Gun Rights are Decent Political X-ray

Whether or not you vote or otherwise pay attention to politicians, do you wish you had a way to see inside their minds to know what they think of you?

Libertarian science fiction and nonfiction author L. Neil Smith has pointed out that you can know what a politician thinks of you and your rights by examining his or her opinions on gun rights. Smith says it’s as good as an X-ray into politicians’ minds.

It works whether the politician is a Republican, a Democrat, a Libertarian, or something else.

Don’t make the common mistake and assume the “R” by a politician’s name on the ballot means they are a supporter of your rights and liberty — most aren’t.

Smith observes that any politician who is uncomfortable with the idea of you or anyone else walking into a store, plopping down the cash and walking out with any gun you want without showing a scrap of identification or signing even one form, is not pro-gun rights.

If a politician doesn’t recognize your right to own and to carry, openly or concealed, any type of firearm you wish — handgun, rifle, single-shot, “high-capacity” or fully automatic — everywhere you go without asking permission, this politician is not a supporter of your gun rights and probably isn’t a fan of your other rights, either.

Politicians may talk a good game about supporting rights, yet cling to the belief that rights can come with government-approved limits, licenses, and legislation.

They are wrong.

A right doesn’t come with any such requirements, and anyone claiming they do is not respecting your rights. They’re probably hoping you’ll be fooled into confusing rights for privileges as people often do.

Any politician who doesn’t fully respect your gun rights is likely to also believe you need permission or a license to marry, to drive a car, to open a business, to travel the world, or to consume certain plants. Such a politician will probably believe you owe a portion of your property to government. They may quibble over how much you owe, but they won’t doubt you owe something.

I understand the argument for voting in self-defense. I don’t believe it works, and I think there are better ways to defend yourself from politicians and their opinions. It’s still good to know which politicians are worse than the others. Using their stance on gun rights is a convenient and accurate shortcut to find your sworn enemies. I suggest you use it.

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On Airplane Reclining Seats

The one thing that makes flying just a tiny bit more comfortable is the reclining seat. If I were perusing airlines and prices and saw the offering of a ticket without a reclining seat, I would refuse to purchase that ticket! The fact that the airline offers and that I expect a reclining seat means that you can be damn sure I am going to use it. I will not ask permission from any other customer to use my product as I see fit. If you don’t like it, then you may offer to pay me a sum of money to stop using it. I always entertain such offers. What you may not due is attack me or my contracted property for doing so. And that’s today’s two cents.

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“Red Flag” Laws Violate Human Rights

New Mexico politicians are hopping on the “red flag law” bandwagon; scheming to commit wrong in the name of imagined “safety.”

Red-flag legislation is all the rage, politically. I don’t call them laws because they aren’t laws. Laws can’t violate natural human rights; this legislation does. Imposing or enforcing legislation that violates life, liberty, or property in any way makes you the wrongdoer. It doesn’t change matters to write words giving yourself permission to violate people. Legislation can’t make wrongs right, and it is wrong to punish someone for something you imagine they might do.

It’s misguided to violate someone’s rights because they’ve done wrong. To do so before they’ve done wrong is pure evil.

Yes, unhinged people cause tragedies. The correct approach is an unyielding commitment to human rights. Don’t build a legislative maze making it harder for people to possess the proper tools with which to defend themselves. This is what red-flag legislation does. It causes tragedies everywhere politically unhinged people impose it.

Many people see an attempt by badged government employees to steal their property — to seize their guns — as a line in the sand that cannot be tolerated. It has already played out with tragic results in the states where such policies have been implemented.

It’s never about “public safety,” but about asserting government supremacy. However, both sides need to remember: the people always remain supreme over government.

While it’s claimed this legislation only targets those making violent threats, it will be abused.

The easiest way to make sure your intended victim can’t fight back is to report them as a risk and let legislation enforcement officers disarm — or kill — them for your convenience.

This legislation will also become “The Bitter Ex-Wife Revenge and Empowerment Act.”

The hijacked firearms are supposed to be returned to the rightful owner once the threat is over, but it doesn’t always happen. A friend of mine was acquitted after defending himself, without firing a shot, from an attacker. The attacker filed a false report after the incident. Upon acquittal, my friend was told he had to jump through months of bureaucratic hoops to get his property back. He did everything demanded of him, but by then his gun was mysteriously missing.

The state’s response was “Tough luck.”

Enemies of liberty often embrace communistic red flags. This time it’s the same story. Respect liberty — reject the red flag. There’s no legitimate reason to support this kind of legislation.

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“Abuse of Power”

A lot of people are throwing around the phrase “abuse of power” these days. Is it happening? Is it not? Who is guilty of it and who isn’t?

Before you can figure out whether power is being abused, you need to figure out what a legitimate use of power would be. How power can be used without being abused.

Fortunately, that’s simple.

A legitimate use of power would be using power in any way which doesn’t violate the life, liberty, or property– the rights— of any other person. There is no other way to use power without abusing it.

All political government is an abuse of power, because it operates outside of what any legitimate use of power would be.

I know. If you’re a political person you don’t want to hear this. You want to find exceptions and justifications and you’ll search for Phantom Menaces and “what ifs” with which to scare the women and children.

But it’s true. It’s accurate.

If you have any power and use it to violate anyone’s natural rights you are abusing power. You have no right to do so. If you use the political means, and you have the power to cause any effect with it, you are guilty of abuse of power. All politicans are guilty of abuse of power. All bureaucrats are guilty of abuse of power. All State employees are guilty of abuse of power. And all those who support them are feeding the problem– propping up the power abusers.

I oppose all abuse of power and all those who abuse power.

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Good to Occasionally Consider “What If?”

Everyone would be smart to consider “what if?” — especially where their beliefs and assumptions are concerned.

While it’s not healthy to dwell on it until the thought paralyzes you, “what if I’m wrong?” is essential if you like being correct.

What if I’m wrong about everything I believe? There are those who believe I am. Are they right?

What if it really were possible to change an unethical act into an ethical one just by writing some words saying it’s now OK? What if you call those words “legislation” or “the law?”

What if a group has the right to gang up and violate the life, liberty, property of others as long as they follow rules they’ve made up? Can such a right be created with rules? What if they call the act of ganging up “voting” or “governing?”

What if it’s actually OK to use violence against people who aren’t harming others? What if you call this violence “enforcing the law” and say you don’t make the laws, you just enforce them; shifting the blame to others? Is it OK as long as you pretend the people themselves are to blame for the legislation being violently imposed against them?

What if it’s OK to take other people’s property without their explicit consent? You could call it “taxation,” “fines,” asset forfeiture, or eminent domain. What if you don’t completely steal the property, but only steal its value to the owner through acts you call “code enforcement” or “zoning?”

What if you really do have the right to control what others ingest? What if you call it a war on drugs instead of admitting it’s a war on sick people?

What if it’s ethical to prohibit or ration self-defense and the tools that are most effective for that purpose? What if you claim it’s about safety or crime?

What if working for government does give a person extra rights others can’t have? Would it change anything if they call it “authority” instead of a right?

What if it’s OK to be dishonest about what you do as long as you mean well? Never mind the real-world consequences, your intentions are what matter. Right?

Would this be a society you’d want to live in? It wouldn’t be for me. In fact, I wouldn’t call it a society except in the loosest sense.

I might be wrong. Any of us might be. When you’re willing to consider the possibility you could be wrong, real thinking begins.

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Government Organizations Shouldn’t Enjoy Trademark Protection

According to its web site, Shields of Strength “provides fashionable, functional, and durable Christian fitness jewelry and accessories.” Those items include military “dog tags” engraved with quotes from scripture and sometimes the logo of the armed forces branch the customer belongs to.

When the Military Religious Freedom Foundation complained, the Marine Corps Trademark Licensing Office ordered the company to stop combining scripture references and the Corps’ emblem.

Most commentary on the dispute centers around “religious freedom” versus “separation of church and state,” but those seem like side issues to me.

When I served in the Marine Corps, many of my comrades wore crosses, St. Christopher Medals, and other religious symbols on the same chains as their dog tags. As long as a Marine is paying to have his own custom dog tag made with such things incorporated in them rather than hanging separately, and as long as that tag includes the relevant identification information, I just don’t see the problem.

What IS the problem?

According to MCTLO, “[T]he USMC Trademark Licensing Program exists to regulate the usage of Marine Corps trademarks such as the Eagle, Globe and Anchor worldwide. ”

Even assuming the correctness of “intellectual property” claims like copyright, patent, and trademark, such claims don’t past muster when asserted by the US government or its subsidiary agencies such as the Marine Corps. This is especially true of trademarks.

While the justifications for copyright and patent law have their own clause in the US Constitution (“to promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries”) US trademark law is justified in terms of Congress’s power to regulate interstate commerce.

The Marine Corps isn’t a private commercial entity. Nor should its symbols — which date back to 1868 in current form, to 1775 in various forms, and ultimately to the British marines the US based its service’s composition and mission on — be treated as the Marine Corps’ commercial property.

Just as written works created by government employees pursuant to their jobs fall into the public domain under copyright law, official government symbols should fall into the public domain under trademark law.

The Marine Corps logo is a piece of evolving history. It doesn’t belong to the Marine Corps as an organization, or even to the individual Marines who make up that organization. It belongs to all of us.

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