Relentless Pursuit of Wisdom and Liberty

The weblog companion of, dedicated to pondering, "If Patrick Henry could see us now..."

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

LttE - Preference vs. reason

Submitted to the Orange County Register on 16 November 2005:

Patrick O’Brien’s letter was long on personal preference and short on reason. For starters, the Second Amendment was ratified in 1791 – long after the Revolutionary War was over – and was written to guarantee the pre-existing right to arms in self-defense, to allow the citizenry to defend itself against both foreign invasion and any future tyranny from its fledgling government.

He calls the notion that a gun can protect a good guy from a bad guy “pure sophistry”. Perhaps he’s unaware of scientific studies that have shown that defensive uses of firearms by law-abiding citizens to prevent crimes outnumber incidents of criminal gun violence by a factor of 4-to-1.

His personal preference is that he’s never had a need for a gun. Good for him, but what makes him think that’s everyone’s personal preference? Personally, I’d rather have one and not need it than need one and find someone preventing me from having it.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Glimmers of third-party hope in New London, CT? - Independents win two seats in New London:

After a campaign focusing on rising taxes and the eminent domain controversy, New London voters have sliced the Democrats' City Council majority from three to one.

The upstart One New London Party won two council seats, losing a third seat by only 19 votes. The new seven-member council will consist of four Democrats, one Republican, and two aldermen from One New London.

One of the successful One New London candidates, Charles Frink, says the three-party City Council must work together or risk deadlock in what he called dangerous times for New London.

Two of One New London's unsuccessful candidates had lost homes in the city's taking of the Fort Trumbull neighborhood. The U.S. Supreme Court confirmed those seizures, setting off a national outcry against eminent domain.

Maybe all it takes for people to realize that there's only a dime's worth of difference (though some would quibble) between the Demopublicans and the Republocrats is just to get really good and pissed off...

LttE - The cost of opting out

Submitted to the Orange County Register on 11 November 2005:

I join Professor Galles in decrying the failure of Prop. 75, and in his optimism for the future of those public employee union members who supported it.

However, I’m a little more cautious in hoping that huge numbers will begin opting out of political contributions, for the simple reason that for just about every public employee union (though not all, I've been informed) opting out means becoming an “agency fee payer”. This entails essentially becoming a non-member, but still paying the rest of one’s union dues and still being subject to the terms of the contract, while losing one's vote on union leadership and collective bargaining issues – the very thing an employee is ostensibly paying his dues for in the first place.

The act of opting out may or may not be considered "easy", but its ease or difficulty says nothing about the costs, hidden and otherwise, of actually opting out.

Monday, November 07, 2005

LttE - No socialized health care

Submitted to the Orange County Register on 7 November 2005:

Letter-writer Norman Ewers tells us that Sheila Kuehl’s SB 840 is good for both business and labor. Sure, I suppose in some twisted sense socialized health care paid for entirely by the state might be good for business (they could eliminate their voluntarily-provided employee health coverage with impunity) and for labor (they’d get what they want – more state employees).

But the complete removal of the last vestiges of a free market in the medical industry is about the WORST thing for patients (see Canada for examples) and taxpayers (didn’t we vote down this kind of state meddling with insurance the first time we saw it, when it was called Prop. 72?). I may not be business or labor, but I sure don’t want the state of California getting between me and my doctor – any more than it already is, of course.