Category Archives: Civil Liberties

The Second Amendment Works, by James Ostrowski

James Ostrowski is an ammo supplier—he supplies intellectual ammunition for defenders of the Second Amendment. From Ostrowski at lewrockwell.com:

Note: This is an excerpt from The Second Amendment Works:  A Primer on How to Defend Our Most Important Right.

When I was a teenager, I supported gun control.  I had no real understanding of the issue, having never been taught about the history, purpose or efficacy of the right to bear arms in school.  I read Robert Sherrill’s book, The Saturday Night Special, and supported candidates who were anti-gun such as Ramsey Clark and Morris Udall.  I was on all other issues strongly in favor of civil liberties, but I did not make the connection at a young age.

In 1979, I joined the libertarian movement which is based on the natural rights of the individual to life, liberty and property, so the right to bear arms was an obvious part of the package.  Occasionally over the years, I would discuss the Second Amendment in my writings. In 1994, I wrote a column for the Mises Institute called “Guns and Drugs,”[1] in which I predicted, correctly, that the violence caused by the war on drugs would lead to an intensification of the war on guns, ironically since most gun owners favored the war on drugs.  I have urged, to no avail so far, advocates of the right to bear arms to join forces with advocates of the right to bear drugs, both being private property.  In the same article, published fourteen years before Heller v. District of Columbia, I argued that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to bear arms to deter government tyranny.

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The Secretive Company That Might End Privacy as We Know It, by Kashmir Hill

The advances in facial recognition technology get creepier and creepier. From Kashmir Hill at nytimes.com:

A little-known start-up helps law enforcement match photos of unknown people to their online images — and “might lead to a dystopian future or something,” a backer says.

Until recently, Hoan Ton-That’s greatest hits included an obscure iPhone game and an app that let people put Donald Trump’s distinctive yellow hair on their own photos.

Then Mr. Ton-That — an Australian techie and onetime model — did something momentous: He invented a tool that could end your ability to walk down the street anonymously, and provided it to hundreds of law enforcement agencies, ranging from local cops in Florida to the F.B.I. and the Department of Homeland Security.

His tiny company, Clearview AI, devised a groundbreaking facial recognition app. You take a picture of a person, upload it and get to see public photos of that person, along with links to where those photos appeared. The system — whose backbone is a database of more than three billion images that Clearview claims to have scraped from Facebook, YouTube, Venmo and millions of other websites — goes far beyond anything ever constructed by the United States government or Silicon Valley giants.

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The Virginia Gun Rights Conflict: Best And Worst Case Scenarios, by Brandon Smith

Here is Brandon Smith’s take on the Virginia situation. From Smith at alt-market.com:

In my article ‘Trump Impeachment And The Civil War Scenario’, I warned that conservatives and leftists are being pushed to the brink of a shooting war using various methods of social manipulation and 4th Gen warfare, and that this conflict, if dictated by gatekeepers of the false Left/Right paradigm, would only benefit establishment elites in the long run. Internal division among the public is designed to keep us at each other’s throats while losing focus on the real enemies.

Hard line democrats and the social justice cult are merely a symptom of the disease, they are not the source of the disease. However, I also acknowledge that the rift between conservatives and the political left has become so extreme that reconciliation is almost impossible. War might be unavoidable, and the globalists love it. If they can pretend like they had nothing to do with creating tensions, and if conservatives are so blinded by anger against Democrats that they refuse to admit that some of their own political leaders (including Trump) have been co-opted, the elites win.

The danger in any civil war is that BOTH sides end up being manipulated and controlled, and that the situation is maneuvered towards an outcome that only serves the interests of a select few.

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Who Can Complain? By Bionic Mosquito

Shut up and enjoy the panopticon and your guaranteed income. From Bionic Mosquito at lewrockwell.com:

In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise….

Such is the Amazon blurb on Steven Pinker’s Enlightenment Now.  You think I would disagree; let’s see.

Who can complain about a longer and healthier life, safety and peace, more food and shelter than almost any of your contemporaries and certainly more than those who came before you?

Photo source

Yes, who can complain?  Peace and material comfort beyond compare.  Better health care too.

Of course, one must subtract the violence inflicted on you by your keeper, and life couldn’t be better.  Unless, of course, you are after meaning in life.  And liberty.

Is this lion happy?  Enjoying a meaningful life?

John Vervaeke made an interesting comment about Pinker’s work (I think during this conversation, but I am not sure).  Something along the lines: the most ironic thing about Pinker’s book is the fact that he had to write it.  If life was really so wonderful, why would we need to be convinced?

Conclusion

Wouldn’t the lion consider this his gulag?

Remarks on Right-wing Talk Radio, by Paul Craig Roberts

It’s hard to find people who can separate reality from their own politics. From Paul Craig Roberts at paulcraigroberts.org:

Over the course of my life as a university professor, government official, business consultant, president of a community water company and editor and journalist for national and international publications, I have learned that a majority of people cannot think outside the indoctrination they received that formed their biases.  If you provide them with a different view or explanation, instead of thinking about it, they just get angry. This is true also of academics. University professors resist their human capital being devalued and placed in need of renewal by new discoveries and explanations. No academic wants to have to redo all his lecture notes or see his own scholarly contributions bypassed by new explanations. As Niccolo Machiavelli truthfully said, “There is nothing more difficult, more perilous or more uncertain of success, than to take the lead in introducing a new order of things.”

Conservatives with right-wing biases usually write me off as left-wing, and leftists with left-wing biases write me off as conservative, especially as I had a high appointment in the Reagan administration.  The only way to write successfully for these people is to tell them what they want to hear.  Then they love you instead of hate you.

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America the Repugnant. Assassinating Foreign Leaders Is an Act of War, by Philip Giraldi

Three successive US presidents have erected, through the force of precedent, an incontestable power to kill whomever the president pleases, and a power to wage war wherever the president chooses. From Philip Giraldi at strategic-culture.org:

Once upon a time there was a Constitution of the United States. In Article II, Section 2 it stipulated that only the U.S. Congress has the power to declare war, which means the American president has to go to the legislative body and make a case for going to war against an enemy or enemies. If there is a vote in favor of war, the president is empowered as commander-in-chief to direct the available resources against the enemy.

There is also something called international law. Under international law there are situations in which a head of state or head of government can use military force defensively or even preemptively if there is a substantial threat that is imminent. But normally, a country has to go through a procedure similar to that in the U.S. Constitution, which means making a case that the war is justified before declaring war. The Nuremberg Tribunals ruled that starting a war of aggression is the ultimate crime.

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The Culture War Comes to the Old Dominion, by Patrick J. Buchanan

The federal government employees and its toadies who reside in Virginia and old line residents who use to make Virginia a fairly conservative state are mixing as readily oil and water. From Patrick J. Buchanan at buchanan.org:

Since 1969, “Virginia Is for Lovers” has been the tourism and travel slogan of the Commonwealth of Virginia. Advertising Age called it “one of the most iconic ad campaigns in the past 50 years.”

But the Virginia of 2020 seems to be another country than the friendly commonwealth to which this writer moved four decades ago.

Charlottesville, home to Thomas Jefferson’s University of Virginia, has become famous as the site of a 2017 Klan-Nazi clash with antifa over the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee from a municipal park. During the clash, protester Heather Heyer was run over and killed.

There followed the inauguration of a new Democratic Governor, Ralph Northam, in 2018 and a new attorney general. Both, it was learned, had masqueraded in blackface in their college days. And two women accused their colleague, new Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax, with rape.

Resignations were demanded. But all three hunkered down, and the crisis abated. Now a new cultural issue has emerged.

First-term Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton, from the D.C. suburbs, has denounced Virginia’s representation in the U.S. Capitol by statues of George Washington in the Rotunda and Robert E. Lee in the crypt a floor below. Both statues have represented Virginia for more than a century.

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