When Police Kill and Call It "Help"

by Will

Liberty Minute February 27 2014

Susan Stuckey, an emotionally troubled 47-year-old resident of Prairie Village, Kansas, didn?t want to go to the mental hospital. When police materialized on her doorstep at dawn on March 31, 2010, they told her they wanted to perform a ?welfare check.? They were lying, and Susan knew it: The police captain in charge of the operation later admitted that their intent was to take her to the hospital involuntarily.

The police weren't investigating a crime. They were carrying out a much more dangerous function: They were there to "help" Stuckey, and her desires were irrelevant to them. While the police negotiator was on the phone telling Stuckey ?We?re here to help you,? snipers were setting up on nearby rooftops. Eventually two police officers broke into her home and shot her, claiming they were in fear for their lives because the frantic woman was ?armed? with a broom.

The police claimed the troubled woman committed ?suicide by cop.? Her bereaved mother correctly pointed out that the police should have prevented the fatal outcome, and had the means to do so. Now city tax victims have been compelled to underwrite a $560,000 settlement with Stuckey?s family.

Never forget: Unless you?re willing to see someone get killed, don?t call the police.

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

"Separatism" as a Path to Peace

by Will

Liberty Minute February 26 2014

Like many other countries cobbled together from disparate cultural elements, Ukraine has been held together through force, and its population ruled by competing bands of gangsters. Speaking in broad geographic terms, residents of western Ukraine seek a closer relationship with the European Union, and those living in the eastern part of the country have a greater affinity for Russia.

The recent upheaval in Ukraine, which was funded and fomented by Washington and allies in Europe, overthrew Prime Minister Yanukovich, who was predictably corrupt but had been legitimately elected. U.S.-backed elements in the Ukrainian parliament are calling for the UN?s International Criminal Court to prosecute Yanukovich for allegedly ordering police snipers to kill an estimated 100 protesters during the recent demonstrations.

At the same time, Olexander Turchynov, who has been appointed interim president by the parliament, has begun organizing a crackdown on what he calls ?separatist? elements in areas with large ethnic Russian populations.

Rather than consolidating power through bloodshed, the Ukrainian government should recognize the right of ethnic Russian separatists to secede. Twenty years ago, the Czech Republic and Slovakia agreed to an amicable separation, thereby helping those countries avoiding the tragic violence that descended on other nations in the region. Ukraine could profit from that example.

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


If Property Rights Aren't Absolute, We're Slaves

by Will

Liberty Minute February 25 2014

A slave is a person who has no right to say ?no? ? to withhold his consent to a transaction, or to refuse participation in a proposed undertaking. Slaves do not own themselves or any property they acquire. Everything they are and have can be seized and employed to serve the will of others.

Property rights, beginning with the ownership of one?s self, are the indispensable basis of any truly civilized society. And property rights must be regarded as unqualified and absolute. We are constantly told that in order for society to exist, rights must be ?balanced,? a process involving limitations on their exercise. This makes sense only if we assume that individual rights are a conditional gift of the government.

Once it is understood that property rights are absolute, aggression ? that is, the violation of those rights through force or fraud ? is likewise understood to be an absolute and unconditional evil, and thus morally impermissible. This understanding is an application of the Golden Rule, which is the paramount moral law binding upon everybody in all circumstances.

Tragically, politics is the process of seeking self-interested exceptions to the Golden Rule. This is why it usually becomes an effort by some to enslave others.

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

"Victimidation" and the Total State

by Will

Liberty Minute February 24 2014

 Those seeking to bring about a cultural revolution employ a tactic that could be described as ?victimidation.? The ongoing campaign for what is called ?gay rights? exemplifies this approach.

 No morally responsible person believes that homosexuals, or anybody else, should be the victims of criminal violence. Most Christians understand that abhorrence for sexual deviance, and a desire to promote sound morality, should not translate into hatred for homosexuals.

 But the cultural revolutionaries who exploit this issue aren't satisfied by this moral understanding: They are demanding that the state reconfigure marriage and the family ? institutions that transcend politics ? and suppress the property rights of business owners who do not want to participate in so-called same-sex weddings and similar rituals. The argument made on behalf of this imposition is that businesses, unlike religious congregations, have public obligations that the government can enforce.

 That distinction will soon disappear. The next phase of the revolution is playing out in England, where two millionaire homosexuals have filed a lawsuit to compel the leaders of a church to perform their supposed wedding. 

The objective is not individual liberation, but the expansion of state power over all private institutions ? an outcome that would destroy everybody?s freedom.

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

Giving Birth in Chains

by Will

Liberty Minute February 21 2014

 The Massachusetts Legislature is considering a measure that would forbid prison staff to handcuff pregnant inmates during childbirth. The bill has taken roughly a decade to work its way through the system. If it passes, Massachusetts will become the 19th state to ban this practice. 

What this means, obviously, is that there are more than thirty states in which it is considered permissible to handcuff and shackle a female inmate during and immediately after she gives birth. Among them in Oklahoma, which has exceptionally severe drug laws, a notoriously rigid judiciary, and the largest female inmate population, per capita, of any political entity in the world.

 Three years ago, Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Arizona's Maricopa County was sued by a woman who was shackled during a Caesarian section and then forced to walk out of the hospital two days later, still bleeding, with her hands and feet in shackles. Similar treatment was inflicted on at least two women in Tennessee. 

All of this has happened in the U.S. without significant public outcry. By way of contrast, the Egyptian public was convulsed with outrage over the news that a woman arrested during a protest in Cairo was forced to give birth in chains. 

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

Does Anybody Remember the Crash of 2008?

by Will

LibertyMinute February 20 2014

 Benjamin Franklin observed that ?Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other.? That warning about the prohibitive price of persistent foolishness has been lost on millions of Americans who are eagerly taking on catastrophic levels of personal and institutional debt

A little more than five years ago, Congress arranged a trillion-dollar bailout of Wall Street. A few months later, the Obama administration unleashed a nearly trillion-dollar orgy of plunder, patronage, and profligacy called a ?stimulus program.? All of this was supported by an unparalleled effusion of cheap money and credit from the Federal Reserve, which has continued to pump roughly $80 billion a month into the banking system. 

All of this constitutes a reprise of the same policies and programs that led to the financial collapse of 2008. Furthermore, the public at large is emulating the behavior of the government and its allies in the banking system. A new report from the Federal Reserve Bank ofNew Yorkshows that overall consumer debt has steadily increased since 2011, duplicating the trend that peaked in late 2007 ? just before the collapse.

 Clearly, few have learned the lesson of the 2008 collapse ? and the price to be paid for that foolishness could leave our economy in ruins.


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

To Collectivists, Lenin and Mussolini defined "Liberty"

by Will

Liberty Minute February 19 2014

A character played by John Wayne once dismissed an irritating fellow as someone who was merely spitting out words in order to watch them splatter. In similar fashion, the leftist publication Salon continues to emit anti-libertarian screeds in the hope of attracting internet traffic. It isn?t interested in examining ideas.

Salon?s most recent effort focuses on a proposed measure in Kansas that would recognize the right of business owners not to accept patronage from homosexual couples. According to the author, "Since it is the state that is ultimately tasked to bring out the violent enforcers who effectuate the discriminating intents of public accommodations providers, the state literally cannot get out of the way."

Actually, anti-discrimination laws depend on threat and practice of state violence. This isn?t true of a business owner who merely declines the patronage of someone he finds objectionable.

Without naming Mussolini explicitly, the Salon contributor begins with the assumption found in the fascist dictator?s totalitarian formula: Everything within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state. He does explicitly invoke Lenin?s statement that the basic political question is ?who does what to whom.?

So according to Salon, ?liberty? is a gift of the state, and libertarians are heretics because they reject Lenin?s doctrines.

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

Peace Officers Don't Wear Masks

by Will

LibertyMinute February 18 2014

A SWAT team operated by North Carolina?s Wilson County Sheriff?s Office executed  a ?high risk search warrant? on a narcotics suspect. The operators, clad in black armor, bucket helmets, and balaclavas, found what was described as ?nearly a pound of marijuana? ? which would be the yield from one healthy plant ? and a single handgun.

A photograph taken by an embedded correspondent for the Wilson Times newspaper showed two of the masked SWAT operators in full military regalia. [One of them carried a ballistic shield on which was inscribed the word ?Defender.? It?s not clear what or whom those stormtroopers were defending.] Peace officers don?t dress that way, nor do they carry out military-style raids to arrest people suspected of non-violent offenses. Perhaps most importantly, peace officers don?t wear masks to hide their identity from the people they are supposedly protecting.

Back in the mid-1980s, a miniseries called ?Amerika? depicted theUnited Statesfollowing a takeover by theSoviet Union. Order was maintained in Soviet-occupiedAmericaby a cadre of black-clad stormtroopers whose faces were always concealed from the public.

Thankfully, that entertaining but lurid program over-estimated the Soviet threat to our national independence. However, it uncannily anticipated our descent into quasi-totalitarian rule. The Soviet-style enforcers we have to fear are found in our local police departments and sheriff?s offices.

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

Former TSA Agent: The TSA is Evil

by Will

Liberty Minute February 17 2014

The routine operations of the Transportation Security Administration, or TSA, constitute an ?abuse of public funds and trust,? according to former TSA agent James Edward Harrington.

 Harrington, who was employed at Chicago?s O?Hare International Airport from 2007 to 2013, described how agents would routinely mock passengers forced to undergo invasive full-body scans that left ?every fold and dimple on full awful display.?

?Jokes about the passengers ran rampant among my TSA colleagues,? recalled the former TSA official. ?Many of the images we gawked at were of overweight people?..?

He also relates that agents would routinely use secure government radio channels to issue ?red alerts? for attractive female passengers dressed in red, and ?yellow alerts? for those wearing yellow. This was done to target those passengers for improper scrutiny and other abuse. Fliers who annoyed screeners were subject to ?retaliatory wait times,? often cited as ?alarms? or ?going above the standard operating procedure for a more thorough screening.?

?The punitive possibilities are endless,? he wrote, ?and there are many tricks in the screener's bag."

This behavior is predictable from an agency that employs thieves and sexual predators ? and does nothing to enhance public safety.

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

Government's Addiction to Prohibition

by Will

Liberty Minute February 14 2014

The death, by heroin overdose, of Oscar-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman inspired media discussion of what has been called the ?heroin epidemic.? Little, if any, attention has been devoted to the fact that such an epidemic, if it exists, underscores the patent futility of the war on drugs.

Commentator Tom McPherren points out that the US government has spent a century attempting to enforce heroin prohibition. While the addiction rate has remained virtually unchanged since 1914, the social costs ? measured in prosecutions, imprisonments, and the deaths of people who avoid seeking treatment out of fear of arrest ? have soared.

Actor and comedian Russell Brand, a recovering heroin addict, drew on ample personal experience when he observed that no addict ?is even remotely deterred by prohibition. What prohibition achieves is an unregulated, criminal-controlled, sprawling, global mob-economy, where drug users, their families, and society at large are all exposed to the worst conceivable version of this regrettably unavoidable problem.?

Brand cites the recent experience of Portugal and Switzerland, where relaxation of prohibition and an emphasis on treatment have resulted in dramatic decreases in violent crime and drug-related deaths.

Personal drug addiction is a self-destructive tragedy. Government addiction to prohibition is a societal plague.

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

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