Monday, February 27, 2006

Free Market Environmentalism

Jerry Taylor and Peter Van Doren take up the issue of privatizing public lands here. They make some nice points:

Private property will end up in the hands of those who value that property most. Public property, on the other hand, will end up in the control of the best organized and the most politically powerful. If environmentalists are right that an overwhelming majority of Americans want to keep our public lands wild and free, then they would have everything to gain and little to lose from privatization. If their suspicions about the preferences of "the rabble" are correct, then we might see more commercial uses of public lands. Either way, the public will get what it wants, and what's so bad about that?

Indeed. For the life of me, I cannot understand why environmental organizations prefer that lands be federalized when such action necessarily requires the perpetual lobbying by those groups to ensure that the lands are "protected." Think about it, if the Sierra Club owned Sequoia National, then there is no reason to worry about GWB, Gail Norton, et. al. sanctioning the logging of the forest - just throw up a "No Trespassing" sign. But, I suppose that would just take the issue away from demagogues like RFK Jr. who obviously care more about the limelight and power than actual progress. Typical.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Railroading Revenge

Cory Maye should unite both liberal death penalty foes and conservative gun rights advocates. Liberals bothered by Tookie Williams' execution should be outraged by the Maye situation. Conservatives troubled by Waco should work to stop more Prentisses [Mississippi] from happening.

I agree whole-heartedly. The drug war is an abysmal failure and the state has been using it as pretext to expand its authority (e.g. bullying) and to strip us of our liberties for far too long.


Get these while you still can... The Georgia legislature is on a roll.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

The Big Bust

More of the same.

Notice the peak in '90-'91 under Bush Sr. as well...

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Bush - Champion of Freedom...

... yeah right...
Did anyone ever think any differently?? I think that this little snapshot perfectly summarizes the contradictions and hypocrisy that embodies G.W.B. And, accordingly, I would have to guess that the buyer's remorse of many "small government conservatives" must be achieving new highs with every passing day. I certainly hope so. How did this guy fool so many on the right into thinking that he was any different from his father? Ok, so he lived and governed in Texas for a while. Big freakin deal. Apparently all that he learned in Big-T was to apply his old man's North Eastern-establishment-cronyism to more low level incompetents and guys (and gals) that wear cowboy boots. Is that a selling point? I suppose that he does tend to throw around the J.C. word a bit more than Sr., obviously endearing himself to more of the religious segments on the right - but is that wholly sufficient to give the man the reins of power? Power which he so often directs toward ends directly contrary to the beliefs of those who put him in office?? Well, hopefully the G.W. years will prove to be a valuable lesson to the Republicans out there who still believe in small government - that is, if such beasts still exist... Do your homework and, for god's sake, when the politicos that claim to be one of you come from the family of Bush - run, man, run! Admit it, the man had no more of a proven pedigree than Harriet Miers; and, like Ms. Depth herself, he is both an intellectual and philosophical lightweight who was, form the beginning, destined to disappoint.
Mr. Bruce Bartlett, a bedrock conservative, to be sure, and author of the new book entitled, "The Imposter - How Bush Bankrupted America," compares Mr. Bush to Richard Nixon - "an impostor, a pretend conservative..." This sounds about right to me. Here is some more from Bartlett:
I write as a Reaganite, by which I mean someone who believes in the historical conservative philosophy of small government, federalism, free trade, and the Constitution as originally understood by the Founding Fathers. On that basis, Bush clearly is not a Reaganite or "small c" conservative. Philosophically, he has more in common with liberals, who see no limits to state power as long as it is used to advance what they think is right. In the same way, Bush has used government to pursue a "conservative" agenda as he sees it. But that is something that runs totally contrary to the restraints and limits to power inherent in the very nature of traditional conservatism. It is inconceivable to traditional conservatives that there could ever be such a thing as "big government conservatism," a term often used to describe Bush's philosophy.

Traditional conservatives view the federal government as untrustworthy and undepend-able. They use it only for those necessary functions such as national defense that by their nature cannot be provided at the state and local level or privately. The idea that government could ever be used actively to promote their goals in some positive sense is a contradiction in terms to them. George W. Bush, by contrast, often looks first to government to solve societal problems without even considering other options. Said Bush in 2003, "We have a responsibility that when somebody hurts, government has got to move." A more succinct description of liberalism would be hard to find.
Precisely. Of course Bush is no "small 'c' conservative." But to avoid this mistake in the future, we must assess exactly what he is. Barlett calls him a "Big government conservative??" But, contradictions in terms don't offer much in the way of education. To me, Bush brings to mind Ayn Rand's analysis of a "statist" - regardless of the agenda or desired end, any person or group that seeks political power to forcibly implement certain goals should be placed into a single category - the category of "statist." Aptly, Rand did not see any difference between socialists and "mystics" (e.g. moralists, religious fundamentalists) because both camps ultimately want to tell you how to live, using the power of government to enforce those not-so-subtle "suggestions." Indeed, I think it is reasonable to characterize Bush as the latter. This is the unfortunate trait that makes so many on left (and, many on right) fear Mr. Bush and will, I fear, all but guaranty '08 and '12 to the Dems. Thanks for that.
2-22-06: Addendum from Marginal Revolution:
Donald Coffin and Marty O'Brien point out that the article in the New York Sun linked above is misleading, there is a lawsuit contending that SMU is using nefarious shenanigans to get some land for the library but, since SMU is a private entity, eminent domain is not involved. Virginia Postrel has a better write-up on the situation.

Monday, February 20, 2006


In the midst of the jihadist-anti-Europe-free-speech-protests, the Austrian's prove what side they are on... Absolutely pathetic. In truth, the Euro's never had much credibility in this arena in the first place. So here they go - securing their place among the apologists by throwing a man in jail for 3 years for being an idiot. In light of this sad, sad revelation, I can't really blame a thinking Muslim from garnering a little outrage towards the continentals. To such a person, it must appear that the enlightened states of Europe will not tolerate the publicly spoken words of an anti-Semitic moron, all the while continuing to protect the rights of a Mohammad-bashing cartoonist. Ahh the consistency.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Why We Fight

My amazement never ceases. Via AP and Dale Carpenter at Volokh.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Models of Free Speech

The Euro-wimps prove once again to be free speech hypocrites - from the Sun:

GERMAN cops will use sweeping powers to collar England fans doing Basil Fawlty-style Hitler impressions at the World Cup.

Yobs will be instantly banged up for TWO WEEKS if they goose-step like John Cleese in his most famous Fawlty Towers scene.

And hard core louts who give Nazi salutes — like the one jokingly made by Michael Barrymore in Celebrity Big Brother — could be hauled before a judge within 24 hours.

If convicted of inciting hatred they will face jail terms of up to THREE YEARS. Wearing joke German helmets or any offensive insignia will also result in a stretch behind bars.

The crackdown was revealed by police in Nuremberg, where England will play Trinidad and Tobago in a first-round World Cup match on June 15.

"Inciting hatred..."?? You would think that the continentals would take away a lesson or two from the current cartoon-fiasco. They reap what they sow, I suppose. Thanks be to god for the Atlantic Ocean. Tip to Drudge.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

More Mr. Steyn

I am going to keep beating up on the Islamic Sharia freaks. From Mark Steyn:

Even if you were overcome with a sudden urge to burn the Danish flag, where do you get one in a hurry in Gaza? Well, OK, that's easy: the nearest European Union Humanitarian Aid and Intifada-Funding Branch Office. But where do you get one in an obscure town on the Punjabi plain on a Thursday afternoon? If I had a sudden yen to burn the Yemeni or Sudanese flag on my village green, I haven't a clue how I'd get hold of one in this part of New Hampshire. Say what you like about the Islamic world, but they show tremendous initiative and energy and inventiveness, at least when it comes to threatening death to the infidels every 48 hours for one perceived offense or another. If only it could be channeled into, say, a small software company, what an economy they'd have.

Genius. Hat tip to Prof. Rappaport.
And from Prof. Smith (uber wit, as always):
When this started, I was inclined to think, well, you can't blame people for being upset when their religion is insulted. I didn't like "Piss Christ" or the BVM with elephant excrement on her either. I thought it was just dandy that Mayor Guiliani made life a little difficult for the Brooklyn Museum. But that was before crazed mobs started burning embassies and calling for murder of anyone who dares insult them. If there were a very large segment of Roman Catholicism that wanted to take over a large bit of the world, make all women dress like nuns, eat fish on Friday, never miss Mass, and punish heretics by burning them at the stake, and had been busy murdering innocent people by the thousands in order to bring the neo-Medieval world about, I would not be too shocked if somebody published an editorial cartoon criticizing it. If it showed the baby Jesus as a ticking time bomb, I would think, well, that's what I get for burning people alive. But then, maybe I lack the spirit of the true fanatic.
I agree. And another thing. This whole fandango has me dwelling a bit on the fashionable concept of "multi-culturalism" that tends to frequent the manifestos of haughty sociology professors and the hipp’er pages of Harpers. Central to the thesis is the strict relativistic view of the world that places all cultures and values on an even-keel, substantively and morally. The import of such a view is the assertion that western society's "liberal" adherence to such novelties as due process of law and universal suffrage is no more valid than, say, the Mutawwa'in belief that young girls should be left to burn to death if they fail to wear proper attire... Please. This is crap. And anyone who refuses to accept this as fact should spend a day walking around Tehran wearing a Brokeback Mountain t-shirt. Feel that sting? It's a rock being hurled by your average follower of Mohammed. Say what you will about Mr. Falwell's condemnations, he does not throw stones. I acknowledge that the world is less black and white (in the objective sense) than Ayn Rand would have us believe, but I am quite certain that the system of governance under which we live and our ostensible devotion to liberty (which directly translates into the basic tolerance of others and the personal rejection of violence and coercion) is infinitely superior to that of the fanatical pilgrims for Sharia. Deal with it.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Why We Fight


How can we "bring freedom" to a culture that obviously has no real understanding, let alone, love, for the concept? Fundamental Islam, not unlike fundamental Christianity in some ways, is wholly incompatible with liberty, choice and tolerance. Like Mr. Steyn points out, we (the West) are likely all on an unavoidable collision course with Islamism - so in that case - let's face it for what it is - and stop with the Orwellian double-speak.

Licensing Racket

Protectionism in the name of public safety... I hope that the 30 or so "unlicensed," and therefore, obviously unprofessional, ill-trained hacks disguised as mid-wives, fight this proposal.
Licensing laws are anti-competitive rackets designed to limit the supply of services, artificially insulate fees from the market, and thus tend to stifle innovation and the need to increase productivity. It sure is easy to use the power of the state to protect your marketshare from would-be competitors. Throughout history, craft guilds, trade associations (including state bars), and licensing boards have utilized their collective sway for the benefit of their own numbers at the expense of new-comers and potential competitors - and to the economic detriment of consumers. In each case, the proponents of such sanctions have invoked "public safety" and "professional standards" as the basis for their restrictions. Bull squeeze. This is nothing more than organized rent-seeking that ultimately diminishes the freedom of of us all. Lets go, IJ.

Proposal for the Day

How about moving the MLK Holiday to the day after the Super Bowl??