U.S. Elections: Will Liberty Win?

Well today’s the day. As just about every other blog in the sphere is covering the elections today, I thought I’d throw the forum open, and we can discuss the results as they come in, in real time. If as expected, the Democrats are routed in the House, the Obama administration faces its remaining two years in a state of legislative gridlock.

Is this a good thing for the cause of Liberty? Will the new crop of Tea Party-backed Republican Congress representatives be able to affect any real change: change that you can—umm—believe in? Or will it be business as usual, albeit with a bit more noise? And will it signal the end of political AGW in the United States?

Over to you.

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68 Responses to U.S. Elections: Will Liberty Win?

  1. The danger is the new crop of congress men and women and senators will like all idealists end up being corrupted by the old crowd. I am hoping for a route but with all the dirty tricks it may be closer than we know in some districts. I am hoping for Pelosi to quit and Reid as well. Those aging liberals need to go and take the 1960’s with them.
    It’s still 1:24pm CST here so no results until much later.

    Right. Here’s a summary of the poll closing times. For those using LibertyGibbert’s clock (AEDT), we are at UTC +11 i.e., the first polls to close (some parts of Indiana and Kentucky) are 9am my time – Oz

  2. In my own district which is major safe seat for the Dems congressman Steve Cohen to be reelected but I expect with a reduced majority.

  3. meltemian says:

    crown’
    When are you going to start to get a picture of the results? I don’t know how the count works.
    Do you think there is likely to be any real change or will it be “business as usual” for Obama with some added problems from reduced/negative majorities.
    As you can tell I don’t really understand how it all works in the USA.

  4. Mel…We start to get an idea about 9-10pm CST but you may as well wait for the next day to see where the clear winners are and what seats are up for recounts. So far no major stories of vote fraud or intimidation. All the internet coverage seems to have nipped the obvious stuff in the bud.

  5. Dr. Dave says:

    meltemian,

    I’m always amazed at the interest folks outside the USA take in American politics. I think Australian politics are fascinating largely because I don’t understand them. Well, I’ve figured some of it out, but their Senate still has me baffled.

    Watching the election results (which I will do) is a lot like watching a horse race that has already been run. We know this is going to be slaughter for the Democrats. We watch the results to see just how big a slaughter.

    The Democrats are doomed to lose control of the House. They’ll probably maintain a slim majority in the Senate but they will no longer have anything close to a super-majority. This effectively shuts down Obama’s agenda. As msher indicated in her article, Obama will be forced to govern by executive fiat rather than legislative rule of law. What is very significant is that in America the House controls the purse strings. They can de-fund any legislation passed in the last two years.. This painful reality induces flop sweat for Obama and his fellow marxist Democrats. Cap & trade is completely doomed and even the EPA is threatened.

    What is not much in the news is our Governors’ races. I suspect the Republicans will control about 33 Governor seats after this election. 2010 was a census year. Before the 2012 elections the USA will reapportion House seats among the states. The state’s legislatures will determine districting. This could very bad for Democrats for the next 10 years.

    In this country we all know what is going to happen…the only drama is in the extent.

    G’day Dave. I’ll explain the Senate some time in more detail. But yep, your election’s certainly a blood sport tonight. As Tom Cruise’s character said in The Color of Money, “it’s like a nightmare, isn’t it?” – Oz 😀

  6. Oz I thought your senate races were held by getting all the candidates together in a bar and the last people standing got the job or does it just seem that way.

    Does the phrase “two-up” ring a bell? Legend has it that around the time of the Great War that’s actually how one Queensland Premier (Red Ted Theodore) got his start in politics – Oz

  7. Dr. Dave says:

    Ozboy,

    Excellent allegory! Two months ago I predicted a 61 seat gain for the GOP in the House and my friends thought I was nuts. Today it appears I might be within a +/- 3 seat margin of error. Fortunately for the Democrats relatively few of their Senate seats were up in this election cycle. Hence the modest gains predicted for the Republicans. But in 2012 they will have 24 seats up for reelection and this will be VERY interesting. If Obama continues to be unpopular (and there’s no indication this will change) a whole bunch of career politicians are looking at early retirement in 2 years.

    Personally I would love to see an end to profligate spending, the unfettered growth of Big Government and general fiscal irresponsibility. I’m crossing my fingers but I ain’t taking any bets. What I think is quite likely is that the cult of environmentalism will lose a lot of ground. Far too many Americans now see AGW for the massive fraud that it is. They’re far less willing to spend the future wealth of their grandchildren on the specious claim that they will benefit by living in a world 1-2 degrees cooler.

    The American public is hopelessly addicted to their economy crushing entitlements. Accordingly I believe the environmentalists’ agenda will be an early casualty of a Republican takeover.

    FiveThirtyEight.com gives the Republicans a six percent chance of gaining control of the Senate this time round, but a whopping 83% chance of seizing Congress. You’re right, in two years the political landscape will be very different in your country… mine too – Oz

  8. Well lets see how the voting goes first results will not be until 7 EST more likely a lot later.

  9. Luton Ian says:

    Bloodsport aside, will these elections change the way the country works in any meaningful way?

    The TEA partiers have not been around long enough to change the essentially progressive nature of many of the stupid party’s candidates and incumbents, and much of the Federal legislation is devolved to unelected agencies.

    There will be a few new faces, but will it change anything?

  10. Amanda says:

    Okay, so now we can begin to stop speculating and start celebrating. First: Marco Rubio is the new senator for Florida (my state and I voted for him!). Second, we have Rand Paul (son of Ron), in Kentucky. Unfortunately Barbara Boxer, whom the country and California can well do without, hangs on. Other outcomes remain to be seen.

    It’s looking good, barring a few blots. Oh well, you can’t have everything!

  11. Luton Ian that is the big question will the newbies go native if they do the tea party will withdraw support in 2 years time.

  12. Breaking news “Amanda responsible for Marco Rubio”.

  13. Amanda says:

    Crownarmourer: :^P Mine was the ballot worth its weight in gold, apparently!

  14. Amanda apparently, had to do stuff so trying to catch up on the election the Senate race will be close.

  15. Dr. Dave says:

    It’s official. The Republicans just won control of the House. Everything else is just gravy.

  16. No control of the senate but most governors are now republican looking forward to 2012.

  17. Trapped in CA (aka SGDN) says:

    G’day everyone,

    11:30 PM in California Arrgh! Harry Reid appears to have won in Nevada. Most of you are well informed in American politics so I don’t have to say how horrible that is. Here in CA I’m trapped for four years with what is most likely Jerry (Moonbeam) Brown as Governor and Gavin Newsome as Lt. Governor. Brown you may not know. He is very similar in personality and background to Algore (except Jerry didn’t flunk out of either divinity or law school). He ran for President twice, but never managed to get the nomination. Newsome is a progressive, arrogant idiot Mayor of San Francisco who turned it into a Sanctuary City for illegals and a haven for all kinds of crime and welfare seekers. Prop 19 failed (the last post). The Feds said that they would enforce federal law, so it was likely to be more trouble than it might have been worth. Prop 23 also failed, but CA is going to hang on to green and AGW with their last ounce of strength, so that wasn’t unexpected. The only hope seems to be the Boxer race is close and she may be gone.
    California has too much influence in the US. I kind of hope they lose seats in the next census, but I’m sure Obama saw to it that progressive CA continues to support him.
    Now that the House is back to (hopefully) sanity and the Senate has lost it’s super majority, some of the more egregious things will get repealed.

    Hope to have time tomorrow to give you some results.

    Good night
    T.

  18. fenbeagle says:

    Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.
    George Washington

  19. izen says:

    There is something deeply ironic in seeing the ‘Tea-party’ Republican candidates fulminating against the Washington machine and its capture by big business when the movement is istself an astro-turf creation of Koch industries. (amongst others).

    Of course the Koch brothers have reasons to want less government involvement, they have a track record of serious pollution events and worker deaths and are at present trying to prevent formaldhyde, a known carcinogen, from being classified as a carcinogen with the attendent regulation of its manufacture. They are of course a main producer of formaldehyde….

    The Koch brothers have also put far more money into the AGW denial cliques than even EXXON did…..

    G’day Izen,

    Sorry there hasn’t been much in the way of science threads lately, but watch this space.

    I’m assuming you’re aware that Big Government’s spending on AGW promotion outdoes Big Business’s refutation of it to the tune of 3000:1! And that’s not even considering the money businesses like BP put into promoting AGW either.

    I have very little idea who the Koch Brothers are, other than their names keep cropping up on conspiracy theorist’s lists. If they’re as evil and pervasive as you say, then where’s my cheque? I suspect many in the Tea Party movement would make the same response to you – Oz

  20. Dr Dave & ozboy apparently James Delingpole in the DT loved your article on drug use.

  21. Luton Ian says:

    Hi Izen,
    As an occasional lurker here and even more occasional commenter, I’ll try to be gentle with my response.

    The “great man” and “teleological” theories in history are usually and scornfully dismissed as “whig”. It is strange but not entirely surprising therefore that those of a collectivist bent tend to see conspiracies and great (if nefarious) people behind events and movements which they dislike.

    As an individualist, I tend to the view that history is at best fitting events into a post hoc narrative. Incidentally, my last end of term grade for history was E5.

    Yes, there may be some notable figures who are picked up by the media, but, to my way of looking at it, most events are essentially un planned and leaderless. I think the TEA movement falls into that category.

    The not entirely unsurprising part is because to envisage a leaderless spontaneous organization or movement, for example a competitive market establishing relative pricing, or directing research, or even as simple a coming together of individuals as an internet discussion forum, would be to deny the central plank of collectivism; their need for the strong Hobbesian leader, the need for all of life to be run like a factory, with central planning, and a leadership which would be blessed with some kind of progressive virtue, just as all individuals outside that gathering of philosopher princes are seen to be cursed with a secular version of original sin, meaning that all of their ventures are bound to end in failure.

    In short, I think you are severely mis judging the movement.

  22. Dr. Dave says:

    Crown,

    How about that. I just checked JD on DT and noticed that he linked to the article here at Ozboy’ Bar & Grill.

    He even left a comment – go check – Oz

  23. rastech says:

    Me like this!

    F*** the Fed

    {crosses fingers it doesn’t embed the player}

  24. rastech says:

    DOH! /facepalm

  25. rastech put a couple of letters/numbers underneath the link that usually does it. Yes I would like to see the Fed move back under direct Government control run for the people by the people.
    Dr Dave yes it was amazing to know that JD spends his time reading the ozboy blog and you only intended it to be read by 4 or 5 close friends. Hopefully it generates a lot of traffic so people can read it we all liked it.
    Ozboy well the election is over I suppose it’s time for some of the regulars to return as the bar has returned to normal. Global warming anyone?

    As of 9am my time, just over two thousand people have read Dave’s article (mucho graçias O God-emperor). Currently that makes it only the 20th-most read page on this blog, but at the current rate it’ll wind up in the top ten at least. So congratulations Dave! Clearly you’ve struck a nerve – Oz

  26. memory vault says:

    Dr Dave

    There you go mate – you’re famous!!

    Now wasn’t that a lot more fun than just taking shots at other people’s efforts.

  27. memory vault writing a good blog is hard to do there is no way I would dare to write one for ozboys bar and grill because it would probably suck and the lack of punctuation while free would be annoying in my case. Lots of people here can write a darn sight better than me.

    James Joyce wrote better than any of us, Crown. Check out the last forty pages of Ulysses. One sentence. No punctuation – Oz

  28. Dr. Dave says:

    Ozboy,

    That’s pretty surprising. Glad I could contribute something to the ol’ Bar & Grill. I’ll have to drop an email to the five original recipients and mention this. A couple of weeks ago we had a lively email debate about cigarette smoking. One can easily make the argument that cigarettes should be banned in the interest of public safety. Most non-smokers are ambivalent but a smaller sub-set of them are 100% in favor of a ban. Of course, the smokers are opposed. My point, of course, was that smoking is an individual’s choice and that they will have to live (or die) with the consequence of their decision. There are all sorts of very sound arguments on both sides of this issue. Perhaps this might be an interesting topic for some future article/comment thread.

    There’s a bunch of fun topics for debate should AGW ever grow a bit stale. Like should governments run or fund media like the BBC in the UK or PBS and NPR in the US? Or should internet service providers be regulated as utilities? Government entitlements and subsidies are always fun as well.

    I imagine almost everyone is burnt out on American politics by now (especially Americans).

  29. Ozboy…James Joyce you say, now that’s what happens when you drink way too much Guinness.

  30. Amanda says:

    Dave: I thought your article most informative, interesting, and thought-provoking, as well as nicely organized (just thought I’d mention that), but I was a bit –er, distracted at the time to say so.

  31. memory vault says:

    Dr Dave

    American politics is easy to understand. It’s the same as OZ politics and UK politics.

    There are basically two teams, the bad guys and the bad guys. Every once in a while the sheeple play a game called “voting”, and one of the teams of bad guys gets “elected”.

    The “elected” bad guys then spend a period of time doing whatever is required of them by another group called “vested interests”.

    Eventually the sheeple get sick of the bad guys continually screwing them over for the benefit of the vested interests, so they play the voting game again and chuck out the bad guys and elect the other team of bad guys, who take up exactly where the first team of bad guys left off, and continue to screw the sheeple on behalf of the vested interests.

    Then all of the sheeple get excited and babble on for a while about “change” and stuff like that while it’s business as usual for the bad guys and the vested interests. This game is played over and over again with exactly the same result.

    Eventually the vested interests own and/or control everything and the country goes bankrupt. Then the sheeple get really mad and riot in the streets and maybe hang a few bad guys from lamp posts.

    The vested interests all retire to Majorca or somewhere else sunny until things have quieted down. Then they come back and pick another two teams of bad guys for the sheeple to vote for and the whole game starts all over again.

    Individually these games are known as “democracy”, and collectively as “history”.

  32. Dr. Dave says:

    memory vault,

    Sigh…you’re probably right. The American Republic was established by some very brilliant, thoughtful men and our constitutional form of government worked remarkably well until the 20th century. Some very bad things happened right about the time of WWI. First, we elected Wilson as President. Wilson was a proto-Progressive. Under Wilson we got Prohibition. The Wilson years also brought us the individual income tax and the advent of the lobbyist. A confluence of “bad stuff”. Special interests could now directly influence legislators and the government could tax the citizens. FDR only made things worse by bringing forth our first real government entitlement (our Social Security). LBJ exacerbated the problem with the introduction of Medicare and Medicaid. Lately we have had ObamaCare foisted upon an unwilling electorate. These are Democrat Presidents.

    Yesterday’s election was significant because over 60 Democrats lost their seats in the House alone. This hasn’t happened since 1938. So there is hope in the air. Sadly the most contemptible and corrupt Democrats still managed to win reelection (and most by wide margins). California nearly voted a straight “stupid ticket”. Mark my words…within the next year newly elected Gov. Brown will demanding that the other 49 states bailout a bankrupt California.

    Countering the vested interests is extremely difficult. A good example Big Corn and the ethanol boondoggle. No physicist, chemist or engineer in their right mind would recommend ethanol as a motor fuel. Politicians don’t care. It buys votes. Every damn subsidy or entitlement buys votes. People don’t want to face free market realities or the inevitable implosion of unsustainable government Ponzi schemes and politicians just want to get reelected.

  33. memory vault that was possibly the most cynical description of politics ever, I bow down to a true master of the genre. There is no way I could possibly beat that.
    Dr Dave here’s hoping it works out and lets hope the newbies don’t go native lured by bribes and offers of work after they leave.

    Google “WA Inc” and you’ll see where MV’s cynicism stems from – Oz

  34. memory vault says:

    Dr Dave

    So basically what you’re saying is that if “your” team of bad guys – the Republicans – were running the show, everything would be just hunky-dory. But hang on, didn’t you lot just have a “Republican” President for eight years?

    Truth is, Dr Dave, like OZ and elsewhere you started off with the right idea. Your Constitution was written with the express attempt of limiting guvmint to one purpose only – allowing the individual to get on with the “pursuit of life, liberty and happiness”.

    Unfortunately, somewhere along the way it got subverted into a “democracy”. That means whatever the majority wants, goes, even if it means a curtailment of “the life liberty and happiness” of someone else.

    And that, ultimately, transcends into everybody deciding what’s best for everyone else. Which is exactly what happened on this blog over the last couple of days, as each contributor put forward their own views, and got stroppy over someone else’s.

    Unfortunately under such a system you can’t get upset about the guvmint cracking down on smoking tobacco – for instance – in response to “public demand for action”, and at the same time agree to the guvmint prohibiting cannabis – for instance – also in response to “public demand for action”. Please feel free to substitute any two “causes” you like in the above sentence.

    And inevitably, what do the “democratic masses” want at any given time? Whatever the “vested interests” have stirred them up to want. That’s how and why they always keep on winning.

    To paraphrase Bastiat: There are only three forms of government:
    Where the few get to plunder the many (aristocracy)
    Where the many get to plunder the few (socialism), and
    Where nobody gets to plunder anybody.

    And as Bastiat demonstrated, over time the second form always morphs into the first, and we just go on getting screwed by the few.

    The American Republic was an attempt to establish a system of government where “nobody gets to plunder anybody”. It worked for a while and you became the most prosperous nation on earth.

    Then you morphed into a democracy – “majority rules”, and so you are doomed.

    As is the UK and OZ for the very same reason.

  35. memory vault says:

    G’day Ozboy,

    Actually I termed the phrase “little gnome from the west” to describe the then Premier Brian Burke, back in my earliest days of investigative journalism.

    It’s why Thumper and I had to (rather hurriedly) relocate to the east coast.

  36. Amanda says:

    Hi Y’All.
    Before I slice up my fresh loaf of bread and call it a day, here is Victor Davis Hanson in National Review commenting on the election and the status of California:

    ‘In California, there is some irony: The philosophy that led the state to the highest tax rates in the country, along with the near-worst schools, largest deficits, and most crumbling infrastructure, was reaffirmed. Now California’s state government will have to deal with the reality that if the highest-tax state in the union raises taxes still higher, it will lose even more high earners than the current 3,000 who leave each week. A Republican Congress is not likely to bail out a bankrupt California. More likely, we will see even more of the present ad hoc government-by-euphemism. More “furloughs” instead of pay cuts for unionized public employees, “temporary” larger class sizes in the schools, more “user fees” imposed by executive order in lieu of getting new taxes passed.

    The state will continue to descend into a pyramidal society. On top there is the wealthy, leftist coastal elite from Napa to Hollywood, which is seemingly immune from the effects of high taxes and regulation (and wants more green laws, gay marriage, abortion, and therapeutic bromides). The top of the pyramid is in league with a growing underclass in part dependent upon a huge entitlement industry; this coalition thus favors more taxes, entitlements, unionized public employees, open borders, etc. Meanwhile, a squeezed middle-class private sector is slowly being strangled, shutting down, and leaving.

    What are we left with? Public money in California running out is, in fact, a solution of sorts’.

    [for the whole commentary, see http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/252447/obama-doesn-t-get-it-victor-davis-hanson%5D

    I’m intrigued by the last line: “What are we left with? Public money in California running out is, in fact, a solution of sorts.” Americans, is it really going to come to that? And what happens when Congress refuses to bail California out? What happens next? – Oz

  37. Ozboy thanks for that recognized some of the names even. Well as big as that was back then I can be sure the bank bailouts we have experienced in the last few years dwarf that. The people of Ireland are now on the hook for 36 billion Euro’s this in a country of four million for the saving of just one bank.

  38. Dr. Dave says:

    memory vault,

    The USA has not become a majority rule democracy…at least not yet. Let me give you one example. We don’t have referendums on our national ballots. That’s why we have a Congress. But consider this, an overwhelming majority of the population favors making English the official language (something north of 70%). It will never happen because Congress if too feckless to pursue the will of the people. Enough of them are terrified of and intimidated by special interest groups who oppose such a measure. They fear for their prospects at reelection or as being labeled a “racist”.

    The problem is the size, scope and power of the government. For this Republicans can certainly share in the blame. We have a ruling class elite and extensive, inefficient and redundant bureaucracies that lord over us. Politicians don’t listen to their constituents. They are influenced by the powerful special interests that fund their reelection bids. Today’s TEA party Republican is (at least for now) a different animal than the establishment Republican elite.

  39. Oz…I’m intrigued by the last line: “What are we left with? Public money in California running out is, in fact, a solution of sorts.” Americans, is it really going to come to that? And what happens when Congress refuses to bail California out? What happens next?

    They have to finally face reality or the banks do it for them, they can not print there own money. First they close the schools then the fire departments then the police. That will lead to anarchy. That is when it gets really interesting. No one gets a welfare check, no public servant gets paid, no pensions, no money for electricity or water. The Feds can only intervene if the governor asks for help as people forget with Katrina. It would be the suspension of civil rights for the whole state and military rule just like the South after the civil war.

  40. memory vault says:

    Maybe this sums it up best of all:

    http://dailybail.com/home/cartoon-founding-fathers-discuss-the-constitution.html

    WARNING – rude words but very funny

  41. NoIdea says:

    What no Cancun?

    NoIdea

  42. Luton Ian says:

    Dr Dave and Memory Vault (and anyone else)

    A question for you (a real question, not a trick).

    How did we get to the state of hyperactive and intrusive government?

    I’ve come across a few theories, along the lines of socialism coming of age, Wilson and most of his top advisers having studied in Bismark’s Germany, Women’s suffrage, War planners trying to (and succeeding in) continuing their role into peace time, Politics taking too close an interest in business and business returning the trespass.

    I really don’t know, what are your thoughts?

  43. Crow says:

    Woah man. Just realized that my comment got censored! Sorry man!

    Peace

    Crow

  44. memory vault says:

    Luton Ian

    There is a story of George Washington (I think) which perhaps sums it up. If I have some of the details wrong perhaps one of our American friends can supply the correct version. The old memory vault is still operating at a lot less than full capacity.

    George by this stage was a member of the US Congress, and another member had died. He had given his all for God and Country during the War of Independence and had died penniless, survived by a wife and children who were now destitute (this was back in the days before politicians were paid).

    Anyway, a motion had been passed granting the widow a modest sum of money, sufficient for her and the family to survive on. George had supported the motion.

    So George was riding through the back-blocks drumming up support as he was up for re-election, and he came to the house of an old farmer who had previously been one of his strongest supporters. George asked the farmer if he could count on his support again.

    The farmer replied no, and when George asked him why, the farmer replied that George had supported the grant to the widow. George then explained all the moral and charitable justifications for making the grant.

    The farmer replied that there was no power in the Constitution for George and the other politicians to grant the money. George answered that it was still the “right” thing to do.

    The farmer replied that the money was not his nor the Congress to give, and if he and they wanted to do the “right” thing, in future they should use their own money and not that of the taxpayers, which was collected for a very specific set of purposes.

    The trouble today is we don’t enough people like that old farmer. On the contrary, almost everybody looks on guvmint as something they can get something out of. Not always money, but some kind of leverage over the other guy.

    Hence Walt and Amanda – for instance – nothing personal implied here – will support politicians who support the banning of Cannabis; Blackswan will support politicians who support strict laws on alcohol, and so on and so on.

    Eventually “politics” reaches the point where elections are merely auctions of promises with each side attempting to outbid each other in the mad scramble to “buy” votes. his would be bad enough all by itself. Unfortunately however, two other factors come into play.

    First is the general polarisation into two main “parties”. Eventually a point is reached whereby both “sides” have roughly the same level of support, with only about 5 – 10% of the voters “swinging” – that is, prepared to change their vote from one side to another, or vote for a minor party or an independent.

    Since the other 90-95% of voters are already committed one way or the other the politicians end up outbidding each other, NOT for the vote of that vast majority, but for the support of that small swinging minority.

    Second, and even more destructive is that there is a small group of people who don’t play the game at all. Instead they sit back and see how they can use their influence to sway that small group of voters one way or the other, for their OWN ends. The outstanding example of this in our time is Climate Change.

    The only answer is to frame government in such a way that it is severely hamstrung in what it can make laws about in the first place, and in relatively modern times this is how things usually start out – the US Constitution is but one example.

    However, eventually, human nature being what it is, the system always degrades to where we are now. Eventually it collapses, and we start again.

    I would suggest reading Bastiat’s “The Law” as a good starting point. It is freely available on the net.

  45. Dr. Dave says:

    A brilliant response, memory vault. I suspect you might not have the actors quite right (I’m almost certain it wasn’t George Washington), but more importantly you absolutely nailed the essence of the story. This story from the days of our Founders is quite popular today and I’m embarrassed that I can’t remembers the details. People should “do good”, governments should not.

  46. Amanda says:

    Memory Vault: You don’t know who I would support or whether I would support the banning of cannabis. In some circumstances, esp. medical ones, I would not outlaw cannabis. I do raise the question though of what is wrong, for ‘recreational’ purposes (a sort of vulgar term but it’ll do for now) with the good old how-do-you-dos known as alcoholic beverages? Yes, they are open to abuse: isn’t everything? But I think we may get into a situation of diminishing returns when we start opening the floodgates to a host of other intoxicants.

  47. memory vault says:

    Amanda

    I am not stating you (or anybody else) is right or wrong, merely answering Luton’s query.

    You hold a view that “government” has a right – an obligation to makes laws about certain drugs and their use or misuse.

    You must then accept that other people will hold a view that government has a right – an obligation to make laws about other things – abortion, smoking, citizen surveillance, drilling for oil, eminent domain, climate change, cap and trade, contraception, taxation without representation, whatever.

    It matters not what you or I believe are the “good” laws or “bad” laws, or the “right” view or the “wrong” view in these and a thousand others matters. Only the acceptance that the government has the power to make such laws one way or the other.

    My point wasn’t what was “right” or “wrong”; only firstly that this is how we end up where we are now, regardless of intentions; and second that the only way to prevent it from happening is to limit government’s capacity to MAKE laws in the first place.

    At the end of the day there is no difference (from a governing point of view), in making laws about what we can smoke, or indeed if we can at all, and making laws about what we can eat, or if indeed we can at all.

    And human nature being what it is, a government given the power to decide what we can and can’t smoke or if we will smoke at all will eventually end up deciding what we can and can’t eat.

    Or if we will eat at all.

  48. Memory vault and Amanda I personally am for controlled and taxed legalization of most but not all drugs I also believe a register should be kept of those buying limited quantities of the stronger drugs. This register could be used if any use of said drugs leads to violent behaviour or driving while impaired leads to physical harm of another person and a harsher sentence imposed. The extra taxes would be a boon to governments and crime would dramatically be reduced.
    Personally I will stick with beer.

  49. memory vault says:

    Crown

    Again, the point is not what any one, given individual believes is the “right” way, or the “best” way for government to tackle any particular issue; simply the acceptance that government has the “right” (or obligation) to do so in the first place.

    Once it is accepted that government has the right and/or obligation to tackle 0ne issue not specifically allotted to it in a Constitution or similar binding document, then ALL issues become part of their mandate.

    Then a queue of citizens forms each with their own barrow to push, and the politicians decide which ones are likely to get them elected / re-elected.

    Off on the sidelines, vested interests decide which of the citizens’ barrows are likely to benefit themselves, and start using their influence to marshal support for that particular barrow.

    I repeat – there is ONLY one solution, and that it is to limit government in the first place. That is not an opinion.

    It is a history lesson that has been repeated a hundred times and will be repeated a hundred times more.

  50. memory vault says:

    Apologies if I don’t reply to posts for a while – off to the doc’s

  51. memory vault hope everything checks out well, excellent posts by the way.

  52. farmerbraun says:

    That makes perfect sense to me Crown. A controlled situation instead of the expensive and wasteful uncontrolled free- for -all ( if you’ve got the money) that is the present situation. Recognition that everything has a use and an abuse , and abuse is to be discouraged, and outlawed when there are victims.
    Disclaimer: I am sipping a riesling as I type this.
    And critical to this whole approach is recognising that we cannot feed our kids bullshit and expect not to be found out. When you feed kids lies about cannabis, then they wonder what else you are lying about. I see this as the greatest disservice that drug education visits on the naive.

  53. farmerbraun it is hard to find the line between total freedom and the protection of society which is why I favour the above compromise. It is not perfect but you can control strength of product. Skunk cannabis can induce schizophrenia in those genetically predisposed I doubt regular cannabis would.
    By making it legal you would immediately make it boring to the young. I agree with memory vault on freedom and governments which should be servants for the greater good and limited. Where does freedom start and end is the tricky bit and what part does government play. Currently it is all bread and circuses with our civilization and if it did not work out well for Rome it will not work for us.

  54. izen says:

    @-Oz and Luton Ian

    Costing research into AGW is problematic. By counting the cost of satellites the cost can be made very big, including promotion of the subject as well as scientific research is also a way the supposed cost is increased.

    As for how ‘real’ the Tea Party movement is as a political force, I apply to politics the same principle that works so well in material sciences, follow the energy, or in the case of politics, follow the money.
    The Tea Party members may not get a direct cheque, but as has been discovered from investigation the speakers at such meetings are paid from industry funds and the big demonstration in Washington a few months ago the coaches hired to transport to the demonstration were paid for by shadowy ‘think tanks’ and institutes who in turn are funded by Koch and others.

    http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/08/30/100830fa_fact_mayer

  55. memory vault says:

    Crown

    Everything is a-okay thanks.
    Now back to “lawful government”.

    When Descartes sought to frame a philosophy of existence, he started with the assumption “I think therefore I am”. From this axiom he then went on to define existence as whole.

    If we are to understand the workable limits of government then we must first define what government “is”.

    Bastiat started with the individual and the individual’s natural right to life, liberty, and the produce of his labour – “life, liberty and property”, or as the US Constitution states it, “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”.

    Since we are entitled to those three things we are, in turn, entitled to defend them against those who would take them away from us by force – the individual right to self-defence, also using force, if necessary.

    However, because we live in groups – societies – tribes – nations, we organise ourselves also for a collective defence of those same three things. That organisation is the basis of our laws – or “The Law” as Bastiat stated it.

    That is we allow and condone and agree to the use of force – the Law, to collectively protect our individual rights to life, liberty and the product of our labour. Any law which exists for these purposes is a “lawful” law.

    Conversely, when the law uses force to deprive us of our life, liberty and/or property, then that is an “unlawful” law and goes against the very reason for us collectively organising the mutual defence of our lives, liberty and property.

    Realistically, a “lawful” government would be constrained to making laws to protect the individual from attack, murder and theft at an individual level by way of laws and police to enforce them; protect us collectively from the same fate on a collective basis by making provision for national defense; and provide a legal system and courts to settle any disputes or questions of innocence or guilt.

    That’s it. The moment you stray from that definition and application of “The Law” (the collective use of force) then the nation is doomed.

    Eventually the government decides who lives and who dies, and provides the executioner.

  56. Luton Ian says:

    Thankyou, Gentlemen and ladies (in order of comment 🙂

    It looks like I have some reading ahead of me:
    http://www.archive.org/search.php?query=bastiat%2C%20the%20law%20AND%20mediatype%3Atexts

    I’m busy with Hayek’s “The Road To Serfdom” at the moment and I have some of Locke’s work to go at too.

    Ive never seen a PDF of the full text of The Road to Serfdom, but there is a copy of the cartoon summary available here:
    http://mises.org/books/TRTS/

    Thanks again.

    Ian

  57. Luton Ian says:

    Crown,

    I was wondering where I’d seen

    “For the Greater good”

    Now I remember, it was on a cobblestone at the start of a very unpleasant road, others had inscriptions like “we did it for the kids”, “it’s for their own good” and “life will be so much better without those damned kulaks”

    😉

  58. Luton Ian says:

    Izen,

    We’ll have to keep in touch.

    I haven’t been to many political demonstrations*, but I’ve had to pay my share of the bus hire or train fare each time. If you know how I could get the travel paid…

    Ian

    *contrary to previous insinuations, I’ve never been to Nuremberg.

  59. Luton Ian says:

    The Library stamp in the front of “The Law” is the Ludwig von Mises Library at the University of Guatemala!

    I’m reading Mises “Socialism” on and off too

    Austrian economists to the rescue again 🙂

  60. Dr. Dave says:

    One of the most significant consequences of our recent election in the US is that the green movement will have been dealt a nearly lethal blow. For all intents and purposes AGW legislation is dead. The following article from today’s American Thinker is simply too good not share here. It’s by the esteemed Dr. Fred Singer:

    http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/11/the_green_bubble_is_about_to_b.html

  61. orkneylad says:

    34 Modern Conspiracy Facts.

    “Sceptics are important in achieving an objective view of reality, however, scepticism is not the same as reinforcing the official storyline. In fact, a conspiracy theory can be argued as an alternative to the official or “mainstream” story of events. Therefore, when sceptics attempt to ridicule a conspiracy theory by using the official story as a means of proving the conspiracy wrong, in effect, they are just reinforcing the original “mainstream” view of history, and actually not being sceptical. This is not scepticism, it is just a convenient way for the establishment view of things to be seen as the correct version, all the time, every time.”

    The Dreyfus Affair : The Mafia :MK-ULTRA : Operation Mockingbird : Manhattan Project : Asbestos : Watergate : The Tuskegee Syphilis Study : Operation Northwoods : 1990 Testimony of Nayirah : Counter Intelligence Programs Against Activists in the 60s [COINTELPRO] : The Iran-Contra Affair : The BCCI Scandal : CIA Drug Running in LA : Gulf of Tonkin Never Happened : The Business Plot [1933] : Conspiracy to Assassinate Hitler : Operation Ajax : Operation Snow White : Operation Gladio : The Church Committee : The New World Order : United States House of Representatives Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) : 1919 World Series Conspiracy : Karen Silkwood : CIA Drug Smuggling in Arkansas : Bohemian Grove : Operation Paperclip : The Round Table : The Illuminati : The Trilateral Commission : Big Brother or the Shadow Government : The Federal Reserve Bank :

    Full details on each here:
    http://www.glebedigital.co.uk/blog/?p=309

    George Carlin – Conspiracy Theorists

  62. memory vault says:

    The latest from the guys who brought you “Hide the Decline”.

    Any Monkees fans out there?

  63. Dr. Dave says:

    MV,

    Saw this on WUWT and nearly shot coffee from my nose. Who ever thought that Michael Mann could play drums?

  64. memory vault says:

    Dr Dave

    Yeah – well he’d have to be good at something – maths certainly isn’t his strong point.

  65. memory vault says:

    Orkneylad

    Thanks for the George Carlin link – I’ve not heard that one before.

    But certainly my sentiments exactly.

  66. Ozboy says:

    G’day everyone,

    New post here.

    Cheers

    Oz

  67. orkneylad says:

    MV – a pleasure.

    Best,
    OL

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