Patrick Wilken wrote:
> >My apologies.
> Apology happily accepted. Do you really think that the States are much
> better in terms of libertarian ideals that Australia? I've travelled a fair
> bit in the States and its hard for me to really pin down the differences.
Well, it depends on what state you are in. There are a number of states here which I consider to border on fascism/socialism. While there is relatively little repression of politically accepted minorities, there is a rather serious amount of tyranny of the majority, as well as tyranny of special interests, especially to the point of enforcing laws that any rational person would recognise as unconstitutional. While I have a personal interest in the 2nd Amendment and the heinous amount of violations against it in the statutes, I also see this with regards to many other parts of the Consitution.
For example, the 1st Amendment protects freedom of speech, free association, and bans the forced membership in a National Religion. It does not say that anyone can be forced to listen to another person's free speech, and it does not say that a person must speak.
The federal government has little to no respect for the 9th or 10th Amendment rights (which is all rights that are not specifically enumerated in the Constitution), which belong to the People (as individuals), or to the States as delegated by the People in those States. The Congress and the Executive branch are constantly passing laws and creating regulations which violate these amendments. However, these are also the loophole by which the States are able to become little fascist tyrannies in and of themselves. The People in each State can vote and pass Amendments to the State Constitutions which can limit any right not specifically addressed in the US Constitution. This is how the States are able to, for example, restrict the right to choose an abortion. As long as the People properly delegate their rights to the State in their State Constitution, they can make their own state as bad and oppressive as they want to make it, so long as they do not violate the US Constitution. This is how States like Massachusetts, New York, California, etc. do not seem to be much different from other english speaking socialist countries like England, Canada, or Australia in the way their government treats their citizens. However, come up to new Hampshire, or try New Mexico, or some other more conservative state. I think you'll find a marked difference.
There is also the farce of double jeopardy. A person cannot be tried twice for the same crime, yet feds have won the right in the Supreme court to try drug users, growers, and traffickers both in civil and criminal courts, winning two convictions for the same crime.
By comparison, the 2nd Amendment should be rather simple. It says "A militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." Any idiot can tell that it means that no local, state or federal law or regulation can limit how the People, as individuals, can posess and use their weapons of choice. Many liberal revisionists have claimed that the word "People" means the community or society as a whole, however, in all Constitutional Law, when you have the capitalized People, you are referring to the people AS INDIVIDUALS, so the right to keep and bear arms is an individual right, not a community or group right.
This is why the US has historically not kept a large standing army when it was not at war, up until WWII. If the liberal's argument is right, that it is a group right, and only for the purpose of maintaining a citizens militia, then the only guns which should be allowed are those which fall into the category of 'Assault Weapons'. Also, a militia has NEVER been considered to be a full time professional army. It is a part time volunteer organization made up of free citizens in each state. The militia here in the US is defined in the federal regulations as, I beleive: 'all able bodied males between the ages of 18 and 40'. Under this, if you use the liberal group interpretation, this means that only able bodied males between the ages of 18 and 40 have the right to keep and bear arms. I'm sure the feminists that aren't already anti-gun would not like this. This reg may have been degenderized lately. Anyone know?
Since then, as the acknowledged #1 Power in the world, we 'had' to take on the mantle of Empire to oppose the remaining totalitarian governments, some of which are still in power. Since the two oceans no longer are effective means of isolating ourselves from the rest of the screwed up world, we are in the position of using our technology to either shut everyone out, or to conform the rest of the world to the American image in order to preserve our own freedoms. An interesting problem....
> One plus is the relative lack of litigation: I remember being shocked when
> I heard how much car insurance was, let alone insurance if you were a
> doctor. To my Southern way of thinking constant litigation (even alimony is
> far different here) strikes me as a far greater infringement of freedom
> then loss of the ability to legally own guns.
Depends. While frivolous lawsuits are a burden, being subject to risk of litigation does have the effect of enforcing a quality of service in the individual which is not usually seen in government bureaucracies elsewhere. A doctor in Canada, for example, can get away with serious malpractice much easier than they can in the US, as the government is always gonna pick up the bill. While the government might get off its butt and keeps track of the malpracticing physicians and revoke their licenses, the victims usually are not justly compensated for their losses in a government insured system. We do have a problem here of doctors moving to a different state after they have been nailed for malpractice, as its harder to keep track of them and easier for them to gain a new license in another state, even if they lose the one in their original state. Civil litigation seems to be more effective as a means of enforcing personal responsibility than supporting a huge government bureaucracy to babysit everyon from birth to death.
> At least you are allow to read whatever you like in the States. Not
> something understood down here.
Yes, I've wondered about that. Is that a carryover from being subjects under the British Commonwealth, or merely because the original founders were mostly prisoners?