Seductive Delirium – The Power of Wielding Government for Liberty

The buzz in favor of using eminent domain to give Justice Souter a taste of his own medicine boils down to 1) street theatre – It’s effective in convincing the masses of the wrongness of blatant government thievery and 2) seductive delerium – It provides a slim, but desperate hope that equally applying oppressive policies to those who create and enforce those policies will make them lift the boot up from our necks – just a little, anyway. As a one commenter puts it, “If space aliens COULD rescue us from this government, I’d support that, too. ”

The street theatre justification for the Lost Liberty Hotel project falls flat from the get go. While it does call attention to the use of eminent domain for private enterprise, it doesn’t go far in convincing the masses of anything beyond simply reinforcing their own existing tendencies.

At best, statists see the Kelo case as a way that big, bad capitalists take advantage of the “little man.” They come away from the Lost Liberty Hotel Show saying, “Right on. It’s wrong for Souter to let Pfizer take property for business use. Government is the only group that should be confiscating property. Power to the people!”

Reason #2

“Don’t get me wrong. Being Lady of the Golden Wood is great and all, but I could pamper myself at a nice libertarian B&B now and then. Hmm… just a little government. Only for good, of course.”

“Confiscate this, Souter!”

Conservatives and libertarians who are enticed by the Lost Liberty Hotel plan believe that wielding the power of government could make government cry uncle and back off. In other words, the space alien rescue. Expansion of government doesn’t make government back off. Even if Congress passed a law limiting the use of eminent domain for private projects, it will still be back in force before the ink is dry, taking your stuff in all manner of other ways.

It’s like making it illegal to pick one pocket, but open season on all the other pockets. That’s how government rescues you.

So what’s the right way to react to the Kelo ruling? Do what you should have been doing all along. Work on a personal freedom strategy, not a collective one. Martyring yourself in order to make a point to the masses is a waste of life, just as expending the slightest energy in street theatre to sway the herd is a wasted effort.

What’s The Alternative To Theft?

That’s the essence of the crying questions being put forth by voting conservatives in comments here. They need government to steal from you in order to survive, they say: they simply can’t think of any other way to exist except by having a section of everyone’s life carved off and dumped into the common pot for the common good, and they challenge anyone to come up with a better way for them to live their lives.

My questions are these: Am I required to provide robbers with an alternative career? Does my failure to do so invalidate the idea that people ought not steal?

These are pretty simple questions, but I don’t think I’ll hold my breath waiting for any answers.

Attention Scott Rosen: Central Planning Will Not Work

Scott Rosen, on

Of course, for libertarians, all of this does raise another important question: What should be done about this unnatural influx of immigrants? The optimal solution would be to eliminate all public property and services, abolish the welfare state, and abolish all restrictions on how private property owners and local communities may govern themselves. This, however, is highly unlikely.

While there is room for debate on an imperfect solution to the issue, it would probably be best to emulate a private property system by permitting the states and localities to restrict entry to only those it feels would be of benefit to the community.

Did you get that? Rosen is suggesting that the government emulate a private property system. That would “probably be best” as an “imperfect solution”.

Think: how would Scott Rosen have the government go about emulating private property? Which properties would be protected? What rules would he have put into place? Who decides all of this, and how? The answer is that it can’t be done.

Now it’s fair to note that Rosen in fact says he wants to abolish government as a first solution, but he says that doing so is “highly unlikely”. That’s quite true, and I won’t dispute it. I’d merely note that the only thing more unlikely than the abolition of government is central planners creating a successful emulation of the free market.

Ludwig von Mises showed that socialist calculation isn’t possible:

Only because of the fact that technical considerations can be based on profitability can we overcome the difficulty arising from the complexity of the relations between the mighty system of present-day production on the one hand and demand and the efficiency of enterprises and economic units on the other; and can we gain the complete picture of the situation in its totality, which rational economic activity requires.

Government not only won’t, but can’t “emulate” a free market. Central planning isn’t an “imperfect solution”, it’s no solution at all. The solution to concerns about immigration isn’t even further collectivization of property, even more central control, another layer of socialism pasted on top of all of the others in the vain hope that this time, the planners will get it right.

The solution is a free market.

Why I Hate Conservatives

L & P points out an ad on the “Instapundit” weblog:

Instapundit's finest readership

And of course “Little Green Footballs” carries the same one. Note that these are the same mouth-breathers that have the audacity get up on their hind legs and bleat about how “extreme” or “sick” “Bush = Hitler” comparisons are. It seems that invoking the image of a hundred million corpses is just fine and dandy when you do so in order to trash “liberals”.

Try and imagine:

In the women’s zone they didn’t use ammonal [mining explosive] — instead, the women dug down to the rock layers with picks, then smashed the stone with sledge hammers. The hammer heads, of course, came away from the handles, and new ones sometimes broke. To replace a head, a hammer had to be sent to a different camp zone. Nonetheless, every woman had an output norm of 0.9 cubic meters a day, and since they could not meet it there was a long period during which they were put on short rations (400 grams) — until the men taught them to pinch stones from old piles before the daily accounting. Remember that all this work was done not only by sick people, not only without any mechanical aids at all, but in the harsh winter of the steppes (at temperatures as low as 30 to 35 below freezing, and with a wind blowing), and what is more, in summer clothing, since there was no provision for the issue of warm clothing to nonworkers, i.e., to the unfit.

The Gulag Archipellago, Volume 3, Page 63, 1978 Harper & Row Edition.

Did those despicable creeps stop and think for even one second about the horrors that they’re gleefully trivializing?


As one of my co-bloggers aptly put it, the War On Terror seperated the libertarians that mean it from the ones that are faking it. Expanding on that, it’s serving as a useful catalyst for inducing know-nothings to dispense collectivist horsehit. For instance, this is the sort of thing that one would have expected from the worst of the Clintonians, last President:

If you’re at all like me, you’re thinking that if the people at this meeting were “profiled” as militia terrorists… then maybe profiling actually works. Because they think, talk, and act like terrorists. They just haven’t driven up a fertilizer truck bomb or picked up a gun… yet.

Of course that isn’t quite the real quote, because the author’s talking about the evil Ay-rabs:

If you’re at all like me, you’re thinking that if the people in this mosque were “ethnically profiled” as terrorists… then maybe ethnic profiling actually works. Because they think, talk, and act like terrorists. They just haven’t strapped on a bomb or a gun… yet.

See ya, feeb.

Common Nonsense

Richard Nikoley correctly notes that mailed traffic tickets and jury summonses tend to disappear in the internals of the USPS. It’s downright odd. Sort of like how the census (doesn’t) work, for me.

But I digress.

In comments, one Theodore Craig opines:

To figure out if [traffic-ticket cameras are] worth it, ask yourself how many children have been saved by these cameras, and then it will all become clear… If one person slows down, and one child is saved from being hit, it was worth it all!


I have to admit that I have no idea how many children have been saved by those cameras, Craig. No idea at all.

So I’ll ask you, instead:

How many children have in fact been saved by those cameras, Theodore?

Answer is you don’t fucking know, either. What you feel is that some children have been saved, somehow, but you have exactly no evidence to back it up. And if you were to actually look into the issue, you’d find some interesting facts. For example, when red-light cameras were installed in DC, the city also took the charming measure of reducing the yellow light delay.

Can you guess why?

That’s right, so they could mail out more tickets and thus collect more money. Incidentally, by reducing the light delays they also decrease the safety of the road, as people tend to get caught in the intersection more often.

How many children have been lost because of too-fast light delays, Theodore? Hmm? Again the answer is you don’t fucking know, but it’s certainly plausible that some little munchkin somewhere has been pulped because some little bureaubot somewhere wanted more loot.

That’s what’s known as “unintended consequences”. Would that then be “worth it all”, still? Or would you at that point then realize that the primary purpose and motivation behind these sorts of things is not, in fact, “the children”?

But more to the point is that it doesn’t fucking matter how many children were saved by those cameras, because the government has no right whatsoever to be extorting money from drivers. Perhaps an example of the principle at stake here will serve as an illustration:

Little Suzie is dying of some disease, but she can be saved if some uninvolved person donates a piece of his or her liver. Do you have the right to force that person to donate to Suzie? How about to two Suzies? What if one person could be killed and used to save two others? Would that be “worth it”? Because you need to understand that there isn’t any sort of sharp line between the government handing out traffic fines “for the children” and the government handing out death sentences for same. If you in fact think there is, then I challenge you to define it.

What you are in fact advocating is that a few people be sacrificed in order to provide for the many. In fact it doesn’t even go that deep, what you want is for a few people to be sacrificed in order to make you feel like the majority is being provided for.

Or as someone else once put it, “To each according to his need”.

Shall I point out the conclusions of that line of thinking, or are the literal millions of dead human beings delivered up in the last century courtesy of that ideology enough of a clue?

Grim Laugh Of The Day

It’s funny: Ha, ha.

Check out the oh-so-pious bleats about Bush spending taxpayer money (because Democrats pay for all of their little photo-ops out of their own fat fucking pockets, right?), and be sure to catch the charming recount of the Secret Service at their best . Note the utter failure to mention Patricia Mendoza, or anyone else that happened to get roughed up by jack-booted thugs when a certain fat kid from Arkansas was in the White House.

Voting liberals are getting just what they deserve, and good and hard to boot. Every one of those little mouth-breathers was like as not cheering ole’ Bubba on during the eight years he spent latched onto the tax teat, and now they have the God-damned nerve to whine about the same exact things, since The Gun is now pointed at them.

Beck fingered these types a long time ago – the Turning Worms.

Not that voting conservatives are any better, of course. No, not too much disgust at plastic turkeys from those quarters, because after all he’s their plastic turkey. But just wait until the next Democrat’s elected President, and they’ll be the first in line to whimper about lies and deceit.

My utter disgust for Democrats and Republicans alike is only further garnished by my contempt for various stripes of self-described libertarians making noises about “Federalism” and “Decentralization” in regards to the Dems, having blissfully fucking forgotten that they were swappin’ spit with the Republicans exactly one President ago. The only reason that any voting liberal is talking with libertarians is because the Left are the Outs, right now, and they need whatever help they can scrape up. Even if it is just a fraction of the LP’s three hundred thousand votes. You watch: the instant the Democrats get back into power, the libertarians are going to be unceremoniously dumped into the alley and left to whine after the Republicans.

Who will of course pretend to listen to the LP’ers and “build bridges” and what-not until they’re back in power, leaving voting libertarians to ping-pong back to the Left…

Ha, ha, ha.

Tip: Drizz.

Conservatives Are Not Your Friends

If you disagree with that title, read this post. Be sure to read this discussion thread that’s referenced from there as well.

I’m not going to quote from that thread, the things that lurk there need to experienced first-hand. Try and understand: we are explicitly not talking about people who say that they have or are planning to harm innocent people or their property, or who have even hinted at such.

We are talking about thought crimes.

This is the thing: despite all of the talk about “liberty” and “freedom”, when the rubber meets the road, it seems that there are a number of people who mouth those platitudes but don’t really mean it. There are folks out there who will gladly inform on you without a second thought, if that’s what it takes for them to feel better. There are others that will merely insist that those informers are “trying to do the right thing”, as if good intentions can make up for evil premises.

It’s utterly despicable, and utterly predictable.

Business As Usual, From Both Parties

Social justice continues in the far Northwest:

The King County Council approved rules last night that would restrict development on rural land, over objections that the changes are draconian and would entangle the county in lawsuits.

The most controversial of the changes would require rural residents to leave between one-third and one-half of their land in a natural state, depending on lot size.

That’s right – a handful of Seattle liberals are snatching up a good half of other people’s land and turning it into a collective-farm nature preserve, all on the victims’ dime.

“Private property” – what a sick fucking joke that phrase is.

Right there is your bloody “democracy” folks – a bare majority of professional jobholders taking your production in order to appeal to their whack-job hard core urbanite constituency. But don’t worry, there’ll be a sure legal challenge on the grounds that this new power-grab doesn’t provide enough “public benefit”, thus cementing further into law the idea that your life is just so much fodder for the public trough. Way to stand on principle, Republicans.

Some days I swear I could vomit pure bile, and the fact that in less than a week, untold millions of you are going out there to vote for creatures like these just makes it that much worse.

James Lileks Has A Dream

His dream is to put a Navajo on Mars. And you get to to pay for it:

I have a dream. I believe that this nation should put a man on the moon by the end of this decade and keep him there. Not because it is easy, but because it is hard and expensive and boring and lethal and just might � might � give people something to watch that’s more important than Paris Hilton pitching a fit because she chipped a nail.

I appreciate the concern for my welfare but actually I wasn’t having any difficulty finding better things to do with my time than watching Paris Hilton on TV.


Whatever. Fact: In the middle of a war against medieval-minded foes, we decided that we should also head back into space.

No, we decided nothing of the sort. I wouldn’t voluntarily contribute a dime to NASA.

I have a dream: That Lileks and his collectivist brethren will pay for their own dreams.