A Century Ago, the Gates of Hell Were Opened

by Will

Liberty Minute July 29 2014

One hundred years ago, the assassination of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand by a member of a Serbian nationalist group triggered a series of diplomatic ultimatums that eventually led to World War I. Combatants on both sides of that conflict went giddily off to war in the mistaken confidence that the affair would be brief and glorious.

More than four years of unfathomable bloodshed and barbarism later, Christian Europe and the Ottoman Empire were in ruins, a generation of young men was destroyed, and several murderous ideologies – Communism, various forms of militant nationalism, and politicized Islam – were unleashed on the world. A vindictive victor’s peace through the Versailles Treaty reduced Germany to starvation, thereby cultivating and nurturing the seeds that would blossom into National Socialism.

America’s improvident entry into that war was hastened by Germany’s sinking of the Lusitania, a passenger ship that crossed a blockade carrying war material bound for England. Both the British and US governments, which had sent the Lusitania as a deliberate provocation, shared culpability with Germany for that act.

If the US had stayed aloof from the war, a negotiated settlement may have been achieved. But then, as now, ambitious people in exalted posts craved warfare and worked to inflame tensions, rather than abating them.

Let us take back the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free. 

A Dictator Blames the Refugees for Fleeing

by Will

Liberty Minute July 28 2014

James Madison, recognized as the chief Framer of the US Constitution, explained in Federalist essay number 10 that the constitutional republic he envisioned would encourage political and economic competition among states. The assumption was that states that were congenial to freedom –including economic freedom – would attract a larger population of productive people. This would enhance that state’s prosperity, and encourage other states to adopt similar policies – or pay the economic costs associated with a more oppressive government.

The original concept of “economic patriotism,” in brief, is the idea that government should be prevented from stifling prosperity. Barack Obama, who famously criticized the Constitution for failing to mandate economic redistribution, has inverted the expression “economic patriotism” by describing it as a willingness to submit to whatever regulatory and tax burdens the central government deems appropriate.

In a speech before a partisan crowd in Los Angeles, Obama condemned US corporations for a practice called “inversion” in which they shift their tax domiciles to other countries with less draconian tax rates. Such businesses, insisted Obama, are “corporate deserters.”

Obama, who is a socialist down to his corpuscles, sees the flight of productive people to foreign shores as an indictment of the refugees, rather than of his own increasingly despotic government.

Let us take back the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free. 

Scouts Receive "Civics Lesson" in American Totalitarianism

by Will

Liberty Minute July 23 2014

Visitors to the former Soviet Union were frequently admonished not to take photographs of buildings and government personnel, out of fear of attracting the attention of the secret police. The danger was particularly acute when entering or leaving East Germany, where border guards stationed at the Berlin Wall checkpoints were very aggressive and entirely capable of killing people on the spot for trivial infractions.

The same is true while crossing the border between South Korea and Communist North Korea – or crossing into and out of the United States of America.

A Boy Scout troop from Des Moines, Iowa traveling to Alaska was detained  after one of the Scouts photographed a border guard. Without legal authority, the guard confiscated the young man’s camera and threatened to arrest him, claiming he faced a $10,000 fine and ten years in prison. The agents demanded to search the troop’s vehicle. As one Scout moved to comply, he was threatened by an agent who drew his pistol and pointed it at the teenager’s head.

After being detained without legal cause for four hours, the troop was allowed on its way.

One Scout leader described this incident as a “civics lesson.” It is, in the sense that it shows how closely the US government resembles its totalitarian ancestors.

Let us take back the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free. 

Marijuana Prohibition Kills Children

by Will

Liberty Minute July 22 2014

Anna Conte of Albany, New York died at the age of nine, a casualty of the bureaucratized cruelty and misguided sanctimony of drug prohibition.

Desperate to get relief for their daughter, Anna’s mother and father had traveled across the country to Colorado, exploring the possibility of moving there in order to have access to cannabis oil.

A few weeks ago, the New York State Legislature enacted a measure allowing the use of medical marijuana to treat afflictions such as the severe form of epilepsy from which Anna suffered. For reasons of institutional inertia, however, that measure won’t take effect until late next year.

At the time the bill was enacted, Anna was in the audience at the state capitol, and she was reportedly the first to leap to her feet to applaud. This was a selfless gesture of gratitude on behalf of other children who may benefit once the new law goes into effect. Both Anna and her mother Wendy knew that by the time the youngster was given unimpeded access to cannabis oil it would be far too late.

Because of marijuana prohibition, Wendy Conte could do little more than watch her daughter slowly die in avoidable agony.

Let us take back the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free. 

"This Ends Today": So the Police Murdered Him

by Will

Liberty Minute July 21 2014

Eric Garner was killed by the police on the streets of Staten Island, New York for no defensible reason. The 48-year-old father of six and grandfather to two had just broken up a fight when plainclothes officers appeared and started to harass him.

Garner, who was six foot three and more than 350 pounds, was a gentle and genial man, but he was weary of being the focus of unwarranted attention by the police. He had court dates later this year for charges of marijuana possession and selling untaxed cigarettes – but on the day that he was killed Garner had done nothing whatsoever to justify being interrogated by the police, let alone arrested.

The first fatal mistake Garner made was to act as a peacemaker, thereby underscoring the uselessness of the nearby police – who were on hand not to protect people and property, but to rather to pester people engaged in unauthorized commerce. Garner’s second mistake was to complain to an officer about the harassment he was receiving, and to declare: “This ends today.”

Within minutes, five police officers attacked him, one of them slipping behind him to apply an illegal chokehold. Garner died of cardiac arrest after being strangled and beaten in full public view.

This is a country where atrocities of this kind occur daily.

Let us take back the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free.

Drug Commissar gets his "Rush" from Imprisoning Others Who Seek One

by Will

Liberty Minute July 18 2014

What a rush!” exulted Idaho resident Monte Stiles after completing his first tandem skydive on July 10. That description was not metaphorical: The chemical reactions involved in skydiving and similar high-risk activities have a consciousness-altering effect – and addictive properties — far stronger than narcotics use. In fact, this is a selling point for those who promote, and profit from, this high-risk behavior.

“Fear is an incredibly strong emotion,” explains Dr. Michael Davis, a neuroscientist at Emory University. “If something scares us, the body immediately releases endorphins, dopamine and norepinephrine. Endorphins mitigate pain, dopamine and norepinephrine are performance enhancers…. [The] general scientific thinking is that the more fearful a certain sport makes you, the greater the release of these chemicals. The greater the release of these chemicals, the greater the addiction-like symptoms.”

Psychology Today points out that “cocaine—long considered the most addictive substance on earth—does nothing more than flood the brain with dopamine. Norepinephrine, on the other hand, mimics the second most addictive drug on earth: speed. Nor are our neurochemicals one to one matches for these illicit drugs. In fact, they’re significantly more powerful. The most common endorphin produces by the body is 100 times more powerful (thus more addictive) than morphine. Which is to say, the particular neurochemicals produced by action sports are far more potent than any drug single drug around and—since one cannot cocktail massive amounts of speed, cocaine, and heroin without ending up dead—adrenaline sports are really the only way to get this kind of taste.” (Emphasis added.)

Monte Stiles is a mature adult. Like every other human being, he is – or at least should be – recognized as the owner of his life, and free to seek out the services of those who are willing to provide him with the consciousness-altering “rush” he can only get through such risky behavior. Servicing that appetite is an expensive proposition, but this isn’t an obstacle to Stiles: The former federal prosecutor, who spent roughly a quarter-century imprisoning people who pursued a “rush” through the less potent means of narcotics consumption, enjoys a lavish pension and steady income as a full-time anti-drug agitator.

Let us take back the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free. 

Britain's Cultural Totalitarianism

by Will

Liberty Minute July 17 2014

Great Britain, once renowned as the Mother of Parliaments and the homeland of the Anglo-Saxon tradition of liberty under law, is now a fully realized post-Christian society ruled by undisguised cultural totalitarians.

The British Film Institute, which disburses tens of millions of dollars each year for movie productions, has announced a scheme of mandatory “diversity” called “Three Ticks.” To qualify for government funding, film productions must meet bureaucratic expectations for at least two of the three criteria – on-screen diversity, off-screen diversity, and “creating opportunities and social mobility.” In practice, reports the Telegraph of London, this means quotas “for ethnic minority, gay and female characters on screen” and also regarding the composition of the production crew behind the camera.

Ed Vaizey, the British Government’s culture minister – yes, there is such a position – has said that he wants to see all television, film, and performing arts companies subject to the same requirements.

It should be remembered that “Airstrip One,” the setting for the dismal totalitarian society depicted by George Orwell, had once been known as Great Britain. Nor should we fail to appreciate the fact that the United States tends to lag only a year or two behind the Mother County when such dreadful innovations occur.

Let us take back the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free.

Again, Thou Shalt Speak No Ill of the Dear Leader

by Will

Liberty Minute July 16 2014

Within the US Department of Justice is an entity called the Community Relations Service, or CRS, that supposedly works to pacify potential conflicts growing out of racial tensions. Under the reign of Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder, however, the CRS has behaved like an arsonist, rather than a firefighter. Witness the agency’s role in organizing racially inflammatory protests in Sanford, Florida in response to the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman.

The CRS has now dispatched a team to investigate an Independence Day parade float in Norfolk, Nebraska that offended local Democrats. The float displayed a zombie-like figure in front of an outhouse that was labeled “Obama Presidential Library.”

Although critics described the float as a racial slur, its creator, a US military veteran, said that the figure was intended to represent him, as well as fellow veterans who have been criminally neglected by the Veterans Administration.

Last year, the Justice Department contemplated hate crimes charges against a Rodeo Clown in Missouri who performed while wearing an Obama mask. The performer was fired and his professional association was required to undergo “sensitivity training.”

Only a totalitarian system punishes subjects for speaking ill of their rulers.

Let us take back the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free. 

The Middle East Could Benefit from American "Neglect"

by Will

Liberty Minute July 15 2014

Unlike his father, Kentucky Republican Senator Rand Paul is not a consistent non-interventionist. For example, Senator Paul supports some forms of foreign aid, which his father appropriately condemned as unconstitutional. Rand Paul has likewise voted in favor of sanctions against Iran, which are tantamount to acts of war.

However, Senator Paul has not embraced Party orthodoxy regarding foreign policy, which dictates unqualified support for US military intervention everywhere. This earned the disapproval of Texas Governor Rick Perry, who accuses Paul of promoting isolationism, and Senator John McCain, who describes Paul as embracing a “Fortress America” mentality.

Speaking on CNN, McCain insisted that turmoil in the Middle East reflects an "absence of American leadership." This summons memories of a statement by 18th century British parliamentarian Isaac Barre about the American Revolution. Responding to condemnation of the "ungrateful" colonies who had been "nourished" by the Mother Country, Col. Barre pointed out that the Americans had thrived on imperial "neglect," and that it wasn’t until Parliament began to "care" for them that everything went awry.

Washington’s “leadership” in the Middle East has cost hundreds of thousands of lives and trillions of dollars. It’s reasonable to believe that the long-suffering inhabitants of that region have been sufficiently blessed by American "leadership" and are praying for neglect.

Let us take back the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free. 

Perverting Justice in the Service of Cruelty

by Will

Liberty Minute July 14 2014

In a criminal trial, witnesses – including defendants -- are put under oath to tell the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Iowa District Judge Henry Latham violated that principle in the recently concluded show trial of 48-year old Benton MacKenzie, who was convicted of marijuana possession.

Police seized 71 marijuana plants from MacKenzie, who grew them to produce cannabis oil for use in treating angiosarcoma, an aggressive and terminal form of cancer that has left him wracked with pain and riddled with garish skin tumors, some of which are the size of grapefruit.

Prior to the trial, Judge Latham ruled that MacKenzie “may not comment on his condition … and may not testify to the medical use of marijuana.”

Under Iowa statutes, cannabis oil can legally be used to treat Dravet Syndrome, a rare form of epilepsy. If MacKenzie had been allowed to tell the full truth in court, it’s possible that the jury would have exercised its plenary authority to nullify the application of the law and acquit the defendant. Thus Judge Latham not only abused his discretion by suppressing the whole truth, he also undermined the authority of the jury. All of this constitutes grounds for impeachment – and ostracism – of a judge who clearly had no interest in justice.

Let us take back the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free. 

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