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Civil Liberties and the Real World

by We the People Thursday, Jun. 05, 2003 at 3:02 PM

Perhaps in their haste to champion individual freedoms (regardless of consequence), libertarians have forgotten that the Constitution begins; "We the people..."

Between Civil Liberties and the Devil do we reside?

We the People

If you have ever wondered why libertarians are so adamantly anti-Government, the following commentary offers a candid explanation --

Speech to the Clark County Libertarian Party

Debra Rickett, the Free State Project, May 2003

...The Free State Project is the brainchild of Jason Sorens, a Yale graduate student majoring in (not surprisingly) Political Science. He wrote an article for the Libertarian Enterprise in July of 2001, noting the lack of progress the Libertarian Party has made in politics on a national level. While there are a number of factors at play, it can be argued that it isn't working for a reason few of us like to admit: there just aren't that many people who really want to be free.

Although it is inimical to those of us in this room, most people, I'm sure you'll agree, like laws. They like regulations. They like order, and control, and telling other people what they can and can't do. As we've seen since 9-11, they like to be "safe", even at the cost of their own freedom. One of our members, a Libertarian city council member in Leadville Colorado, astutely observed:

The majority [of the public] want government to provide for them and their pet programs. They want "publicly funded" employment security, health care, transportation systems, education, recreation, water supplies … sewer systems and garbage collection. The majority want laws against their neighbors doing anything with their property that might be "unsightly", "lower property values", or "be unsafe". They want building, planning and zoning codes. They want government to prove that people are qualified to be a driver, teacher, health care provider, day care provider, and a myriad of other professions. They want the government to inspect and certify their meat, vegetables, fruit, medications, water, buses, planes, and toys. Their all-to-frequent plaint is "there ought to be a law".

...But what about those of us who do want to be free? Who look at a prostitute and shrug, "It's a living"? Who bitch about the mess in their neighbor's yard, but never consider calling the cops over it? Who, upon noticing a gun strapped to their coworker's hip, say, "Hey, is that the new Ruger semi-auto?"

Well, maybe there aren't enough of us to change the world, or even a country, but maybe...just maybe...there are enough to change a small state. And that's what Jason proposed in his article. Moving freedom-seekers to a single state where we can work to remove those immoral, unethical, aggression-based laws.


But while libertarians choose to view "the Government" as a monolithic jack-booted beast, the rest of us who live in the real world understand that national standards are not tantamount to evil deeds. In fact, for many true evil lies in the deregulation of historically abused aspects of society --

FDA Urged to Limit Acrylamide Levels in Food

Alicia Ault, Reuters Health, June 4, 2003

A public advocacy group on Wednesday petitioned the Food and Drug Administration to force manufacturers to limit how much acrylamide is in food. The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), best known for its damning nutritional assessments of pizza, Chinese food and movie popcorn, said that acrylamide in foods may be causing as many as several thousand cancers a year in the U.S.


U.S. meat plants must test for listeria - USDA

Christopher Doering, June 4, 2003

Nearly 2,500 U.S. meat plants that produce ready-to-eat products will be required to test for listeria to control the spread of the potentially deadly bacteria in hot dogs and deli meats, the U.S. Agriculture Department said on Wednesday. The USDA stepped up efforts to control listeria outbreaks at U.S. meat plants after pressure from consumer groups and some lawmakers, who blamed lax plant controls for contributing to a series of large recalls last year. Elsa Murano, USDA undersecretary for food safety, told reporters. "This rule is tough; it's fair; it's based on science." Two consumer groups criticized the USDA, saying the new rule did not go far enough to protect public health.


Move to tighten rules on media ownership

Demetri Sevastopulo, Financial Times, June 4 2003

John McCain, chairman of the Senate commerce committee, on Wednesday said he would introduce legislation to clarify that the Federal Communications Commission should tighten media ownership limits when warranted by the public interest ... A majority of senators from both parties raised concerns that the new rules - particularly the decision to raise the national television cap to 45 per cent - would hurt media diversity. Although the FCC is not required to offer its rules for public comment before a vote, Mr Powell was criticised for not doing so.


Report Calls for Overhaul of U.S. Oceans Policy

Sue Pleming , Reuters, June 4, 2003

Overfishing, coastal sprawl, pollution and invasive species threaten the oceans off America, according to a report released on Wednesday that called for a new federal agency to manage the country's troubled waters. The review of U.S. ocean policy by the Pew Oceans Commission said marine life and vital coastal habitats were straining under the pressure of increased use and that a "hodgepodge" of laws was doing little to protect them. The three-year study of 4.5 million square miles of ocean waters called for an agency to oversee a national oceans policy and for the U.S. Congress to pass a National Oceans Policy Act.


Baby Crib Recall

WorldNow and WTOL, June 4, 2003

In cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), Babi Italia, a division of LaJobi Industries Inc., of Edison, N.J., is voluntarily recalling to replace crib drop-side rails for about 2,000 "Tiffany" and "Josephine" model cribs. The slats on the drop-side rails can come loose or detach. A child's head can get caught in the space left by loose or missing slats, presenting an entrapment hazard. In addition, children can fall through the slat opening. CPSC and LaJobi have received 41 reports of slats separating from rails of the crib. One child became entrapped between slats that came loose. Ten children fell out of the crib when the slats came out of the drop-side rail. No serious injuries have been reported.


Martha Stewart Resigns as Chairman, CEO

Reuters, June 4, 2003

Martha Stewart said on Wednesday she will quit as chairman and chief executive of her company, hours after she was indicted on obstruction of justice charges. Stewart and her former stockbroker were accused of interfering with a government investigation into her suspiciously timed sale of ImClone Systems Inc. IMCL.O stock a day before the company's cancer drug Erbitux received a devastating ruling from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission also filed civil fraud charges against Stewart and her former stockbroker.


Perhaps in their haste to champion individual freedoms (regardless of consequence), libertarians have forgotten that the Constitution begins;

"WE THE PEOPLE of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect UNION, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the COMMON DEFENCE, promote the GENERAL WELFARE, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

How sayeth you?

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