Law and Order, Part 2

What’s surprising about the law-and-order position is that those holding it have a relatively strong disposition for moral realism (if not full-blown, at least in the spirit of it) but end up having to embrace ethical subjectivism. They will ridicule ‘situational’ ethics, where moral judgments vary by factual context, and yet propose that moral judgments vary by arbitrary legal contexts. They talk about fairness and inalienable rights, yet see no problem granting special powers and privileges to police and military that routinely override such rights. (Compare, for example, principled positions on abortion that allow for no exceptions, even in the case of rape of a minor, with the support for military actions such as the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombings, where unborn children were most certainly killed, and other minors were either killed or horribly mutilated.) So, what leads them to these mismatched positions, and why do they not feel the tension between them?

One motivation is the embrace of a Hobbesian view of society where people have no inherent capacity or motivation to peacefully cooperate. Even in situations where we stipulate that people are sufficiently motivated, they view the lack of central enforcement of laws (or rules, more generally) as making it impossible for people to peacefully resolve disputes. Without any clear guide, everyone will propose their own standard, none of which will be accepted by everyone else. Thus, conflict will increase at every turn, and society itself will crumble into some version of the war-of-all-against-all.

Whatever will save us from this horrible fate? Well, that’s a fairly familiar tale—at least, familiar to most market anarchists—by now. (Every dispute requires a third-party, and (obviously) it must be the same third-party every time (judicial). We require a set of rules that are public and agreed on, subject to change, but relatively stable (legislative). And enforcement of such decisions must be capable of overwhelming any resistance that might be offered by those who dislike the results of the other two processes (executive). There are variations, but that’s the general pattern.)

So, the real issue here is that agreement, even if it’s agreement to abide by arbitrary rules, is better than honest disagreement. Order is better than justice as an organizing principle. Or perhaps more accurately, order is a prerequisite for justice to emerge. And that means we are abandoning free market principles in order to save the free market—except replace ‘free market’ with ‘justice (system),’ and we see the foundation laid. The only difference is that Bush’s line about markets was perceived (wrongly) as a temporary deviation from some core principles, whereas this understanding of how laws work is the norm. It’s not a temporary condition on the way to something better.

Let’s very briefly go over the main features of moral realism (MR) and ethical subjectivism (ES) to see where the real tension is. Both MR and ES are meta-ethical views, which means, they are talking about what it means to have an ethical rule, not spelling out which ethical rules are true. So, the view that abortion is wrong, except in cases where the mother’s life is at stake, is an ethical position, but it’s one that could be held by either a moral realist or an ethical subjectivist. (It could not be held by a nihilist, but that’s only because they can’t hold that any action is morally wrong, not because they have a special belief about abortion.)

Both MR and ES agree that moral statements are meaningful. This sets them apart from non-cognitivists who maintain that “murder is wrong” is akin to nonsense. They also agree that there are at least some true moral statements. This sets them apart from nihilists because nihilists think that “X is wrong” is saying something, but it is just always false.

Where they diverge is on the question of what is the truth of moral statements dependent. For ES, it is dependent on the attitudes of a person or persons; MR rejects this. So, ES may ground it in individual perspectives (usually called moral relativism) or in cultures (cultural relativism). Two other alternatives that are less popular ground it in either a divine being or in an idealized human observer. The divine version, usually called Divine Command Theory, is the ultimate version of “because I said so.” To illustrate the difference, here is what a prohibition against rape is really saying, according to each version mentioned:

MR – slavery is always wrong, regardless of what anyone thinks about it

ES (individual) – slavery is wrong for me, but I can only speak for myself

ES (cultural) – slavery is wrong in this country now, but it wasn’t always that way (and that’s fine)

ES (DCT) – slavery is wrong for now because God says so, but it may have been right in the past, and it may be right again in the future

ES (IOT) – if someone were aware of all relevant facts about the world and had no prejudices or biases, they would conclude that slavery is wrong

To be clear, very few people actually express themselves in these ways. But these are the core of how they implicitly think about moral truths.

What I propose is that the law-and-order position is best understood as a hybrid of the ES (cultural) and ES (DCT) positions, where the state is a stand-in for ‘God.’ (One interesting difference is that ordinary people can become part of the ‘divine’ order. So, we’re dealing with some kind of panentheistic God perhaps.) But it’s worse than that because even those who make up the divine institution can disagree amongst themselves or act in contradictory ways. It might be more accurate to say that there are many gods, and all must be obeyed, even if this is impossible.

For example, a police officer may attempt to detain a person for an unlawful reason. Or they may try to detain a person for a lawful reason, but they apply the law in an unreasonable way. Or they may try to detain a person for a lawful reason and do so in a reasonable manner. The law-and-order position would assert that the duty of the potential detainee is identical in all those cases. Regardless of the legality and proportionality of the officer’s actions, the potential detainee has a duty to immediately and fully comply with all orders. Failure to do so poses a potential threat to the officer, even if the officer is acting unlawfully, and this means that any amount of force can (and should) potentially be used to enforce the detainment, including lethal force.

This attitude was on full display in the case of Eric Garner when a group of police officers attempted to detain a man known to them as a seller of loose cigs, the sale of which was seen as cutting into the tax revenue collected locally. The cigarettes would sell for anywhere from 50 cents to 75 cents a piece, and this was sufficient reason for the police to forcibly detain Garner. Having been harassed in this way several times previously, he decided to not cooperate. As a result, the police officers, working as a team, murdered him in broad daylight by choking off his airway, and they were even filmed doing so. (It was portrayed in the media that his death occurred later on during the ambulance ride perhaps, but it’s clear from the medical evidence and the behavior of medical personnel in the video that he was dead within moments. More disturbing and chilling is the total lack of concern expressed by either the police or the medical personnel during the incident.)

After this incident, there were many justifications given by law-and-order supporters, which mainly focused on Garner’s role in causing his own death. Specifically, his failure to immediately submit to the officers’ orders presented them with the imminent collapse of society itself. In the event that they had failed to completely subdue Mr. Garner, it would send a clear message that the law could not be enforced. Immediately following this revelation, chaos and anarchy would result as people decided to break any law at any time for any reason, knowing that there would be no consequences. The legislature would also shut down, knowing that their pronouncements were mere theater, and likewise, all judges, prosecutors, and other prison officials would simply walk off the job, realizing that they had lost all ability to regulate the behavior of others.

This may sound like some great sarcastic comment on my part, a bit of exaggeration or hyperbole to mock the position of others. But really, what I’ve said is almost literally the fear that was expressed by law-and-order advocates. Failure to subdue Garner would have been a slippery slope that would literally dismantle the entire fabric of law and society itself. This sounds fantastic, but it’s truly how they think about these things.

Never mind that laws are broken by almost everyone, just by the nature of regulation. Never mind that laws are enforced very selectively and have been for a very long time. Never mind that laws are enforced in contradictory ways quite often. For whatever reason, none of those features are enough, but a man who sells 75-cents worth of contraband is enough to bring down the whole house of cards if he’s not snuffed out.

So, we are to think of the police (and other relevant bureaucrats) as gods walking amongst us, or at least, avatars of the divine. What is right depends ultimately on the attitude and opinion of any/all of these gods, moment to moment, regardless of any other constraint.

This is a strange hybrid of Divine Command Theory and Cultural Relativism. In the next section, I will look at the general category of Ethical Subjectivism and point out the key weaknesses that any version of it faces. After that, I will return to the law-and-order position and apply those insights to its specific features.

Post-script: In case any readers think I am foolishly exaggerating when I say that the law-and-order position puts the police in the role of divine agents, or divine persons even, consider the following recent statement by a Texas sheriff:

Texas Sheriff Says You Have To Obey the Police Because Their ‘Authority Comes From God’

 

Law and Order, part 1

In recent years, there has been a greater awareness of the dynamics of the police, especially in relation to race, but also in regards to the militarization of the police over time and perceived abuses of police authority.  Sites like CopBlock, FilmingCops, TheFreeThoughtProject and others routinely collect and display audio/video, news stories, and public records that document these incidents.  Others are a continuation of efforts going back decades, such as Radley Balko’s ‘The Agitator’ blog.  (Balko is also the author of ‘The Rise of the Warrior Cop’ (2014).)

Libertarians are not new to this discussion by any means, and there are other political groups that have weighed in on these issues for many decades, even centuries.

The response from liberals and conservatives tends to follow certain predictable patterns.  The liberal response is a familiar “more regulation, better demographic representation, federal oversight of state and local police abuses,” while the conservative response tends to either deny that a problem exists or to blame victims of abuse (either individually or collectively, or both, depending on the circumstance), or even to suggest that the police are actually too weak.  (One can easily see the parallels to attitudes towards military action, though that’s not the direct subject of this series.)

What I want to focus on in this series is the particular attitude expressed by many conservatives about the role of law, of authority, of obedience, and of order.  In brief, there are several core beliefs that can be loosely described as a ‘law and order’ mentality.

1. Without law, people would act as they saw fit.

2. This would lead to chaos.

3. We need laws. (Derived from 1 and 2)

4. Fortunately (or providentially), we are a nation of laws.

5. Law is meaningless without enforcement.

6. Enforcement requires enforcers (which means, people invested with enforcement authority).

7. Disputes of law must take place in courts.  (Derived from 1 and 2)

8. Therefore, every citizen has a duty to submit to the authority of enforcers, even in cases where the enforcers are not actually obeying the law.

There are some unstated assumptions in here, as will be obvious to most libertarians who have dealt with Hobbesian arguments.  For example, it’s assumed that having law requires having a single source of law, a single enforcer of law, and a single interpreter of law.

Note also that this argument makes no reference whatsoever to the content of the law.  It does not require that the law be just.  In fact, it is often difficult to understand the concept of an ‘unjust law’ in this view as it is almost reduced to a contradiction in terms.  Justice is viewed as that which promotes order, and since laws promote order (and are very nearly treated as the only source of order), an unjust law would be something that both promotes and detracts from order.  At best, one could talk about a ‘bad’ law or an ‘ineffective’ law.

Of course, the natural counter-examples to this idea would be familiar ones that even conservatives readily acknowledge: the Fugitive Slave Law and the Nazi Jewish regulations.  In both cases, it seems obvious that no one had a duty to obey (or enforce) those laws, and indeed, it’s easy to view those who resisted them as heroes.

This is not a very effective way of casting doubt on the ‘law and order’ mentality, though, as they tend to simply dismiss such examples as outliers that should not be used as a basis for critiquing laws in general but, rather, oppressive regimes.  Similarly, pointing to North Korea or the Stasi does not seem to cause any doubt in their minds.  Perhaps the specter of anarchy and chaos is so apparent, and the distance between present circumstances in the West and those in North Korea so great, that this does little to unsettle their position.

Alternately, one can try to defeat this approach by embracing it.  Specifically, one could argue that the way that the police operate is actually against the Constitution and not a faithful representation of its principles.  (For example: http://www.constitution.org/lrev/roots/cops.htm)  Unfortunately, this approach requires convincing them of certain principles of Constitutional interpretation, and that may prove at least as difficult as any other approach.

Yet another method is the historical appeal, since conservatives are rhetorically wedded to the founding of the country and cannot easily dissociate themselves from the stated principles and actions of its founders.  Thus, one can show that many of the founders were, in fact, law breakers and saw no duty to comply with British law when it was deemed unjust.  In fact, it can easily be argued that the tradition of dissent and disobedience is far more American than that of compliance and obedience.  Most of the arguments listed at the beginning here are those that we see coming from the British officials at the time, not the American colonists.  And thus, the ‘law and order’ approach appears to be a Redcoat tradition, not a truly American one.

I think that can be a promising approach, but it can also be dismissed on various grounds.  Unfortunately, those grounds tend to be nativist, race-/culture-realist, or some other equally disturbing version.  The only good result of that response is that it exposes some of the underlying, unstated beliefs.  But ultimately, it tends to reduce to typical liberal-vs-conservative arguments over crime and race.

What I’m proposing to do instead of the approaches mentioned already is the following:

In Part 2, I will show that the ‘law and order’ argument is a subtle variation of the Divine Command Theory of ethics.

In Part 3, I will look at the broader category of Ethical Subjectivism, of which Divine Command Theory is an example, and what its key weaknesses are.

In Part 4, I will argue that most ‘law and order’ advocates would ordinarily reject Ethical Subjectivism and instead embrace some version of Moral Realism.

In Part 5, I will conclude by adapting the conclusions of Parts 3 and 4 to show that ‘law and order’ arguments put their advocates in a difficult position where embracing ‘order’ as an ultimate societal value is a genuine threat to the realization of other core values and beliefs that they hold and have even greater desire for society to embrace and reflect.

The Ron Paul Flap – Short Version

One thing that has been virtually absent from the whole Ron Paul Newsletter shitstorm is the simple fact that racism per se is not incompatible with libertarianism. That fact, brought to light when the newsletters were publicized, would have short-circuited weeks of yelling by both sides. So why hasn’t anyone prominent in the debate taken notice of it? The answer is that the public outrage to such a defense would be enormous.

Neither side in the newsletter flap cares to discuss this, because doing so would be very unpopular. Both sides would rather avoid unpopular truth – it’s of no use to them.

The Ron Paul flap basically boils down to two camps of liars, each of whom claims that the other is, well, …lying.

I’m slightly underwhelmed.

Libertarians Outraged That Rain Is Wet

Or that government is abusive, you know: whichever.

The latest mini power-grab by the Federal government is a yawnfest. In effect, this government has written itself a note that says that they’ll snoop your mail if they really, really want to. They’re also saying that this note supecedes some other notes that they’ve written that stated they wouldn’t snoop your mail without a permission note. No word yet on what efforts libertarian activists will put forth to get this government to write a note that says that the government won’t really read your mail without a permission note.

Do you see what I mean? The fact that this government wrote a note in the first place giving themselves permission to do a number of things implies that they’ll write themselves a note to allow them to do whatever they want whenever they want to. Any note they write to the contrary can be replaced by yet another note.

And libertarian activists are outraged by all of this? It’s frankly amusing.

Bastiat on Tabarrok on Cost-Benefit

Over at Marginal Revolution, Alex Tabarrok writes:

Tyler asks, following philosopher Alastair Norcross, whether it could ever satisfy a cost-benefit test for one person to die a terrible and tortured death in order to alleviate the headaches of billions of others by one second. Tyler begs off with “a mushy mish-mash of philosophic pluralism, quasi-lexical values” and moral conceit. I will have none of this. The answer, is yes.

Bastiat presciently commented:

The plans differ; the planners are all alike.

Ditto for “libertarian” planners.

Torture for a Good Cause

“Is C-SPAN worthwhile?” asked a contributor to Wendy McElroy’s forum?.

Well, it’s not as messy as waterboarding and it doesn’t leave any marks.

And speaking of worthwhile efforts, Brad Spangler is looking for a few good dungeonmasters to help him “stand before the Balrog”. Kennedy, who identified the madness of sanctioning State torture three years ago, has volunteered to help.

Spangler:

I want to get waterboarded. In order to call attention to this heinous practice and make it the subject of broader public condemnation, I believe it needs to be shown to people. I’m volunteering in order for it to be so shown — online, as a video. These are the sort of dark times that demand a Gandalf to stand before the Balrog and shout “You shall not pass!“. That’s not me, but I can take my best shot at it.

Here’s the plan…

I’m asking for the following volunteers:

1) A lawyer to help us put together all of the appropriate waivers and confirm we can do this without government intervention.
2) A psychiatrist or other trained mental health professional to confirm for all interested parties that I am not acting on any self destructive impulse or urge to do myself harm. I’m not. This is a political statement.
3) A doctor or certified paramedic willing to stand by and administer treatment if it looks like things have gone to far.
4) A videographer to document it.
5) At least one trusted friend willing to help me — by torturing me.

Kennedy:

I volunteer for # 5.

Who says we’re not team players? Who says we’re not willing to get down in the trenches and put our shoulders to the wheel for liberty?

The Elephant In The Living Room

Arnold Kling:

I believe that what we need going forward is a policy of disarming Muslims. I believe that we must keep devout Muslims away from weapons, and keep weapons away from devout Muslims. I can work with Muslims, send my children to school with Muslims, and be friends with Muslims. I do not have an issue with their religion, as long as they do not have weapons. However, the combination of weapons and Islam poses unacceptable danger to the rest of us.

Sean Lynch, in response:

Steps to solving the “Muslim question”:

1. Take away their weapons
2. Make them wear labels so we can distinguish them easily (to make sure they don’t get weapons again).
3. Move them all to ghettos
4. Round them all up and stick them in concentration camps.
5. …
6. Profit!

This doesn’t seem that large of a leap to me. If, as Kling opines, armed Muslims pose an “unacceptable danger”, then given the fact that “arms” are impossible to prohibit effectively, something fairly close to Hitler’s final solution is on the table.

The interesting thing, however, isn’t how evil Kling’s argument is but how loudly the implications of it were ignored by the libertarian readers of and contributors to Catallarchy. This is a theme I’ve seen before, most notably in debate with immigration restrictionists. In each case, the piece of public policy as presented requires certain obvious crimes against individuals. In each case, that fact is roundly, almost universally, ignored or evaded.

Does anyone have any guesses as to why?

Libertarian View of War Cleared Up, Let’s Have a Drink

Over at Catallarchy, debate begins anew about the justice of the Iraq War, sparked by a post about the libertarian split over the war at the Volokh Conspiracy. Fortunately, our esteemed senior editor cleared up this little spat a few years ago in “The Wrong Hill”:

It doesn’t matter if there is a right side in the war, neither side can have any right to require Charlie Anderson to participate in any way. This is the argument libertarians need to make, not that war is evil, but that it can never be moral to force others to participate. It will do no good to win the argument that a war is evil while implicitly accepting that it is legitimately a collective decision; that’s the wrong hill. The right hill is the one where we reject the collectivist premise first.

Pace the argument at Catallarchy, the war may or may not be moral (though I don’t think it is) and it may or may not be utility-maximizing (I think the idea is incoherent in itself), but what matters is that no one has the right to require my money or my body to fight it.

Interestingly enough, at the Volokh post, Rose Friedman says, “And we will!” in response to a quip from Milton Friedman about winning the war. There’s the wrong hill right there.

I’ll have a gin and tonic.

In Support Of A Consequentialist Analysis Of Immigration Policy

Contra John T. Kennedy’s rebuke of Patri Friedman, I present a concrete example that should set the discussion to rest.

The situation is simple: we have an illegal immigrant from an indisputably “hostile to freedom” culture who is residing in the United States. American immigration deports him.

What’s wrong with that, Kennedy? Isn’t it at least worth considering the future liberty you might gain?

A picture of this illegal immigrant is reproduced below:


1 less Communist = better consequences
Above: Illegal immigrant from hostile-to-freedom culture being deported by American law enforcement.

Memo To Patri: I Got Yer Tradeoff Right Here

Patri,

You write on immigration:

If you believe (as Russell claims to) that in a country like the US, an influx of people hostile to freedom will reduce the freedom of people in that country, one is led inexorably to an uncomfortable conclusion. Namely, that the impact on freedom is the combination of gains from the increased freedom of the immigrants and losses from the decreased freedom of the residents. We can let in the coercers and be coerced, or we can coercively keep them out.I

Now, there is plenty of room for debate about the resulting net impact. But if immigrants truly are anti-freedom, then the real question is how to evaluate this tough tradeoff. Not whether libertarians can have their immigration and a small government too.

Do you really propose to trade the lives and liberty of some people against those of others? Anyone who endorses such a tradeoff as a matter of policy ought in principle to be willing to implement that tradeoff himself. Anyone endorsing a closed border ought in principle be willing to personally employ deadly force to keep people from crossing the border.

Eventually the moment of truth comes: You have a Mexican in your sights and nothing but your bullet can stop him from crossing into the United States. Now you get to make your “tradeoff”. Are you willing to trade his life for the marginal liberty you could retain for America by killing him? Could you conceivably defend such a tradeoff here and now as libertarian?

If you’re not willing in principle to shoot the Mexican then it should be clear that you ought not hire others to do it for you or endorse such as a matter of policy. And if you are not prepared in principle to do such a thing then what precisely are you proposing to trade? Preferring one outcome to another is no tradeoff in and of itself, your preferences don’t cost anyone anything. Only your actions can impose costs and produce benefits.

The life and liberty of others are not yours to trade. I think you would understand this perfectly well if you were face to face with the individuals in question but when you consider them collectively in the abstract you are seduced through a weakness for wonkery into imagining that men have no choice but to trade in such values.

Robert E. Lee And The Twenty Nigger Law

Bizzarely lionized at the anti-state/anti-war lewrockwell.com, statist warrior Robert E. Lee was in fact the prime mover behind the first federal conscription in American history:

Seeing no way of preventing the disorganization of the army except by conscription, Lee made himself an opportunity, even during the crisis that followed the landing at Old Point on March 23, to review the subject fully with the new lawyer-member of his staff, Major Charles Marshall of Baltimore. Lee maintained, said Marshall, “that every other consideration should be subordinated to the great end of public safety, and that since the whole duty of the nation would be war until independence should be secured, the whole nation should for the time be converted into an army, the producers to feed and the soldiers to fight” — a principle that in 1917 America wisely adopted.

Marshall was directed by Lee to draw up the heads of a bill providing for the conscription of all white males between eighteen and forty-five years of age. The finished paper Lee took to the President, who approved its principles and had it put into shape by Mr. Benjamin. Introduced in Congress, the bill was amended and mangled. Provision was made for the election of officers in re-enlisted commands, and most of the other useless paraphernalia of the bounty and furlough act were loaded on it. The upper age-limit was reduced from forty-five to thirty-five years, and a bill allowing liberal exemption was soon adopted. The press had applause for the object of the bill and sharp words on its weaknesses. In the army, those who had intended not to re-enlist on the expiration of their terms grumbled and charged bad faith on the part of the government,18 but those who were determined to carry on the war to ruin or independence rejoiced that those who had stayed at home were at last to smell gunpowder. In the well-disciplined commands, men who went home at the expiration of their twelve months and returned as conscripts soon settled down to army routine. The election of new officers resulted in the defeat of many good soldiers and in the choice of “good fellows” in their places, but, on the whole, the elections wrought less evil than could reasonably have been expected.20 For his part Lee realized the danger involved in reorganizing the army to the accompaniment of Federal bullets, but he read in the law a promise that recruits would ere long fill the regiments which passed down Main Street that day, and for that promise he must have been grateful. It probably never occurred to him that chief credit for the conscript act was his own.

Confederate conscription was soon known by another name, the Twenty Nigger Law:

Although many soldiers despised the way they were treated in the army, they
took heart in the fact that they were volunteers, freely giving themselves to their
country. In 1862 the Confederate government threatened their volunteer status by
turning them into long service soldiers. By late 1861 volunteering dried up as a
source of new troops. With many units’ enlistments about to expire in the spring and
summer of 1862, the Davis administration scrambled to hold the armies together.
On April 16, 1862, Congress passed the first conscription act in American history
by a surprising two-to-one margin. The act enabled the government to replenish the
ranks by drafting all able-bodied men between the ages of eighteen and thirty-five.
Those already mustered into Confederate service had their terms extended an
additional three years. The act granted established regiments the privilege of
reorganizing and reelecting their officers. A thirty-day grace period before the draft
took effect allowed men to volunteer and avoid the stigma of being conscripted.

Volunteers applauded that part of the bill that put rifles in the hands of
reluctant southerners, but they railed against the provisions that kept them in the
army beyond their original terms of service. Many people angrily condemned the
government for breaking a contract with its soldiers. J. W. Reid spoke for many
when he surmised that “the bill will pass, for Jeff Davis recommended it, and it
seems that he is a dictator…. If [C]ongress can constitutionally … force the balance
to remain three years they may just as easily keep them ten years. What is the
difference?” If this “infernal bill…. passes all patriotism is dead, and the
Confederacy will be dead sooner or later,” predicted Reid. Another soldier believed
“the bill will prove very unpopular with the army. When we hear men comparing
the despotism of the Confederacy with that of the Lincoln government — something
must be wrong.” The soldiers’ fears were correct. In 1864 their enlistments were
extended for the duration of the war. Soldiering began to look like involuntary
servitude to the state. Only a crippling wound or death released soldiers from their
commitment to the army.

Substitution and exemption, the corollaries of conscription, generated their own
controversies. Substitution allowed men to avoid service by hiring a replacement,
as long as the stand-in was not eligible to be drafted. Since the price for substitutes
typically ranged from $1,500-3,000, it provided an escape hatch only for the
wealthy. The exemption act caused an even greater controversy. The bill exempted
overseers on plantations with twenty or more slaves. Nonslaveholding soldiers and
their families perceived the bill as class legislation and derisively dubbed it the
“twenty-nigger” law.

If you think I’m unfairly picking on one old piece on Lee at LRC there are plenty more for you to peruse. If your search LRC for articles which mention both Lee and conscription you’ll find conscription deplored, Lee treated reverently, and no connection noted between the two. Rockwell has even encouraged voters to consider casting their ballot for Lee: “It could be the proudest vote you ever cast!”.

Thanks, Ron, Now Shut Up

Ronald Bailey over at Reason is talking about the need for consumer-driven health care. Well and good. He mentions the problems of the current healthcare – which are legion – and says that a solution is needed. His solution?

My advice to President Bush on how really to jumpstart consumer-driven health care: mandatory private health insurance. Poor Americans would be offered a voucher with which they would buy private health coverage. Such vouchers could be paid for by abolishing Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Programs.

But they won’t be, Ron, and you know it, because you know what underlies all of this: the barrel of a gun. Why you think the solution is to point the gun in everyone’s face is beyond me, but you’re either clearly ignorant or clearly evil about this.