Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Right to Rise

An excellent op-ed piece by Jeb Bush about Paul Ryan's perfect phrase, "The Right to Rise."

Op-ed here: Capitalism and the Right to Rise

That is what economic freedom looks like. Freedom to succeed as well as to fail, freedom to do something or nothing. People understand this. Freedom of speech, for example, means that we put up with a lot of verbal and visual garbage in order to make sure that individuals have the right to say what needs to be said, even when it is inconvenient or unpopular. We forgive the sacrifices of free speech because we value its blessings.

But when it comes to economic freedom, we are less forgiving of the cycles of growth and loss, of trial and error, and of failure and success that are part of the realities of the marketplace and life itself.

Increasingly, we have let our elected officials abridge our own economic freedoms through the annual passage of thousands of laws and their associated regulations. We see human tragedy and we demand a regulation to prevent it. We see a criminal fraud and we demand more laws. We see an industry dying and we demand it be saved. Each time, we demand "Do something . . . anything."

Monday, December 19, 2011

The National Defense Authorization Act and Politics and Randomness

Last week, the National Defense Authorization Act stirred up everybody who believes in the 1st Amendment. Or the 2nd Amendment. Come to think of it, just about any fan of the Bill of Rights was upset with some of the provisions of the bill.

Why are people up in arms about the bill? The biggest problem is the language that would allow the government to indefinitely detain U.S. citizens captured on U.S. soil without charge or due process.

While that's scary, it's only to be applied against people engaged in terrorist activity, right? The problem is that many states suspect you of terrorism if you happen to own weather-proofed ammunition, have more than 7 days of food on hand, or happen to be missing any fingers. So, suspicion of terrorism is so broad, authorities could easily detain you indefinitely just because they feel like it.

It's much like the old joke about police having probable cause to pull you over. In most states, the vehicle code is so extensive, officers say there's always a reason to pull someone over, so probable cause amounts to, "Probably because I wanted to pull you over." That's funny for a pullover where you get to conversationally chat with an officer and then go on your way when he sees you're really on a 2 AM run for cold medicine and not a drunk driver. Not so funny when you're talking about being stripped of your civil rights and facing indefinite detention.

So, this blog is being stripped of most of its entries. We're down by 200 posts at this point and I'm still picking through what I really can't bear to get rid of. In a way, it's a good thing. If you want to review posts, you'll find only the best and most important things remain.

I am vehement about my rights, but I'm unwilling to be the Gitmo detainee who gets to test the Constitutional supportability of the NDAA's less freedom-friendly provisions. I'll leave that to the people with platforms so big they can't be detained without public outcry.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Why the parties don't seem different

"The argument that the two parties should represent opposed ideals and policies, one, perhaps, of the Right and the other of the Left, is a foolish idea acceptable only to the doctrinaire and academic thinkers. Instead, the two parties should be almost identical, so that the American people can 'throw the rascals out' at any election without leading to any profound or extreme shifts in policy." -- Carroll Quigley, Tragedy & Hope: A History of the World in Our Time