Third Party & Independents: Archives

August 29, 2007

Liberal Fascists Shut Up!

Some liberals are going just too far. Running out to the government at every single damn chance. I am more liberal than anyone here, but I am sick and tired of you liberal fascist making these ridiculous stupid laws, trying to ‘protect us’.

WARNING: THE FOLLOWING INCLUDES LIBERTARIAN VIEWS WHICH LIBERALS SHOULD EMBRACE INSTEAD OF EMBRACING FASCISM

Seatbelt laws: Why is it up too you if I wear a damned seatbelt? If I want to be stupid and not wear a seatbelt it is my control over my own life. You say that women have the right over their own bodies, but I do not have the control over my own body, in a much smaller way to decide if I wear a seatbelt or not. We are not infants, we do not need government putting bibs on us. Does government own my life? Hell no! My life is my life, and if I want to be stupid and not wear a seatbelt and risk my life that is my choice.

Motorcycle Helmet Laws: Once again I own my own life. If you want to have a woman to have control over their own body, why does not the person who decides to risk his / her life by riding without a helmet. Who in the world am I hurting by being stupid and riding without a helmet, outside of my self? The only 'person' who I could be hurting is insurance companies. But liberals claim to not be under the control of insurance companies, thus you should be with a real liberal, me, and oppose these helmet laws.

Trans Fat Laws: What the hell is up with this? If I want the most delicious fries or burgers or candy or whatever what the hell is it the government's business. You know some people cannot afford the yachts and snowboarding vacations that the rich folk can, so maybe eating these delicious foods is their vacation. I should be able to have control over my own body! If I want to clog my arteries with trans fat it is none of your damn business! Government should not tell us what we can and cannot eat.

Smoking Laws: What the hell is up with our society? In many cities and states I now cannot smoke in bars or clubs. These bars are feeding people with alcohol, which helps kill people and causes thousands of DUI deaths a year. But smoking in these clubs and bars is illegal? What, what what? Moreover a lot of people go to clubs and bars to meet strangers to have sex with, thus potentially spreading STD's. But I cannot smoke a damn cigarette in these clubs? You know what if you do not smoke and you do not want to go to a place where people smoke than go somewhere where smokers do not go! Other than that there is no reason to ban smoking in bars and clubs, especially considering smokers are often some of the best customers of these places. I remember when a nearby suburb of where I went to college instituted an anti smoking ban, a few of the bars closed down within months. I cannot prove that was the reason of course though, but still if we go by a free market concept the owners of a bar / club want as many customers as possible to come to there bar / club and thus should welcome smokers and non smokers alike.

Gay Marriage: Ummmmm.....Hillary, Edwards, Obama. Enough said.

Drug Laws: http://norml.org/index.cfm?Group_ID=4516 Enough said

Posted by Richard Rhodes at August 29, 2007 03:40 AM
Comments
Comment #230951

Richard, the answer to all your questions is very simple. All those liberty loving, I will catastrophically injure myself anyway I please, folks, WILL NOT be turned away from the taxpayer’s generosity when the EMS scrapes them off the road and delivers them to an ER for a hundred thousand dollars of life saving surgery and intensive care, that’s why.

America is a compassionate nation. We even pay for damned fools who throw caution to the wind, and declare the liberty to damage and injure themselves and even others with reckless behaviors. In exchange for that compassion, this society asks for common sense precautionary measures be taken to minimize the cost for carelessness to taxpayers of a compassionate nation.

As for the smoking, I think you have a stronger case. Society can’t in the same breath logically say it is OK to drink and drive, (which they do, knowing bars don’t exist on every neighborhood corner like they used to), but, not to smoke while you drink. It is the height of hypocrisy and lacks any logical merit.

It would make more sense for local government’s to permit smoking and non-smoking bars and restaurants clearly labeled on the establishment and in advertising. To ban smoking in all public places to include places specifically catering to smokers, is discriminatory without equal application of the law.

For smoking, America’s hypocrisy doesn’t stop there. They actually fund government by taxing cigarettes, reaping rewards from smokers, and absolutely refuse to use those revenues to open smoking cessation clinics for smoker’s to check into, and leave a non-smoker. The reality of this dictates that government politicians DO NOT really want people to quit smoking as evident by their refusal to outlaw tobacco like they do marijuana, and its sales.

Then comes the real kicker. Subsidies to tobacco farmers whose crops are wiped out by a storm or flood.

And I have yet to hear of a single case tried in the courts for manslaughter by passive smoke. In many cities, at the right time of the year, its occupants breath in far more pollutants and harmful chemicals from local industry than could possibly from passive smoke in a restaurant, bar, or outdoor park or recreational facility filled to 30% with smokers (estimating 3 out of 10 adults smoke).

As for trans-fats, sorry, you don’t have a leg to stand on. You want trans-fats, you can gorge on them in your own cooking. But, if an establishment wants to invite the general public to eat, they have minimum standards to meet, regarding the serving of healthy food, as in not tainted with botulism, e-coli, roach and rat feces, or trans-fatty acids which are proven to be unhealthy. The concept of public health departments have been around and pervasive for over a century, and they are here to stay, by popular demand.

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 29, 2007 06:30 AM
Comment #230954

Richard,

I don’t know about you, but where I live most of these things were enacted by a majority of voters.

Whether initiated by “liberal fascists” or not, the voters have spoken, get over it.

Unless you feel that Democracy is a bad idea, I think your angst is sadly misplaced.

Posted by: Rocky at August 29, 2007 08:09 AM
Comment #230955

Seatbelt and helmet laws-
Look, the government doesn’t have to let you drive a car or motorcycle. It does, however, have to avail you of emergency medical care. You are more likely to walk away or require less care if you take these precautions.

You are also more of a danger to others if you fail to belt up. You become a projectile, you lose control of your vehicle more easily. Lacking seatbelts make things worse.

I’ll give more information on the others later.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 29, 2007 08:19 AM
Comment #230956

Richard,

Don’t you realize how sophomoric it is to call someone a “fascist” simply because they want to tell you what to do?

If you are going to accuse liberals of fascism, please explain what you mean by fascism. Most people associate the word with the governments of Hitler and Mussoliini. If the most “fascist” things these guys did was fine people for not wearing their seatbelts, then the history of the 20th century would have been rather different.

Posted by: Woody Mena at August 29, 2007 08:25 AM
Comment #230957

Richard, Do you feel the same about those ridiculous car safety laws Ralph Nader forced down our throats. How about those foolish endangered species laws not to mention the clean air requirements forced on us at the point of a gun?

Posted by: j2t2 at August 29, 2007 08:26 AM
Comment #230962

Richard,

IMO only two of the items on your list are even worthy of mention: Gay Marriage and Marijuana laws. In the case of both I believe your argument should be directed at the “taliban-gical right” rather than “Liberals”.

Regarding Gay marriage or Gay, Lesbian, Trans-gendered, Rights in general ……… uh, well, being kind, the answer is simply stupidity, fear, personal and/or religious bias, and downright prejudice. I’m personally disappointed in Democrats that stop short of full legal rights for ALL.

There should be no need to create some special legal contract allowing “nearly” equal rights for certain classifications of individuals. Such a contract already exists ……… it’s called marriage. Just remove GENDER from the equation altogether.

No religious entity need follow suit. Hmmmm, maybe that’s where separation of church and state comes in????????

Regarding Marijuana laws one of the above reasons is shared: STUPIDITY! Based on personal experience I think we also need to consider a heapin’ helpin’ of dishonesty and hypocrisy! I even tried pot a couple of times when I was in my late teens and early twenties! And I was hardly alone.

With the exception of alcohol it was the recreational drug of choice during my college years. Among those I witnessed partake in the herb some have gone on to practice law, excel in business, pursue medical careers, etc, etc. Of course maybe they didn’t inhale ……….. yeah, right ;^/

You’d think our history with prohibition of alcohol would serve as a great enough precedent. I dunno’. Maybe one more generation??????????

Posted by: KansasDem at August 29, 2007 09:23 AM
Comment #230964

Don’t you realize how sophomoric it is to call someone a “fascist” simply because they want to tell you what to do?

If you are going to accuse liberals of fascism, please explain what you mean by fascism. Most people associate the word with the governments of Hitler and Mussoliini.
Posted by: Woody Mena at August 29, 2007 08:25 AM


Woody,

Please read the “Radicalism of Rigidity” in the Blue column!

JD

Posted by: JD at August 29, 2007 09:35 AM
Comment #230965

JD,

I took a look, and did not see a definition of fascism in there. What is your point?

Posted by: Woody Mena at August 29, 2007 10:11 AM
Comment #230967


Richard: I agree with your seatbelt law and helmet law argument. If I choose to not use them and mess myself up, don’t drive helthcare prices up for everyone by repairing me. If I can still function somewhat, fine. If not, just shoot me in the head.

Public sacrifices are no longer acceptable. Highway deaths are a good way to appease the Gods for our hedonist lifestyles. Although we no longer find public sacrifice acceptable, the Gods still have to be fed.

If I choose to clog my arteries with fat of any kind, don’t perform bypass surgery on me. It will only drive medical costs up for everyone and the next thing you know, people will be screaming for national healthcare.

How many smokers and secondary smokers are on the lung transplant list? Are you going to pay for them? Of course you are.

Don’t worry about the bars and the nite cruising, they are on the hit list.

With Marijuana, the optimum word is decriminilize not legalize. Pot will not be a great tax money maker for the government. Everyone has a right to produce wine and beer for their own consumption. Howerever, the process of gathering the ingredients, the equipment and fermenting the ingredients is time consuming. This is less the case with mairjuana. All you need is a few seeds, a little nitrogen and potassium, water, sunlight (natural or artificial) and a little love. This would be a major problem for the government because users are already used to this or to buying from someone who does grow. Besides that, Marijuana is one of those substances that tend to make users yell things at their government like, “I’m mad as hell and I am not going to take this anymore.” We don’t want that do we? Marijuana is a mult-billion dollar a year boost to the economy. The greatest threat to a marijuana growers crop is not the government, it is thievery. A thief won’t put you in jail but, he can sure bust you anyway.

Posted by: jlw at August 29, 2007 11:40 AM
Comment #230971

So everybody here is calling Richard’s screed “sophmoric”? Well, Richard, here’s where I weigh in on your side.

1.) Seat belts. I have been wearing my seat belt every since my 1972 Opel came equiped with them. That’s loooooong before seat belt laws came into existance. But it was MY choice to wear them. I thought they were a good idea and so I buckled up…by MY choice. That is what you call “FREEDOM”. Those stopped for a seat belt violation should be made to watch those “Deadly Prom Night” flicks they show in Driver’s Ed. Once they know the consequences of their actions…it’s up to them. There should be NO fines associated with not wearing a seat belt. The law should read that if you are in a wreck and not wearing a seat belt, it’s automatically your fault. You…or your estate…pays all damages. That way you know that your freedom does come at a cost…BUT you still have that freedom.

2.) Trans fats. Don’t we live in a Capitalist society? When did the government get to decide what you get to eat or not? You serve food with rat turds, ecoli, etc., you get sued and go out of business. Dictating that fast food will have no trans fats is simply another facet of our “nanny” government attitude. If I want to eat original recipe KFC with grease running down my forearms…that’s MY choice, not the government’s. Once again, it is OUR choice whether to eat unhealthy or healthy and it’s NONE of the government’s business. If there’s a fast food place that has trans fats and one that doesn’t, don’t you think that enough people will stop eating at the trans fats place to put the other one out of business…or at least change to a non-trans fats menu? That’s supply and demand. That’s what our economy is based on. If the government gets involved, let them make a law that if you buy food from a place that serves lots of food with trans fats, you have to show proof that you have medical insurance. Problem sovled.

3.) Smoking. I am a smoker. I do NOT want non-smokers to have to suffer the smell of my cigarettes. I have no problem with segregating smokers and non-smokers. Same bar, different rooms with different air conditioners and warning signs that this or that room is a smoking designated room…enter at your own risk. Non-smokers have rights. Those who are allergic to cigarette smoke have rights…and those rights must NOT be trampled upon. But the other side of the coin, it seems, it NOT true. That is wrong. Period.

4.) Motorcycle helmet laws. See Number 1 above.

5.) Gay marriage. I’m for it. Gays should be made to suffer like the rest of us.

6.) Bigamy. The definition of bigamy is having one wife too many. Which is also the definition of Monogamy. :-)

Posted by: Jim T at August 29, 2007 11:59 AM
Comment #230972

jlw,

I tend to agree with your stance on marijuana, but for a different reason.

Have you noticed what happens to you when you smoke pot? You get mellow..you chill out. When you drink, on the other hand, many many people get agressive and want to start fights.

I’d much rather have someone eating all my Doritos than trying to punch my lights out.

Posted by: Jim T at August 29, 2007 12:10 PM
Comment #230977

Of the many things to get upset about in modern life, I choose to get upset by the ones that actually upset me. I don’t give a fig whether there are seatbelt and helmut laws — if idiots want to increase their chances of severe injury or death, that’s their business. Evolution in action. However, don’t expect me to rally for the rights of morons.

What really pisses me of is the government telling me I can’t play online poker. That hit me in the pocketbook because I was making $1-3K a month at it.

Posted by: Gerrold at August 29, 2007 01:32 PM
Comment #230981

jlw, you do realize that same logic would apply to Katrina vicitms for having made their choice on where to live, right? If nada for non-seat belt wearers, nada for storm victims. It was their decision to assume the risk to live in tornado alley for example.

We have a concept in America, it is called equal application of the law. Generally, there are exceptions, if a law applies to one group, it applies to all groups bearing the same group identifier.

If society refuses to underwrite aid to one group of risk takers, it must not underwrite other risk taking groups either. This is what makes corporate bailouts so unfair. The government doesn’t bailout individual citizens to prevent bankruptcy, why corporations, which have for all intents and purposes, the same rights as a citizen?

So, would you 1) rather have government legislate no individual may be refused life saving treatment based on ability to pay, in which case it has a right to mitigate its costs by mandating safer behaviors, or, 2) be comfortable with government discriminating against individuals and groups on a purely political and arbitrary basis regarding aid and assistance, or 3) would you rather government deny any individuals or groups legislation which the public decides is in their interests, and leave it to the experts like Libertarians to decide what is good for the people, and what is not.

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 29, 2007 03:17 PM
Comment #230984

David Remer said: “if an establishment wants to invite the general public to eat, they have minimum standards to meet, regarding the serving of healthy food, as in not tainted with botulism, e-coli, roach and rat feces, or trans-fatty acids which are proven to be unhealthy.”

First there is a difference between e-coli, roach and rat feces and trans-fatty acids. Secondly David yes trans fat is bad for you but so is red meat, salt, sugar, saturated fat, and fat in general. So why don’t we go ahead and ban all these too from these restaurants, huh? Hell, why don’t we make it where every restaurant is only allowed to serve tofu and wheatgrass!

My point is that its about personal responsibility. If someone goes to a place that uses trans fat every single day, well than they are stupid and will suffer the consequences of their own decisions. But on the same hand someone else might be responsible and only go to restaurants that serve trans fat once a month or so.

David Remer said: “And I have yet to hear of a single case tried in the courts for manslaughter by passive smoke.”

Dammit David I hope no one from The Truth or WHADAFXUP sees that you may have gave those idiots an idea.

Stephen Daughtery said: “You are also more of a danger to others if you fail to belt up. You become a projectile, you lose control of your vehicle more easily. Lacking seatbelts make things worse.”

Stephen I doubt there have been many deaths or injuries from persons not wearing seatbelts becoming projectiles and hurting other people. Can you back this statement up and prove that people without wearing seatbelts who became projectiles actually hurt others at some substanial rate?

j2t2 said: “Richard, Do you feel the same about those ridiculous car safety laws Ralph Nader forced down our throats. How about those foolish endangered species laws not to mention the clean air requirements forced on us at the point of a gun?”

There is a huge difference without the car safety laws you can hurt others, including others in your car and other drivers on the road and not only yourself. All the things I mention you are only hurting yourself and risking your own life, controlling your own life, and not risking that of others. Same with clean air and clean water laws they affect all of us and not just one person.

All:
On the trans fat issue: Some companies have already willingly took trans fat out of their products before this call for legislation began. This is how it should be, if you choose to buy the trans fat version that is your choice and you suffer the consequences, but you should have that choice. Moreover these idiots calling for the removal of all trans fats are not gonna stop there. I mean come on, salt is as unhealthy as just about anything! Do you really think that when they are done with trans fat and have banned it nationwide they are gonna stop there? Hell no. They are gonna go after salt next, than sugar, than caffiene, than red meat, than who knows what else.

On Smoking Laws: The fascist at The Truth and WHADFXUP are already trying to ban cigarettes in all movies, and make it where if a movie has someone who smokes that is a reason for an R rating. These people are trying to make it where you cannot smoke anywhere in public. Some of them even want to actually ban smoking, outlaw it! What will happen than? Cigarettes will go into the black market, and than cops and the judicial system will have something else meaningless to deal with and waste our tax dollars and waste jail space by putting innocent non violent cigarette smokers in jail just like they are too innocent non violent marijuana smokers.

It is this whole nanny society which some are trying to push on us. Whats next? Is it gonna be required that everyone engaging in sex is required by law to wear a condom? Is the prohibition of alcohol gonna come back?

Think about it once these people win on smoking or trans fat they are not gonna stop there. Otherwise they would be out of a job. Thus they have to choose something else which they see as bad and push their ideals on all of society.

Posted by: Richard Rhodes at August 29, 2007 03:58 PM
Comment #230985

Laws against victimless crimes have no place in a free society. Most traffic laws (including the aforementioned seatbelt and helmet laws) fall into this category. Almost all traffic laws are passed for only one purpose: to make money for the government. The police are forced by the politicians to enforce traffic “crime” instead of hunting real criminals. This isn’t how our country is supposed to operate. Speed limits are the worst offenders of the money-making traffic laws. Speed limits should be outlawed outside of cities and other densely-populated areas.

For those of you who think traffic laws aren’t fascistic… Try breaking one and go to traffic court. What you will see there is downright scary. Literally hundreds of people in every court every day being forced to fork over their hard-earned money to a totalitarian government for doing nothing more than trying to drive from point A to point B. Yes, I said totalitarian. This bullshit doesn’t happen in a free society.

And what happens to the REAL bad drivers? They get a free pass! That’s right, if you cause an accident, you don’t pay for it. The millions of good drivers out there pay for it because of the government-mandated protection racket that is car insurance.

Marijuana? It never hurt anybody unlike real drugs. These laws are a national joke. The police will never be able to focus on dealers of hard drugs as long as they are forced to hunt down otherwise innocent people for pot possession.

Gay marriage and marriage in general doesn’t hurt anyone (insert joke here) and the government has no business telling people who that can or can’t marry. Marriage licenses serve no purpose other than making money for the government, so they should be outlawed as well.

Posted by: TheTraveler at August 29, 2007 04:00 PM
Comment #230987

According to your own logic, you should not have written this article. If people are allowed to do whatever foolish thing they want, and smart people have to let them you must therefore take our regulations, without complaint, given that’s what we want.

A true libertarian doesn’t try to force other people to let them do what they want. They simply ignore the law. Of course, they get caught and face the consequences, but if you’re so convinced your freedom on these issues are so important, why would you be unwilling to break the law to do what you want?

It just seems to me, Richard, that the freedoms you’re fighting for here are either petty, or proven as hazardous to people’s health. I don’t see the redeeming value in fighting to defend demonstrably self-destructive behavior, especially when the advocates seem to be fully aware of the lethality of this behavior. When a guy’s about to jump off the top of a building, should we make like Martin Riggs and help them do it?

The freedom to act foolishly is one thing. Everybody has that, laws or no laws. But to act foolishly without consequence? Nobody’s that free. If the consequences are predictably bad enough, others should be free to legislate to discourage such behavior, within reason. Trans-fats laws strike me as excessive, but the rest should stand.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 29, 2007 04:08 PM
Comment #230993

Stephen, that is just the problem…your idea of acting foolish and my idea differ…..why are yours legislated on?

Seatbelt question:

I had a friend that was killed in an auto accident a few years back. The coroner claims she would have survived had she not been wearing her seatbelt (which she only wore because she is law abiding and hated it).

Now for the question:

Should the government be charged with murder?
They forced the belt on her. You know what they got? NOTHING!!!!! A big fat “oh well”!!! No compensation….nothin’!!!

I’m all for seatbelts on children that are not of age to decide for themselves. But I enjoy using my adult brain and making choices.

It seems to me that most peoples gripes with this boils down to insurance. Whether it is seatbelts, smoking, trans-fats…etc… Ok then, FIX THE PROBLEM THERE WHERE IT LIES……INSURANCE!!! Revolt against the insurance machines…don’t sell rights down the river!!

Posted by: Traci at August 29, 2007 05:50 PM
Comment #230994


David R. In a superficial way. The people of New Orleans were not Katrina victims. they were U.S. Army Corp of Engineers victims. Katrina missed N.O. and did very little damage to the city. Those people were victimized by their government.

Here is a better example of your stand against disaster victims. You live in toronado alley. You are at home when a toronado destroys your home. You are buried, traped in the rubble. your only hope is that someone will come to your aid. No one comes. No one cares. Why should they care about what happens to you? What’t in it for them? They might get hurt or killed if they try to help you.

Disaster relief has nothing to do with the fiscal problems this country faces. Our fiscal problems have everything to do with our in your face World hedonist wasteful lifestyles. We consume way more than we need, more than we produce, so we borrow.

I am single and have no children. As a result, I have paid far more in taxes than many of my wage contemporaries because they get tax relief from the government in the form of spouce and child deductions. I have been forced to subsidize their children. Is that fair? We could probably eliminate the deficit by eliminating that one deduction alone. Perhaps that is something we can’t afford anymore. Fewer people means smaller government, less waste, smaller debt.

Richard: I appologize for getting off topic.

Posted by: jlw at August 29, 2007 05:54 PM
Comment #230997

Stephen,

“Trans-fats laws strike me as excessive, but the rest should stand.”

They won’t in a decade. It took twice that long to get smoking to the point where people felt it was a danger to all. Seatbelts took about a decade. Obesity has been classified by many as an epidemic in the U.S., and it is a direct contributer to the sky-rocketing health care costs which has contributed greatly to the stagnation of wages for the middle-class.

The seatbelt argument was that we should not pay for the risks of others. Making them required was a way to lower the overall insurance risks.

MADD made quicker work with drunk driving laws from the late 70’s - late 80’s.

In the mid 90’s, a number of public health journals started reviewing the impact of alcohol on college campuses. They documented the full cost of binge drinking to the whole society. Shortly thereafter, federal funds for educational institutions started coming with strings attached concerning alcohol regulations on campuses.

You said above,
Look, the government doesn’t have to let you drive a car or motorcycle. It does, however, have to avail you of emergency medical care. You are more likely to walk away or require less care if you take these precautions.

The ability of the government to limit and regulate driving a car or a motorcycle is not born from some real or implied power in the constitution of the U.S. or the States. Rather, it stems from the power of the purse. Because the Fed’s have built the roads, they become public land, and they have the ability to regulate them. When the government takes full responsibility for managing healthcare costs, there will be sufficient legal authority, to make even greater inroads into the dietary habits of Americans.

The large expansion of government powers in the 20th century was allowed through the institution of the personal income tax and the broader interpretation of the Commerce clause. To a large degree this was necessary due to the large population expansion and growing complexity of 20th century life.

My point with all of this is not to disagree with some of these prohibitions. I personally think that we are better off not having drunk drivers on the road and people buckled snugly in their seats. College administrations should be worried about binge drinking. The motorcycle helmet laws are smart for individual owners, but I think anyone stupid or crazy enough to go hurtling down the road at 60mph without some basic protection is asking for it.

However, I have some grave concerns about the slippery slope of public health initiatives thave have continued to reclassify human activities as privlidges subject to government intervention. There seems to be a tendency in today’s U.S. that regards that which is good for the public good as more important than what is good for us as collective individual citizens as a sum total. While it is impossible to imagine in the U.S., similar thinking led to state mandated abortions in China. Personally, I think that limiting the freedom to make personal choices and decisions is something that should be considered very carefully.

Finally, somewhat as an aside, “The government doesn’t have to let you…” is not a very convincing argument. The government doesn’t have to let you get married either; it’s technically a privlidge in the same way that driving is. Do you want to shut down the debate on the restrictions on that? I don’t. The debate on what we allow “the government let us do” seems to me to be as germane a topic today as it was 230 years ago, maybe moreso.

Posted by: Rob at August 29, 2007 06:11 PM
Comment #230999

Stephen,

I can’t answer for Richard, but here’s what I think…

A true libertarian doesn’t try to force other people to let them do what they want. They simply ignore the law. Of course, they get caught and face the consequences, but if you’re so convinced your freedom on these issues are so important, why would you be unwilling to break the law to do what you want?

Because breaking the law is expensive. Most people can’t afford the fines and/or jail time it takes to break the law. The silly traffic laws are a good example. Nobody wants (or needs) to follow speed limits on country roads. They only do it because they can’t afford to get caught and/or they simply don’t want to put up with the legal bullshit. Here in New York you have to show up in court at least twice for a simple ticket (unless you want to admit to what you did, in which case you get a bigger punishment!). No one has the time or money for the BS, so they follow pointless laws.
Breaking the law won’t make things better, but working to get it repealed will. Following a law does not mean you agree with it.

It just seems to me, Richard, that the freedoms you’re fighting for here are either petty, or proven as hazardous to people’s health. I don’t see the redeeming value in fighting to defend demonstrably self-destructive behavior, especially when the advocates seem to be fully aware of the lethality of this behavior.

Yeah, we all know about the lethality of Marijuana. It must be dangerous, the government said so! I’m sure you think that eliminating the concept of private property so they could regulate who can smoke where was a great moment in the history of our government. And I hope you’re not coming out against gay marriage all of a sudden?

Posted by: TheTraveler at August 29, 2007 06:24 PM
Comment #231007

Aren’t there more important things going on in the world on which to comment???

Posted by: Rachel at August 29, 2007 07:19 PM
Comment #231010

Rachel,

Well, this is kind of about freedom. There ARE way too many restrictive laws. Many of us violate them at will. I wear a seatbelt because I’m not an idiot, not because there’s a stupid law.

Posted by: Gerrold at August 29, 2007 07:28 PM
Comment #231013

richard

don’t you realize that you only get to keep the freedoms that the majority of the liberal left thinks you need? remember richard the voters have spoken, and if they’ve decided there are some freedoms you don’t need, why thats just tough! my views are mostly of the conservative nature, however i agree with everything you’ve said. the greater good argument doesn’t fly. your rights are supposed to be protected, just because the majority doesn’t agree with them doesn’t mean they can simply vote them away. notice how most of these responses cherry pick which freedoms they think should be protected, but chastise you for bitching about the ones they don’t feel are important, now thats hypocracy. seat belts, guns, pot, the car you drive, it’s not up to you, because THE VOTERS HAVE SPOKEN ! they’ll ignore the abridging of freedoms they don’t care about, and by the time they come for the ones they do, there’ll be no one left to stand up for them, OH WELL!

Posted by: dbs at August 29, 2007 08:27 PM
Comment #231016

What, what what? Moreover a lot of people go to clubs and bars to meet strangers to have sex with, thus potentially spreading STD’s. But I cannot smoke a damn cigarette in these clubs?
Posted by Richard Rhodes at August 29, 2007 03:40 AM

Richard,

Look on the bright side! If you stopped smoking cigarettes and smoked cigars instead, at least Democrats would let you use those for sex! Just ask Bill.

JD

Posted by: JD at August 29, 2007 09:28 PM
Comment #231018

There seems to be a tendency in today’s U.S. that regards that which is good for the public good as more important than what is good for us as collective individual citizens as a sum total. While it is impossible to imagine in the U.S., similar thinking led to state mandated abortions in China.
Posted by: Rob at August 29, 2007 06:11 PM

Not so impossible, Rob. I believe the only thing standing in the way of that is the Christian Conservatives of the Republican Party and the Democrats’ desperate need to be able to continue Social Security payments!

JD

Posted by: JD at August 29, 2007 09:39 PM
Comment #231019
What really pisses me of is the government telling me I can’t play online poker. That hit me in the pocketbook because I was making $1-3K a month at it.

Gerrold, they can’t make it illegal for you to play, what they’ve done is made it illegal for a US owned banked to transfer money into an online poker site. So… get some money in a NON-US owned bank! That way you can transfer your funds in, or out, and continue on your way. :)

And yes, I play online poker. I do this with non-US funds on a non-US site. How is that illegal? Arrest me PLEASE!

Posted by: Rhinehold at August 29, 2007 09:40 PM
Comment #231022

richard

BTW, have you tasted the girlscout cookies since they took out the trans fat? talk about disappointing your taste buds! i say we start a campaign to put it back.

Posted by: dbs at August 29, 2007 09:59 PM
Comment #231023

Wow, my six year old grandson got my head straight!

My daughter stopped by briefly with my youngest grandson, and he had a kiddie laptop and was playing a game. It was a version of “what’s different in this picture than the other picture”. I remember playing similar games on paper with my kids.

Well, when I read this article again, I thought which thing in this article is different than the others? Well, duh! Everything is a choice except for one little thing! We don’t choose our sexual orientation!

Idaho Senator Larry Craig really doesn’t get it. His proclamation of innocence is “I’m not gay, I’ve never been gay”! Well, who gives a shit. You’re in trouble for cruising restrooms, not for being gay. Cruising for public sex is a perversion and a crime. I haven’t tried it but I’m pretty sure I’d get in trouble if I cruised a ladies room (I’m male).

So ………. I’m just wondering ……… how do we lump gay/lesbian issues in with all of these “choice” issues?

Posted by: KansasDem at August 29, 2007 10:06 PM
Comment #231026

“Seatbelt laws: Why is it up too you if I wear a damned seatbelt?”

Because when people don’t wear them, other people are going to have to come out and literally scrape them off the asphalt — and all of us are forced to pay those workers for performing that service.

“Motorcycle Helmet Laws: Once again I own my own life.”

Same as above. It’s not about people owning their own lives, it’s about others having to clean up after their deaths — and of all of us having to pick up the tab for it.

“Trans Fat Laws: What the hell is up with this?”

I don’t think that the government should be able to dictate to businesses what oil they use. That being said, heart disease is one of the major killers of our people, and hydrogenated oils (transfats) cause heart disease to develop very rapidly, even more so than eating saturated fats, like butter.

“Government should not tell us what we can and cannot eat.”

I agree, but I think that instead of dictating what oils restaurants should be allowed to use to make their food, the government should instead require these businesses to tell people exactly what they ARE using to make their food — right on their menus. In this way, it becomes just like mandatory ingredient labeling on packaging at the food store. As long as people are being adequately informed is all that is truly important. And in this way, we can make the smart choice for ourselves — or the stupid and unhealthy choice. I also think that if this issue was handled in this way, restaurants and other food businesses would automatically end up switching voluntarily to using oils without transfats to a large extent.
Seriously, think about it — what business owner would want to advertise on their menu that they’d far rather save themselves a few pennies than give a thought to the health and wellbeing of their customers?

“Smoking Laws: What the hell is up with our society?”

Again, I think the decision on smoking should be left up to business owners, but just like with transfats, they should have to make their smoking or anti-smoking status clear to their potential customers. If they want to be a business that welcomes smokers, fine. If they want to be a business that won’t allow smoking, also fine. Then businesses can make their choice, and so can we for ourselves.
Since smoking isn’t illegal, and since smokers pay a lot of taxes to their states with each and every pack of cigarettes they buy, I feel that it is ridiculous that they are being treated as if they are some sort of social pariahs.

“Gay Marriage”

Should be automatically legal, in my view.
All Men (and Women) Are Created Equal. Gay people have an automatic right to hold the exact same legal status in the eyes of our government as all other Americans. Of course, believing as I do in the Separation of Church and State, gay marriage should never be forced or mandated upon any religion in this country.

“Drug Laws”

Marijuana and Hashish should be legal, but if sold in public, should be taxed much like tobacco is. Our citizens should be allowed to legally grow (or in the case of hash, make) and smoke their own. The laws that apply to alcohol when it comes to driving under the influence should apply here, also.
I think a similar case could perhaps also be made for the personal use of psilocybin mushrooms among our citizens, especially since (like MJ and Hashish), there is no long term health effects and no addiction associated with the use of that drug. I don’t have a problem with other existing drug laws, because most others have proven to be very addictive, and thus end up being harmful to our society in general.

Fascistic thinking? I don’t think so.
Just protecting freedom, yet still using common sense the way I see it…

Posted by: Adrienne at August 29, 2007 10:28 PM
Comment #231027

Once again, you are spot on, KD!

Posted by: Adrienne at August 29, 2007 10:29 PM
Comment #231028

Richard

For 27 years I worked for the tollway system here in Illinois. I witnessed and assisted with uncountable accidents in that time. The largest percentage of them were during a six year stretch that I worked third shift. The majority of accidents were the result of overcompensation resulting in multiple rollovers after swerving for whatever reason. The average vehicle on our four lane interstate highway generally travels at a speed of 70 to 80 miles per hour. Easily the vast majority of deaths were the result of ejections because of no seat belt, from a rolling vehicle traveling at a high rate of speed. Often times it would be a vehicle in which only one person was not wearing their belt. Many times the survivors were able to walk away while the one without the belt was laying dead in the middle of the road or somewhere over the fence and in a cornfield. I do not know if you have children or not. I can not begin to imagine the pain parents must feel when they are told their child has perished and it could have been avoided had they been wearing a belt. I even assisted with one accident where an individual landed on the hood of another vehicle and went thru the windshield.

This imo is a no nonsense law Richard. It saves many many lives, period. Your logic seems somewhat off kilter to me. You are not concerned that there is a good chance you may die if in an accident. I am assuming it is the thought of having to pay a fine for not being responsible that bothers you. I understand it is the big brother thing. But sometimes we have to do these things simply because it is what is best for everyone.

I am an ex smoker. Starting Jan 1st we become a smoke free state. The town I live in is already. I think this is a good thing. I do not enjoy having to suffer thru watery eyes and sneezing at a smoke filled bar or restaurant. Not to mention that stench that sticks to my clothing. I know you are going to say that I do not have to frequent that establishment if I don’t like it. But my response to you would be that the same applies to you if you can’t handle not smoking indoors for a few hours. Once again common sense says this is a good law. Second hand smoke is dangerous. Why should you be allowed to put me at risk? Why should I have to stay home to avoid smoke risk? One of the arguments I heard before the law took effect was that the bars and restaurants would be hurt. Truthfully many are doing better and I can’t see that any have lost business since the change. I do however notice a lot more cigarette butts outside the entryways now.

Posted by: RickIL at August 29, 2007 10:54 PM
Comment #231031

Rhinehold,

What’s the site? Full Tilt? I looked at it; it seems they are bucking the system. There still seem to be hurdles in the way, but maybe I’ll give it a shot. Have to get a new offshore account, though — Neteller doesn’t deal with U.S. clients anymore.

I realize the new federal law deals with transactions, but poker is illegal in my state, as in most.

Posted by: Gerrold at August 29, 2007 11:15 PM
Comment #231032

The problem with using costs to society to justify restrictive laws is that it could be used to justify just about every damn thing. It’s a weak justification. It’s similar to justifications people use to erode the Fourth Amendment — opening people’s emails and listening to phone calls could prevent lots of crime, lots of societal harm, so why the hell not?

I’m a “liberal” in the sense that I think society should help the less unfortunate, but I don’t support government intruding into my life for my own “benefit.”

Posted by: Gerrold at August 29, 2007 11:20 PM
Comment #231033


There is no federal helmet law. Some states have one, others don’t. Ohio had a helmet law until several thousand hells angels looking bikers showed up in Columbus and started circling the Capital building. The legislature repealed the law.

Posted by: jlw at August 29, 2007 11:36 PM
Comment #231041

Gerrold:
“The problem with using costs to society to justify restrictive laws is that it could be used to justify just about every damn thing. It’s a weak justification.”

I wonder if it would seem so weak a justification to you if all drugs were made legal and your next door neighbor then decided to turn their residence into a crack house or heroin shooting gallery? Perhaps when your neighbor’s decision began to seriously devalue the worth of your investment, and raised the crime rate all over your neighborhood, you’d then consider that “costs to society” might well justify a few restrictive but necessary, laws?

“It’s similar to justifications people use to erode the Fourth Amendment — opening people’s emails and listening to phone calls could prevent lots of crime, lots of societal harm, so why the hell not?”

That’s easy. Because it’s Unconstitutional.

Posted by: Adrienne at August 30, 2007 12:32 AM
Comment #231044

People sometimes need to be protected from their own stupidity. Seatbelt and helmet laws, smoking ordinances, TFA legislation, these all fall into this catagory. People can be dumb and sometimes laws need to be enacted to protect them and others from their lack of active brain cells. If left to their own devices, many people will cheerfully eat, drink and/or smoke themselves to death, and then wonder what cruel God exists that would allow this to happen to good people like them. These same sort of people think that it’s perfectly OK to fly down the expressway at 125 with no seatbelts (and don’t get me started on the idiots on their crotch rockets), and I bet that the last thought to go through their dumbfounded little minds when they go through the windshield is “WTF!?!?!” Remember, ladies and gents, 100 is the AVERAGE IQ.

Tobacco is in a class by itself. It’s the only nasty habit that can hurt other people. That alone requires legislation IMHO.

Gay marriage and weed, OTOH, are a whole different issue. Cannabis should be decrimilized, and eventually legalized and taxed. From what I understand, Philip Morris et al already have plans in place for breaking into the legal weed market. While helping out Big Tobacco leaves (pun intended) a bad taste in my mouth, it’s good to see that they’ve noticed the writing on the wall.

Gay marriage? Sorry, but if two people want to legally bind their lives together (which is all marriage is, really), what does it matter how many X chromosomes they have between them? The only possible reasons to reject this notion are religious grounds, and sorry, I like my church and my state the same way I like a Black and Tan: nicely separated. If you only like to play in the bedroom with somebody who has different toys than you, go for it, but don’t foist your morals on anyone else.

L

Posted by: leatherankh at August 30, 2007 12:49 AM
Comment #231048

Richard Rhodes-
The statistics are pretty conclusive. It’s really a matter of physics. Seatbelts essentially lash you to the vehicle. When it stops, you’re part of what stops. Without the seatbelt, you continue moving at the velocity that the car was moving. That’s true regardless of whether its a dashboard, a steering wheel, another passenger, or a brittle, but nonetheless rock hard sheet of automotive glass in your way. If you’re thrown outside the car, you hit basically at the speed of the car, and you have no guarantee of a soft landing.

That, by the way, is implicit proof of the fact that there is a statistically high likelihood of becoming a projectile within the vehicle in an unbelted accident; you couldn’t very well become a projectile outside of the vehicle without having first been one inside, with sufficient force to bust through a windshield or side window.

Princess Diana, in fact, died by being thrown against the back of the seat in front of her hard enough to rip her heart from some of its arteries. She wasn’t wearing her seatbelt.

As for Trans Fats, I did some research, and as a matter of fact, there is a good reason to ban them:

Unlike other dietary fats, trans fats are neither required nor beneficial for health.[1] Eating trans fats increases the risk of coronary heart disease.[2] For these reasons, health authorities worldwide recommend that consumption of trans fat be reduced to trace amounts. Trans fats from partially hydrogenated oils are generally considered to be more of a health risk than those occurring naturally.

According to the article, the risk posed by trans-fats amounted to an estimated 30,000 deaths in 1994. They are, in fact, worse than Saturated fats for causing vascular disease.

It’s also not that necessary. Even Crisco, whose product was essentially the definition of a trans fat, was able to be reformulated without them. People will still get their fries, still get their cakes and other goodies. It’s not the freaking end of the world, you’re simply reacting politically before you know the facts.

The Traveller-
There are victims: the person killed or injured because they didn’t belt up. The person killed or injured because somebody collided against them and smashed them against the inside of the car. The person killed or injured, whether inside or outside the car, due to the loss of control of the driver, who is being bounced around teh inside of the car or worse, rather than being secured in a position to drive.

As for the traffic laws being bull? I’ve lived around freeways all my life, being a Houstonian. I’ve also lived around an intersection that didn’t have a stop sign for most of the time until just a couple years ago.

I’ve seen people living your dream, and let me tell you, it’s a nightmare.

As for Marijuana? It’s relatively harmless, but aside from medicinal use, it’s also pretty much a petty thing to fight for.

Rob-
Actually, if you read the link above, they decided that trying to regulate the transfats complete out of the market would be impossible. They could continue in natural sources, since those forms weren’t so harmful, and they aren’t that plentiful anyways.

I think the Republicans see slippery slopes everywhere. Will people really be forced to eat like those people from Demolition Man? I doubt it. We might see some more regulation of the production of some of the ingredients, but I doubt a government could last long if it tried to ban Hamburgers and French Fries.

On the other hand, the Federal government does subsidize the living hell out of many of the prime providers of the sweets and the fats that cause us the most problems.

For example, when somebody says “Beef: It’s what’s for Dinner.”, you’re paying for that as a taxpayer. Same with Milk, the incredible edible egg, and pork.

When the Liberals were handed that question a couple weeks ago, I had to recall what I’d recently read in Bill McKibben’s Deep Economy about the extent to which local, small farmers have been muscled out of the business by ADM and other Agribusiness giants. More to the point, production is herded towards a few big monocultural crops, while the varieties of local vegetables and fruits are left by the wayside. The system as Republicans and Democrats have arranged it, the Republicans more than ever, is one which impoverishes the quality of our food.

Glorifying the status quo in the food business as freedom is a joke. It’s a subsidized, unsustainable system.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 30, 2007 01:02 AM
Comment #231056

Stephen: You misread my question, and the whole meaning. A review:

“Stephen Daughtery said: “You are also more of a danger to others if you fail to belt up. You become a projectile, you lose control of your vehicle more easily. Lacking seatbelts make things worse.”

Richard Rhodes said: Stephen I doubt there have been many deaths or injuries from persons not wearing seatbelts becoming projectiles and hurting other people
. Can you back this statement up and prove that people without wearing seatbelts who became projectiles actually hurt others at some substanial rate?

I was not claiming that the people who do not wear seatbelts hurt themselves, that is obvious. But you posed it as in a way that them becoming projectiles would hit others and hurt others, so read the question again. It does not concern people wearing seatbelts hurting themselves, it concerns them becoming projectiles and hurting others as projectiles.

I would like to see you post one, just one, case of a person becoming a projectile and by becoming a projectile they flung into someone and hurt or killed them. If you cannot your argument is null and void Stephen. Because than the person choosing to not wear the seatbelt is only hurting themselves and not others. And last I checked we own our own lives. And these people are not hurting anyone, only themselves. It is victimless.

Stephen said: “As for Trans Fats, I did some research, and as a matter of fact, there is a good reason to ban them:

Unlike other dietary fats, trans fats are neither required nor beneficial for health.[1] Eating trans fats increases the risk of coronary heart disease.[2] For these reasons, health authorities worldwide recommend that consumption of trans fat be reduced to trace amounts. Trans fats from partially hydrogenated oils are generally considered to be more of a health risk than those occurring naturally.
According to the article, the risk posed by trans-fats amounted to an estimated 30,000 deaths in 1994. They are, in fact, worse than Saturated fats for causing vascular disease.

It’s also not that necessary. Even Crisco, whose product was essentially the definition of a trans fat, was able to be reformulated without them. People will still get their fries, still get their cakes and other goodies. It’s not the freaking end of the world, you’re simply reacting politically before you know the facts.”

Good work Stephen, but I could care less. I am not trying to be disrescpetful or mean or whatever but the health statistics do not matter in this context. I agree with you that trans fats are bad but that is not what is the issue here. The issue here which this post presented was personal freedom. Thus I say so what to how bad it is for me and you or other people, because I am not making a health argument, I am making a argument based on personal freedom.

Stephen, Stephen, Stephen..the facts do not matter here. It does not matter if it is bad. The issue I am concerned with is my body and my control over my own body. If I want to make stupid mistakes than I should have that right. This may seem unimportant to many, as many have said, and personally I do not even eat any of this fast food crap, but it is about control over our own bodies. It is all the same issue it is control over our own bodies, as long as it does not negatively effect others. Me, or you, or Bob, eating trans fats does not hurt others. Do you understand this Stephen?

We are losing all of our rights over our own bodies and lives. I am particularly disgusted by this by being probably one of the few ultra left progressive pro lifers.

Posted by: Richard Rhodes at August 30, 2007 02:02 AM
Comment #231059


Richard: Could you clarify your last sentence?

You are a ultra left progressive pro lifer?

You are disgusted because we are losing all of our rights over our own bodies?

Posted by: jlw at August 30, 2007 03:02 AM
Comment #231061

jlw: Right now I cannot, eventually I plan to write a post on my stance on abortion, as the only far left progressive pro life person that I have seen. This argument needs to go into great detail and I do not want to reveal it without great thought.

Posted by: Richard Rhodes at August 30, 2007 03:27 AM
Comment #231066

Adrienne,

THat’s the problem. You can always find justification for just about any restrictive law. You mention the Constitution; I’d remind you of the Ninth Amendment.

Everything is a balancing act. To me, some drugs, such as heroin, are so dangerous that they should be illegal. I wouldn’t say the same thing about, say, LSD. As far as health itself is concerned, should we ban red meat? Where does this end?

Poker is played by willing adults and has no immediate health problems. It is true that some people can’t handle gambling, but it is also true that some people can’t manage money. Should we outlaw impulse buying?

When we get to individual laws, the particular justifications for them can be compelling, and the general feeling that government shouldn’t interfere in everything seems less persuasive. For example, you write of crack houses in support of drug laws. That’s fine, but what does that have to do with seatbelt or helmet laws? Or any other laws. Those who feel the government is meddling too much have to resort to general principles, while advocates of whatever trot out zillions of statistics to support their causes. Where does it end? How have computers or TV contributed to a sedentary and unhealthy lifestyle? Should we place legal limits on activities involving those devices? That may seem absurd today, but will it in 10 years? 20?

At any rate, I am not talking about the legal right of government or the people to pass certain laws. I am lamenting that every year our society gets more and more restrictive. Perhaps that’s inevitable; perhaps all societies move toward more restrictions and less individual choice. Has there ever been a government that has moved in the opposite direction? I’m not aware of any. I see no reason or evidence that democracies are immue to that phenomenon.

Posted by: Gerrold at August 30, 2007 06:44 AM
Comment #231067

Richard Rhodes-
Tell me something: if you were to, relatively speaking to the vehicle, suddenly accelerate to the speed that the vehicle was travelling, and hit somebody, do you think they’d get hurt?

Of course they would. Imagine a two hundred pound person hitting you at sixty miles an hour. Do you think you’d get hurt? Hell, imagine just forty. Strike that, just twenty. Then imagine that when you get hit, you also hit the side of the car as well, and get smacked against it.

But don’t take my word for it. I like the term they use: backseat bullet.

You talk about personal freedom, but is it personal freedom when you go into your favorite restaurant, and they fry with trans-fats? Do you typically ask the people at the restaurant what they fry with? The law is not about your choices, but theirs, and they have other choices that don’t impact them much.

Their choice can hurt others, and over time has actually killed people, on top of those who would die for a chosen lifestyle. Now I’m not aware of any federal regulations concerning trans-fats, but the government is permitted to regulate ingredients put into food. Most of the time, it’s not your choice whether those ingredients are included. I’m glad the industry is taking them out for the most part, and if they’re doing that, I see no problem in letting things remain their choice.

You talk about losing your rights over your body and your life. The reality is, we have very little control. We don’t grow our own food, and we eat many processed and prepared meals nowadays. Even if you eat healthy, you can become a victim of other people’s choices. Just ask the people who buy spinach. We can’t eat any meat nowadays, if we don’t completely cook it, without chancing an infection.

Your doctrine of choice has been the backbone of resistance from many of these industries towards greater regulation. They make out like it’s you who are being deprived of freedom, when they’re essentially depriving you of the opportunity to avoid health hazards so they don’t have to take the hit on their profits.

The market cannot solve everything, especially when whole industries, trying to remain competitive, essentially copy the same unhealthy and/or dangerous approach to their products. If nobody will step up and take that hit, it’s time for the government to govern.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 30, 2007 07:51 AM
Comment #231068

Richard
I would like to see you post one, just one, case of a person becoming a projectile and by becoming a projectile they flung into someone and hurt or killed them. If you cannot your argument is null and void Stephen. Because than the person choosing to not wear the seatbelt is only hurting themselves and not others. And last I checked we own our own lives. And these people are not hurting anyone, only themselves. It is victimless.

As I stated in my post above I personally have been witness to a case when an individual as a flying projectile did damage to a following vehicle and injury to the persons inside. It is also not unusual for following vehicles to run off the road trying to avoid the body or bodies lying in the roadway. Or while gawking at the accident scene and not paying attention to surrounding traffic. You also are not taking into account the time lost due to road closures when there is a vehicle related death. Many times the road has to be closed and traffic diverted while a special investigative officer does his or her thing. This generally takes an hour or more. This action also on occasion results in additional accidents caused by people who just are not paying attention or may be drunk etc. And then there are the people, such as myself who are in danger while performing the road closure or traffic control duties. When there is no death involved often times the vehicle(s) involved can just be moved to the shoulder until a tow truck arrives. But in a death situation nothing can be moved until the investigation is complete. So as you can see irresponsibility can and often does have repercussions affecting the lives of others.

Posted by: RickIL at August 30, 2007 09:14 AM
Comment #231070

Gerrold, Was the recent change to the Federal laws regarding poker do to the demands of liberal fascist or was it the result of the religious rights atempt to legislate morality at the federal level?


Richard are you saying Hilary et al were the driving force on the gan marriage amendment? I thought that idea came from the other side of the aisle.

Posted by: j2t2 at August 30, 2007 10:29 AM
Comment #231071

It is funny how “liberals” get contradictory flak from several different sides. Libertarians say we want to be nannies, and not let people smoke dope and have gay marriages. Cultural conservatives say we are too permissive, because we support “the homosexual agenda” and medical marijuana. Rush, Fox, and friends have done a great job of making “liberal” mean two contradictory things that people don’t like: excessive government regulation and excessive personal freedom.

Then there are the leftists who associate liberalism with selling out. There’s a great song from the Sixties called “Love Me I’m a Liberal”. The point of the song is that liberals are sellouts who aren’t willing to fight.


Posted by: Woody Mena at August 30, 2007 10:49 AM
Comment #231076

With regards to seatbelts, it seems like most of what I’ve read above narrows down into two beliefs:
(1) People who don’t wear seatbelts cost more money to taxpayers via Emergency services;
(2) People who don’t wear seatbelts have a much higher Death on Arrival rate (meaning ejected and dead, not dies on way to hospital).

So, these two ideas seem to contradict one another. If someone is dead on scene (DOA) then how does that cost more money then the extracting the seatbelt wearing person who is clinging to life and has to be airlifted to a hospital?

People who don’t wear seatbelts and die require less medical care. Just my cold, economic two cents.

Posted by: Peter at August 30, 2007 11:52 AM
Comment #231077

Peter-
Reference above. If everybody walks away from an accident, most states allow it to go uninvestigated. When a death or serious injury is involved, that changes.

Additionally, though more people get killed when they’re not wearing seatbelts, tens of thousands more people get seriously injured as well. A better way to put things is that not wearing a seatbelt results in more severe trauma, including fatal injuries. That includes dead on the way to the hospital, dead after emergency care, as well as dead on the side of the road.

As for your cold economic two cents, death is costly as well, if you factor in the money the person can no longer make for family or loved ones.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 30, 2007 12:05 PM
Comment #231081

j2t2,

Yes, it did come from the other side of the aisle. That was my not-so subtle way of pointing out it’s not just the left at fault.

Everyone,

We’ve had articles here about lack of respect for the law. I’d think that’s a natural consequence of an overabundance of laws. Where does it end? I don’t know, but consider Singapore. Very nice city, very clean, very orderly, and every damn thing is against the law. Is it worth it? Not to me.

Posted by: Gerrold at August 30, 2007 01:50 PM
Comment #231083

“We are losing all of our rights over our own bodies and lives. I am particularly disgusted by this by being probably one of the few ultra left progressive pro lifers.”

Well I am particularly disgusted that any “Ultra Left”, “Progressive”, “Libertarian” who wants to claim that Liberals are “fascists” would ever say such a stupid thing. It makes no bloody sense whatsoever. You can’t scream for rights over our own bodies and lives, and then advocate to remove a womans right to determine whether or not she will carry, bear and have to raise a child to adulthood, simply because you are pro life.
Should society be forced to pay to make sure these women can carry, bear and properly raise their children to adulthood? If not, what are the costs to society for having women who don’t want to have children be forced to have them, and who can’t afford the costs entailed? What are the costs to our society having so many children raised poorly by people who never wanted to have them at all?

Gerrold:
“You can always find justification for just about any restrictive law.”

I think it should depend entirely on how these issues affect other people. If others are being forced to pay a high price as a result of other peoples stupidity, or ignorance, or selfish wishes, a law restricting something may well be in order.

“You mention the Constitution; I’d remind you of the Ninth Amendment.”

“The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”

The Ninth Amendment seems to have been written because there were rights that weren’t specifically outlined by the first eight. But what are these “certain rights”? Our government didn’t choose to tell us, yet still thought it relevant to add this amendment in order to show that there could exist some other fundamental rights that couldn’t be infringed on, and that might need to be protected from the federal government.
Since they didn’t specify what these “certain rights” were, they were leaving such things in the hands of We the People, and that whenever these rights ended up in dispute, such issues might call for legislation, or could end up going to the courts, perhaps even reaching all the way to the Supreme Court. It also left the way open for further Constitutional Amendments.
Additionally when the Fourteenth Amendment was passed, we were acknowledging a situation where the states were also not going to be allowed to abridge or interfere with certain basic and important freedoms and liberties, and again, when these things were in dispute they too were likely to end up in the courts, perhaps even reaching all the way to the Supreme Court, or leaving the way open for another amendment to the Constitution.

“Everything is a balancing act. To me, some drugs, such as heroin, are so dangerous that they should be illegal.”

Right, because the cost to society is much too large for all of us to bear.

“I wouldn’t say the same thing about, say, LSD.”

Yes, I previously mentioned psilocybin mushrooms (another hallucinogenic drug), but I could see where people might also make a case for LSD being made a legal drug. Yet, due to how some people might react violently while on acid, I could see other folks claiming that the cost to our society might come at too high a price. The same certainly cannot be said of how people react after smoking marijuana or hash.

“As far as health itself is concerned, should we ban red meat? Where does this end?”

In my view it always comes back to who is going to be harmed. Is it just the person making that decision, however unwise or unhealthy it may be? Or are there other, much larger costs to people around them, or to society at large that should, and must be considered?

Posted by: Adrienne at August 30, 2007 02:13 PM
Comment #231089

From a pragmatic libertarian (we’re not all morons like some on this site would imply: “and leave it to the experts like Libertarians to decide what is good for the people, and what is not”)…

Should the things highlighted above by Richard be legislated? Of course not… they should not have to be. If a moron rides a motorbike w/o a helmet… well… as a motorbike rider myself, I just see that as natural selection. BUT, there’s this little thing where we have to treat morons in the ER whether they can afford it or not… and from where does this money come? My pocket (and yours)… The most libertarian of libertarians will tell you they shouldn’t have to forcebly pay for things like this from their own bank account… especially in the case of the moronic motor bike rider. It is therefore in the best interest of libertarians everywhere, as long as this is the system in which we live, to support and indeed demand seat belt and helmet laws, as the absense of these laws hit our pocketbooks directly.

Now… a case could certainly be made that we should not be forced to pay for moronic behavoir… and I am certainly not debating that here… I am simply saying that under our current system of having to subsidize this behavoir, I think the truly pragmatic libertarian would agree that the lesser of two evils in this scenario is being forced to wear a helmet/seat belt.

Posted by: Doug Langworthy at August 30, 2007 03:17 PM
Comment #231091

Stephen,

As for the traffic laws being bull? I’ve lived around freeways all my life, being a Houstonian. I’ve also lived around an intersection that didn’t have a stop sign for most of the time until just a couple years ago.
I’ve seen people living your dream, and let me tell you, it’s a nightmare.

Allow me to clarify. I have no problem with laws to keep people from driving recklessly. Stop signs are good things. I’ll even concede the point about seatbelts.
But most traffic laws are not passed for that purpose and people do not drive safer because of them. All they do is keep the money flowing in.
Almost all speed limits in this country are unnecessarily low and in many places they are not needed at all.
Is this a petty problem? Not when you consider the thousands of people who are forced into courts all over the country every day to fork over their hard-earned money. Most of these people aren’t even bad or unsafe drivers. They were just trying to get where they were going. Not the kind of thing that happens in a free society.

Know what’s even worse? Government-mandated car insurance, which is nothing more than a mafia-style protection racket. We are forced to “kick up” to the insurance companies who in turn give the politicians their cut in the form of “campaign donations.” If we don’t kick up we loose the right to drive.

Posted by: TheTraveler at August 30, 2007 03:33 PM
Comment #231101

Well, as a society we often enforce actions for the benefit of the majority. Your right to swing your fist ends at my nose. Likewise, your right to smoke ends at my lungs.

The seatbelt laws are just like laws requiring headlights at night, wipers when it rains, functioning brakes in general, etc. They mandate safety features on a LICENSED vehicle. That is, you have no a priori right to drive a car, but are required to demonstrate capability and law-abiding behavior. Your argument, I guess, is that driving ought to be a right rather than an earned (and paid for) privilege, and you should make your case for that. But to pick on one required safety feature is absurd.

And the canard about Traci’s “friend” is an urban myth. To say that a particular individual would have lived without a seatbelt requires knowing the counterfactual situation, and I guarantee no one knows what would have happened to your “friend” had the seatbelt not been in place. If there was enough force for the seatbelt to cause mortal injury, there was enough force for the steering wheel, dashboard, or any other car part to cause it as well. Now the coroner may have a belief that she would have lived, but it’s hard to see how that belief can be based on fact rather than an axe to grind.

Posted by: mental wimp at August 30, 2007 06:11 PM
Comment #231106
I wear a seatbelt because I’m not an idiot, not because there’s a stupid law.

If there weren’t a law requiring seatbelts in cars, you wouldn’t have one to wear…

Posted by: Rachel at August 30, 2007 06:50 PM
Comment #231109

Rachel,

That may or may not be true, but I wasn’t speaking about regulations on corporations. Two different things.

The proper response to all this is to live life as ethical beings. It is not unethical for me to play small stakes poker with my buddies, so I do it, regardless that it’s a crime. If I get caught, I’ll pay the $50.

By the way, I don’t gamble. I won’t play the state lottery because it’s a sucker’s bet. Poker is primarily a game of skill. Long term, better players prevail. That’s why there are professional poker players, but no professional gamblers.

Posted by: Gerrold at August 30, 2007 07:08 PM
Comment #231113

Doug Langworthy, I commend your comments. I will correct one. We don’t subsidize stupidity when it comes to accidents (at least with foreknowledge). We subsidize compassion for injured persons, without knowing in the ambulance and ER if their injuries were a result of stupidity or a true accidental occurrence (lightning striking a limb which falls upon the street directly in front of injured person’s vehicle, for example.)

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 30, 2007 08:21 PM
Comment #231114

adrienne

i’m stunned, i actually agree with most of what you said. i’de better go check my temp. to make sure i’m not running a fever. however there are two exceptions, and here they are.

“Seatbelt laws: Why is it up too you if I wear a damned seatbelt?”

Because when people don’t wear them, other people are going to have to come out and literally scrape them off the asphalt — and all of us are forced to pay those workers for performing that service.

“Motorcycle Helmet Laws: Once again I own my own life.”

Same as above. It’s not about people owning their own lives, it’s about others having to clean up after their deaths — and of all of us having to pick up the tab for it.

following this reasoning we could then say that the taxpayers bearing the cost of many other gov’t. sevices is also not fair. the first that comes to mind is welfare. why should the taxpayer be left holding the bag for bad decisions made by others? you either have freedom of choice or you don’t. obviously someone has to clean up the mess, but people die have accidents, you name it. it’s part of what we do in a civilized society, and if you were to compare the cost of social services to that of accident scene cleanup my guess is the social services will have a much higher price tag. still cleanup is just part of the cost of freedom of choice. IMO not wearing a seatbelt, or a helmet is foolish, but it is still a personal choice, and should be up to the individual not the gov’t, or the voters.

Posted by: dbs at August 30, 2007 08:40 PM
Comment #231115

Motorcycles are inherently more dangerous than automobiles. By the dollar and cents reasoning here, we should make motorcyle riding illegal. In fact, you can argue for lots more restrictions using the arguments already employed.

Posted by: Gerrold at August 30, 2007 08:48 PM
Comment #231116

It should be illegal for pregnant women to own cats because of the risk of toxoplasmosis to their unborn children. Think of the societal costs. It should be illegal to drive smaller cars because larger cars are safer. Think of all the money wasted by transporting the injured and the dead. It should be illegal to get into a romantic relationship because when they fail, suicide rates climb. Think of the costs, the costs, the costs.

Posted by: Gerrold at August 30, 2007 08:59 PM
Comment #231119

Gerrold:
“It should be illegal for pregnant women to own cats because of the risk of toxoplasmosis to their unborn children. Think of the societal costs.”

I can’t think of any societal cost there. Can you?

“It should be illegal to drive smaller cars because larger cars are safer. Think of all the money wasted by transporting the injured and the dead.”

Nonsensical extrapolation.

“It should be illegal to get into a romantic relationship because when they fail, suicide rates climb.”

Also nonsensical. Who can determine whether it will fail? Besides, plenty of people who CAN’T get a romantic relationship also commit suicide.

“Think of the costs, the costs, the costs.”

I was — but in a realistic and reasonable fashion. What on earth are you doing? :^)

PS. What point were you trying to make regarding the Ninth Amendment? I gave you my interpretation of that amendment, but you never followed up with your own, or why you thought it was important to this discussion.

dbs:
“following this reasoning we could then say that the taxpayers bearing the cost of many other gov’t. sevices is also not fair.”

Wearing a seatbelt or a helmet is really not that big a deal or inconvenience, having to hire people to scrape blood, brains and body parts off the highway should be — especially when such a horror can be easily avoided.

“the first that comes to mind is welfare. why should the taxpayer be left holding the bag for bad decisions made by others?”

I can think of three good reasons right off the top of my head. You can agree or reject them.
1. Because we don’t want America to ever resemble Calcutta, India, or the favelas of Brazil.
2. Because no one should be made to starve while living in the richest nation in the world.
3. Because children should not be forced to go without everything they need because their parents can’t find a way to make ends meet.

Posted by: Adrienne at August 30, 2007 09:43 PM
Comment #231122

Adrienne


“Wearing a seatbelt or a helmet is really not that big a deal or inconvenience, having to hire people to scrape blood, brains and body parts off the highway should be — especially when such a horror can be easily avoided.”

i agree. i always wear one, however it’s still a personal choice, and the greater good is not IMO a valid reason to deprive someone of the right to make thier own decisions. on the other hand people who are reproductively irresponsible have also made a choice, and lack of planning on the part of one individual does not constitute an emergency on the part of another. i don’t mind helping people get on thier feet, but there has to be a limit, and i don’t feel the gov’t is the most expedient, or efficient way to accomplish this. i believe your reasons are heartfelt, but this does not encourage personal responsability. smoething i think is lacking in many people these days, but i appreciate your response.

Posted by: dbs at August 30, 2007 10:02 PM
Comment #231123

Adrienne,

“It should be illegal for pregnant women to own cats because of the risk of toxoplasmosis to their unborn children. Think of the societal costs.”
I can’t think of any societal cost there. Can you?

If we get universal health care it’ll have a societal cost…
That one was too easy. I had to go for it. ;-)

Because no one should be made to starve while living in the richest nation in the world.

Funny thing to say in defense of a welfare system that gives most of its money to the lower middle class while leaving the very poor out in the streets with nothing.

Posted by: TheTraveler at August 30, 2007 10:06 PM
Comment #231127

Adrienne,

Children born of mothers with toxoplasmosis have increased chance of severe problems, including brain damage. If the child’s parents cannot deal with that, the state must. One can easily see a cost rationale for making it illegal for pregnant women to have cats. It is no more ridiculous than the cost rationales already posted here.

How exactly is pointing out that smaller cars are riskier than larger cars nonsensical extrapolation? For that matter, motorcycles are much more dangerous than cars. Given the focus on costs in this thread, how exactly is banning small cars and motorcycles nonsensical?

The romance bit is my being facetitious, but you know that.

This is all a balancing act between individual liberty and societal interests. I think the scales are tipping too far for societal interests. That doesn’t mean I advocate the anything-goes line of diehard libertarians. But just as I don’t like the government eavesdropping on citizens in the name of national security, neither do I like it micromanaging my life. By the way, the reason I don’t like warrantless surveillance of Americans has nothing to do with the Bill of Rights. They just provide a Constitutional defense of my views. We don’t have certain rights because the Constitution gives them to us — the Constitution merely recognizes some of them. What are the unnumerated rights? For the most part, they are undefined. I submit that the individual has the right to determine his acceptable level of risk in a variety of activities. Thus, we can engage in relatively dangerous activities, including mountain climbing, hang gliding, extreme sports, etc., etc. I fall to see how riding a motorcycle without a helmet or dropping acid is any different (and dropping acid is dangerous for some).

Btw, none of this health risk stuff provides any justification for making my weekly poker games illegal.

Posted by: Gerrold at August 30, 2007 10:32 PM
Comment #231137

Btw, none of this health risk stuff provides any justification for making my weekly poker games illegal.

I agree with you about the restrictions of online gambling. It’s very hypocritical considering all the state and multi-state lotteries.

Posted by: TheTraveler at August 30, 2007 10:58 PM
Comment #231144

David… I call it subsidizing… you call it compassion… either way, we come to the same conclusion.

;-)

Posted by: Doug Langworthy at August 30, 2007 11:32 PM
Comment #231148
That doesn’t mean I advocate the anything-goes line of diehard libertarians.

Those aren’t diehard libertarians you describe, they are anarchist capitalists who call themselves libertarians…

A true libertarian, a diehard libertarian, understands the need for a set of laws that protect the individuals rights from the majority (or society).

Posted by: Rhinehold at August 30, 2007 11:38 PM
Comment #231159

The Traveler:
“If we get universal health care it’ll have a societal cost…”

Gerrold:
“Children born of mothers with toxoplasmosis have increased chance of severe problems, including brain damage. If the child’s parents cannot deal with that, the state must. One can easily see a cost rationale for making it illegal for pregnant women to have cats. It is no more ridiculous than the cost rationales already posted here.”

I think it may depend on whether this is occurring on an epidemic scale. Is it? I haven’t heard that this is a huge problem, but if we are going to have universal healthcare, things like this might actually be the kind of issues that need to be discussed.
Besides, dogs rule anyway. :^)

“How exactly is pointing out that smaller cars are riskier than larger cars nonsensical extrapolation?”

Because you’re leaving out too many other factors about risks for accidents. It’s not just about the cars, it also has a lot to do with the people driving, and where they are being driven.

“This is all a balancing act between individual liberty and societal interests.”

Yes, and I agreed with you when you said that earlier, as well. Using reason and common sense is the only way to find that balance. That’s what we should always strive for whenever we discuss what kinds of legislation are really needed, and what laws are totally unnecessary.

Posted by: Adrienne at August 31, 2007 12:05 AM
Comment #231177

Adrienne,

In general, I favor less restrictive societies because of the value I place on personal freedom. I want government to protects the rights of all members of society, not to closely regulate my activities.

We’ve given up much, already. We are all conditioned to constantly being videotaped by government or business. Our movements across the internet are captured unless we stay on top of security software. Our daily activities are regulated by an ever-increasing number of laws. I don’t think it’s too much to believe people have the right to be stupid or engage in risky behavior as long as they don’t endanger others. How much is our privacy and liberty worth? How much should we give up to keep our taxes low?

Posted by: Gerrold at August 31, 2007 01:43 AM
Comment #231202

Stephen,

“As for Trans Fats, I did some research, and as a matter of fact, there is a good reason to ban them…”

See it took less than 24 hours for you to get there. ;-)

As for seeing slippery slopes everywhere, I don’t think that it is necessarily a Republican or Democratic trait. I’m on the whole not a big fan of the argument; however, they are definitely worth considering.

As I mentioned in my original response I think that many of the prohibitions are completely reasonable, but there in lies the problem. When you and I and others in the majority are convinced by whatever group (insurance companies, agribusiness, or victims of tragic preventable accidents) is reasonable becomes law, it is now enforced on the whole of society.

Taking the time to think about these laws however reasonable in regards to the overall whole is a productive exercise. Those on the left have found great solace in the following quote from Benjamin Franklin, “He who gives up freedom for safety deserves neither” in regards to the FISA wiretapping (I agree for the most part with this assessment, btw); the same provisions in regards to other laws should be considered as well.

Part of my weltanschauung as a conservative is that laws should be constantly evaluated to their intrusion into the lives of the citizens and whether the cost of that bit of freedom is reasonable or not. I found myself nodding in complete agreement with Adrienne in her position on this thread. I think that the views she has espoused are completely in-line with a conservative view point that we should do as little as possible to infringe on the lives of citizens. Label the ingredients and let the people decide, don’t outlaw them. Same for drug-laws, etc.

I have begun to distrust the public health based legislation because it strikes me on the whole as a scientific temperance movement. Try as you might science is born from scientists and hypothesis in public health initiatives seem lately to have a basis in morality as much as in science. While the studies are done in the scientific method, there is still the question of which studies get done. One you have asked before, if I recall correctly.

Posted by: Rob at August 31, 2007 11:42 AM
Comment #231230

Rhinehold said: “A true libertarian, a diehard libertarian, understands the need for a set of laws that protect the individuals rights from the majority (or society).”

But, NOT all rights for all individuals, for that is surely the definition of anarchy, which line libertarians run close to and even cross on a number of issues. Libertarians generally do not want to allow the majority to change laws on liberties either, which of course, a democracy is want to do, as times and contexts and technologies changes. This puts Libertarians at odds with democratic principles, all too often, to allow them to become a competitive third party to the duopoly parties in the United States.

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 31, 2007 04:38 PM
Comment #231308

Rob:
“I found myself nodding in complete agreement with Adrienne in her position on this thread. I think that the views she has espoused are completely in-line with a conservative view point that we should do as little as possible to infringe on the lives of citizens.”

I’m glad you feel that way Rob, but do we really need to hang the words “conservative view point” on the things that I wrote in this thread? :^)
In my view, the stance I’ve been taking here is just basic common sense, paired with a strong belief in freedom that Americans from both sides of the aisle have always tended to agree upon.

Posted by: Adrienne at September 1, 2007 02:49 AM
Comment #231548

Adrienne, would you not agree that if the GOP returned to traditional conservative principles in their actions, our nation would be the better for it?

Limited government: Meaning necessary government and no more.

Fiscal discipline: Pay for what you spend by increasing taxes or reducing spending, but, DO NOT pass the bill to future generations.

States Rights: The majority of voters through their elected representatives should be permitted to regulate their own affairs provided such regulation neither negatively affects the union nor infringes upon Constitutional rights and liberties.

Just a few examples of traditional conservative principles not honored or employed by the vast majority of Republicans in office since 1998.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 2, 2007 07:59 PM
Comment #231623

David:
“Adrienne, would you not agree that if the GOP returned to traditional conservative principles in their actions, our nation would be the better for it?”

David, not only do I think it would be better if they returned to those principles, I think that a large number of liberals would find it much easier to reach agreement and compromise with their party on a whole variety of issues.

Posted by: Adrienne at September 3, 2007 12:12 PM
Comment #231710

Adrienne,

I didn’t mean to offend. When I said conservative I meant it in the little c variety not the big C. Personally, I think that is a very commendable trait.

Btw, you have to admit, that the viewpoints you espoused go against the grain with mainstream liberal thought over the past ten years viz a vis smoking and dietary provisions.

Posted by: Rob at September 4, 2007 01:28 PM
Comment #231818

richard,

quite frankly, i’m shocked. how did you manage to get into an advanced degree program at gw? had you been just another shallow troll with the technical savvy to publish your inane rants on the internet, i might have left without uttering a word. but to learn of your degree candidacy at gw after reading such tripe does a little damage to my soul. if a top tier university such as gw cannot boast that every student is capable of thoughtful and deliberative argumentative writing, then i submit that america is headed down a very troubling path of anti-intellectualism.

peace,
bridger

Posted by: bridger at September 5, 2007 08:29 AM
Comment #233052

Richard, I so totally agree with your assessment of the average over-reaching, micro-managing, blind and retarded democratic liberal. They just never got out of high school and want to do what the teacher says so they don’t get detention. I believe that Hillary Clinton will make a colossal error when she will try to come up with some grand scheme that will fix the nation’s health care woes all in one package before the election. Oh my goodness, what bad advice. I don’t see how she’ll survive this one.

Posted by: Laurel at September 16, 2007 07:56 AM
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