Tuesday, August 28, 2007

on consensual crimes and respect for police

Another excerpt:

"Law enforcement is based on a very simple principle premise: there is a perpetrator and a victim. The police catch the accused perpetrator and put him or her in jail. The courts then decide the guilt or innocence of the accused and an appropriate punishment if guilty. This protects the victim and others from further victimization and keeps the perpetrator from further perpetrations.

A serious problem arises when the accused perpetrator and the victim are one and the same. Such is the case with consensual crimes. When the police put the accused in jail, they are putting the victim in jail too. How, then, can the police protect the victim? Law enforcement, thus preverted, begins to deteriorate.

With a real crime, the genuine victim goes to the police and reports it. The police then set about to catch the criminal. With a consensual crime, who reports the crime? Obviously, no one directly involved. Everyone consented to it; they're not going to be complaining to the police. The police, then, must become spies, busybodies, and entrappers in order to catch consensual criminals victimizing themselves. Imagine how demoralizing and corrupting this entire procedure can be to both police and society.

As Jackson Eli Reynolds reported in The Washington Post,
Drug offenses... may be regarded as the prototypes of non-victim crimes today. They private nature of the sale and use of drugs has led the police to resort to methods of detection and surveillance that intrude upon our privacy, including illegal search, eavesdropping, and entrapment.

Indeed, the successful prosecution of such cases often requires police infringement of the constitutional protections that safeguard the privacy of individuals."

And, thus, people see the police not as preventing crimes, but seeking them out. They don't immediately think to tell the police everything, as they may have to hide their own victimless behaviour. Trust in and respect for the police as protectors of the innocent enters a downward spiral. Maybe not with everyone - not with the socially conservative, not with the corrupt... but with enough.

Is this something we really want to be perpetuating with our drug policies?

Once again, this quote is from (and my insight is inspired by) Ain't Nobody's Business if you Do
Go on, move it to the top of your reading list. You know you want to.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Crash Across America, 2007

Liberty Summer Seminar

Still recovering from the 2007 Liberty Summer Seminar, which took place this past weekend. There were some really amazing speakers - Ben Perrin, founder of The Future Group, brought to light the devastating problem of child sex slavery in the world and the non-government initiatives that he and his friends have put in place to start solving this problem - and they have. What a great cause - one I'm eager to start looking into once I get home.

The Institute for Liberal Studies was happy to announce Marc Emery and Gerry Nicholls (both of whom gave pretty amazing talks) have been brought aboard as Associates of the Institute.

Actually, I'm going to stop ranting about the speakers, as Karen Selick, Crashers Jason and Erin from Bureaucrash, Avril Allen, Grant Brown, musical acts Neville Arbuckle and Lindy, and, of course, ILS President Jan Narveson, all gave really great talks and performances (respectively) that will be put online as soon as possible. For a more immediate preview of the videos, I'm working on uploading my photos, so stay tuned!

(And why not a video to whet your appetite?)

Thursday, August 16, 2007

well, well, well...

... it looks like my tax dollars were going to pay whoever had been changing Jeff Watson's Wikipedia entry from a House of Commons IP address to try to cover up his very troubling involvement in a politically motivated criminal trial this past winter.

And he wasn't the only one.
"WikiScanner, a website launched on Monday by a U.S. graduate student, shows that changes to articles originated from computers inside a variety of government offices...

... a significant number of edits were made to articles about politicians that removed criticisms, added positive comments and, in some cases, inserted negative comments to the pages of political rivals...

MPs whose Wikipedia pages were significantly altered include Toronto-area Liberal Dan McTeague, Calgary Conservative Jason Kenney and Southern Ontario Conservative Jeff Watson, who serves on the Commons' access to information, privacy and ethics committee. ...
(emphasis mine -- and you must be joking.)

"It can be detrimental to the subject of an article that has information that casts you in a negative light or brings up events that you would rather forget about; hence, the desire to modify the entries so that particular events are recast or deleted altogether. You can't do this with Encyclopedia Britannica, but you can do this with Wikipedia," Mr. Broadhead said. "But to be seen deleting factual information - to me that borders on being scandalous."

Really! Borders on scandalous, you say? I wonder how he feels about politicians involved in frivolous criminal trials.

Maybe if these politicians spent more time acting responsibly they wouldn't have to devote so many resources to removing facts - yes, documented facts, from their entries.

And one more thing...
One user, with an IP address that points to a government office in Ottawa, removed Wikipedia's entire entry on homosexuality several times on July 20, 2005, and replaced it with such sentences as: "Homosexuality is evil," "Homosexuality is wrong according to the Bible" and "Homosexuals need our help and counselling." The IP address responsible for that edit continued to deface the entry on homosexuality a total of 24 times between July, 2005, and July, 2006, and also edited more than 500 other Wikipedia articles on topics such as epidemiology, Ebola and Deal or No Deal (a TV game show starring a Canadian host).

Wonderful - and they were banning Facebook???

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

ain't nobody's business if you do.

Most people who condemn currently illegal consensual activities know little or nothing about them. All they know are the sensationalized media accounts designed not to educate, but titillate. Unless they take part in the activities themselves - or have close friends who do - most people have bad relationships with the mere existence of these consensual activities. The primary emotions seem to be revulsion and fear, born of ignorance. Revulsion and fear keep one from investigating and learning that there is nothing much to be repulsed by or afraid of. It is a closed loop of ignorance (ignore-ance).

The unwillingness to see that "It is my judgment, based on my ignorance, that is causing the problem" is the problem. Bad relationships promote worse relationships. Worse relationships promote impossible relationships. Impossible relationships promote laws against consensual activities.

An excerpt from the outstanding (so far) book, Ain't Nobody's Business if You Do, by the late Peter McWilliams.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Hezbollah, billboards and free speech

Last week a billboard popped up in Windsor that had all kinds of people in a tizzy - a local group of Lebanese folks had a billboard put up depicting the leader of Hezbollah to defend "freedom fighters" in Lebanon.

Here's a link to the story in today's Windsor Star about it.

And who's saying it has to be pulled down? Why, the Jewish and Christian-Lebanese communities, that's who. Just remember that next time someone tries to tell you that Muslims are coming to this country to try to take away our freedom of speech (as was the norm following the Danish cartoon fiasco.)

Are these people really in favour of free speech? Would they be OK with a big "SUPPORT ISRAEL" retaliation billboard across the street? Who knows - and that's a separate issue, anyway. They have every right to put up any kind of billboard they want. Hopefully the government won't be intervening in this one.

Countdowns, baby!

There's doins a-happenin'!

In a mere 3.5 days, Major Maker, the band responsible for that awesomely catchy "Rollercoaster" song in the Maynard's candy ad, and the equally catchy tune "Talk to You" in the adorable new Telus commercial, will be launching their tour in Waterloo at the Starlight.
Who'll be there?
Yours truly, that's who!
Plus lots of freedom-and-music-loving (or just music-loving) folks interested in a good time. Come on out.

Only a day and a half later will be this year's...

Liberty Summer Seminar!

This is the best libertarian event all year, folks - and I'll be there, too.
Jealous? Register and come along! Click on the image for more info and to register.

Finally, after the seminar's completion on Sunday afternoon, we'll be launching the

2007 Crash Across America!

For the crash, we'll be driving from one capitol to another - Ottawa to Washington, DC. We'll be stamping out statism, meeting some awesome people and spreading freedom across both our lands. Stay tuned for video and blog updates from the road!

In the meantime, it's 3 more days of all 3 jobs. Drats!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

in defence of Stephen Taylor

Stephen Taylor and Blogging Tories have taken a lot of flak for a request that the comments prompting a human rights complaint against Free Dominion not be re-posted on Blogging Tories and a warning that any damages incurred because of another blogger will be recovered through legal action.

I believe that not only is it not non-conservative or non-libertarian for the site to make this statement, I think it's simply an excerise of the rights that libertarians (and, to a lesser extent, conservatives) fight for for all Canadians.

Full disclosure: I am friends with Stephen Taylor, and am therefore more prone to defending him than most.

Anyway, some people have criticized Taylor for not being willing to re-post these comments in defiance of the CHRC. Well, if you think it's the right thing to do, go do it on your own blog and tell everyone who will listen that it's the right thing to do, but stop there. But keep in mind it's easy to make that kind of criticism when you're not the one being sued and/or charged. If Taylor knew that he could afford to fight the battle it's possible that he could have reacted to the situation very differently.

However, to insist that Blogging Tories takes on the blame and damages for comments made by anyone other than its owners (or even to be upset that they won't shoulder the blame and/or the damages on (your) principle) is not conservative, nor libertarian, nor anything resembling responsible.

It's not at all unreasonable to warn bloggers that if a site is sued for their comments, damages will be sought from them. Stephen Taylor and Blogging Tories (and, for that matter, FreeDominion) are much more suceptible to legal troubles because of their success. (Conrad Black or Martha Stewart, anyone?) If they cross whatever line has been arbitrarily drawn up by the CHRC or any other regulatory agency the government has dreamed up, they're going to pay the price long before most bloggers would even show up on the radar.

The second, and more aggravating, assertation I've seen in a few places that Stephen Taylor must be opposed to freedom of speech if he's not allowing these comments to be posted on Blogging Tories. Any blogger who doesn't want offensive nonsense in their comments has probably run into this accusation at some point.

Not allowing certain things that could get you sued (or that will hurt your relationships with your sources, or you just find offensive) on your aggregator (or on your blog, or your lawn for that matter) is not an infringement on free speech.

If Stephen Taylor was lobbying the government to not allow people to re-post anything that provoked the wrath of the CHRC, then we could talk about Taylor vs. Free Speech, but as it stands he's simply stating what he's allowing on his website.

Everyone is still free to go off and post to their own blog, message board, web site or aggregator and write whatever the hell they want, and be responsible for any legal battles they enter as a consequence themselves. (Whether or not the launching of legal action because of what you've said is warranted is a topic for another day.)

In response to that, you might argue that since Blogging Tories allows people to reach a much wider audience, writing on a blog or message board not affiliated with Blogging Tories will not have as large an impact. Well, tough. Agree with Taylor or not, you certainly don't have a right to the benefits his site offers - property rights, folks.

Would I run the site differently? Sure, I would. But it probably wouldn't be as successful, and unless i buy it, it's none of my business anyway. At the end of the day, Steve pays the bills, he calls the shots. There's nothing more libertarian, or conservative, than that.

Bernier's bad bet

Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press Maxime Bernier is taking a gamble. He believes that there is a large, disenfranchised voting bloc in Canada...