Posts Tagged ‘Liberty’
Rule of law no more

One of the bedrocks of our affluent way of life is the rule of law. Absent that I suspect we would not have had  the massive increase in living standards and length of life over the last couple of hundred years. Without it we will not maintain our current lifestyle or average length of life, let alone improve it.

Make no mistake, our actual life as well as way of life is threatened whenever the rule of law is abrogated. When a cavalier attitude to the removal of rights becomes established, we will soon have no rights. Having no rights we will soon have nothing. Not even our health.

Our rights and the rule of law are being undermined as never before, at least without armed conquest. There is an international tide to the affairs of man. No nation is an island, just as no man stands truly alone. We are all embedded within a world, within geographic, social and economic systems. There is a physical reality to our existence. Changes in one area flow to others. To know what may come to be in your country look at what as and is happening elsewhere.

A Russian aware of the French Revolution may not have been so surprised at the blood baths entailed in his own progressive revolution. Similarly someone in China aware of the millions killed in the Russian revolution may have had an inkling of that millions could be killed in their own great leap forward. Similarly a Cambodian knowing what happened under Mao could have guessed at the possibility of Cambodian killing fields under Pol Pot. Be aware of what has and is happening around you. It may not just save your wealth, but your life.

Do not be insular in your outlook. Even in liberal Western democracies the tides of socialism, fascism and political correctness flow across countries. Activist judges cite international precedent. Governments sign international treaties and then legislate for them without adequate consultation. Vested interests bribe, flatter or otherwise charm politicians into removing some of your rights to increase their wealth and power. It has always been thus. Accept it, so you can fight it. It’s time for some of that eternal vigilance to come into play.

That’s why this type of report from the US is so alarming:

Mr. Ernest Perce V., was assaulted by a Muslim while participating in a Halloween parade. Along with a Zombie Pope, Ernest was costumed as Zombie Muhammad. The assault was caught on video, the Muslim man admitted to his crime and charges were filed in what should have been an open-and-shut case. That’s not what happened, though…. What transpired next was surreal. The (Muslim) Judge not only ruled in favor of the defendant, but called Mr. Perce a name and told him that if he were in a Muslim country, he’d be put to death.

The linked report also notes that the judge refused to allow the video to be admitted and that a Police Officer who was at the scene also testified on Mr. Perce’s behalf, which the Judge also dismissed.

With precedents like that, can we be so sure this chap in the UK is wrong:

Extremist Mohammed Abdin Jailed for Eight Months Over Threat to Machine Gun Police “In 10 or 15 years time when we rule, I’m going to hunt you down and then I’m going to kill you.

“I’m going to burn you to death ……. you are going to die”.

This is not a post on the demographic death spiral of much of the Western world. Everyone can extrapolate what happens if one cultural population segment has lots of children and the others do not. At least in a multicultural rather than assimilation framework. Multiculturalism being one of those ideologies that flowed across much of the Western world.   The results have been fairly consistent. Areas where non-Muslims go at their peril, where firemen and ambulance officers are stoned.

As for the rule of law, what was once inconceivable and would have been viewed with horror becomes commonplace:

  • Sharia courts operating in Britain: Five sharia courts have been set up in London, Birmingham, Bradford and Manchester and Nuneaton, Warwickshire. The government has quietly sanctioned that their rulings are enforceable with the full power of the judicial system, through the county courts or High Court.
  • EU judges want Sharia law applied in British courts: Judges could be forced to bow to Sharia law in some divorce cases heard in Britain. An EU plan calls for family courts across Europe to hear cases using the laws of whichever country the couple involved have close links to.

The law like the police can switch from protecting our way of life to persecuting it. That’s one of the reasons to prefer conservative to progressive judges. A glance at history is more than enough to demonstrate this:

While the part played by the Ministry of Justice in the extermination of Poles and Jews was small compared to the mass extermination of millions by the SS and Gestapo in concentration camps, nevertheless the courts contributed greatly to the “final solution” of the problem.

Posner is a wise man:

Perhaps in the fullness of time the growing of marijuana plants, the “manipulation” of financial markets, the bribery of foreign government officials, the facilitating of the suicide by the terminally ill, and the violation of arcane regulations governing the financing of political campaigns will come to be no more appropriate objects of criminal punishment than “dishonoring the race.” Perhaps not; but [the story of the German judges] can in any event help us to see that judges should not be eager enlisters in popular movements of the day, or allow themselves to become so immersed in a professional culture that they are oblivious to the human consequences of their decisions.”

Well if prosecutions are anything to go by “manipulating” the markets is already not viewed as an appropriate object of criminal punishment. But selective application of the law is a tool of tyranny. The little person, who is not sufficiently well connected or has not hired the right lobbyists or donated to the right campaigns gets prosecuted. The too big to fail banks get government backstops while its executives reap their bonuses and salaries vastly in excess of their contribution to the economies value-add. What will this do for our commonweal?

What will it do for our national wealth is a silly question. Perhaps I should ask if you are feeling wealthy? Are you confident you can look after yourself and your loved ones? Or are you now dependent on noblesse oblige by our political masters? What will happen to you when reality intrudes and your government is forced to live within its means, perhaps cutting expenditure in half? This may happen before or after an inflationary episode. It may happen while financial repression is in full force  – mandating returns on savings at less than the rate of inflation.

We have seen how strongly our governments will fight to maintain the fiction that they are solvent, that their citizens will get what they have been promised. They are lying. The only way this will happen is if there are technological black swans. We will post more on the potential of 3D printing, biotechnology and nanotechnology to radically change our and our governments finances. The Singularity may happen. But it is not sensible to bet the farm on a hope and a prayer. Especially not while undermining the core components of capitalism. Capitalism being our only hope of maintaining the exponential rate of technological progress necessary to generate the productivity increases required to maintain our lifestyles while reducing total debt.

Overriding established rights through bailouts, be they of General Motors or Greece is inimical to capitalism. Bond holders should wear the risks, for both good and ill. It is illegitimate to create a special class of bondholder, just because you can. The European central bank is undermining the very markets it needs if Europe is to prosper.

The people of Greece will experience an unpleasant enough time as reality punctuates the great lie, without also being looted by international financiers first. European banks made bad investments in Greek bonds. They should suffer the associated losses. These losses can flow through to bondholders and shareholders in those banks. They should wear the cost before taxpayers and those living off their more prudently invested savings.

Only in this way can the legitimacy of our system be demonstrated. The unintended consequence of all the quantitative easing and interventions is to strip our system of its legitimacy. This will be used to attack the legitimacy of capitalism. Desperate times will make people more susceptible to the siren song of the potential despot. Frustration will create more true believers. Many of us will suffer and die as a consequence. It must be stopped. We must return a more truthful, free way of life. We must do it with love and compassion, but without the compulsion of the socialist state. Only that way can we reap the way of life we want.

Parenting police

The cancerous growth of the state continues apace. Soon you will not even be able to go to the bathroom without the approval of an officious bureaucrat. Oops, looks like the State got there before me. At least in terms of approving the toilet.

Of course, regulatory bodies will rely on input from industry. Industry leaders will use regulations and their ability to influence them for competitive advantage. Once the industry leader has developed a lower water use flushing toilet they will work for a tightening of the standards. Thus forcing competitors out of the market until they can develop a matching product. Developing such a product probably involves redesigning the whole system, not an instant exercise. From such moves are mountains of money made.

Environmental concerns are so often simply the mechanism by which  a vested interest lines their pockets at the expense of the public good. Facilitated of course by the regulatory state. Super normal profits provide plenty of scope to fund client politicians. The drive for a legislative of regulatory advantage explains this:

Profit seeking firms are relatively indifferent to the mechanism by which they derive their profits. Patents, copyrights, regulations and increasingly fraud. What counts is its ability to secure super normal profits. This is as it should be. The profit motive is a powerful force for progress when constrained within a healthy market. The profit motive needs to be embedded in a cultural, legislative and regulatory framework that makes it work for good, not ill.

The profit motive is a constant of human affairs. The drive for money, power and prestige is fairly fundamental. The urge to secure our children’s future is also fundamental. It can be lost and may not be held equally by all individuals. Deviant sub-cultures can arise. But it is the culture of capitalism that makes it generate rising living standards. It is the cultural framework that separates capitalism from all other societies in all of history prior to the last couple of hundred years.

There is more at stake than most realize in our culture wars. The assault on traditional attitudes to parenting can have dire consequences. The focus has moved on from how we give birth and wean our children to how we shape their character.

Free-Range Parenting: You’re Going to Go to Jail. Maybe: The days when 11- and 12-year-old neighborhood kids were considered competent babysitters appear to be long gone.

Of course 12 year old’s can’t be expected to be babysitters. It would imply they were capable of sound decision making. Next thing you know they would be expanding that to all adults, and depriving the state of much of its raison d’être.

Your peers might not be allowed to look after your kids either:

England’s Children’s Minister wants a review of the case of two police officers told they were breaking the law, caring for each other’s children.

Ofsted said the arrangement contravened the Childcare Act because it lasted for longer than two hours a day, and constituted receiving “a reward”.

It said the women would have to be registered as childminders.

Heaven forbid mum should pack the kids lunches:

Preschooler at West Hoke Elementary School ate three chicken nuggets for lunch Jan. 30 because the school told her the lunch her mother packed was not nutritious.

The girl’s turkey and cheese sandwich, banana, potato chips, and apple juice did not meet U.S. Department of Agriculture guidelines, according to the interpretation of the person who was inspecting all lunch boxes in the More at Four classroom that day.

The Division of Child Development and Early Education at the Department of Health and Human Services requires all lunches served in pre-kindergarten programs — including in-home day care centers — to meet USDA guidelines. That means lunches must consist of one serving of meat, one serving of milk, one serving of grain, and two servings of fruit or vegetables, even if the lunches are brought from home.

Naturally nutritious food is important at home as well. The government must act to ensure children at home are not deprived of an equal opportunity to eat well. Best prepare for the knock on the door, the inspection of dinner, the contents of the fridge and the refuse bin. Far fetched. Try telling to someone who knows what free societies were like forty years ago.

Legally the situation is getting difficult for those with a traditional attitude to parenting. An attitude in part designed to raise adults capable of looking after themselves and able to stand on their own two feet. Adults who do not want to rely on the State when ill, old or in tough times.

Such adults are liable to possess a few other traits. Like knowing actions have consequences. You don’t have to believe in karma to know that spending more than you have eventually results in dire consequences. That if you try and ignore the future, to maximize pleasure now then your future will be bleak. It’s a fact Obama and much of the left do not appreciate.

The left are being hoist with their own petard. Their opposition to discrimination has resulted in an inability to discriminate between good and bad, right and wrong. Their dislike of being judgmental has resulted in a total lack of judgement. Their central nostrums are too divergent from reality. Basically they engage in magical thinking.

Sadly the lefts rejection of reality does not make reality any less real, as Winston Churchill said:

Truth is incontrovertible. Panic may resent it, ignorance may deride it, malice may distort it, but there it is.

You cannot forever shield people from the consequences of their actions. Perhaps you can for some aspects, for some time, for some individuals. But collectively a society lives and dies by the sum if its component individuals actions. By the choices they make, by their collective wisdom and good judgement. By their ability to discriminate. Undermine too many peoples understanding of reality, distort too many peoples decision making and you set society on a path to destruction. It matters little what the path is paved with, the destination remains the same.

When considering the implications of  state intrusion into child raising remember the Jesuit motto “Give me the child for seven years, and I will give you the man”

Criminal Child Neglect and the “Free Range Kid”: Is Overprotective Parenting the New Standard of Care?: Intensive parenting is becoming the norm in the dominant American subcultures, which are embracing safety-conscious parenting approaches that might once have been viewed disapprovingly as “overprotective” parenting….

De facto legal standards appear to be evolving right along with these attitudes about proper parenting…


It was widely accepted 150 years ago that “children, even very young children, were capable of caring not only for themselves, but also for cows, sheep, chickens, and even younger siblings”. News flash. They still are. They need to be given responsibility, so they learn how to act responsibly. Over time they will become responsible adults. Truly responsible adults. Not ones that lean on the state. A nation of leaners can not stand.

There is hope on this battle front:

A growing movement of parents is resisting the societal pressure to engage in overprotective parenting. These parents happily embrace the risks of a child falling from a tree, for example, even breaking a bone in the process, in the belief that the freedom, creativity, physical exercise, and sense of empowerment that a child gets from learning to climb trees far outweighs the attendant risk of injury.

Even more important is the idea of giving children autonomy, allowing them to play outdoors unsupervised, to walk or ride a bicycle to school or a friend’s house. These parents believe that this is important in helping children develop a sense of responsibility and self-sufficiency

Don’t blame overprotective parents. It’s difficult to step outside your cultural paradigm.  Orwell was correct in his portrayal of the power of big brother. But this is how our freedom dies. Not lost in large chunks, as if torn apart in a frenzied shark attack, but nibbled to death by piranhas. Death by a thousand cuts comes to mind.