Freedom Updates: January 5, 2000

The Colorado Freedom Report:  A libertarian journal of politics and culture.

The Colorado Freedom Report--www.FreeColorado.com

Freedom Updates: January 5, 2000

All Freedom Updates by Ari Armstrong unless otherwise noted.


SAFE Proposes Rapist Protection Act

The ridiculously named anti-gun lobby group SAFE (Sane Alternatives to the Firearms Epidemic, the name of which likens gun ownership to a disease) now wants to protect rapists and other criminals by forcing gun owners to lock up their safety. This is the sort of law which allowed Jonathon David Bruce to kill three little girls in California with a pitchfork. The girls' older sister knows how to shoot, but her father's gun was locked away as required by California law.

Ray Hicks reports that SAFE wants to push a Rapist Protection Act in the upcoming legislative session. SAFE also wants to violate the Constitutional rights of lawful adults ages 18-20 by preventing them from purchasing tools for self-defense. Yale professor John Lott writes of mandatory storage:

Safe-storage rules also seem to cause some real problems. Passage of these laws is significantly related to almost 9 percent more rapes and robberies and 5.6 percent more burglaries. In terms of total crime in 1996, the presence of the law in just... fifteen states was associated with 3,600 more rapes, 22,500 more robberies, and 64,000 more burglaries. (More Guns, Less Crime, 2nd Ed., page 199. See http://www.laissezfairebooks.com/product.cfm?op=view&pid=cu7897&aid=10025.)

SAFE is quite possibly the single greatest threat to public safety in the state of Colorado.


How to Win Friends and Influence Gun Critics

Yes, the politics is crucial. However, politics is driven party by public sentiment. We cannot win our rights back unless we learn how to successfully persuade others. Alfred A. Hambidge, Jr. offers some good advice:

So remember, when dealing with the average person, who knows only what they see on TV, Be Nice. Be Civil. Lead them along. Don't make them feel stupid. Don't browbeat. Simply let them know that you feel differently, and are willing to share what you have discovered with them. The important thing is to get the dialogue started, get them to start thinking, and let them move toward the truth at their own pace. Then, you will have won. (http://www.keepandbeararms.com/information/XcIBViewItem.asp)

Norton Has Read the Constitution!

She may not be able to enforce it as a member of "Dubya's" cabinet, but at least Gale Norton has read it:

The 10th Amendment is part of our Constitution. It says the powers that are not delegated to the Federal government by the Constitution are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people. It is, unfortunately, an amendment that through time has not been given the power that one would think that it should be entitled to. (http://i2i.org/SuptDocs/Stevinson/vail96.htm#Norton)

In a January 4 letter to the Rocky Mountain News, Naomi Rachel of Boulder laments, "Norton also has been a member of many other extreme 'property rights' groups, including Defenders of Property Rights and the Farm Credit Property Rights Foundation." Oh, no!

The slanders of the left are starting to wear thin. In this context, the alternative to an "extreme" defense of property rights is the flagrant violation of property rights. I'll take the former, but thanks anyway, Naomi.


Outlook for Dubya

In a recent WND article entitled "Should We Give George Bush Another Chance?", Libertarian Presidential Candidate Harry Browne doubts W. Bush will do much for freedom:

Do you really think George Bush is going to stop the federal government from snooping in your bank account and your e-mail? Do you really think he's going to stop the deterioration of health care and education by getting the federal government out of those areas?

Do you just want to beat Clinton and Gore at the polls? If so, you've got what you want. Or do you want to get your freedom back? If so, you lost this last election. (http://www.worldnetdaily.com/bluesky_browne/20010101_xchbr_should_we_.shtml)

Meanwhile, while Browne has tough words for John Ashcroft, Declan McCullagh of Wired suggests Bush's Attorney General pick is a "mixed bag" on civil liberties issues, friendly toward privacy and economic liberty but less friendly toward free speech and other social liberties (http://www.wired.com/news/politics/0,1283,41008,00.html).


Prohibition Fever

Americans seem to have contracted the disease "prohibitionitis." The disease took hold in the 1920s and still plagues American culture. Thankfully, there are signs that we're getting better.

David Kopel of the Independence Institute wrote an excellent article with Michael Brown for National Review http://www.nationalreview.com/kopel/kopel010401.shtml. This one is not to be missed. Alert your friends. Kopel and Brown write:

What do guns, drugs, and alcohol have in common? They are all highly portable, highly prized by many people, despised by others, and can be abused... [I]t is time for America to recognize some lessons about prohibition.

A grand, but foolish experiment with alcohol prohibition was tried from 1920 to 1933. The dreadful results are well documented. Organized crime in its modern form was created. A drinking culture based on beer and wine was replaced by one based on gin and other hard liquor. Homicide soared and so did police corruption. Wiretapping became a new law-enforcement technique, and courts invented ways for the police to evade the Fourth Amendment. The gang warfare spawned by alcohol prohibition spurred calls for restrictions on Second Amendment rights.

Today prohibition continues, only different substances are targeted. The Associated Press reports some good news, though (January 4): New York Governor George Pataki wants to roll back the insane Rockefeller drug sentencing laws. Congratulations to Families Against Mandatory Minimums, which has been fighting those laws for years.


The Myth of California Deregulation

California power was "deregulated," right? Then how come we read the following headline in the January 4 edition of the Rocky Mountain News (from the AP): "Calif. regulators agree to temporary rate increase for utilities?" An industry which has been "deregulated" hardly needs regulators. The following comment in Reason Magazine helps to explain:

[D]eregulation... never actually happened in California. Despite numerous claims to the contrary, the California electricity market wasn't deregulated. It was "restructured" by state politicians. (http://reason.com/ml/ml010401.html)

Canadian Gun Owners

Now we can reconcile two conflicting reports, the first which claims only a small number of Canadian gun owners are complying with a gun registration law, and the second which claims most are. According to the Calgary News,

The Canadian Firearms Centre estimates there are 2.2-million gun owners in Canada -- for which only 1.8 million applications were available -- but critics said seven million is more accurate. (http://www.canoe.ca/CalgaryNews/cs.cs-01-03-0006.html)

Even the government's numbers admit a 20 percent rate of civil disobedience. If the higher number of gun owners is accurate (which is likely), then the rate of civil disobedience soars to 75 percent.


Socialized Medicine is Bad For Your Health

Socialized medicine in Scotland is making progress, as outlined by the comments below:

Beginning in 2003, no patient in Scotland treated by the National Health Service will have to wait longer than nine months for hospital treatment. That will cut the present maximum waiting time limit under the socialized health care system by three months... Women with breast cancer who need urgent attention will be treated within a month from October 2001, says the report. And by 2005 no cancer patient will wait longer than two months when referred urgently for treatment. (http://www.ncpa.org/pi/health/pd010501g.html)

We will end up with one of two things in America: fully socialized medicine, or a restoration of market medicine. The current half-socialist system is unstable and, as Mises argues, must give way.


More Links on Secession

Free-Market.Net has collected an extensive listing of links pertaining to secession. The page also offers a nice introductory essay. See http://free-market.net/spotlight/secession/.


Who Wants to Be a Hypocrite?

Valerie from Boulder sent me another quote from Jared Polis:

"I should not have a greater say than the average voter," Polis says, promising to back any future statewide initiative to reform campaign finance. "I plan to make campaign finance reform an issue to remove my ability and the ability of others to distort the system through large donations." -- Jared Polis, Rocky Mountain News, October 15, 2000, http://www.rockymountainnews.com/election/1015poli3.shtml

Poor Jared. If only the law would force him to act in ways he regards as ethical.

However, Polis is just wrong in his view of campaign finance. He has a First Amendment right to finance campaigns, even if he doesn't want to practice that right (he obviously did in the last election). He has no right to infringe others' free speech. Polis' suggestion that the political system is "distorted" by large contributions is off-base. The political system is distorted because it violates individual rights more often than it protects them. But large contributions can be spent either to buy special privileges or to advocate rights.

No campaign restriction law will stop the special interests. Such laws serve only to stifle independent activism and minor parties. If Polis suddenly grows a spine and puts his money where his mouth is, the Mike Feeleys of the political world will only find some other stooge to finance their power grabs.

The Colorado Freedom Report--www.FreeColorado.com