11 calls for complete privacy and control, and includes termination of pregnancy. But does this include abortion? Not if you want the plank consistent with the platform preamble and the principles. So how can this be reconciled? By allowing that there might be non-lethal means for terminating pregnancy without killing the fetus.
Then there's no conflict at all, just an impatience with medical science. And an implied position in support of such medical research and development as may facilitate the availability of that means.
Anyway, taking principle above platform plank on grounds of inconsistency in the interpretation of the plank, and/or of dedication to principle above all, this would be the position:
If a person is alive, you do not have the right to kill him/her. That s/he is haplessly inside your body is not license for you to murder; it is, if you don't want the burden, your situation to find a least-risk way to liberate him/her. And if there's none, you ask yourself, "What did I do to get this way?" If you did nothing and it's no way your doing, then there could be reasonable exceptions as have already been proposed by pro-life people and discussed below. Otherwise, as in all things libertarian, you accept the consequences of your actions and begin the search for an adoptive solution.
You're right about the trespasser analogy. The trespasser is there through an act of free will, and stays after warning as an act of intent. There's no way to know whether the fetal person decided upon a particular host, or whether it even comprehends the admonition to vacate. Or has the means, if it wished to comply.
I do have a strong difference with you on the point of whether or not there should be laws compelling people to feed their children or pull them out of the pool if they can't swim. Of course there should be! Why? Because that's parental responsibility. And there just isn't a valid argument to override that responsibility which can be based on whether the parent wanted to be a parent or not (or changed his mind).
The only "out" for an unwilling parent is the safe and responsible transfer of the children to someone who wants to care for them. And since there is always someone willing if not eager, there's never any justification for any more extreme force in the matter than the implied emotional rejection.
Abortion is an important issue. It split the party back in the day. It's the reason Dr. Ron Paul is a Republican --he's seen something you and I will never be privileged to know! Further, this is a valid venue for its discussion because it is the responsibility of this Board to recommend policy to the stakeholders. That's us, as the elected functionaries of the Party, doing our duty to the Convention. We must, and refusing to discuss sensitive issues is criminal avoidance in my book.
Of course, the discussion has to be rational and respectful, and in the issue of abortion, it was never either.
We need to look at all of the Principle, not just the self-serving part. There's a huge implied responsibility that is required of a Libertarian. Libertarianism simply isn't possible in a "real world" of irresponsibility.
You get drunk, you've waived your choice as to driving a car. You have an accident, you're liable for the damage, responsible for the consequences.
You willingly have sex under vulnerable conditions, you've waived your right to not be pregnant. And if you get pregnant under those conditions, you've waived your choice as to maintaining that life until you can safely hand it off. If you must depersonalize the rationale, think of it as a debt incurred in a fit of stupidity; you still have to pay it off unless someone else will volunteer to pay it for you --no Libertarian would argue otherwise.
Take note that the real argument is not and has never properly been against unwanted pregnancies --those are just temporary if large inconveniences. The real argument about enforcing a lifetime of unwanted child-rearing. Put that way, there's no issue: we allow people to give up unwanted children. In fact, were we not Libertarians, we would insist upon it.
If the fetus is a human being, it has the right to life under law and under our statement of principles, and nobody can use any more force than is necessary to safely remove it from the womb.
You know, a lot of Libertarians are arrogant in their atheism or objectivism (same thing, really), and they are disgusted with the pedantry of the professing religious. But in this matter, it is the professing religious who have always been consistently reasonable. They don't impose an all-or-nothing edict on the pregnant or the candidate, the way you impose one on the fetus and the candidate. They allow a set of exceptions to their rule of protecting yet-unborn lives: rape, incest, unviable fetus, mortal threat to mother's life, serious threat to mother's health. Given that they are coming from a somewhat different set of principles, all of these exceptions are reasonable and are not compromises.
Personally, as a Libertarian candidate invited by the Pro-Family Coalition to stand for their endorsement in 1982, I could almost live with that. I just wanted one more exception, that a judge could be petitioned and grant an allowance for an unforseen reason, but the Coalition was bound by its own strict policy, and so I didn't get the endorsement they so badly wanted to give me. I believe that, as much as any other factor (and there was only one, surmountable one), that is what prevented us from electing a Libertarian to the Nevada State Senate 23 years ago.
What might the world be like now, had it gone the other way, then?
Of course, the LP's idiotic response was to guarantee that we'd never get the Christian and Muslim vote by prostituting itself to the feminist movement. But I understand that: so many Libertarian men are so lucky to get any sex at all that they'll do whatever it takes to get it.
And so we Libertarians, who demand full accountability from everybody else and each other in all other things, have made a practice of excusing the sexually irresponsible from all consequences.
That is a gross breach of integrity, and everybody sees it except us.
THIS is why we can be painted Libertine.
THIS is why we can't get most of the third-party vote.
THIS is why we have not overrun the AIP/Constitution Party. All of their other disagreements with us are negotiable --prohibition and the drug war, all of it. But not murder. Not parental indifference. Not irresponsible freedom. Not total selfishness.
So ..., I ask you to examine the libertarian principles and your beliefs. Do it asking this simple question: does my understanding lead to the civilization I want? Then ask yourself if that's the society and civilization most people would want if they were of clear heart and mind. (Of course, you'll have to set aside your own anger to do that....)
Do you want a world of indifference and isolation? Or one in which most people are friends despite their differences or even if they don't ever meet, and are there for each other so that charity exists where welfare is unheard of? And people band together ad-hoc to defend against the occasional insane person's aggression so that police and armies aren't needed?
Which world do you fit into? The one where people make reasonable efforts to help each other out of passing difficulties, or the one where everyone walks by the hungry child in the gutter and thinks, "Somebody oughtta do something, but it's not my problem and I'm busy just now"?
This isn't just what I care about. It's what the voters care about.
I've always harbored a concern that people aren't good enough for a libertarian world. They could be, but they'd have to do a lot of growing up, a lot of becoming responsible.
Lately, I've developed a parallel concern, that Libertarians aren't rational enough to build a Libertarian world. If the second concern bears out, the first is irrelevant. Therefore, we need to resolve these things before we can reach out to the public and expect something other than scorn and dismissal.
The conclusion is clear. We have a duty to the rights of others. We have the means of relieving unwanted parental burdens. We have or will soon have the means of relocating the fetus. So there's already freedom from parenting and impending freedom from ongoing pregnancy. These are really good things because the LPC principles do not support a favorable stance toward elective abortion.
Saturday, July 02, 2005
"It is wrong to use some constitutional provisions as springboards for major social change while treating others like senile relatives to be cooped up in a nursing home until they quit annoying us."
"The majority falls prey to the delusion-popular in some circles-that ordinary people are too careless and stupid to own guns, and we would be far better off leaving all weapons in the hands of professionals on the government payroll. But the simple truth-born of experience-is that tyranny thrives best where government need not fear the wrath of an armed people. Our own sorry history bears this out: Disarmament was the tool of choice for subjugating both slaves and free blacks in the South.
"The Second Amendment is a doomsday provision, one designed for those exceptionally rare circumstances where all other rights have failed-where the government refuses to stand for reelection and silences those who protest; where courts have lost the courage to oppose, or can find no one to enforce their decrees. However improbable these contingencies may seem today, facing them unprepared is a mistake a free people get to make only once."
--Judge Alex Kozinski of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Silveira_v_Lockyer
Friday, June 24, 2005
It's been said that you should never underestimate the power of a small group of determined people to get great things done.
The US Supreme Court has proven the point beyond the wildest of expectations:
It only took five stupid justices to galvanize the nation and give coherence to the Libertarian Party.
Thanks, dodo-heads. I'll make sure we give you your due in history. And when you get there, say "Hello!" to Benedict.
My associates on the CA LP Executive Committee assisted me to prepare and enact this resolution. (Some of the assistance was in giving it a bit more of a civil tone than I originally projected!)
THE CALIFORNIA RESOLUTION:
WHEREAS, the US Supreme Court has ruled (Kelo v. New London, CT, June 23 2005) against private property in American Cities, allowing that cities and other government agencies may exercise eminent domain against virtually any property for virtually any allegedly public-service purpose, even a purpose as nebulous as increasing government tax revenues; and,
Whereas, the Kelo decision allows corporations and politically-connected developers to collude with governments to seize property from unwilling owners instead of having to negotiate voluntary sales; and
Whereas, the Kelo decision greatly increases the incentives for local corruption; and
Whereas, the Kelo decision is effectively the death of private property in the United States; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that the Libertarian Party of California condemns the US Supreme Court's decision in Kelo v Ne London, CT. to effectively destroy private property in American cities; and, be it further
RESOLVED, that the Libertarian Party of California will hereinafter direct its efforts toward the removal of any legislator who sponsors or votes for enabling legislation and any member of a local government agency who votes for an eminent-domain "taking" for economic development purposes; and, be it further
RESOLVED, that the Libertarian Party of California urges Congress to quickly pass, and State Legislatures to quickly ratify, an Amendment to the Constitution of the United States overturning this deplorable decision.
Thursday, June 23, 2005
'Any property may now be taken for the benefit of another private party, but the fallout from this decision will not be random," O'Connor wrote. "The beneficiaries are likely to be those citizens with disproportionate influence and power in the political process, including large corporations and development firms."
'She was joined in her opinion by Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, as well as Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas.'
That was CNN, commenting on the dissent in the New Haven eminent domain case, which broke today.
The Supreme Court has ruled against private property:
'"The city has carefully formulated an economic development that it believes will provide appreciable benefits to the community, including -- but by no means limited to -- new jobs and increased tax revenue," Justice John Paul Stevens wrote for the majority.
'He was joined by Justice Anthony Kennedy, David H. Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen G. Breyer.'
Communist thinking, pure and simple.
Maybe it's time to unincorporate cities. That's the nexus that surrenders property rights.
Wednesday, June 22, 2005
Tuesday, June 21, 2005
What if every night when you went to seep you slipped smoothly and unawares into the same terrible nightmare that just picked up where it left off the morning before, and you didn't even know while you were dreaming that you were dreaming?
Wouldn't it be a relief every morning to wake up and discover that it wasn't real?
Wouldn't you, after a while, begin to look for some 'cure' to this "sleep disorder"?
What if every day when you woke up, usually from a normal night's sleep, you returned smoothly and unawares into the same terrible reality that just picked up where it left off the night before, and as each day progressed, you became gradually and increasingly aware of the terrible nature of that reality?
Wouldn't it be horrifying to think that there might be no relief?
Wouldn't you, after a while, be seriously looking for, and determined to commit your all to, a solution?
Truth or Fiction?
Truth via Paris