Friday, June 27, 2008

The Fire is Spreading

The fire just lit by the Supreme Court under gun control advocate's arses, that is. As expected, other handgun bans and onerous gun laws around the country will soon be challenged, starting with the City of Chicago. The Second Amendment Foundation with the Illinois State Rifle Association has filed a "federal lawsuit challenging the City of Chicago's long-standing handgun ban." The SAF also won it's San Fransisco handgun ban case in April.

These are great times for those who love liberty and our right to defend ourselves. Removing these bans will benefit these cities and all US citizens greatly. Especially appealing is this quote by Paul Helmke, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence:

"We've lost the battle on what the Second Amendment means. Seventy-five percent of the public thinks it's an individual right. Why are we arguing a theory anymore? We are concerned about what we can do practically."

So much for originalist interpretation.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Second Amendment as Individual Right!

The Supreme Court ruled today that the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution protects an individual right to keep and bear arms. A few excerpts from their 5-4 ruling:

"HELD: The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home."

"The Court's interpretation is confirmed by analogous arms bearing rights in state constitutions that preceded and immediately followed the Second Amendment."

"The [D.C.] handgun ban and the trigger-lock requirement (as applied to self-defense) violate the Second Amendment."

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Commitment to Freedom

On May 5, I posted some excerpts from a paper written by economist Walter E. Williams that included the following:

"The true test of one's commitment to freedom of expression does not come when one permits others the freedom to express ideas with which he agrees. The true test comes when one permits others to express ideas he finds offensive. The same test applies to one's commitment to freedom of association, namely when he permits others to associate in ways he deems offensive."

This test must be used for freedom in general. As I talked about in my last post, those members of society on "the Right" support laws that make it illegal for adults to prostitute themselves, take hard drugs, and other acts they deem immoral. Don't get me wrong, I believe prostitution is extremely immoral, as is lasciviousness and homosexuality, among many other immoral acts. But my commitment to freedom is tested when I allow others the freedom to do immoral things.

This is true for my commitment to all types of freedom, as Dr. Williams explains. As a free human being, I believe that I own myself. After all, if I don't own myself, then who owns me? Does society own me? If they do, then I hereby declare my independence from society and claim title to myself. But they don't, at least not in the country that I live.

Of course that isn't entirely true in most places as many states and cities have laws against using hard drugs, prostitution, or committing suicide. I believe these laws show just how committed those states and cities are, to freedom.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Just and Unjust Government

Lately, I've been thinking a lot about something involving the premise of government, which, of course is force. Force is what government stands on and can only exist through the threat of force. Government is also the enforcer of the law. So let's have a thought experiment on just what laws the government can justly enforce.

Can a person, say me, force a person, say you, to drink an alcoholic beverage? Can I personally force you to smoke a cigarette? Can I force you to believe in and follow Jesus Christ? The answer to all of these questions is a big fat NO. I cannot justly force you to do any of those things. I can only use peaceful persuasion. What about non-objectionable things? Can I force you to abstain from drinking alcoholic beverages? Can I force you to abstain from smoking cigarettes? Can I force you to be a pagan? The same answer, NO.

Does it follow then that although I can't force you to do, or not to do, any of those things, that I can band with my fellow citizens and use the threat of force, the government, to get you to drink, smoke, or worship? No, it does not follow, and therefore it would be an illogical and unjust use of government.

Let's now talk about the various uses of government supported by either "the Left", "the Right", or their political representatives. The Left believes it just to use government and its threat of force to get productive citizens to pay for various "philanthropic" programs such as welfare, universal health care, public schooling, etc. The Right believes it just to use government and its threat of force to prevent adults from getting paid to prostitute themselves. The Left believes it just to use government and its threat of force to prevent adults across political borders from trading with one another. The Right believes it just to use government and its threat of force to prevent adults from consuming whatever they so desire, be it food, drink, or drug. The great majority of political representatives for either side believe it just to use government and its threat of force to get some citizens to pay for special interest earmarks, farm subsidies, etc. for other citizens.

I believe that all of the above and more are illogical and unjust uses of government. A just law cannot be anything that one person does not have the right to personally do to another person. Just as I cannot force you to abstain from drugs and drinking, I cannot give that right to government to force you to abstain from drugs and drinking. And just as I cannot force you to pay me welfare, I cannot give that right to government to force you to pay for my welfare, or anybody's welfare. When government is used in these way, it is not a just goverment, it is a tyrannical government. And I believe both "the Left" and "the Right" use government in tyrannical ways. "Society" does not have any rights that a single person does not have.

To conclude, I give you a thought on what liberty is, provided by Frederic Bastiat in The Law:

"Actually, what is the political struggle that we witness? It is the instinctive struggle of all people toward liberty. And what is this liberty, whose very name makes the heart beat faster and shakes the world? Is it not the union of all liberties—liberty of conscience, of education, of association, of the press, of travel, of labor, of trade? In short, is not liberty the freedom of every person to make full use of his faculties, so long as he does not harm other persons while doing so? Is not liberty the destruction of all despotism—including, of course, legal despotism? Finally, is not liberty the restricting of the law only to its rational sphere of organizing the right of the individual to lawful self-defense; of punishing injustice? It must be admitted that the tendency of the human race toward liberty is largely thwarted… This is greatly due to a fatal desire—learned from the teachings of antiquity—that our writers on public affairs have in common: They desire to set themselves above mankind in order to arrange, organize, and regulate it according to their fancy."

Thursday, June 12, 2008

American Life Expectancy

Russell Roberts, over on Cafe Hayek, gave this nice little reminder for those who complain "about how dangerous and polluted and horrible life is in the United States":

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Happy Father's Day!

In tribute of our fathers, The Heritage Foundation's FamilyFacts.org has linked several studies regarding the importance of fathers. The below are the various study topics and the links can be found here:

1. Children's well-being. Children living in intact families tend to fare better on cognitive achievement and behavioral outcomes than peers living in families with unmarried biological fathers, stepfathers, and mothers' cohabiting partners.

2. Adolescents' psychological well-being. Close relationships between adolescents and their fathers are positively associated with adolescents' psychological well-being.

3. Adolescents' behavioral problems. Adolescents of more involved fathers tend to exhibit lower levels of behavioral problems than peers of less involved fathers.

4. Youth delinquency. Adolescents who report having more positive relationships with their fathers are less likely to engage in delinquency than peers who have less positive relationships with their fathers.

5. Teen substance use. Adolescents who report having more positive relationships with their fathers are less likely to abuse substance than peers who have less positive relationships with their fathers.

6. Young adult's educational attainment. Individuals whose fathers showed more involvement in their lives early on tend to attain higher levels of education than peers of less involved fathers.

7. Young adults' incarceration rates. Growing up without a father appears to be associated with greater likelihood of incarceration later in life.

8. Father-child relationships. Adolescents living in intact families report, on average, having closer relationships with their fathers than peers in non-intact families.

9. Fathers' engagement with children. Among urban fathers, those who frequently attend religious services tend to be more engaged with their children than those who attend less frequently.

10. Fathers' well-being. Among disadvantaged fathers, those who increase their engagement with their children report improved well-being.