Freedom, Not Just Freedom of Speech

 

I moved to Oakland for college during some interesting times.

This was a time when leftists were proud of their advocacy of free speech. Across the city limits, Berkeley was even known as the home of the free speech movement and the scent of tear gas. Well, things have certainly turned around. People who want to control other people there have too much power.

Recently, conservative columnist, Ann Coulter was invited by the Berkeley College Republicans and Young America’s Foundation to speak at the university. A previous conservative speaker had provoked a childish violent reaction in the not-too-distant past and so more shenanigans were anticipated. The college tried to reschedule to a safer place but Coulter’s schedule didn’t allow it. To top it off, the conservative groups who invited her were the ones who dis-invited her. As Ms. Coulter said, “I looked over my shoulder and my allies had joined the other team.”

This seemed strange to me. Being a conservative in Berkeley is already as rare as an educated woman in our blessed ally Saudi Arabia, so what made them knuckle under this time?

My answer came as I read an April 12 column by Ann Coulter about President Trump’s bizarre conversion to Neoconservatism. It seems more and more conservatives are learning that to be conservative means to conserve rather than waste.

In that column, she points out how our foreign policy has strengthened enemies worse than the ones we target. Some critical thinking as we visit our memories of past U.S. military adventures will reveal the same sort of truth Coulter suddenly stumbled upon, summed up this way: “Our enemies – both foreign and domestic – would be delighted to see our broken country further weaken itself with pointless wars.”

I wouldn’t doubt that these college conservatives share the common and contradictory belief that we should honor our veterans and abuse them at the same time in an obvious effort to drive up defense (yeah right) industry stocks (go ahead, look at the charts). Ann Coulter’s column would be confusing or offensive to someone trying to take those two positions at the same time.

Freedom is consistent with a strong nation. The waste caused by violations of individual liberty makes us weaker than the perceived benefits of an authoritarian state. Individual freedom is how better ways are discovered and adopted.

Labeling Ann Coulter’s lack of freedom in Berkeley as a free speech issue categorizes it in such a way as to exclude freedoms that don’t have an official designation.

Alongside Interstate 35, there is an old semi trailer with the words, “stop eminent domain abuse.” This would mean there is a point where property rights no longer exist. I imagine the painter of that sign thinks that if a use was deemed agreeable to him (a family farming museum?), the landowner would not be abused when his property was stolen.

In the case of the bakery in Colorado that refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple, religious freedom was cited as being violated. The bakery owners’ general self ownership was ignored in favor of the religiousness classification. Activists backing the baker’s religious freedom could then justify aggressions of their own based on other grounds.

We all want a totalitarian state as long as its policies suit us. The drawback to this idea is that freedom, as long as that freedom does not allow limiting the freedom of others, is how society improves. Products, practices, or services that work well are adopted while those that don’t work are dropped.

The conservative students and the leftists (and our society in general) at Berkeley could have benefited from a civil reception of Ann Coulter’s message.

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Mr. Hyde

Three years before I reached draft age I swore I would not go fight people who did not threaten our borders. I lucked out, and apparently our eternally efficient U.S. government lost my records. That is, I won the lottery but was never contacted.

I’ve been steadfast in my nationalistic and pro-life beliefs to this day. The garbage heap known as our choices for president in 2016 contained several impossibilities but two stood a chance. One laughed with glee when describing the assassination of the leader of a foreign government that she ordered (Libya turned out to be a disaster). The other described our invasion of Iraq as a disaster that would destabilize the entire Middle East.

The choice was an easy one based on their own words.

Now, Steve Bannon, who NPR described as publisher of “white nationalist news site, Breitbart,” has little influence on the president anymore. Bannon, while overestimating the danger of foreign influence, at least had our country’s (the people, not the war profiteers and other crony capitalists) best interests at heart. He viewed military involvement in Syria as a quagmire, a situation we can’t seem to avoid over the years. He also felt it was a waste of valuable American assets. Contrary to popular belief, either from liberals who want to make everything fair, or conservatives who would suffer excruciating pain from withdrawal from the war habit, there is an end to the incredible wealth produced by the laissez faire economy we once enjoyed.

Besides that, the consequences of our hubris are now too many to count, and in the public view are not even attributable to our leaders’ adventures.

Those consequences are what we should have considered long ago. For my part, I voted for a man who has declared bankruptcy five times. Once is too bad, but five times indicates a profound disrespect for other people. Now that he’s president, his son-in-law and an equally disrespectful band of Neo-cons have filled the space Trump’s ignorance presents. America First is now Trump First. After all, in American history class, when was a peacetime president ever considered great?

Barack Obama’s rush to greatness as a Nobel Peace Prize winner was to order 26,172 bombs dropped in 2016 alone. Did we really expect things to change with a presidential election?

BS Blame or Credit

Trump is getting credit for decreasing numbers of Illegal immigrants because the conservatives think he is scaring them.

They also thought Ronald Reagan scared the soviet Union into failing.

What will these phonies not say to increase government power?

BTW, Mexico has jobs now, thanks to less ignorant business people from other countries who want to employ Mexicans to make things. They just want to work. That is until they learn from the leaches here that work is optional when it comes to income.

It’s the welfare state, not the immigrants that is the problem.

“Rights” Trample Rights

John Madden and Kenny Stabler-the engineers of a dominant Oakland Raiders team of the 1970s, the duo won Super Bowl 11 against the Vikings, 32-14.

 

About a month ago in this column, I wrote about the right to an education as a form of stealing. Since that time I heard Jan Mickelson mention on his WHO radio show that there really is such a “constitutional” right. I had to look up the Supreme Court decision he referred to and it is Plyler v. Doe (1982).

This court ruling claimed that children brought here from a foreign country were eligible to a “free” basic education just like legal citizens. Well there you go, it’s a “right” to an education. I never actually found a ruling that says citizens have this right and that’s the question that we should be asking.

I still contend that so-called rights that infringe on the rights of others do not exist. These “rights” are granted by edict, not by nature or by our Creator. True rights can’t be granted by man, only guaranteed by him. (Sorry ladies, “man” is a species, you are included.)

The idea that rights can be dreamed up without consideration of their consequences means that there is no boundary. There is no defined line beyond which we may not tread. This defeats the whole purpose of the rule of law.

An example of how “rights” can legally trample the rights of others is seen in the Oakland Raiders’ move to Las Vegas. This is part of the great “unseen” Bastiat talks about. The use of municipal bonds excludes much of the interest in funding their new stadium from federal taxes. Municipal bond structure was put in place to ease the burden on local governments in maintaining necessary infrastructure. But the NFL and Raiders “right” to fund a stadium with munies is taking the rights of the American people in order to finance a profit-making enterprise. The American people will pay the $120 million that the Las Vegas Raiders won’t.

The Iowa legislature has recently debated whether the state should allow local governments to set their own minimum wage. I suppose a “living wage” is now a right.

So, what about a kid who wants to learn a trade. Many small business people I know have to retrain recent graduates of trade schools on the job. If a person was living at home like most of us do at one time, he could work for less than minimum wage, essentially paying his employer for the education trade schools fail to give. The employer would then have help with menial tasks while educating the employee in a way that makes him most useful for his future role. Minimum wage laws prevent this perfectly logical relationship, infringing on the rights of employer and employee alike.

Governor Terry Branstad thinks the state should control Iowa City and Iowa citizens in the minimum wage dispute. But he is not our creator. He should stay out of it. He should feel right at home in China (in his ambassador’s job) where bureaucrats control citizens’ lives from cradle to grave.

The Supreme Court is wrong in its opinion on rights to an education, as it is on other so-called rights. A right that removes another right is an oxymoron and moronic. The real Supreme Being knows that. We ignore Him at our peril.