Relentless Pursuit of Wisdom and Liberty

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

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

LttE - Rights: property & self-defense

Submitted to the San Antonio Express-News on 17 April 2007:

Clay Robison’s article about the conflict between the private property rights of business owners and the self-defense rights of their employees hit the nail right on the head. Kudos to him for presenting the history & state of the issue without injecting any bias either way!

It is indeed a very thorny issue that should make every respecter of rights nervous about choosing a side in the debate. The way existing TX law is written regarding self-defense and the extension of the castle doctrine to personal vehicles (in practical terms at least, with peaceable journey and no retreat in place) would seem to indicate that an individual’s car and its contents are part of his castle, and if a business allows employees to park their cars on company property the company should be aware that they have no say in what is in those vehicles.

On the other hand, if we value the private property rights of the business and hold to the ideal that the business should be able to use its property as it wishes, who is anyone else to say that the company can’t allow on-site parking for one set of employees but deny it to others? That kind of “condition of employment” shouldn’t be government’s business any more than other arbitrary hire/fire decisions that the business makes on a daily basis.

Thorny indeed, and worthy of very thoughtful consideration by the freedom-loving among us, of all stripes.

UPDATE: printed

Thursday, April 12, 2007

An excellent analogy to keep in mind this April 15th

Saw this on a blog comment and it rang so very true I had to post it here.

The great thing is that people hate the IRS, but somehow manage to forget that it is the Congress which created the IRS, keeps it going, and makes it have to collect 50% of the produce of the free product of the US people. Sort of like hating the mob hit guy, but being okay with the actual mob boss.
That is spot-on, period and point-blank. We all love to rail against the IRS 'cause that's who we're making all the checks out to, especially this time of year. But in our ire for the tax collectors we too often forget about the busybodies in the legislature who keep spending all that money, and keep voting the same spending-like-a-sailor-on-leave schmucks back into office! In short, we may hate the IRS, but it's Congress who keeps them in business!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

LttE - Patriot Act Abuse

Submitted to the San Antonio Express-News on 11 April 2007:

Letter-writer Stephen Lehman insists that the Patriot Act is necessary and challenged the Express-News to name one citizen whose rights have been violated by the Patriot Act and who has not been linked to terrorism. Since I doubt the Express-News' policy allows it to respond directly to challenges of that sort, I'll gladly fill in and accept the challenge.

In fact, I'll give him a whole case full of citizens: Las Vegas business owner Michael Galardi; former [Clark County] Commissioners Lance Malone, Erin Kenny, Mary Kincaid-Chauncey, and Dario Herrera; and former Las Vegas City Councilman Michael McDonald. Each of these citizens were investigated (including phone taps and subpoenas for financial records) by the FBI utilizing Sections 215 and 314 of the Patriot Act, those sections having to do with records searches and money laundering.

This was a corruption case involving business owners bribing public officials to influence regulation at the city and county levels. At no point in the 5-year investigation, case, or trial, nor in any of the very public interviews with Nevada Congressmen and Senators, did the investigators or prosecutors ever even suggest that any of the defendants were associated in the slightest with terrorism. But they sure did like the power the Patriot Act gave them to make their case against the defendants.

Mr. Lehman asserts that "The federal government is too busy to take personal information gathered from justified surveillance and use it to illegally badger or intimidate innocent citizens." Unfortunately Mr. Lehman appears to have forgotten that the federal government he apparently sees as an entity unto itself is made up of people - people just like the rest of us with the same strengths and weaknesses, the same ambitions and failings. The federal government as a whole might seem too busy, but Joe Special Agent at the FBI with a job to do and his own agenda clearly is NOT. When we give a government agent a specific power to do something, we should not be too surprised when he uses it as he sees fit, regardless of what Congress has to say about it.

THAT is what critics of the Patriot Act are critical of, after all - the overzealous, irresponsible, and unconstitutional abuse of powers with no oversight by the legislators who passed the 1000-plus page law without even reading it.

UPDATE: Printed