The Freeman's Burden:

To defend the principles of human liberty; to educate; to be vigilant against the ever expanding power of the state.

Saturday, April 30, 2005

The Dangerous Illusion

On October 7th of last year, I posted a brief essay on the issue of nuclear non-proliferation. Specifically, I used economic analysis to show that the very idea of preventing countries from obtaining nuclear weapons is a dangerous illusion. Rather then trying to focus on an impossible goal, we should instead spend our resources on creating a creditable defense shield and get out of other country's business. Recent events in Iran and North Korea bear out this analysis, but US foreign policy continues to push adversarial nations towards nuclear development specifically because the US continues to engender a sense of insecurity that many nations feel threatens their sovereignty. So, with that in mind, here is a re-post of that October 7th article.
Nuclear Non-Proliferation is a Fantasy
You don't want to hear this, but the US media is unlikely to mention it and somebody has to be the wet blanket. US and UN efforts to prevent nuclear proliferation are doomed and cannot possibly prevent nuclear weapons from becoming a common part of every major and medium military arsenal in the world. According to the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, some 40 countries are currently developing nuclear capabilities. Anyone that understands how technology evolves understands why nuclear non-proliferation is a fantastic policy that cannot possibly work. As technology becomes older, it becomes cheaper and more common. When DVD players came out, they were prohibitively expensive for all but the rich, today you can pick one up at Wal-Mart for less than $40. The same is true with weapons, the US spent billions developing the technology to produce nuclear weapons so it's not necessary for other nation to re-invent the wheel. They only have to acquire the existing know-how and purchase the required equipment. As the case of A.Q. Kahn in Pakistan illustrates, there are plenty of people with both the technical knowledge and the motivation to provide it to any that can pay the price. The U.S. should quite the effort to prevent proliferation and accept the reality of the situation. There is nothing that can be done to prevent a nuclear North Korea, or Iran, or Brazil, etc. The only effective strategy moving forward is to concentrate on deterrence (Keep our own arsenal deployed and ahead of the technology curve), missile defense, effective border security and a good neighbor foreign policy that doesn't provoke nations or non-state actors to a level of animosity where thermo-nuclear terrorism inside the United States becomes an acceptable option.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

New Links

Hey everybody! Just wanted to point out that I have added several new links that I think you will find worthwhile. These include The Constitution Preservation Society, The Acton Institute, The Libertarians of The University of Washington (go there to donate to the American Cancer Society's 24 Hour Relay for Life, please), the Free State Project and the Institut Hayek which is, unfortunately, currently only available in French. There are several webpage translators easily available if you are dying to read any of their articles. I would encourage everyone to e-mail them to get on the ball and get an English language version up and running. That's about it as far as housekeeping. I always welcome your feedback about the site. Leave a response to a post, click on "View My Complete Profile" and then click "E-mail" or click the link to rate the site. Please let me know how I am doing and what I can do to make "The Freeman's Burden" a more valuable resource for you. - F2S

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Earlier this evening, I attended an informational lecture by a representative of the Free State Project. The goal of the project is to get 20,000 liberty loving individualists to immigrate to a single small state in order to help secure the blessings of liberty, that have long been denied us in these United States, much the way people immigrated to the US to escape oppression in Europe, Asia, Africa and South America in the last century. The selected state is New Hampshire which already has a track record of responsible, small government and maximum personal freedom. The project has already sign up more than 6500 participants and is already having success in advancing their objectives in the state. Check out their web site here.

State Department seeks to cover-up failure of War on Terrorism

When the government fears the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny. - Thomas Jefferson
The US State Department has decided not to include new numbers indicating a three-fold INCREASE in the number of global terror attacks over the last year in its annual report to Congress. Well here we are folks. The War on Poverty, the War on Drugs, and now, the War on Terror...all self-perpetuating failures that have cost the American people trillions of dollars, millions of lives and the Constitutional foundation of our liberty. The government keeps us scared and takes away our rights and our income. For what? So it can justify continuously increasing its authority to regulate and control us, interfere in the actions of foreign nations and promote the interests of a class of corporations and bureaucracies on whom it subsists? How bad will it have to get? How many lies? How many lives before we, as Americans, will be willing to stand up and say, "Enough!" and begin taking back our precious right to self-government and personal liberty? The latest report on Iraqi weapons indicates that there is no evidence of weapons material being transferred to Syria either before or after US action commenced. The response of the American people who supported taking over a foreign nation, killing upwards of 100,000 innocents and spending over 200 billion dollars on what has proven to be a steaming pile of complete lies...yawn. Why does it seem I am the only person pissed off about being lied to over and over and over. I supported the Iraq war when I was told they had a nuclear weapons program, they didn't. I supported the Iraq war when I was told the regime was training Al Queda, they weren't. I supported the Iraq war when I was told that they were violating the cease fire by producing WMD, they hadn't. The only justification left for this war is the idea that it is the responsibility of the United States to fix the world's problems. If this is the case, then we should invade Iran, North Korea, Zimbabwe, Belarus, Venezuela, Ivory Coast, Burma and Western Sahara just for starters. I have read the Constitution and it is pretty clear that the role of the government of the United States is to defend the life, liberty and property of the people of the several states. Period.

Human Rights Watch calls Abu Ghraib "the tip of the iceberg"

Human Rights Watch released a report today that purports to show systemic and widespread abuse of Arabs at the hands of the US military. The reports points out a number of detainee deaths and disappearances as well as the transfer of more than 150 prisoners to countries known to use torture. Read more here.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Syria's Final Withdrawal

Lebanon celebrated today as the final withdrawal of Syrian troops was completed. While concerns remain about infiltration by Syrian agents in the Lebanese government, the possibility of sectarian violence and the elections scheduled for next month, it is almost universally agreed that the effective pressure that led to the withdrawal has weakened the Syrian regime and emboldened democrats throughout the Middle East. Read more here.

Monday, April 25, 2005

US prison population hits new high

As of today, more then 2.1 million Americans are in prison, mostly on low-level, non-violent drug offenses. To put that into perspective, we have locked up the equivalent of metro Boston, Seattle, Denver and Washington D.C. or 25 times the incarcaration rate of Nigeria. Kinda makes you rethink "land of the free" when a dime bag of ditchweed will get you 5 years in the federal pen. The US now has more citizens behind bars then any other country in the world including communist China. Read more about this depressing situation here.

Friday, April 22, 2005

ReVote Washington?

As many of you know, I live in Washington State and our recent race for governor has been a complete mess that has led to comparison's to Daley's Chicago of the 1960's and Bush's Florida The main problem is Democrat controlled King County, home of Seattle, the only truly liberal city in the state. The Republican, with Libertarian help, won an extremely close race, but by the time that King County was done rewriting history, a Democrat and well documented eater of the souls of the innocent, Christine Gregoire, was the Governor. Plenty of blame for this travesty can be put on the state Republican party for rolling over and letting it happen, but the fight is far from over. Below are excerpts from an e-mail I just received from ReVote Washington, an organization that has even odds on overturning the election in court. I thought that y'all might find it interesting.
April 22, 2005

Dear Petition Signer:

The Governor’s election mess just got messier. Attorneys fighting for a ReVote just forced King County Elections officials to admit they printed individual ballots ‘on demand’ during the election. No tracking. No accounting. No record kept at all. This latest revelation came during pre-trial depositions. The court trial on the lawsuit challenging the election begins May 23.

A successful lawsuit is now our only hope for a ReVote of the troubled Governor’s election. You know the Legislature refused to call for a new election even after a quarter of a million of us – Democrats, Republicans and Independents – signed the petition. Lawmakers ducked. They said the courts should decide. Attorneys for former Sen. Dino Rossi filed a lawsuit – an election ‘contest.’

This latest election mess revelation comes on top of more ‘found ballots’ in King County this month, news that a ‘faked' King County Absentee Ballot Report was used to certify the election, and the inexplicable fact that King County tallied more votes than voters.

We want to restore the integrity of our voting process.

We support the court fight. If Sen. Rossi wins, and the State Supreme Court upholds the lower court decision, the election can be nullified, the Governor’s Office declared vacant, and a new election can be held this fall. We will have a ReVote. We will begin to restore our faith in the bedrock of democracy: fair elections.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Rice turns up the heat on Belarus

Secretary of State Condi Rice has met with Belarusian dissidents in Lithuania and sent a strong message about the totalitarian regime that runs that country and the Russians that support it. All this time I have been thinking that the Bush administration hadn't been paying any attention to what was going on in Belarus. Pressure is good, but ultimately it is up to the people of Belarus to throw off their oppressors the way that Georgia, Ukraine and Kyrgystan have. Read more about Rice's comments here.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

The Panzer Pope

In what may be the stupidest decision in the recent history of religion, (and that's saying something) the Catholic church has voted for a new pope that has called the child molestation scandal "media hype", was a Nazi, has called capitalism evil and hails from a country with a dwindling Catholic population. He is a strict conservative who served in the role of enforcer during the reign of John Paul II. He is angry, anti-woman, anti-reformation and anti-liberty. I have read transcripts of his sermons and the bile that this man spews is pure retrograde hogwash. He would have fit much more comfortably into the 12th Century than into this one. I will never understand what motivates that church. It has lasted for many centuries, but it seems that it is dedicated to making this its last.

Monday, April 18, 2005

A real hero

While the media obsesses about Michael Jackson, a great man has slipped quietly into the nether without so much as a polite nod from the press. Maurice Hilleman is credited with having saved more lives than any other scientist of this or any other era. He developed vaccines for mumps, measles, chickenpox, pneumonia, meningitis and other diseases. I guess that just doesnt rank as highly in the public mind as molesting children. Read the obit here.
If you want to know something about a politician, look to where his money comes from.
Top Contributors
1 DCI Group $28,000 (Lobby & Public Relations Firm)
2 Goldman Sachs $17,000
3 Lyondell Chemical $16,000
4 National Assn of Realtors $15,000
4 Pfizer Inc $15,000
6 Lockheed Martin $13,500
7 Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America $13,000
8 Koch Industries $12,500
8 SBC Communications $12,500
10 Baker Botts LLP $12,000
10 Boeing Co $12,000
10 Clear Channel Communications $12,000
10 Comcast Corp $12,000
10 Credit Union National Assn $12,000
10 JP Morgan Chase & Co $12,000
16 New York Life Insurance $11,750
17 American Financial Group $11,000
17 Option 1 Realty Group $11,000
19 American Medical Assn $10,500
Courtesy of the Center for Responsive Politics
Top Contributors
1 E&J Gallo Winery $40,000
2 Wells Fargo $16,000
3 JP Morgan Chase & Co $15,750
4 KidsPAC $15,000
5 Akin, Gump et al $12,000
6 American Fedn of St/Cnty/Munic Employees $10,500
7 AFL-CIO $10,000
7 American Federation of Teachers $10,000
7 American Hospital Assn $10,000
7 Carpenters & Joiners Union $10,000
7 Chicago Board Options Exchange $10,000
7 Gap Inc $10,000
7 International Longshoremens Assn $10,000
7 Ironworkers Union $10,000
7 Laborers Union $10,000
7 Machinists/Aerospace Workers Union $10,000
7 National Air Traffic Controllers Assn $10,000
7 National Assn of Letter Carriers $10,000
7 National Assn of Mortgage Brokers $10,000
7 National Assn of Realtors $10,000
7 National Cable & Telecommunications Assn $10,000
7 National Education Assn $10,000
7 Operating Engineers Union $10,000
7 Plumbers/Pipefitters Union $10,000
7 Sallie Mae $10,000
7 Service Employees International Union $10,000
7 Sheet Metal Workers Union $10,000
7 Southern California Fund $10,000
7 Teamsters Union $10,000
7 UBS Americas $10,000
7 United Auto Workers $10,000
Courtesy of the Center for Responsive Politics

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Lawmakers shocked to learn that federalizing airport security is an abject failure

"A lot of people will be shocked at the billions of dollars we've spent and the results they're going to see, which confirm previous examinations of the Soviet-style screening system we've put in place," - Rep. John Mica, R-Florida
Shocked, shocked I tell you!! Two reports are about to be released that show that after more than three years and BILLIONS OF DOLLARS, airport screeners are not any better than they were on September 11, 2001. Again I ask, when are politicians and the public going to figure out that throwing money and bureaucracy at problems does not improve the problem? I vigorously opposed the federalization of airport screeners from the start because anyone who studies public institutions knows that they are systemically flawed and, by nature, incapable of creating efficient outcomes. Yet our politicians want desperately to be seen doing something so they continue to propagate the lie that the answer to our problems simply lies in giving them over to government and then washing our (the citizens) hands of any responsibility. This had led to a nation that spends more per student than any other country on education, but finished 38th in actually educating them. So it is with our airports. If you want to make air travel safer, turn the issue over to the airlines, after all their the ones who will pay the price if their planes start falling out of the sky. But the federal government gives them cover and deflects responsibility so that in the end no one is accountable. Do you think that these reports will change anything? Of course not, already Democrat representative Peter DeFazio has come out and said that the problem isn't the system, its the technology. What then, Mr. DeFazio, has the government been spending BILLIONS OF DOLLARS on?!? The mind wobbles. Read more here.
You may be wondering why I haven't had any pictures on my blog lately. Well Picasa, which provides the Hello Bloggerbot service that allows me to do that has gone to seed and isn't allowing log-ins or downloads of software and isn't responding to customer service inquiries. So until such time as Blogger finds a new service provider or Picasa dislodges its head from whatever orifice it is crammed into, you will have to accept the less than flashy text only format. For this I apologize, but let's face it, I mostly post pictures of creepy dictators and third world goons anyway. ;-) - F2S

Friday, April 15, 2005

In Europe, it's 1954 all over again

For over 50 years, European visionaries have dreamed of a unified bloc of nations, a United States of Europe if you will, and repeatedly these dreams have come to naught for one very simple reason...the contrarian world view of the French. In 1954 the French parliament killed a European defense pact and, despite their deep involvement in the Maastricht and Nice processes, French politicians have been unable to convince their citizens that ceding some sovereignty and economic control to Brussels will be in their best interest. This week President Chirac went on French television to encourage and make the case for ratification of the European Constitution, a top heavy and complex document that imposes spending restrictions on member states and requires economic and employment intergration. The French have, admittedly, given up a lot to get to this point, but this EU Constitution is as good as it's ever going to get and European diplomats and politicians know it. Unfortunately, the French voters have clearly not gotten this message as fully 56% indicate that they intend to vote "NO" on the Constitution, effectively flushing more than 12 years of work down la toilette and guaranteeing the death (at least for the foreseeable future) of an intergrated Europe as unanimous acceptance of the Constitution is required. The bloc will continue to operate under the Nice framework which has less teeth then early America's Articles of Confederation. This, of course, has the greatest downside for the countries of "new" Europe such as Ukraine, Turkey and Serbia whose politicians have staked their nations future and their careers on the modernization and economic market access that the EU promised to provide. The bottom line is that many of France's citizens have become so dependent on the social welfare structure and subsidies from Paris that they are willing to undermine their future and the future of the continent to keep the pork flowing and avoid the uncertainty of change. Fear and greed, the roots of all human (especially French) motivations.
Read more about the EU Constitution debate in France here and here.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Public financing of private interests

As anyone who has read this blog for a while knows, I am bugged when private companies ask you and me to flip the bill for their expansion. So it is with major league baseball. I love baseball. I played baseball for 14 years. I can even hit a curveball. But that does not mean that I think it is a good idea for owners to come hat in hand to city officials with specious sales pitches like, "Build it and they will come," in order to get tax payers to pay for their stadiums, parking lots and perks. A Cato Institute analysis of the recent fleecing of D.C. voters so they would have an awful team to complain about is evidence that financing these kinds of projects is not in the public interest and not a constructive way for the public and private sectors to interact. Check out the report here.
On a somewhat related note, a recent Cato investigation reveals that "No Child Left Behind" is, in fact, an unmitigated disaster. This is of course what us systems theorists have said since it was proposed. If you promise rewards or threaten consequences in a public system, people in that system will quickly figure out that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line and they will do whatever is most expedient to meet the expectation with the least amount of personal risk or sacrifice. That's the nature of the beast whether the system is designed by George Bush or Karl Marx. Why it is that people in public policy-making positions can't figure this out is one of the "big questions" that baffles me on a daily basis.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

"The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary" - H.L. Mencken

Monday, April 11, 2005

The new normal? Try the new nuts!!!

Are New York's middle schools breading the next generation of suicide bombers? But in this age of perma-fear driven by cable networks and a power mad political establishment, you wouldn't know that by watching the news or listening to government officials. Reason's Jeff Taylor tries to calm it down.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Arab human development report spares no autocrat

I know that there is nothing more eye-fibrilating and dull than a UN report, thankfully Tom Friedman sums it up for us. The bottom line is exactly what you would expect it to be; to much authoritarianism, not enough freedom. The report looked at governance and liberty in the Arab world.
This is just silly, but life is serious enough without getting bogged down in it. So to that end, I invite you to check out the Ig Nobel prize website. One of my favorites was the 2003 winner in the field of Physics:
Jack Harvey, John Culvenor, Warren Payne, Steve Cowley, Michael Lawrance, David Stuart, and Robyn Williams of Australia, for their irresistible report "An Analysis of the Forces Required to Drag Sheep over Various Surfaces."

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

America's S.S. is on the prowl

Fourth Amendment - Search and Seizure

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Good news everybody! The intelligence community, you know the guys that brought us sneak & peak and the Iraqi WMD intel, has figured out how to make America safe. All we have to do is...wait for know what's coming...GIVE THEM MORE POWER!!! That's right, the reason that we have had to suffer all of these debilitating terrorist attacks on American soil since 9.11, you know the car bombs, the planes full of chemical weapons, the exploding nuclear plants, is because the FBI and Justice Department just haven't had the tools to keep all those Muslim terrorists from slipping passed Bush's otherwise infallible border security. Gimme a break! Once more, the imagined terror threat, propagated by a willing media and a power mad political structure, is demanding that we bend over and grab our collective ankles so they can not only maintain the "Patriot Act", but expand it as well. You see, it would all be milk and honey in these United States if it wasn't for those pesky liberal judges with their "personal liberty" and their "Constitutional protections." So what's the answer to this scourge? Well take the judges out of the picture, of course. All that silly 4th amendment stuff is just getting in the way. I mean..sure, it was a great idea two hundred years ago but now we have George W. Bush. What can possibly go wrong? If you have a strong stomach, you can read more about the debate to re-authorize and expand the "Patriot Act" here.

Spreading the fires of freedom

Over the weekend, I attended an all day class on the Constitution that was being taught by Michael Badnarik, the 2004 Libertarian Party presidential candidate. Michael generously slashed the normal price for his class for the sake of including us poor college students. In return we agreed to, as he put it, "spread the fires on liberty one heart at a time." To that end, I agreed to add a link to a sample chapter from his recent best selling book, "Good to be King." The chapter, which explains brilliantly the difference between a right and a privilege can be accessed under the sidebar marked, "Pillars of American Liberty," or you can just click here to read it in .pdf format. If you would like to purchase the book, you can click here. Finally, I encourage everyone to treat themselves to a little enlightenment by visiting Michael's website, On a personal note, I would like to thank Michael for his generosity and patience. I would also like to thank the Washington State Libertarian Party for making this opportunity possible, Travis for his hard work and cat herding to get a bunch of disorganized college students moving in the same direction, and Morgan for providing transportation and suffering through seven hours in a car with me. That is no small feat!

Monday, April 04, 2005

All we have to everything

The United States, Canada and Great Britain began the largest terror response drill in history today. Of course the real point is to keep everyone so afraid of the great Al Qaeda bogeyman that we the people continue to cede away our liberties. I will be shocked if, when the analysis of today's drill is released, is says anything other than that we are still underprepared, the government needs more money and more of our freedom must be sacrificed in order to keep us safe.
"Of course the people don't want war. But after all, it's the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it's always a simple matter to drag the people along whether it's a democracy, a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to greater danger."
Herman Goering at the Nuremberg trials
Where fear is present, wisdom cannot be. -- Lactantius
"Fear makes the wolf bigger than he is."-- German Proverb
"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." -- Benjamin Franklin
Did you know that socialized medicine a.k.a. universal health care is not a noble, yet impractical idea, it is evil. Click here to find out why.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Death of a Legend

You mind find it somewhat surprising that I, an agnostic with a deep distrust of hierarchies, organized religions, and the slavish devotion of one human to another is deeply saddened by the passing of John Paul II. However, I am also an objectivist and it would be intellectually dishonest to claim that he was anything less than a cold warrior of the highest order and a man deserving of the deep respect that he engendered. The great leaders of the Cold War period are leaving us, but we must never forget their profound contribution to the interests of human liberty. John Paul was such a man and history will remember him fondly; as I do.