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Posts Tagged ‘Liberty’

And it was fascinating. Here’s the story. Alexander McCobin, founder of Students for Liberty, spoke yesterday at CPAC about activism and liberty.

In the name of freedom, I would like to thank the American Conservative Union for welcoming GOProud [a coalition of gay republicans] as a co-sponsor of this event, not for any political reason but for the message it sends….Students today recognize that freedom does not come in pieces.  Freedom is a single thing that applies to the social as well as the economic realms and should be defended at all times.

Next, Ryan Sorba, author of The Born Gay Hoax took the podium, and blasted the crowd for so heartily endorsing Alexander’s sentiment.

What an asshole.

I’m heartened that the booing, while loud, was limited, as were the cheers to Sorba’s rant. Judging by the crowd wide-shots, the inverse is true for Alexander’s talk. For those who care, Jeff Frazee is the leader of Young Americans for Liberty, a campus group inspired by/centered around Ron Paul.

Alexander and his supporters in the crowd make me very proud.

Update: Scuttlebutt is that the loud booing you can heard during Alexander’s speech is coming from Ryan Sorba himself. What. A. Prick.

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Dammit, New Hampshire

Via Hit and Run, Maine makes the news again and it’s not pleasant.

A Kensington man was found guilty of criminal threatening for holding an open pocket knife at his side while asking two people who were walking behind him at midnight, “Why are you following me?”The pair walking behind Dustin Almon, 28, of 27 Wild Rose Lane, were state Liquor Enforcement cops, both in plain clothes without any indicators that they were members of law enforcement, according to testimony during a Thursday Portsmouth District Court trial. Both were also carrying concealed handguns and Tasers, they testified.

One of them, Officer Anthony Cattabriga, said he was walking behind Almon on Chapel Street on Nov. 8, 2008, when Almon turned around three times to look at him and a new officer he was training. It was dark and Almon was twenty feet away when he displayed a knife with a two-inch blade the third time he turned around, said Cattabriga.

“He pointed it down by his side,” the liquor officer testified, while demonstrating with Almon’s seized pocket knife.

When he responded by yelling “police,” Almon folded the knife, clipped it to his belt and complied with all subsequent police orders, Cattabriga testified.

Almon was initially arrested on a charge of disorderly conduct, but the charge was later upgraded to criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon.

“I feared for my safety,” Cattabriga said from a District Court witness stand.

Possible takeaways:

1) Maine liquor officers are either liars or nancys.

2) Two people quietly following you on a dark street is no cause for concern, citizen.

3) Without looking at the specific law(s) involved a legal note.  Most ‘fear of bodily harm’ statutes have both a reasonableness component and self-defense exemption.   The person who fears harm must have a tenuously reasonable basis for that fear, which doesn’t seem to be the case here.  Additionally, Mr. Almon’s fear/suspicion seems reasonable enough to invoke a self-defense claim, especially given his reasonable and orderly actions following the officer identification.

4) Based on #3, the judge screwed up.

5) This S is Effed up.

Update: Fixed the confusion between Maine and New Hampshire in the original.

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Can you renounce your state citizenship? (more…)

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I’m officially blogging at the Mercatus Center’s Neighborhood Effects blog.  My first post is about Maine’s TABOR bill.  At this point, it seems unlikely to pass, although I’ve crossed my fingers and sent in my absentee ballot.

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Say One Thing

Do another.  That’ s my biggest problem with politics in general, but I think it’s likely that liberals are more prone to that kind of posturing than ‘conservatives’.  At the very least, statists of all stripes fall prey to that more so than liberty-minded folks.

Case in point: environmentalists and building heights in the district.  Renting in D.C. is insanely expensive, especially for commercial space in the good parts of the city.  The reason is simple: building heights are capped by both the city and the Congress.

The height restriction came into existence in 1899, in response to the construction of the 160-foot-tall Cairo apartment building, which was largely seen as an aesthetic threat to D.C.’s cosmopolitan feel. The restrictions are codified under D.C. law, however to make any major revision to the building code would require revision of the Heights of Building Act of 1910, which was passed by Congress. Lifting building height restrictions would presumably channel the high price of office space and real estate into vertical construction, allowing for the accommodation of increased density in the District.

There also overwhelming evidence that when you concentrate people into a smaller space, their environmental footprint is proportionally decreased.

Numerous studies and intuitive wisdom indicate that densely populated urban areas are, in many ways, more environmentally friendly than those that are less dense, and Environmental Protection Agency and National Association of Realtors guidance to cities lauds the benefits of dense building. Case in point: New York City may have the most skyscrapers of any city in the country, but it also has one of the lowest per-capita carbon footprints in the nation. With more dense growth, people are able to live closer to their places of work and to shopping areas, encouraging more walking and discouraging the use of cars.

Not to mention sharing services, which also reduces impacts.  A city can afford a sophisticated sewage treatment/wastewater plant, while sparsely populated communities can’t.  Economies of scale operate even in an environmental context.

As a resident, though, I’ll admit the height restrictions aren’t all bad.  The city is beautiful and sunny, in a way that New York hasn’t been in probably a hundred years.

But I’ll bet dollars to donuts that environmental groups, especially those that make their home in or around the District, would be opposed to repealing those laws, and would be willing to forgo the environmental benefits that increased development in the district would bring.  At the very least, the development of Northern Virginia would be slowed.

I consider myself an environmentalist.  My father has made his living off the land for most of my life, I’ve worked in pristine natural settings, I care about the negative externalities of my actions, and when thinking about future policy I always consider the impacts on the natural world.

I think those principles are consistent with lifting the height restrictions in the district.  It just so happens that such lifting would also conform to my free-market principles.

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Just a random thought this morning: history has progressed to this point, and seen several revolutions in the formal arrangements that govern societies.

Since pre-history, people lived in chaotic tribal groups, often warring with their neighbors.  Power and leadership coalesced around the warlord.  Eventually warlords ceded some power to a King, who could ensure a peace over a broader territory.  Kings eventually gave way to classically liberal regimes, like Napoleon or the English Parliment.  At the close of the 1800’s Europe, and soon the world, was ruled by a sense of tribal-nationalism, centered around the idea of a unified volk, or common people. (more…)

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Good Question

This weekend a good friend of mine came to town.  She’s been one of my best friends for years, but she wasn’t coming exclusively to visit me.  While we don’t always (or even rarely) see eye-to-eye on social issues, there’s one we can agree on.  It’s pretty indefensible to keep homosexuals from having legally binding marriages.

And that’s how I ended up hanging out with these women, and marching through D.C. on a remarkably beautiful sunny Sunday. (My friend is on the far left, literally and figuratively.)

After reflecting on it, I’m ambivalent about the event.  I went to support my homosexual friends and family, because I support their fight for freedom.  I resent that anyone believes that they have the authority to tell anyone else how, or with whom, to live their life. (more…)

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