Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Disobedience, Civil and Otherwise

On Townhall, one of our favorite libertarian journalist, John Stossel, reviews the latest work by Charles Murray.

If you haven't done so already, click over and read the whole thing.  It's worth the time: 

Murray's suggestion -- laid out in "By the People: Rebuilding Liberty Without Permission," will make some people nervous. He argues that citizens and companies should start openly defying all but the most useful regulations, essentially ones that forbid assault, theft and fraud.

He writes, "America is no longer the land of the free. We are still free in the sense that Norwegians, Germans and Italians are free. But that's not what Americans used to mean by freedom."

Very true.  Stossel goes on to mention Uber which is now too large and popular to be shut down by the government.

Along these same lines, I had a conversation recently with a colleague who lives in Colorado.  I made a joking reference to the legalization of marijuana in her state, and it set her off on all the repercussions and ramifications of states ignoring the federal law.  For one thing, tax revenues from marijuana sales have contributed so much to state coffers that Colorado will be forced to rebate tax money to its citizens.

This causes some consternation because reefer transactions take place almost entirely in cash.  Banks still fear federal law enforcement and being accused of laundering drug money.  So is the state going to send out cash in envelopes?

This shows us that our Federales still have some leverage when states defy their rules, but it also shows that the feds are not so interested in direct and open confrontations with the states.  State and local governments can get away with a lot more than they are getting away with now. 

One side of disobedience is what we see on television with all the rioting and looting on the streets of Baltimore or Ferguson.  Those are things that do actual harm to people and property.

The other side is exemplified by the quote from Jefferson which Stossel cites from Murray:

He quotes Thomas Jefferson's observation that a good government is one "which shall restrain men from injuring one another (and) shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits." 

We can understand laws like that.  We cannot understand the myriad of IRS regulations or Obamacare minutiae or the details contained in a hundred other laws the government has dumped on us in the last twenty years.  It's just like the ATF stuff we were talking about yesterday.  One way you go to jail; the other way you have the world's coolest copperhead dispatcher. 

As the bard from 'Bama said:

If my wife and I are fussin', brother that's right
'Cause me and that sweet woman's got license to fight
Why don't you mind your own business?  Mind your own business
'Cause if you mind your own business then you won't be mindin' mine.

Mindin' other people's business seems to be high-toned
I got all I can do just to mind my own.
Why don't you mind your business?  Mind your own business
If you mind your own business, you'll stay busy all the time.


  1. I aim to misbehave. In a good way. Excellent post, Mush!

  2. Hank had it right. If everyone minded their own business this would be a happier world.

  3. It really would be better. That's all most of us want.