By Elisha Dorfsmith
Last week I was happy to return to co-host the Joe Harting show heard on 105.1 FM The Big Talker. I want to thank Joe Harting for giving a shout out to this blog and allowing me the opportunity to once again discuss issues from a liberty perspective on the show. I encourage my readers to subscribe to the Joe Harting Show youtube channel which can be found HERE.
The video of Friday’s show is posted below but first I want to post some links and a few additional thoughts to supplement the discussion.
Libertarian Solutions To Environmental Issues
During the show I mentioned Russell Means and his thoughts on the environment. Here’s a short quote that kind of sums up where he was coming from:
“A libertarian society would not allow anyone to injure others by pollution because it insists on individual responsibility. That’s part of the beauty of libertarianism.” –Russell Means
The big question is how do we enforce that idea when some people are not responsible? Especially when politicians all too often write in exemptions for their irresponsible buddies and financial interests. In the discussion that followed on the Joe Harting Show facebook page, many possible solutions were brought up including tariffs, allowing energy competition, and prison for major offenders.
I am confident that there are libertarian solutions to the environmental problems we face and will be writing more about this in the future. In the meantime, here’s an article I wrote a while back discussing liberty and the environment:
Also, I double checked my claim on the show and it is true that some scientists did say that Northern Polar waters would be ice free by 2013. This study was quoted by Al Gore during his acceptance speech at the Nobile Peace Prize ceremony in Oslo in 2007 (SOURCE).
While everyone was focused on Duck Dynasty and preparing for the holidays, the United States Senate quietly renewed the National Defense Authorization Act which (as you probably know) allows for the indefinite detention of American citizens.
AZ Senator Jeff Flake was one of only 15 senators to vote against reauthorizing the NDAA. I don’t often say kind things about Flake but this is one case where I think he should be thanked for voting the right way. More info on the NDAA renewal can be found here:
I am sick and tired of this story but since people keep asking what I think about it, here you go:
I believe people have a right to say what they think even if it’s not popular. I also believe private companies have a right to fire people for any reason as long as the contract allows for it. And of course, everybody has a right to boycott anybody they want for any reason they want.
All I see here are a bunch of different people exercising their rights. Let the marketplace of ideas and values sort it out. What I don’t want is for people to ask government to step in and use the force of law to get their way (this goes for both sides in the debate).
On the show I mentioned that Michael Badnarik sparked my interest in Libertarianism when he ran for president in 2004. I encourage my readers to check out his book:
Tomorrow (Monday, December 23) is the 100th anniversary of the Federal Reserve. Protests are planned around the country and along with the sign waves people will be calling their representatives to encourage them to support audit the fed legislation. I recommend the following books for those interested in learning more about the Federal Reserve:
The Creature from Jekyll Island by G. Edward Griffin
A Government Of Wolves
During the discussion of ALEC on the Joe Harting Show I mentioned John Whitehead’s most recent book dealing with the American police state and the ever growing threat to personal freedom in the United States. Several chapters deal with ALEC and their support of laws that create more criminals and more private prisons which in turn creates more money for the prison industrial complex. This just might be the best book of 2013. Highly recommended:
I am currently circulating petitions for Safer Arizona, the initiative to legalize marijuana in Arizona. If we’re successful in collecting enough signatures this will be on the ballot in 2014. Spending billions of dollars to incarcerate non-violent drug offenders is ridiculous and it’s time to put a stop to the nonsense. You can learn more about the Safer Arizona campaign HERE.
Kiehene For Congress?
If you live in Arizona Congressional District 1, please check out the VIDEO of the CD1 GOP congressional candidate debate which was organized by the Navajo County Republican Committee last week.
I will be voting in the Republican primary and I can confidently say that Gary Kiehene will be getting my vote. I liked most of his answers but more importantly, he is the only candidate who did NOT vote to support HB2305 (the bill which attempted to keep Libertarians off the ballot in Arizona).
Kiehene is also the only candidate who answered the “should America be the policemen of the world” question correctly (he said NO period). Rep. Adam Kwasman also said no and then supported policing Iran and Libya which came across as a lot of doublespeak.
As I said last week, Andy Tobin has the GOP nomination in the bag because he has the establishment’s backing but after watching the debate, it’s clear that Kiehene is the perfect protest vote.
Arizonans need to send Andy Tobin, Adam Kwasman and everyone else who voted for HB2305 a strong message that this bill is a deal breaker and that it’s NOT ok to step on the little guy for political gain. They’ve gone too far and we’re not going to let them get away with these types of dirty tricks anymore.
Follow Me On Twitter
I have been extremely busy with work and various projects lately and I have found that when I’m short on time a short post on twitter is the best way to get my thoughts across. If you’d like to keep up with my daily rants and ramblings please consider following me on twitter. You can find me here:
Joe Harting Show
Finally, here’s the video of me co-hosting the Joe Harting show on December 20th:
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: