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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Freedom of Association and Liberty

I read this article, Unlearning Liberty to the Detriment of Us All, and it made me very sad.  Sulky, even.  We've lost so much in such a short period of time.
I’ve also witnessed firsthand the mob mentality from people of all sides and the wrongheaded belief that somehow people have a right not to be offended and be shielded from views that might cause them “distress” or “emotional harm.”
My standard definition of true liberty goes along the lines of, "I can do whatever I wish as long as I don't infringe upon the rights of others while doing so."  I can do what I want, say what I want and associate with whom I choose.  If I 'cross the line', we have laws - supposedly based upon the Constitution - that are put in place to settle disputes, such as when you think what I'm doing is infringing upon a right of yours.

Rights or privileges granted or prohibited in the Constitution may not be modified by the federal, state or local governments unless these rights or privileges are changed via the amendment process.

At the federal level, as long as the constitution does not specifically grant, guarantee or prohibit an action, the bulk of the "rule making" happens at the state and local government levels.  Here are a couple of examples to illustrate this point:

Consuming, growing and selling marijuana:  Since there is no specific mention of the federal government's ability to restrict the consumption or growing/manufacture of any product, they have no jurisdiction in the matter whatsoever.  Their only legal standing would be the ability to decide whether they wanted to restrict or encourage the sale of marijuana between states, with Indian tribes and with foreign countries, per the commerce clause.

Since there is no specific prohibition in the Constitution, then per the tenth amendment, the entirety of any power to regulate marijuana would fall upon the individual states.  It a state chose to not provide any regulation, then the individual citizen (or their elected local government) would have those powers.

Somehow, we have federal marijuana laws that make you a felon for producing, distributing, possessing or consuming this plant you can grow in your backyard.

This is an egregious infringement upon our liberty.

On the other side of the coin, we have the issue of owning and possessing a gun:  The second amendment specifically states that the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.  So, unlike the marijuana example where there is no mention of a specific right, with guns, our Constitution specifically states that no level of government may place restrictions upon free individuals wishing to own and carry firearms.

Again, somehow we have laws - all the way down to the local level - that restrict access, possession and the ability to purchase firearms.

This, too, is an egregious infringement upon our liberty.

The idea behind the Constitution is that power should be local.  It grants specific, limited powers to the federal government.  And in case anyone is unclear on this concept, the framers included the aforementioned tenth amendment.

So, in theory, if I don't like a law that is passed by politicians, I can vote them out of office, and get someone in there that thinks as I do.  If not enough people agree with me, I have the freedom to go somewhere else.  I can choose with whom I associate.

I can easily move from town to town.  It's a bit more difficult to move from state to state, and is incredibly difficult to move out of the country.  The Constitution was crafted to give us the ability to easily associate with similarly thinking groups and individuals.  We have 50 states, and each is supposed to be its own sovereign entity empowered to establish its own degree of limitation or liberty within its borders.

If I think the marijuana laws are too loose in Alaska, Colorado, California or Washington, I can move to Utah.  And vice versa.

But when the federal government passes a law, I only realistically have the option to comply or not.  Be a law abiding citizen or not.  Even when the law is unconstitutional.

I can't realistically revoke my association with my nation.  So I'm stuck.

This whole idea of liberty and freedom of association is supposed to have one set of rules for government, and one set for individuals.

Governments, being of, by and for the people must serve all citizens.  Regardless of your gender, race, religious beliefs, physical and mental abilities, and economic standing, you have equal access, accommodation and service from your government.

Private citizens, on the other hand, are supposed to be able to associate with whomever they choose.

As we all know too well, neither of these rules is followed.  It's not even close.

Governments bestow preferential treatment based upon your race, gender, religious beliefs, physical and mental abilities and economic standing.  And they're not shy about publicizing this fact.

Governments - by using public resources which include my tax dollars - reduce my personal liberty when they decide to give those resources to others without my permission.

Governments then compel us to associate with others with whom we may not wish to associate.  If I own a private business, I may not say post a sign saying, "No disabled allowed!" or "No whites allowed!" or "No women allowed!".  Why not?  If I voluntarily choose to limit my customer base, what concern is that of the government?

In fact, if I were to be so stupid as to want to do this, I'd actually be opening up a market opportunity for someone else to fill and make money.  But then that would take effort on their part.  It's just better and easier to infringe on my rights of association.

BUT, if I'm a special-category person - tagged 'disadvantaged' by government - such as being female - I am granted super-citizen powers.  I see 'women only' gyms.  I see 'women only' gun classes, and 'women only' gun clubs, and 'women only' shooting excursions and 'women only' self-defense classes.  Why is this allowed?

Why is this intolerance tolerated?

And don't even get me started on the president's new program, "My Brother's Keeper".  Perhaps the most blatantly racist, special-interest program since the Civil War.  This was rich -
For decades, opportunity has disproportionately lagged behind for boys and young men of color – particularly in our African American and Latino communities.
The last time I looked, the president himself was a person of color.

Because of the color of my children's skin, they are not able to participate in - associate with - this government-sponsored program which is proudly featured on the website of the president of the United States.

By the way, this image - the 'No Whites Allowed' - is tied to a government elementary school in Colorado.  They had a tutoring program for 'children of color' only.  Maybe the president could borrow the image for his little program.

So, if you're special enough, the rules don't apply.  You can bar certain demographics from your business, and government will even create a special race- or gender- or economic-based program just for you.

Ain't America grand?

Accept The Challenge

I wrote earlier, "I can't realistically revoke my association with my nation.  So I'm stuck."

I've got one word for you:  Adapt.

At the federal level, nothing is going to change in the near future.  It's just not.  We have more 'takers' voting and since they figured out they can vote themselves our money, we've been screwed.  Our ONLY long-term hope is that our entire social and economic system collapses.  Cheery, huh?  I'm not sitting around twiddling my thumbs until that happens.

Right now, you can still vote with your feet.  This is the single most effective tactic you can employ.  You hurt the beast where it hurts the most - in the pocketbook.  You can move to states that still respect your personal liberty, and which are increasingly telling the federal government to shove it.

Check this out - Freedom In The 50 States - (move your cursor around on the map below for various rankings) -

I'm fortunate that all of the states I'm considering for relocation are in the top half of the freedom scale.  My current home state of California is only less free than New York.  Shocking, I know.

You can then better affect your state and local governments with liberty ideals.  You can make the state 'uncomfortable' for takers.

Nevada is a great example.  You can get welfare assistance, but only for a limited time.  Next door in California, the sky's the limit on getting free food, clothing, housing, education, cell phones, spending money, legal assistance - you name it, we've got it!  All, for the asking.

Soup's on, but I'll be gone!

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Copyright 2014 Bison Risk Management Associates. All rights reserved. Please note that in addition to owning Bison Risk Management, Chief Instructor is also a partner in a precious metals business. You are encouraged to repost this information so long as it is credited to Bison Risk Management Associates.

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