Freedom Updates: April 3, 2001

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

The Colorado Freedom

Freedom Updates: April 3, 2001

All Freedom Updates by Ari Armstrong unless otherwise noted.

Campaign Finance Deform

As John McCain's campaign finance bill winds its way through the U.S. congress, Colorado faces its own threat to free speech.

Senate Bill 92 would require political activists to register with the state before exercising their rights of speech. The bill would also force public disclosure of financial sources. Sorry, Hamilton, Madison, and Jay -- the anonymous pen-name "Plubius" would be unacceptable. As would be pamphlets reprinting the works of "Cato," "Centinel," and "Brutus."

Campaign "reform" laws don't need to be extended -- they need to be repealed. There should be no such legal entity as a 501(C)(3), (C)(4), Political Action Committee, or the like. The notion that a person has to register with the state to get PERMISSION to speak freely is repugnant.

Part of the problem is that the income tax requires a differentiation between "for profit" and "non profit" entities. Of course any such demarcation is largely arbitrary. And it has let the camel in the tent in terms of government meddling in political activities. The solution to this problem is simple, if politically difficult -- repeal the income tax. Legally, all persons and cooperations of persons should be treated equally.

The April 2 Rocky Mountain News wrote a fine editorial denouncing bill 92. In addition to the constitutional problems, the bill arbitrarily exempts newspapers. It also exempts communication from a group's leaders to its membership, yet "membership" is impossible to clearly define.

By the way, campaign finance deform laws serve only to further entrench incumbents and the major parties, making it almost impossible for upstarts to gain momentum.

It's no accident that both the First and Second Amendments are under attack today. It's no accident that remaining freedoms are referred to as "loopholes" in both cases. In terms of political freedom, our two most important rights are those of free speech and self-defense.

22 Harassment

Predictably, the first day of Amendment 22 didn't stop violent criminals from getting guns. Instead, it served only to harass peaceable gun owners. On April 1, Todd Hartman of the News wrote, "In two cases, background checks turned up outstanding warrants on traffic-related violations. In both cases, police were notified and the individuals were arrested." We wouldn't want people with unpaid parking tickets to be able to defend themselves against violent attackers, now would we.

Bob Glass Show

Good show! Bob Glass now hosts a radio program on 1060 am, Saturdays from 1-2 pm. It took Glass a few minutes to find his stride, and sometimes he gets off-track with dumb humor, but overall his program has been riveting and informative, the best libertarian show on the air. (Mark Call's weekday show on 1360 am from 4-5 pm is also strong.) Glass has analyzed Amendment 22 and given updates about the "Million" Mom on trial for assaulting a TRT member. In general, Glass is one of the most consistent and informed, hard-core libertarians in the state. Tune in!

Take a Flying Leap

Let's get something straight: people came to America to ESCAPE European tyranny. Now, European leaders are mad at Dubya for bailing on the ridiculous Kyoto treaty.

Edmund L. Andrews reports for the New York Times (April 1 in the News), "'Irresponsible,' 'arrogant,' even 'sabotage' are just a few of the words that Europeans have leveled at Bush since he announced his refusal to follow through on the treaty, the Kyoto Protocol."

Europeans called the American Revolutionaries similar names. Finally Dubya has done something worthy of admiration. As for global warming, Americans could reduce their wealth by a third and still fail to make a significant dent in the release of CO2. It hasn't even been established that humans contribute to global warming. The only way to achieve both environmental progress and a high quality of life for humans is to allow the unfettered market economy to advance technology.

Creeping Police State

This past Saturday my wife and I were driving home from the movies. We were headed south on Sheridan and wanted to turn right onto 92, but the turn lane was blocked off. As is common in such circumstances, I turned from the next lane over. A police officer waved me down in the middle of the road and proceeded to interrogate me.

The officer asked me if I lived in the area. I'm still kicking myself that I answered him. I should have said, "It's none of your business where I live, and unless you have probable cause to suspect me of a crime, I will be on my way." I did pull over down the road and tell another officer I wasn't happy about being harassed.

It turns out the police were out to deter "cruisers," teenagers who drive around town in circles. Officers were ticketing teens for breaking curfew.

What is it called when adult citizens are pulled over by the police for doing nothing more than driving home? It is called a POLICE STATE.

I sympathize with the residents who have to put up with loud traffic late at night. I also sympathize with the police, who are pressured by city council to "do something" about the problem. But if the cost of living in a free society is a little extra noise, that's a price I'm willing to pay.

The case proves the point once again that social controls breed more social controls. The government owns the roads, which creates poorly defined property rights. The government tries to lock away hormonal teens and then wonders why they get antsy. The government infantilizes the same teens by forcing them into torturously boring "schools" where they are dumbed down and kept from mingling with adults, and then we wonder why their source of fun is driving around in circles. The final result is that I am pulled over by the noise police for driving home. Sheesh.

Hope In Our Children

Our modern society of dependence, victimization, and irresponsibility has certainly perpetuated an unhealthy mentality in some of our children. Witness Columbine and the numerous copy-cat killings.

However, I am continually impressed by the ability of most kids to maintain a positive outlook. Over the past few years I've met so many good kids. All my siblings are younger than me, so I had the opportunity to interact with their friends. In my work I meet high school kids all the time. The March 31 edition of the News contains a letter by a Denver teen named Miriam Morales. Young Morales displays the kind of good sense and proud independence lacking even in many adults in our modern welfare state. She writes,

I would like to respond to the many letters that have been sent to the News pertaining to teens and drug usage. I have read some of these letters with disgust.

As a 17-year-old girl, I think I would know who should be blamed better than any of these "concerned" parents. Pushing blame upon raves, concerts, anything besides the drug users themselves, is only ignoring the ever-growing problem.

I have yet to meet a fellow teen who is completely ignorant of the consequences of taking drugs such as Ecstasy.... I plead with parents and other adults to stop blaming the functions where drugs may be found and start blaming the teens themselves.... [T]eens know what they're getting into when they take the drug so maybe we need to start looking at our own private households before placing the blame on everyone except the users themselves.

Jared "The Schmuck" Polis

My Random House dictionary actually defines "schmuck" as a slang word meaning "fool; oaf; jerk." Jared Polis has got to feel like a schmuck about now.

Of course Polis is the guy who funded the Democrats' senate victories. In exchange, Mike Feeley set him up with a race for state board of education, which Polis barely won after outspending his opponent $1,286,444 to $10,092. (Polis made his millions by turning his parents' company into a "dot com" and selling it.) Incredibly, Polis whined about campaign finance even as he paid off Feeley.

Apparently Feeley, the old dog, neglected to mention to Polis that, by the way, his six-year term would be cut short after two years with redistricting. Peter Blake writes of the situation in his March 28 column in the News. The at-large member maintains office only so long as the number of congressional districts is even. With the 2000 census, Colorado gains a seventh district.

Poor Jared. Never have the words rung truer: What a schmuck!

Postal Police

Even the post office is getting in on the Rambo-style fun of the drug war. According to Brian D. Crecente (News March 29), postal inspectors noticed "a large number of out-of-state packages" being sent to an address in Highlands Ranch. The inspectors got a warrant and opened a package on March 27, finding the drug Ecstasy, then delivered the package. "Moments later, members of the South Metro Drug Task Force, Douglas County Sheriff's Office SWAT and postal inspectors raided the home."

Perhaps that's the best argument for privatizing the post office.

Meanwhile, in the same edition of the News, the AP reports about e-mails sent by police in Washington, D.C.: "Some of the e-mails reportedly include content about illegal drug use by officers and sexual activity on the job." Other e-mails were "vulgar, racist and homophobic."

So Long, Tom

Tom Strickland, the U.S. Attorney who devoted his career to trampling the Constitution by advocating and enforcing unconstitutional gun laws, was forced into resignation by the Bush administration. But Strickland will probably be back, perhaps for a senate run. I once heard "public service" described as similar to the "service" bulls provide for cows. Keeping this in mind, it is essential that civil libertarians work to keep Strickland out of another "public service" job.

Associated Propaganda Pimps Inflation

Writing for the Associated Press, Jeannine Aversa writes in the March 30 News on page 1B, "[E]conomists said the Federal Reserve, which has slashed rates three times since January by a total of 1.5 percentage points, will need to cut rates several times more to keep the economy afloat."

Anonymous quotes; gotta love 'em. To which "economists" is Aversa referring? Keynes is dead, along with his theories. Many "economists" who continue to support inflationary policies are the ones who profit directly from them, at the expense of the rest of us. Inflation can never improve the economy: it can only serve to perpetuate mal-investment. Next time, Aversa should ask an economist of the Austrian tradition.

Character Education

Some politicians like Senate President Stan Matsunaka want political schools to teach character education.

Why don't we start with the lesson, "Thou shalt not steal?" Perhaps if Matsunaka took this lesson to heart he would stop forcing people to pay for government schools they don't want.

Schools run by tyrannical regimes have taught "character education," too. As Senator Ron Teck said, "Somewhere in my gut is a feeling that we're opening a door that we're going to wish we hadn't opened at some point in time" (March 27 News).

Any parent who would let politicians and bureaucrats teach their children about morality is simply abnegating parental responsibility. Legitimate character education for our children is crucial, which is why we must never allow politicians to have a say in it.

The Five Mom March

James Dao published a March 11 article in the New York Times detailing the waning support of the so-called "Million Mom" organization and the victim disarmament movement generally. Dao notes that Sarah Brady's political agenda has faltered. He writes, "The euphoria of last year's march is a distant memory (one of its offshoots, the Million Mom organization, laid off 30 of its 35 employees on Friday)... 'Gun control,' lamented Steve Cobble, director of Campaign for a Progressive Future, a liberal political action committee, 'has become the shorthand for why Democrats don't do well.'"

The Colorado Freedom