Freedom Conspiracy

Gary Greenberg's political blog: Promoting Agoranism, a system of political organization based on free trade, private ownership of property, voluntary contracts, and no soverreign governments.

It’s from National Review, so there should be a few clunkers from the Libertarian point of view. You’ll probably find a few you like here.

Number 10 is “20th Century Man” by the Kinks, which is from their “Muswell Hillbillies” album, which, during the years I actually listened to pop music, I thought the album, as a concept album was one of the most libertarian-friendly pop albums ever made.

I was a Kinks fan back then. Another of their libertarian friendly album was “Arthur (Or the decline and fall of the British Empire)” about a family moving to Australia to avoid the draft.

Another good Kinks album was “Lola versus Powerman and the Moneygoround,”, a critique of the music industry, which includes the infamous song “Lola” about sexual appearances and preferences (“Girls will be boys and boys will be girls It’s a mixed up, muddled up, sup world, except for Lola” as well as “Get back in line”, which includes the lyric, “‘Cos when I see that union man walking down the street, He’s the man who decides if I live or I die, if I starve, or I eat.”

How gun-free zones invite mass shootings

How gun-free zones invite mass shootings. As they say, read the whole thing

By John Lott, president of the Crime Prevention Research Center and the author most recently of “The War on Guns.”

“This doesn’t happen anywhere else on the planet,” said California’s Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom. “We stand alone in the world in the number of mass shootings,” echoed U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y. These were typical comments after an alleged shooter murdered 12 people in Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks, Calif.

 

People have been acting for a long time like the United States is the world’s hotbed of mass public shootings. Following a 2015 mass shooting during his administration, President Barack Obama declared: “The one thing we do know is that we have a pattern now of mass shootings in this country that has no parallel anywhere else in the world.”

This belief is constantly used to push for more gun control. If we can only get rid of guns in the United States, we will get rid of these mass public shootings and be more like the rest of the world, gun-control supporters preach.

 

But America doesn’t lead the world in mass public shootings. We’re not even close. Just last month, a school shooting in Crimea, Russia, claimed 20 lives and wounded 65 others. But Americans usually don’t hear about such events.

 

The Crime Prevention Research Center, of which I am president, recently finished updating a list of mass public shootings worldwide. These shootings must claim four or more lives in a public place. Following the FBI definition, the shootings we list are carried out simply with the intention of killing. We exclude gang fights because they tend to be motivated by battles for drug turf. Murders that arise from other crimes are also excluded.

“Ignorance of the Law” should be a defense.

The concept that ignorance of the law is no defense, originates in a time when there were few laws. For the average person, law was simple. Don’t steal. Don’t cheat. Don’t hurt the innocent. Pay your taxes (Yawwww!) and don’t hunt in the king’s woods. A couple of hundred years ago, that was about all anyone would need to know about the law. Religious rulers added a few nutty overlays., but those were pounded into your brain by religious teachers in the community.

Nowadays. we have hundreds of thousands of laws, regulations, and rules that can get you into trouble. In many case you not only have to be familiar with all of these laws, and the thousands and thousands of court decisions in every jurisdiction, you on occasion have to know the laws and rules of every other country in the world and its attendant bureaucracies. Violate the foreign countries laws, rules and regulations while doing business from the United States with someone in another country, which activity is handled pursuant to all the legal laws, rules and regulations of the United States, and in many instances, you can be prosecuted here for violating the foreign laws there.

So, my suggestion.

In every criminal proceeding, a defendant should be permitted as a matter of law, to argue to the jury that 1) the defendant was unaware that the action was illegal, 2) no reasonable person would have thought that action to be illegal, and 3) a person situated in the same social/work environments as the defendant would have no reason to know that the action was illegal. In any prosecution where such a defense is raised, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that at least one of the three premises is not true for the defendant. If the prosecutor fails to make that case, the jury must acquit the defendant.

It should also go without saying that in every trial, the judge must tell the jury that if in the jury’s judgment, convicting a defendant of the charged crime would be unjust, they would have the right to acquit the defendant even if it believes the defendant violated the law. This is the basic principle of jury nullification.

The Minimum Wage is Always Zero

A major impact of the minimum wage laws is the large number of people that will be thrown out of work. A Congressional Budget Office study in 2014 indicated that a minimum wage increase to $9 an hour would cost 100,000 jobs, and an increase to $10.10 would result in the loss of over 500,000 jobs. Those are nation-wide figures. For people laid off due to minimum wage hikes, the minimum wage is always zero. And many lives will be thoroughly destroyed by the loss of the marginal income that enabled families to survive.

Often overlooked in these analyses and debates is that it is not only minimum wage earners who get thrown out of work, but also includes a large percentage of people who earn more than the minimum wage because management can no longer afford the differential between different pay levels for different skill sets.

In 2018, the NYC minimum wage went up to $13 an hour in the hospitality industry and had a devasting impact on the restaurant industry. In 2019, the rate goes to $15 an hour. Have you noticed the rapidly increased use of ordering kiosks in fast-food restaurants that replace many workers? Some places are now experimenting with automated burger-flippers. Wonder where that will lead.

It’s often argued that the low minimum wage does not pay enough for an individual’s survival. That people still take the jobs is evidence that this is not the case. In many instances, the wages received are increments to a family income that includes family members with other sources of income, sometimes from jobs that pay more than the minimum wage.

Rand versus Individual Rights: A critique of Rand’s essay on “The Nature of Government”

I have written an essay titled “Rand versus Individual Rights: a critique of Rand’s essay on ‘The Nature of Government.'”  You can read her original essay here. This is her essay where she attacks what was then called anarcho-capitalism. A friend who reviewed my piece wrote me:

When you think about it, “The Nature of Government” probably has generated more discussion about the so-called “minarchist” versus “anarchist” position than any other single essay … beginning with Roy Childs’s first essay “Objectivism and the State: An Open Letter to Ayn Rand”… which led the Randians to close his subscription to The Objectivist.

I hadn’t read the essay in a very long time, back when I was in the Objectivist orbit (but not quite an acolyte), and thought I should revisit it from my present perspective. I think the title of the essay tells you how I reacted. I’m checking out a couple of essays written by others in the Objectivist realm and if any interesting new arguments develop, I’ll publish a response.

Hope you’ll make use of the comments to get a discussion going.

The Hierarchy of Values and the Ambiguity of Fairness

Anything, at any place and at any time, that anyone wants to interact with, positively or negatively, is a value to that individual. The item desired might be physical property, an idea, a dream to be realized, a goal to be achieved, a person’s characteristics, a memory, an invention planned out in one’s mind, a principle of behavior, a propensity for truth, a vision …Continue Reading “The Hierarchy of Values and the Ambiguity of Fairness”