The Everlasting Phelps

For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.

The Lipid Laws

December 24th, 2003

Harvey pointed out a story called Lipidleggin’ that I thoroughly enjoyed:

I look at him with my best puzzled expression. “Just what is it you’re after, friend?”

“Butter and eggs.”

“Nothing unusual about that. Got a whole cabinet full of both behind you there.”

“I’m not looking for that. I didn’t come all the way out here to buy the same shit I can get in the city. I want the real thing.”

“You want the real thing, eh?” I say, meeting his eyes square for the first time. “You know damn well real butter and real eggs are illegal. I could go to jail for carrying that kind of stuff.”

Orange Alert

December 23rd, 2003

Civilization Calls has a public-service post on how to deal with the heightened terror alert. Although his advice is good, I don’t think it is succinct and sound-bitey enough for the general public. That is why I, your obedient servant, have put together a list of ten things that you can do to fight terrorism.

  1. Kill any terrorists you see. Gotta remember this one.
  2. If someone sends you a Christmas Card along with a big pile of white powder, don’t snort it. I know that a lot of your friends mail you cocaine in their Christmas Cards, but it could also be anthrax. Better safe than sorry. Mail it back to them next year. If it really is cocaine, they’ll be glad to get it back. If it is anthrax, serves them right.
  3. Eat lots of ham. First, it is Christmas, and Christmas is all about ham, pie, and presents. (And something about Jesus. I forget exactly how that works in.) Terrorists have some sort of phobia about pigs. If you smell like a nice honey-baked ham all the time, they won’t get close.
  4. Most people don’t know any terrorists. That means that if you see a guy and no one knows who he is, he is probably a terrorist.
  5. Oooooh, yeah. Who says the Germans aren’t helping to fight terrorism?
  6. There is no suggestion 6.
  7. The terrorists might try a dirty bomb. That means they use a bomb to spread radioactive stuff around and make you sick. Iodine is a cure for radiation. There is iodine in your table salt, so be sure to use extra salt while we are on high alert.
  8. Duct tape.
  9. Did I mention killing any terrorists you see?
  10. Be sure to have lots of emergency supplies. You don’t want to run out while there are still terrorists around.

There you go. See what happens when you stop posting, Frank J?

Being Unreasonably Reasonable

December 23rd, 2003

Orson Scott Card recently opined in The Campaign of Hate and Fear in a way that snapped me back to reality. He pointed out, in plain language, things that I and others knew, but wouldn’t say in plain language in order to avoid seeming “unreasonable.” I was wrong in dancing around it. Reason is not polite. Reason is.

Watching the primary campaigns among this year’s pathetic crop of Democratic candidates, I can’t help but think that their campaigns would be vastly improved if they would only rise to the level of “Death to the Republicans.”

Instead, their platforms range from Howard Dean’s “Bush is the devil” to everybody else’s “I’ll make you rich and Bush is quite similar to the devil.”

Since Bush is quite plainly not the devil, one wonders why anyone in the Democratic Party thinks this ploy will play with the general public.

There are Democrats, like me, who think it will not play, and should not play, and who are waiting in the wings until after the coming electoral debacle in order to try to remake the party into something more resembling America.

There is nothing reasonable about the campaigns being run by the Democrats right now. They are all based 100% on emotion and dogma, and have nothing to do with logic and the real world.

But then I watch the steady campaign of the national news media to try to win this for the Democrats, and I wonder. Could this insane, self-destructive, extremist-dominated party actually win the presidency?

They might — because the national news media are trying as hard as they can to pound home the message that the Bush presidency is a failure.

Even though by every rational measure it is not.

And the most vile part of this campaign against Bush is that the Terrorist War is being used as a tool to try to defeat him — which means that if Bush does not win, we will certainly lose the war.

Indeed, the anti-Bush campaign threatens to undermine our war effort, give encouragement to our enemies, and cost American lives during the long year of campaigning that lies ahead of us.

There is a word for what they are doing — treason. “Adhering to thier enemies, giving them aid and comfort.” That isn’t a charge that I levy lightly. I don’t direct it at every opponent to the war. I levy it at those who oppose the war simply because Bush is the man waging it. There are many principled men who oppose the war for reasons of isolationism and pacifism. Dean, et al are not those men. These are the same men who voted to begin this war, who voted for similar actions in Somalia and Bosnia and Serbia, and now oppose this action. The only difference is the man in the White House, and that is a morally bankrupt reason to change your stance.

Our national media are covering this war as if we were “losing the peace” — even though we are not at peace and we are not losing.

Why are they doing this?

Because they are desperate to spin the world situation in such a way as to bring down President Bush.

It’s not just the war, of course. Notice that even though our recent recession began under President Clinton, the media invariably refer to it as if Bush had caused it; and even though by every measure, the recession is over, they still cover it as if the American economy were in desperate shape.

This is the same trick they played on President Bush, Sr., for his recession was also over before the election — but the media worked very hard to conceal it from the American public.

They did it as they’re doing it now, with yes-but coverage: Yes, the economy is growing again, but there aren’t any new jobs. Yes, there are new jobs now, but they’re not good jobs.

And that’s how they’re covering the war. Yes, the Taliban was toppled, but there are still guerrillas fighting against us in various regions of Afghanistan. (As if anyone ever expected anything else.) Yes, Saddam was driven out of power incredibly quickly and with scant loss of life on either side, but our forces were not adequately prepared to do all the nonmilitary jobs that devolved on them as an occupying army.

Ultimately, the outcome of this war is going to depend more on the American people than anything that happens on the battlefield.

Are we going to be suckered again the way we were in 1992, when we allowed ourselves to be deceived about our own recent history and current events?

We are being lied to and “spun,” and not in a trivial way. The kind of dishonest vitriolic hate campaign that in 2000 was conducted only before African-American audiences is now being played on the national stage; and the national media, instead of holding the liars’ and haters’ feet to the fire (as they do when the liars and haters are Republicans or conservatives), are cooperating in building up a false image of a failing economy and a lost war, when the truth is more nearly the exact opposite.

This is a man who has thought long and hard about the reasons why one should and shouldn’t lie in a war. Remember that.

I can think of many, many reasons why the Republicans should not control both houses of Congress and the White House.

But right now, if the alternative is the Democratic Party as led in Congress and as exemplified by the current candidates for the Democratic nomination, then I can’t be the only Democrat who will, with great reluctance, vote not just for George W. Bush, but also for every other candidate of the only party that seems committed to fighting abroad to destroy the enemies that seek to kill us and our friends at home.

And if we elect a government that subverts or weakens or ends our war against terrorism, we can count on this: We will soon face enemies that will make 9/11 look like stubbing our toe, and they will attack us with the confidence and determination that come from knowing that we don’t have the will to sustain a war all the way to the end.

This is why you are seeing people like Michael Totten coming over into the Bush camp. And the more the Democrats push this agenda, the more that will happen.

Then I saw another beast. . .

December 23rd, 2003

I was looking at my ranking in the Blogger Ecosystem, when the following came back to me:

(11) Then I saw another beast, coming out of the earth. He had two horns like a lamb, but he spoke like a dragon. . . (18) This calls for wisdom. If anyone has insight, let him calculate the number of the beast, for it is man’s number. His number is 666.

Oooooooh, yeah. Read it (PDF for posterity) and weep.

The Creation of Property

December 22nd, 2003

I happened upon this post by Leonard at Unruled via Jay Solo and it warmed the cockles of my heart. (Maybe not the cockles. Maybe a little below the cockles. Maybe the sub-cockle region. Maybe the liver, maybe the kidneys — maybe even the colon.) I live in Dallas, Texas — when it ices and snows, we shut down until it melts and then come out of hiding. I had no idea that this happened, but I grokked it as soon as I read it:

It is sometimes argued by statists that creating property rights can only be done via the state. I think of that when we get snowstorms, as we did last week here in Baltimore. After a storm, the cost of creating a parking spot, combined with human beings’ natural territoriality and innate sense of justice, creates property. It doesn’t matter whether or not the practice is legal or not. People will claim the spots they create. The state is not creating this property; often it is opposed to it. But it happens nonetheless. Enforcement of the regime is easy enough, via anarchic individual action. When someone steals your spot, you retaliate against their car.

Hooray for property creation! This is basic classical liberal property theory. Public right of way is community property. That is what the street is. Being common, when you add labor to it, the use of the fruits of that labor belongs to you. Because the code does not recognize this property right — the law only recognizes rights; it does not create them — people will enforce these rights in a less-than lawful manner. Vigilantism will provide the rule of law that the state fails to provide.

You see, that is what the law is. It doesn’t live in some book at the local courthouse. The code lives there. Those are the laws that are written down. The rest of the law — the common law — lives in the minds of society. People know that when you shovel away the snow in a spot, then you have that spot. You created that spot. They know when they take that spot that they are stealing the hour of your life you spent creating that. More importantly, if they decide to sue you for enforcing the common law, they will not succeed in front of a jury of your peers.

You peers know something that the lawyers and judges tend to forget. The Law belongs to the People, not to the State. The People are the twelve men (good and true) of that jury. They know what the law is, and they will enforce it. Judges and lawyers often don’t like that, because they would like to take the Law as their own. Too bad.

I wish someone would sue another person over the theft of a spot like this. A good attorney could get a jury to agree, and that would set a legal precedent that would help swing the balance between The State and The People in regards to property back towards the people. There is a sound legal basis for it in common law. The creation of the spot is a form of adverse possession and homestead.

All of the elements have been fulfilled. The state is the owner (according to code) of the spot. The shoveler marks the spot as being taken (both by improving it and obstructing the use of it), the possession is for the duration of the season, and defended against other occupation (as shown by the holes in the tires and bricks in the window), and the land would be unused if it was not adversely possessed — because (I’m assuming) that if the city was going to plow it, this wouldn’t be an issue. If someone doesn’t shovel it, it isn’t going to be shoveled and no one will be using it. This is classic adverse possession, and someone needs to take it to court and prove it to the state.

Eco-bitches are at it again

December 12th, 2003

So Greenpeace is throwing a tizzy because for once, the government is going to take an organization that organizes consistantly illegal protests, and charge them with organizing illegal activity. Hmm.

This is the part that jumped out at me:

“It’s yet another example of the need for adult supervision at the Justice Department,” Turley said. “It’s a chilling case because of the extraordinary effort to find a obscure law that could be used to pursue the organization, which suggests a campaign of selective prosecution.”

Yeah, the DOJ are the ones being childish. Right. The DOJ charged them with the law that read most directly on the crime. Who cares how old the law is? They knew what they were doing is illegal.

The Everlasting Phelps

For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.