Kingly News

News and views from a strange, continuing journey

Archive for February, 2004

One step closer to Gestapo

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Check out this story. It concerns a case that comes before the Supreme Court on March 22. The implications are chilling. If you need to know why ahead of time, perhaps it’s enough to point out that the name of the site is “Papers, Please.” One irony is that a young woman who was hypothetically being protected by the law was far more injured by her so-called protectors, but that’s not the most frightening thing about this story.

Written by Donnell

February 29th, 2004 at 12:19 pm

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Dear Readers:

This incarnation of “Give Me Liberty Now” is obviously still evolving. We have decided to have a mix of full-length issues like the old email newsletter along with frequent short postings that point to an interesting article elsewhere AND medium length articles and reviews at irregular intervals.

This post is one of those medium-length ones rather than a complete issue. How can you tell the difference? Well, length, for one thing. 🙂 The main difference is that about once a month we’ll have a posting that is very much like an email newsletter–longer, more carefully edited, with multiple sections (for instance, there may be two articles and a review all in one post) and editorial updates. We don’t quite know what it will evolve into. This is just our starting point. Metaphors from older media only go so far. (“Email newsletters are like print newsletters, whereas Web sites are more like glossy magazines because they are more thoughtfully edited and laid out.”) We can certainly say that a Blog is “like” certain other things, but ultimately a Blog is a Blog with its own characteristics. Like most media projects, this one will develop its own personality. We’re as anxious as you are to see what it is.

Anyway, here’s a short article for your perusal.

“Why Are You Doing This?”

by Donnell King, associate editor

My wife looked up just a little while ago and said, “You’re getting awfully political lately, aren’t you?”

I know what she meant. What she meant was, “You don’t really have time for that, you know.”

I have to admit I’ve said that to myself, at least in question form. “Why are you spending so much time with this? You don’t have time for it, you know.”

The reason I don’t have time for it, though, is the reason I feel I must make time for it.

I am the proud father of a nearly 10-month-old girl. She has an extremely rare chromosome disorder, and some other health problems. With care, it is quite likely she will grow up to be a healthy, intelligent woman. We don’t really know what the prognosis is, because her condition is so rare–we can’t tell, for instance, if there is any mental retardation until she is two or three years old. But our unscientific observations suggest to us that she simply has some physical and psychomotor delays, but her mental capacities are just fine.

Her chromosome disorder involves failure to thrive and coordination issues that lead to a floppy airway. The net effect is that she has a gastric feeding tube that takes extra care, and multiple doctor and therapist’s appointments each week.

In other words, I really don’t have a lot of time.

At the same time, her presence in my world makes it much more important for me to do what I can to change the world. I care whether a government that mouths platitudes of liberty while practicing aggression oppresses me. I care even more whether my little girl will live free.

I’m not sure I can get my wife to understand this. I’m not sure I understand it completely myself. All I know is that I am a writer and a speaker, and I care about this stuff, and through this venue I have at least a bit of a chance to influence the world in which my daughter and my other children will live. It may not be much, but it is what I can do. How can I not do it?

Along with writing and speaking, of course, I also implement my own freedom to the best of my ability, respect that of others, and encourage my children to take responsibility for their own lives (“living free” and “living responsibly” are synonyms in my lexicon). That is probably how we have the greatest impact anyway. Lots of good writers have made that point; we’ve pointed out a couple of them earlier in our Blog.

My point is not about what I can do, but rather the motivation for doing it. Look around you. What are your reasons for “taking the time”? It helps to remind yourself from time to time.

Written by Donnell

February 28th, 2004 at 7:07 pm

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Richard Ebeling, president of the Foundation for Economic Education, has a thought-provoking essay online called “There Is No Central Plan for Winning Liberty.” It has particular significance at this time of national elections. I don’t think it means that activism and things like the Libertarian Party are useless–just that the action we can each take that will have the greatest influence in freeing our society is to free ourselves.

Here is a key paragraph:

“How, then, can we ever expect to win liberty through central planning? We would be handicapping all our efforts by subordinating them to the knowledge, wisdom, and insight of those who would construct the blueprint to which the rest of us would be required to more or less conform. The goal of establishing the free society can never be achieved through the application of such collectivist methods.”

Written by Donnell

February 26th, 2004 at 10:12 pm

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I’m not a fan of Howard Stern. Too often he appeals to the basest motives of “human nature.” Still, a line from a news article today clearly enunciates a logical libertarian approach to “regulating” broadcast content: “Stern routinely criticizes the government’s indecency policies, saying they are arbitrary and fail to reflect that anyone who finds his material objectionable can simply change the channel.” What a concept!

The quote comes from an Associated Press article (available at Yahoo News) reporting the apology of the president of the Clear Channel Radio Network for his networks content.

Written by Donnell

February 26th, 2004 at 3:51 pm

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Wendy McElroy has a very good article entitled “The Separation of School and State.” Key sentence: “Advocates of public schooling view other systems of education as threats to be regulated, discouraged and sometimes demonized.”

Written by Donnell

February 25th, 2004 at 6:15 pm

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L.Neil Smith has an interesting article called “Hell, No, She Won’t Go” that hits close to home for me. I have a 14-year-old son and a nearly year-old daughter. The article is about the involuntary servitude that seems clearly outlawed by the 14th Amendment euphemistically called the draft.

Written by Donnell

February 25th, 2004 at 9:55 am

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President Bush just delivered a speech calling for a constitutional amendment, and I have to admit the biggest thing running through my head about it is: “Why?”

The clear answer, of course, is that he sees it as politically good for him. Constitutional amendments face such high hurdles (they must pass both houses of Congress and then receive positive votes in three-quarters of state legislatures) that being seen calling for a constitutional amendment probably matters more to Bush than actually passing a constitutional amendment. It’s unlikely to pass, just because of all the hassle involved (exactly why the Founders set it up that way), and so it’s unlikely he will have to deal with political fallout from unintended side effects.

Rather than pass an amendment that gets government even more involved in marriage than it already is, we might better ask why government is so involved in marriage to begin with? From a governmental standpoint, marriage is simply a specific kind of contract. If it were really a matter of the kind of tradition Bush claims, they wouldn’t have to legislate it (not that they have to; they just claim they do).

As Dr. Mary Ruwart has pointed out in numerous places, everyone involved in marriage, including children, would be better off if we recognized the contractual nature of marriage and left it to the people getting married to define what they mean by marriage when they bind themselves with a contract. In the event of divorce (which would occur at a much lower rate if people had to define their commitment first), the court would simply consider the obligations of the contract and adjudicate according to that.

Such a situation would render the current discussion moot. A legal union between two people, regardless of their gender, is their business, whether we’re talking about a business partnership or a social one. Even George Bush, by implication, recognizes this. He stated almost in passing (although the ABC news commentator certainly picked up on it) that it would be left to the states to define and legalize unions other than marriage. So this whole constitutional amendment thing is about the label we are allowed to use for various types of unions. At least by implication, states could legalize same-sex unions that allowed common ownership of property, sharing of benefits such as health insurance, rights of survivorship, etc.—in other words, everything involved in a marriage. We just couldn’t call it a marriage.

Is that really worth a constitutional amendment? Let’s just let people mind their own business. I find it kind of sad that “minding your own business” is such a revolutionary concept today.

Written by Donnell

February 24th, 2004 at 11:46 am

Posted in General