By Elisha Dorfsmith
Last Thursday, Flagstaff City Council Member Jeff Oravits appeared on Flagstaff Mornings to discuss Civil rights, Constitutional rights, the TSA, Homeland Security, the NDAA and people getting arrested for filming cops.
Some really great discussion worth sharing. Fast forward to 11:04 for the really good stuff.
By Elisha Dorfsmith
Tonight Flagstaff’s “conservative” leaning council accomplished something previous self proclaimed “progressive” leaning councils could not accomplish…working toward a compromise and ultimately passing a “gay civil rights ordinance”.
The February 19th council meeting was packed with about 100 supporters of the ordinance and a small handful of residents who were opposed. Among the speakers asking for passage was former Coconino County Republican Party officer Gary Robbins who was also a candidate for Superior Court judge last year. Robbins said that the ordinance is a well written document and as an attorney he could find no problem with the language.
When council voted and the ordinance passed unanimously, there was temporary stunned silence before the crowd burst into applause. Many attendees expected Mayor Jerry Nabours to vote no based on rumors flying around on social networking sites and blogs in the local paper.
Some advocates for the ordinance had complained that Nabours and other council members were spending too much time focusing on the details and wording. They accused the council of stalling for time. Truth is, a good lawmaker reads and works out problems in a law before passing it.
The council members who should be criticized are the ones who wanted to force through the first draft a few weeks ago and work out the bugs later. Some of those “bugs” were blatant violations of Constitutionally protected rights (Fourth Amendment) and even City staff admitted it was illegal (allowing city officials to come on to your property to search your premises and go through documents without a warrant).
Council members who caught that flaw in the ordinance and demanded changes should be praised rather than attacked for “stalling” for selfish reasons.
Regardless of if you love or hate this ordinance, one thing is very clear. The “conservative” leaning members of the council proved tonight that they are willing to work toward a compromise on controversial social policy.
I wonder if we can expect the more liberal leaning members of the council to show the same courtesy and work toward similar compromises on controversial fiscal issues?
By Elisha Dorfsmith
“A society that does not recognize that each individual has values of his own, which he is entitled to follow, can have no respect for the dignity of the individual, and cannot really know freedom.” –F. A. Hayek
“Censorship is telling a man he can’t have a steak just because a baby can’t chew it.” –Robert A. Heinlein
National tragedies always tend to bring about a knee jerk reaction from the public and social nannies with every imaginable pet issue work overtime to capitalize on the high emotions that are present to try to make the “solution” revolve around their pet cause.
After the recent Connecticut school shooting, the usual anti gun groups and activists started pushing their agendas and of course, President Obama joined the chorus calling for more gun control. That was to be expected, but beyond the gun control debate other “problems” were pointed out by obsessive “do-gooders” and the solutions to those problems unsurprisingly revolved around censorship or a ban of some kind.
Here are just a few examples:
After last week’s shooting, Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman wasted no time in connecting the killer to violent video games and began hinting at video game censorship.
Within hours, several editorials were published hinting that the government should set their sites on violent movies.
Even before the shooting, Connecticut was calling for a ban on toy guns.
While hardly new, the calls for increased censorship have been getting stronger and louder in recent years. Politically correct and religious nannies often find themselves fighting on the same side, working to create a world that meets their personal standards and utopian vision. And of course, lawmakers understand that appealing to people’s emotions is good for their careers so it doesn’t take a psychic to see where all of this is headed.
Our 1st and 2nd Amendment rights are clearly under a massive and growing attack. The momentum is decidedly with the censorship/ ban it nannies. Where bills like the “Patriot Act” and NDAA effectively stripped Americans of our 4th and 5th Amendment rights, new legislation has already been (and will continue to be) introduced to strip us of our 1st and 2nd Amendment rights. The Bill of Rights is being shredded before our eyes, along with the rest of the Constitution, and many Americans are cheering because they think this will make them safer.
“Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” –Benjamin Franklin
I have been a used book/ media dealer, selling on ebay and Amazon for over 10 years and I have noticed an obvious shift in people’s attitudes as they increasingly refuse to tolerate anything they find uncomfortable.
While ebay does have a long list of books they will no longer allow me to sell (Anarchist Cookbook for example), people are going out of their way to report many of my listings as “violent”, “subversive”, “pornographic” etc. even if they comply 100% with ebay’s policies.
Having items reported used to be a rare occurrence but these days it happens to me on a weekly basis. Besides the inconvenience of having to prove that my listings are legal and that they follow ebay’s rules, I find it very disheartening that we have a society that believes they have a right to dictate to adults what is allowed to be read, watched, or listened to.
I ship a lot of my books around the world and I have to be extremely careful about which books I send to certain countries. Books we all take for granted due to the 1st Amendment in the USA can unintentionally cause the receiver (and sometimes the sender) to face legal trouble and even prison. Because of this I have had to cancel and refund orders for “Christian” books to Indonesia, “Subervisive” books to Australia, and “obscene” books to Middle Eastern countries.
Is this really what we as a society would like to turn the United States into? Are we going to allow busybodies and our government to make our personal choices for us? Should everything that offends someone be banned?
If the censorship nannies have their way and we are no longer allowed to choose what we can read, write, watch or listen to, can we really consider ourselves to be free? If you value your freedom you must fight for freedom and liberty for ALL.
“He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself.” –Thomas Paine
By Elisha Dorfsmith
From time to time I try to update my readers on what I’m reading, watching and listening to. Below is my take on three recent titles that you may find interesting.
Government Bullies by Senator Rand Paul
If you think you live in a free country think again! In his second book since being elected Senator, Rand Paul takes on one unaccountable government agency after another showing how our supposed free country imprisons, fines and flat out ruins the lives of innocent everyday Americans.
Those of us in the liberty movement often hear people arguing with us say “if I’m doing nothing wrong then I have nothing to be afraid of.” This book gives you tons of ammunition to combat that kind of thinking by giving example after example of people who thought they were doing everything right and legal and ended up paying a big price.
Rand sets his sites on a long list of offenders from the EPA to the Lacey Act to the TSA, FDA and USDA. We literally cannot turn around without being bullied by some liberty trampling government agency and it’s getting worse. The big question: at what point will Americans say enough is enough?
Many in the liberty movement have turned their back on Rand Paul because they feel that with his endorsement of Romney he turned his back on them. Government Bullies proves that love him or hate him, Rand is one of the good guys and will continue to be a champion of liberty for years to come.
Forward by Ron Paul is an added bonus.
Seven Principles Of Good Government by Gary Johnson
Some of the more fascist members of the Republican party would tell you that you should not read this book or even mention the unspeakable name of Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson.
How dare we read what we want to read, associate with who we want to associate with and say what we want to say. We cannot allow this kind of freedom in America. But enough of the Republican establishment nonsense.
Seven Principles of Good Government is not at all what I expected when I first picked it up. It reads like a biographical self help manual and the blurry pictures inside give it the feeling of a cheap self published book. It looks like it was thrown together in a hurry. That said, it’s an enjoyable read and very insightful.
The Libertarian candidate gives us a very intimate look into the life of a popular former two term Republican Governor who is not afraid to do things differently and think outside the box. Johnson has a great track record and is a very intelligent guy who knows what it takes to be a leader. I certainly hope that he will help lead the Libertarian Party back to their libertarian principles (Libertarians lost a lot of credibility with the Barr/ Root ticket in 2008).
Despite it’s many shortcomings, this book succeeds at it’s main mission of spreading the message of freedom and liberty. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Atlas Shrugged Part II
Very hyped by conservative, tea party and libertarian groups, Atlas Shrugged Part II hit theaters this month to mixed reviews in much the same way Part I was received. The movies, like the book, have acquired a large cult following and that following seems to be growing.
The critics are also growing although unfortunately, they seem to be more intent on criticizing the philosophy behind the movies rather than the films themselves. There is plenty of room for legitimate reviewer criticism.
Atlas Shrugged II has the same low quality B movie feel that Part I had even with it’s bigger budget and better production. I get the impression that the filmmakers were purposefully going out of their way to keep the low budget atmosphere intact. Many scenes and a lot of the dialogue comes across as awkward and lighting and camera shots seem off at times.
The biggest difference between the first and second installment is the fact that the cast has changed and that this time around they had an advertising budget to promote the film and help get it into more theaters.
One thing that has always amused me about the Ayn Rand phenomena and especially the Atlas Shrugged movies is how well Christian conservatives and evangelicals have embraced them. It seems that many people have no idea how Ayn Rand and her philosophy of Objectivism felt about religion. At one point in the film a character (in a fun shout out to Rand’s atheism) says something like “maybe we should pray.” I found confused Christian reviews that actually said these films encouraged prayer. Another theme throughout the films (although not as prevalent as in the book) is the celebration of adultery. As a non-religious viewer I find the paradox very amusing.
Atlas Shrugged is a brilliant book that deserves so much more than these movies have to offer. Maybe someday someone will do it justice and create a truly worthy film. For now, enjoy it for what it is, a fun (sometimes fun to make fun of) movie that shows how a massive out of control government can destroy everything that makes a country great. And then look around and ask yourself if the exact same thing could be happening in real life. Who is John Galt?
By Elisha Dorfsmith
The Flagstaff City Council will be discussing a possible Civil Rights Ordinance at their July 12, 2011 work session. For those interested in attending, the meeting starts at 5:30 pm at Flagstaff City Hall.
Is a broad Civil Rights Ordinance really necessary for Flagstaff or is the council simply chasing another distraction? Putting aside my personal views on where the proper role of government should be in these situations, I think it’s important to note that there are many state and federal laws already on the books that protect people from discrimination. Do we really need more laws?
One disturbing aspect about this potential ordinance is the fact that there has been talk of building in exemptions for a select few. For example, churches will most likely be allowed to discriminate but the average business owner will not be able to…even if it directly conflicts with their religion or purpose of business.
If this ordinance does advance, I hope the City will NOT exempt churches. Watching those fireworks would be a very interesting show and would cause the focus to turn to whose liberty is being protected and whose liberty is being taken away. Everyone needs to be outraged by this and giving churches a pass will pacify a usually vocal segment of the community. All sides should be involved in this process.
Should a Buddhist business be forced to hire Christians? Should a Christian bookstore be forced to hire someone whose complicated gender identification conflicts with the message of the products sold? Should a far left progressive organization be forced to hire Republicans?
Let’s take a look at what may be covered by the Civil Rights Ordinance:
Personal appearance. (Imagine the guy below working at a local daycare. Lets say he’s awesome and passes the background check and everything. He will still scare some parents away and the business may be forced out of business. Should it be illegal for a business to expect their employees to look or dress a certain way?)
Education. (Seriously? Where is this going? If I need an educated employee will I be forced to hire a high school dropout instead?)
Personality conflicts. (Talk about a can of worms…)
Short term disability.
Needless to say, there are lots of unanswered questions with this whole ordinance. I see red flags all over the place. Where it could end up is anybody’s guess. The whole community needs to be active in these discussions in order to make sure certain special interest groups don’t dominate the policy. Civil rights are important but is it progress when we give more rights to some while trampling the rights of others?
By Elisha Dorfsmith
You’ve seen their posters on bulletin boards around town advertising unconventional and controversial documentaries and films. Tacos Locos and the Orpheum Theater are their venues of choice. They have promoted films covering everything from food freedom to the tea party movement. So who exactly are these Red Pill Movie guys?
Red Pill Movies got its name from the dystopian film The Matrix and is the brainchild of local activist Frank Mulligan who started the group in 2007. He was soon joined by brothers Peter and Paul Perreault. Their hope is that Red Pill Movies will help make the public more aware of ideas and information that the mainstream media often ignores or suppresses. At Red Pill Movie screenings, attendees are challenged to seek the truth by questioning everything and coming to their own conclusions.
Red Pill Movie events bring out a diverse crowd of movie fans, truth seekers and activists from across the political spectrum. The organizers are always on the look out for films that are not afraid to ask the tough questions. Upcoming Red Pill events can be found on their website.
The Perreault brothers discuss Red Pill films with attendees at a recent event at Tacos Locos.
“We bring you the media that the media won’t bring you.” –Frank Mulligan
Red Pill Movies founder Frank Mulligan and myself after a State Representative LD2 Debate. Frank ran as a Libertarian against State Representative Tom Chabin.
A few of my favorite Red Pill Movies:
By Elisha Dorfsmith
As I attend more and more tea party rallies, conservative events, and Republican meetings (yes, I am holding my nose and registering as a Republican so I can vote for Ron Paul in the primary) I keep hearing the same old question “why can’t we get the youth involved.”
I have tried addressing this several times in the past and felt like I was talking to a brick wall. I may have to be a little more blunt this time. If you want the youth involved you have to put your religious and big government political agendas aside and talk about liberty and allowing people to be free to live their lives the way they choose (not the way you choose for them).
The philosophy of liberty brings people together who may disagree on everything except the idea that they should have a right to conduct their life however they want as long as they are not hurting others or damaging someone’s property.
There is a common held belief that the youth are not interested in politics or their future and have no interest in taking a stand. I couldn’t disagree more. While there is some truth to the idea that college age students are the hardest group to mobilize, I have seen first hand that it can be done. If your message is true freedom and liberty you will unite and motivate people of all ages and political ideologies.
The other night I attended a political meeting and almost immediately the conversation turned to promoting “Judeo Christian values” through government. One of those in attendance spoke up and said that he almost felt that he was at the wrong meeting. He was looking for smaller government. I felt the exact same way. If I wasn’t working on a big picture project at the time I would have left early. Ironically, a few minutes after the talk about legislating morality ended, the big question came up again: “why can’t we get the youth involved.” I felt like jumping up and down and screaming the answer.
I am not suggesting that anyone compromises their religious or moral values. The beauty of living in a free country is the freedom to believe whatever you want. My point is this: If you try to push your values on others through the force of government you push the young people away, you push me away, and you push everyone else who believes in true freedom and liberty away.
The choice is yours.
Nothing is more frustrating than listing to people talk about pushing Christianity on others through the force of law.
By Elisha Dorfsmith
On Tuesday, February 1st, NAU Conservatives will be holding a fundraiser to help their group attend CPAC. More information on this fundraiser can be found HERE. If you would like to help out, all you need to do is print the attached flyer and give it to your server. 10% of all sales will go back to NAU Conservatives. You can print the Chili’s Flyer HERE. If you cannot attend this fundraiser and would still like to make a donation, please contact NAU Conservatives at the following email address: email@example.com
Last year, Congressman Ron Paul won the CPAC straw poll. This year, he has an excellent chance of winning again. The more young conservatives who show up, the better his chances of winning are. Coming in first in this year’s straw poll would be a huge boost if he decides to run for president in 2012 (something those of us at Flagstaff Liberty Alliance are excitedly anticipating).
For those who have not been following the buzz surrounding CPAC this year, it is shaping up to be the most controversial and exciting convention yet. Christian and social conservative groups are boycotting because the gay group GOProud has been invited. Libertarian leaning conservatives are happy to embrace a more open minded forum that supports freedom and liberty for ALL.
Why shouldn’t there be room for everyone at CPAC? Conservatives claim to believe in competition so why not embrace the marketplace of ideas? We don’t have to agree on every issue to be able to work toward common goals! Too bad these socially conservative groups and individuals cannot see the big picture:
Ron Paul wants YOU to attend CPAC.
Jack Hunter weighs in on the boycotting of CPAC by social conservative and Christian groups.
By Elisha Dorfsmith
At last night’s Flagstaff Tea Party meeting, the question came up: What position should the tea party take on raising the debt ceiling?
If the three core values are any indication, the answer should have been obvious. The tea party defends Constitutionally Limited Government, Fiscal Responsibility and Free Markets. After a little discussion, the consensus of the group seemed to be that the debt cap should NOT be raised. I have to admit that I was worried there for a second when the question was asked.
As the new congress is being sworn in today, we are starting to hear some funny things from the “conservatives”. Some are saying they need to temporarily raise the debt cap. Their fear is that the U.S. credit rating will fall through the floor if they can’t borrow money to make interest payments. Others are saying that they need to raise it just one more time, permanently. They must really think we’re gullible.
John Boehner, the new Speaker of the House, is telling freshmen Republicans to grow up and vote for the debt cap increase:
“Whether we like it or not, the federal government has obligations and we have obligations on our part.” He recently told reporters.
Of course, what he really means is that we must raise the debt limit in order to keep our unconstitutional undeclared wars going. We must raise the debt limit so we can continue nation building around the world. We must raise the debt limit to keep U.S. troops in over 140 countries as we maintain and grow our empire.
Cut spending and follow the Constitution??? Are you kidding? We just said we would do all that to get elected you silly tea partiers.
I know it’s a little soon to jump to conclusions but I think it’s a safe bet to say that the majority of the “conservatives” who were elected to congress will vote to raise the debt cap. If I’m wrong I’ll post an apology blog and send them some nice thank you letters.
After attending last night’s tea party meeting I have to say that I am a little concerned about the mood. While most members did oppose raising the debt cap, the passion was gone. I thought I sensed some trust. I hope that trust goes away when congress votes to shovel more debt on our kids. I am still as angry and upset as I ever was about the economic issues that are destroying our country. I am starting to notice a disturbing trend in the local group. I hear more talk about morality and religion (another rant for another time) than the core values that brought the Flagstaff tea party together in the first place . I don’t sense the anger anymore. Are members pacified because Republicans were elected? I sure hope not.
Please call your representative and tell them that now is the time to cut spending. Now is the time to shrink the size of government. Now is the time to follow through on those campaign promises.They probably won’t listen but we have to keep applying pressure.
I close with an excellent article by Ron Paul:
By Elisha Dorfsmith
I recently had a couple conversations with friends who claim to lean “libertarian” but also believe that legislating morality is essential to solving our current political and economic problems. Apparently the word means many different things to many different people and it seems the definition is continually evolving. Even neoconservatives like Sean Hannity have started calling themselves libertarians. I can say with absolute certainty that Sean Hannity is NOT a libertarian in the true meaning of the word. Neither are those who want to use the state to force people to live a certain way.
A few weeks ago, one of Congressman Gosar’s supporters called me a “Loony Libertarian” for suggesting that the congressman needs to be consistent. Loony is one of the nicer things I have been called. A long time ago I realized that defending freedom and liberty for all often puts me at odds with both Republicans and Democrats. Too many people want to use the government to force their personal views on the rest of the country. It sometimes feels strange to fight for the freedom of people who want to take my freedom away but I do it because it is the right thing to do. I have no intention of ever using the state to force my beliefs on anyone. Hopefully the links in this blog post help answer any questions my friends have about my political philosophy and what it really means to be a libertarian.
What Is A Libertarian?
“lib•er•tar•i•an: One who advocates maximizing individual rights and minimizing the role of the state.” – American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language
The Libertarian Party’s 2010 Platform is a great place to start for those who are unfamiliar with basic libertarian thought. While I don’t agree with the Libertarian Party on every single issue and feel that their message has been watered down over the years, I do agree with the majority of what is written here:
In 1979, Murray N. Rothbard wrote a fantastic essay called Myth and Truth About Libertarianism. The myths are as prevalent today as they were then. This article should clear up a lot of misconceptions:
Those looking for a simplified, condensed version of libertarian philosophy should watch this video:
I am not a huge fan of political labels and would rather be known as a freelance liberty activist or liberty lover but the term “Libertarian” works just fine in the context of the above links.
Where do you fit in the political spectrum? The Advocates For Self Government have an excellent quiz based on the Nolan Chart. You can take it here: