Peter Van Buren: Free Speech Fascists Like Me

For espousing the same beliefs about the First Amendment I did on November 8 (everyone speaks always, unfettered), I am no longer a patriot.

Many of the groups and people who supported me then, and once supported the First Amendment absolutely, now call me a nazi, fascist, enabler, racist and normalizer.

Because we live in odd times, and because too many people only read a sentence or two before losing their sh*t, I feel the need for a disclaimer. I am not now, nor have I ever been, a nazi, fascist, enabler, racist or a normalizer. I do not like people who are those things. I didn’t vote for Trump and I think he’s a lousy human. ‘Kay?

But I very much am concerned about people in a nation whose core value should be free speech, people who claim they are resisting nazis, fascists, enablers, racists and normalizers, acting like them. Because anyone who uses violence to stop someone else’s speech is a fascist. Also, a bully. Have a look:

So there’s the video. A guy is exercising his First Amendment right. He happens to be doing that by flying a Confederate flag, a symbol of hate. But what anyone is saying is irrelevant to how the concept of speech works. Indeed, the concept exists not to chat about the weather, but for the hard stuff, the offensive stuff. Including Confederate flags.

If you take away the flag guy’s rights by violence you accomplish nothing but setting up the next retaliatory round where someone takes away your rights by violence. And if you can’t see where that leads, then you are far too stupid to be allowed outside on your own. It doesn’t matter if you think you’re on the barricades, or fighting Hitler, or #resisting something. You want your First Amendment rights, you accept others have them, too, and you are not the one to judge instead who is allowed to talk.

Yet multiple media sources said things like “It is as good and as just to tear down Confederate flags as it is to punch Nazis.” The idea is if someone on the “right side” determines someone else’s speech is wrong, then it is “OK” to silence them with violence.

You want to worry about authoritarianism? It always includes shutting up people you don’t want to listen to.

I never, ever, in my life thought the right to free speech would be challenged so harshly from the Left. It makes me very sad, and very worried.

BONUS: Inevitably some idiot who recently read something online will bring up “hate speech” as not being allowed under the First Amendment. Explained here. That link also covers the idea of speech that might incite a riot, another standard excuse for busting someone’s right to speech.

Inevitably some idiot who recently read something online will argue the “OK to punch nazis” line. Explained here.

And speaking of free speech and flag burning, here’s that explained, kids.

For that guy who will inevitably write in, yes, of course I know the First Amendment applies to government, not officially/legally to some guy in the street who jumps yellow tape. But for America to stay away from fascism, we cannot dismiss the broader concept of unfettered speech and the exchange of ideas. We all know you would not be making the same back-of-the-classroom legal argument if the Confederate flag guy beat up a POC to silence him, admit it.

The newest catch-phrase to use as an excuse to deny someone the chance to speak is “platform,” as in “The First Amendment doesn’t require us to give him a platform to speak at our school.” Well, sure, but of course if you only allow one line of thought to be spoken out loud, you are indeed denying speech. You just make it seem nicer to yourselves by using the word platform.

Let them speak, all of them.

Peter Van Buren blew the whistle on State Department waste and mismanagement during Iraqi reconstruction in his first book, We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People. His latest book is Ghosts of Tom Joad: A Story of the #99 Percent. Reprinted from the his blog with permission.

88 thoughts on “Peter Van Buren: Free Speech Fascists Like Me”

  1. Why this article Peter? What’s your schtick? As a Canadian, I see how you have jumped the gun and moved too quickly to just more bullshit of protecting one of the amendments. If it’s not the First then it’s usually going to be the Second one!

    You see, it’s not so much free speech and gun rights as it is pushing the issue by Americans. We don’t do that very much in Canada so we don’t have the same problems to deal with by our police.

    Now, I’m not trying to build up Canada in a comparison to the US. My point is all about not wanting to fly the flag of hate in the faces of black people. Or, if it’s not this kind of outright expression of hate mascereading as free speech and freedom of expression, then it will be haters promoting their right to carry their guns in places where the guns will likely be used for illegal purposes. Say, in a barroom where people are drinking and losing their ability to think rationally.

    So sure Peter, you set it up so that you can’t be debated on the issue because it’s their right to fly that flag. I’m just saying that in Canada we much less frequently stick it in somebody else’s face.

    So the issue is far less the protection of freedom and rights as it is just not citizens or even writers promoting hate by making it an issue to hold up rights such as deliberately asking for trouble.

    What do Americans see when they view that short video? Do they see a citizen expressing his right to fly that flag or do they see a guy deliberately promoting hate and hoping for the reaction he got? I see the latter but then I’m a Canadian and I may be different? And then too, on the 2nd. amendment rights, I don’t see the need to take a gun to a barroom so I can drink alcohol safely. I would see that as just asking for a chance to use it.

    1. Don, you simply don’t understand the concept of liberty. What good is freedom to express “acceptable” opinions, when people are legally restricted from expressing something controversial? In all cases, it will be the government deciding what is acceptable and what is not. That is quite dangerous, as there is no guarantee that the government will be reasonable by your standards as to how they decide what is acceptable.

      As far as gun violence is concerned, exactly what mechanism is used to enforce gun control laws? It is enforced with government GUN VIOLENCE. Anyone who supports gun control, on the grounds that they are opposed to gun violence, is, therefore, a hypocrite for supporting the government’s gun violence. Government, at its root, is violence, and sugar coating it with phrases like “But we Canadians are more polite…” can never change its nature.

      1. You didn’t understand what I said. I’m not saying that people shouldn’t be able to express opinions and I’m not saying that people shouldn’t be allowed to carry guns around with them, within reasonable limits. (we can debate those limits anytime you like)
        I’m saying that first of all, you have a sick society and secondly, you have a society in which rational limits are being challenged. So lets get back to what I ‘did’ say. The guy waving the confederate flag wasn’t doing it because he thinks it makes him more free to do it. He’s doing it to promote violence and hate. And Peter’s article isn’t written to promote freedom, it’s written to make an issue of promoting hate. And that’s what it’s accomplished isn’t it! Did you feel freer after reading it?

        For example, if you have a wife (a husband) (a partner) and I walk up to that person and insult them crudely and viciously, I would have a right to do that. How would you respond?

        It’s probably best that I don’t do that, I think you will agree. Somebody could get shot dead or injured and we don’t want that to happen. So why would Peter promote the waving of the confederate flag. Somebody could get shot dead or injured. Reread what I said now. It even might make sense for libertarians!

        1. The man waving the Confederate flag was certainly promoting hatred, but you’re dead wrong if you think that Peter was. He is defending the POLITICAL RIGHT to express oneself hatefully, NOT hateful expression in itself. That’s where you simply miss the point of liberty — that the ardent supporters of true freedom of expression, even hateful expression, derive their positions from a profound belief in self-restraint with regard to the use of violence. Liberty is not about hatred or violence, it is about compassionately loving the human race enough to apply the golden rule to political issues. Perhaps you learned in your high school civics class that “we” are the government. But I am more inclined to agree with Mao on this issue, and he was quite truthful: “Political power comes out of the barrel of a gun.”

          Your statement that there should be “reasonable limits” on civil liberties, completely ignores the issue of who decides what is reasonable. It is implied that you believe the government should do so. Well what if the government decides that there should be a totalitarian monitoring and enforcement of speech codes or gun ownership?

          One thing I will agree with you on — we live in a sick society. But so do Canadians. We are sick because we have granted the State essentially unlimited power to do violence against us, and, in my book, that is an unacceptable way to live. American society was never perfect, but, 120 years ago, we were a lot more polite, and we had a lot more freedom. Cultural debasement has occurred not because of having more liberty, it has definitely come about from having less.

          1. I don’t know why he used that example. He was promoting the idea of freedom of expression and using a bad choice to do it. Why does anyone need or want to defend the right for someone to express themself hatefully? Or, why would somebody want to defend the right to pack heat in a barroom? Some things are better left unexpressed but you Americans don’t seem to be able to accept that concept.

            As an American (you are I assume) don’t be so presumptious to think you can tell a Canadian something about liberty. I have the liberty to walk the streets safely and not be afraid of some black guy seeking revenge on me or my family. You’ve traded your liberty for the right to express hate and perp hate on others.

            You make some good points but you fail to realize that they are points that apply only to Americans. For example: We don’t as a rule hate our government and so we don’t object to our government imposing certain limitations and rules on civil liberties. Why should we? The government represents our wishes in our democracy and we vote them out when they don’t. Trust me, I’m a leftie of the hardest sort and I’m not walking around with a chip on my shoulder for government.

            Our government hasn’t decided on totalitarian monitoring and enforcement of speech codes, and aren’t going to. But our government has decided on restrictions on guns that are sensible and in no way limit our freedoms to use guns. We prefer that because the object is to protect the people.

            Yes, you live in a sick society but don’t include Canadians or my country. We haven’t, as far as I know, allowed our government to do violence against us. Unless you want to suggest specifically something I might be missing.

            So even though I understand that you aren’t representative of Americans in general, I sympathize with at least some of your complaints. Except that I can’t relate in any way with your complaints on freedom of unrestricted gun abuse and such issues as waving the confederate flag or other expressions of hate. You’re in too much of a hurry to support it than oppose it and that comes at your own expense.

            And finally, why not suggest to me some way you visualize me as losing my freedom? I feel very free but maybe I’m missing something?

          2. “Why does anyone need or want to defend the right for someone to express themself hatefully?”

            Popular speech doesn’t require anyone to defend it — nobody has a problem with it. It’s UN-popular speech that tests the commitment to defending freedom of speech.

          3. You could be right Thomas if we agree on what is popular and what is not. In the US south I’m guessing that waving the confederate flag is popular. Or, expressing that the confederate flag doesn’t represent hate is popular. But there’s little doubt that it is defended all the time.

            So I think you’re wrong. But I also think that you were trying to say something that you didn’t express very well. Try again if you like.

          4. Actually there’s quite a bit of contention in the south about both the Confederate flag per se and remnants/reminders of the Confederacy in general.

            In the area where I live there’s been an ongoing fight to have a memorial statue of a Confederate soldier removed from the courthouse grounds, schools that were named after Confederate generals are being renamed and there are fights about that, etc.

            And to indicate how deep in the former Confederacy I am, I live about a five-minute drive from where the Confederate government hid its archives in anticipation of smuggling them out to Cuba for use by a government in exile, and maybe half an hour from where those documents were finally surrendered.

          5. On the statue, I would suggest that the decision should be made on the merits or lack of merit in leaving it there. My first consideration would be to consider how much hate it’s promoting. Then secondly, I would consider the arguments being made for leaving it there. I think that would give an indication of the sincerity of those who want it left there. I think that wouldn’t be a good one to speak in favour of it remaining there because that would come off to me as just promoting hate. I’m pretty convince that’s where he’s coming from.

            On where you live, I’m no smarter on that.

          6. Thomas, I’m itching to get you into a discussion on Israel and the Israel lobby. I can’t on Justin’s of course but maybe one will come up. It’s that nobody seems to understand why Israel is propped up with such big money. They all think it’s got something to do with love for the Jewish.

          7. There’s contention, because new people have moved to the South. If not for immigration, the views wouldn’t have changed much.

          8. Apropos of this particular discussion, I just happened to notice the full name and birthplace of the new US Attorney General.

            He was born in the mid-1940s — years before one of the climactic stands of segregation against civil rights there — in Selma, Alabama.

            His full name is Jefferson Beauregard Sessions — most likely after Jefferson Davis (president of the Confederacy) and almost certainly after Pierre Gustave Toutant-Beauregard (the first head of the Confederacy’s armed forces).

            So yeah, there’s still a certain amount of holding on to faded glory in the south.

          9. He’s quite possibly descended from one of them.

            What concerns me is those who wish to persecute men like Sessions. There’s too much hatred against the South.

          10. I was born in the south, raised in the south, and live in the south. I don’t wish to persecute sessions because I hate the south. I wish to persecute Sessions because he’s a raving authoritarian douchenozzle.

          11. Lol. Sessions is indeed wrong in some areas. 4th Amendment and States’ rights to be sure, not to mention foreign policy.

            To expand, I’m concerned with how modern society desires bad guys to condemn, and it’s just assumed Southerners must be bad.

            I’m well aware the South today likes war, is certainly imperfect. But there’s also the component of fictional stereotyping of the South to serve political ends as well as perhaps some emotional need for an enemy. The “Left” seems to have need of someone to hate.

            Look at Obama. Everyone loves him. He destroyed Libya. That is surely a bad thing. Many schools and babies I’m sure will be named after him. Any criticism will be said to be “racism”. Well if he gets schools, then R E Lee should retain schools, and names like Jefferson Sessions should be all right.

            If perfection is demanded, then let’s first find someone who is indeed perfect. The modern man seems to ignore history almost entirely. All he hears about is, “The world was perfect, then the South arose, then it was put down. And we returned to perfection.” The real history is man is fallen, and we all sin, are still sinning, and will always sin. R E Lee is admirable on the whole considering the society he was born into. That’s just as good as man gets. I bet even the great Ron Paul has sinned in his life.

          12. “it’s just assumed Southerners must be bad”

            Yeah, that’s why the Democratic Party put southerner Debbie Wasserman-Schultz in charge of their national committee, why it’s presidents and why of the six Democratic presidents since World War II, four of them (Truman, LBJ, Carter and Clinton) were from the south.

          13. And it provides one really cool bit of Social Intel. You don’t have to dig around to find out who are the dangerously stupid ones.

            If we did as the Nazis, make people wear a Mogen David patch, or the a-inside-a-circle for Anarchist, or a Pink Triangle, or whatever the hell markers they made for Romany (Gypsy) people, or one that shows the person’s IQ, (and the Nazi regime did go after those who were “mentally, genetically or physically defective”) dangerously stupid, it would be a huge breach of Civil Rights.

            Tell them that they can say anything they want, they’ll tell everybody just how stupid they really are. Repeatedly. Constantly. Loudly.

          14. “We haven’t, as far as I know, allowed our government to do violence against us. Unless you want to suggest specifically something I might be missing.”

            Every law, passed by every government, carries with it the threat of gun violence in its enforcement. If I choose not to pay my taxes, ultimately the government will send men with guns to my door, who will, if necessary, kill me if I resist arrest to the bitter end. It is this way in Canada as well as in the US. That’s what you’re missing, that government is violence at its root. How so many people, who talk about all the wonderful government programs with smiley faces, ignore this simple fact is beyond me.

            Your issue with “packing heat in a barroom” is not valid. If there were a demand for gun-free bars (and I think there is, even here in America), they would come into existence voluntarily, without the violence of the State to enforce these rules. The issue is choice, not guns.

            I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree. Your views are actually quite commonplace in America among liberals. It is actually quite refreshing to debate with someone of that orientation, as I’m usually debating here with the militant Trump supporters.

          15. Interesting concepts there on violence. Personally, I’m basically law-abiding and so don’t see my government as threatening me. But to use your example of not paying taxes and having the government come to my door to arrest me; if I don’t want to pay my taxes then I would stop subscribing to the system. I would go out in the wilderness where I would earn nothing and hence not be responsible for taxes. If I want to reap the benefits of society then I just feel that I have to pay my fair share. Is your complain about government asking you to pay more than your fair share? Maybe you’re not stating that and so that’s what I’m missing?

            The issue with guns may be choice but it’s more about freedom. In Canada we are free to use our guns for peaceful purposes and Canadians don’t see any purpose in taking their guns to bars. Therefore we don’t feel deprived of our freedoms over that issue. We also accept limitations on guns, what kind of guns, where guns are carried, and so on because we recognize that not having those limitations and laws would infringe on the rights of society. We don’t fear walking down the street because we may be shot. Mothers and fathers don’t fear sending their babies to schools because we Canadians don’t as a rule shoot up schools and kill our children.

            Truthfully, none of the laws on guns in Canada bother me one bit. Really!

            Yes, I’m a liberal. But I’m not so sure I want to accept that we are debating as much as pointing out the difference and hoping that you will see the logic of my claims of my freedoms.

          16. “If I want to reap the benefits of society then I just feel that I have to pay my fair share.”

            It is my belief that civil society results from the voluntary actions of individuals, NOT from government. A restaurant may provide a service, and I voluntarily pay for it. Government DEMANDS that I pay for its “services,” whether I wish them to exist, or not. If the restaurant owner did that, he would go to jail. When a government agent does it, they are praised as public servants, and not censured or punished in any way. The “benefits of society” are not brought about by government, they are brought about by people voluntarily interacting with each other in the free market. Any legitimate service government provides could be provided by the uncoerced actions of individuals in a free market, there is no need to use violence to force me to purchase a service which is useful to me.

            Our country’s economy is in a shambles because of government interference with private individuals’ voluntary choices. I, and many other Americans, are struggling every day to make ends meet, because we are robbed and regulated into poverty by our government. it has never been so difficult for me to make it financially as it is now. The military budget is at least six times what is necessary to actually defend the country. What “benefit” am I getting for that total waste? When the economy finally totally collapses, what “benefit” can the government provide to keep Americans from starving?

          17. I think you are telling me about corrupt government as opposed to good government. And I believe you because I hear it over and over again from people who aren’t libertarians.

            When you go into a restaurant and order something and receive it, you are bound by law to pay the bill.
            When you reap the benefits of society, you are bound by law to pay the bills. `I see little difference except on the scale of the transaction. And I need to keep in mind that in your libertarian world, the scale of the transactions would become very similar to government large scale transactions. Except that I could give you numerous instances where free enterprise just wouldn’t work. Free enterprise is about making money and providing as little as possible in return. It can never function as a pure system.

            Free enterprise can do ‘nearly’ everything but some things it can’t do as well as government. I would suggest that is proven with health care. If you want everybody’s medical needs to be taken care of, as I do, then it’s become pretty apparent that government is going to have to do it.

            And I know that’s making a big wild assumption because I think it’s very likely that you don’t think your fellow citizens should be looked after in that respect.

            I depart from the main issue and go to that practical and real example because I won’t debate the issue outside of reality.

            I would suggest that your country is in a shambles mostly because of attitudes of Americans. The only way to fix the problems is to adopt a system of socially responsible capitalism. The problems you are experiencing are due to ‘greedy’ and ‘irresponsible’ capitalism.
            You said: I, and many other Americans, are struggling every day to make ends meet, because we are robbed and regulated into poverty by our government.”

            Yes, I know. And that’s why you need to start looking for real solutions. Or more correctly, the American people need to do that. Trump has promised that and people like you bought into it. I mean, people who are feeling disenfranchized like you. Trump has surrounded himself with a bunch of corporate billionaires who he depends upon to fix the problem. Maybe next time?

          18. “Trump has promised that and people like you bought into it.”

            I don’t know why you are assuming I supported Trump. I did not vote for
            him and consider him as unfit to be President as Hillary Clinton was. He
            is a big government fascist who has not proposed one penny of reduction
            in overall government spending. He is pro-war, and. in my opinion just
            as likely to get us into World War III as Hillary Clinton.

          19. I don’t assume you supported Trump, just the opposite. I meant people ‘like’ you, but I didn’t express it properly. I meant ordinary people like you. Sorry about the misunderstanding.

          20. “it’s very likely that you don’t think your fellow citizens should be looked after in that respect.”

            I believe people who can’t provide for themselves should be looked after, I just don’t think that the process of doing so should involve government violence. Do you Canadians not have private, voluntary charity? What makes you think that medical care cannot be provided less expensively by the free market than by government fiat? I can’t prove that it would, because the free market has never existed. Perhaps all that can be said now is that some countries have better government run health care systems than others. Ours is primarily government run and managed, and its a disaster.

            Government serves the interests of the rich. It has never been, is not, and never can be, the friend of the poor.

          21. One point you made, I have to comment on. Yes, we do have charities in Canada but much less I suspect than you have. There’s a reason for that too. Charities are a last resort.
            Another thing that seems to happen in your country is people working in restaurants work for no wages. They depend on tips. AKA charity. A real fu-king abuse in my opinion and shouldn’t be tolerated. When we tip in a reataurant we give 10% or 15% and sometimes nothing if that’s what is deserved. We don’t think we need to pay wages to the owner’s employees. You people think it’s o.k. apparently.

            I mention it because it’s an indication of one of the big differences. It’s something that is acceptable to Americans but isn’t acceptable in my country. We hold government accountable to the people, much more than you tend to do.

          22. “Another thing that seems to happen in your country is people working in restaurants work for no wages. They depend on tips.”

            You’re correct, if by it you mean “that’s illegal but may happen in some places anyway.”

          23. I didn’t know it was illegal. That puts a different light on the practice for the most part. Maybe not entirely because it becomes a matter of illegal practices of employers being condemned or ignored. You would have to expand on that for me. Unless I find time to search it out?

          24. “When you go into a restaurant and order something and receive it, you are bound by law to pay the bill.
            When you reap the benefits of society, you are bound by law to pay the bills. I see little difference except on the scale of the transaction. ”

            Well, let’s see:

            At a restaurant, I am a willing customer who buys what he wants.

            With a government, I’m told I’m getting something whether I want it or not and then forced to pay for it at gunpoint.

            At a restaurant, the owner and employees are responsible for providing the things they’re selling me.

            A government interposes itself between me and the benefits of society, prevents me receiving some of those benefits, destroys much of the value of others, and then demands that I pay it for those benefits that do manage to reach me despite its best efforts.

          25. I disagree. When you drive your car down the road you are a willing customer too. And the government is bound to making it safe to do so in many ways. One example would be ‘stop signs’, but there are many more. And many more examples other than roads too.

            Yes, I know you want to privatise roads and charge tolls for those who use them. And you may even want to eliminate ‘stop signs’. (some do) But at the moment that’s not the case

            I’m not aware of the benefits of society that government prevents you from receiving but I’m interested in hearing about them. I’ll just say before you start though, that if you are deprived for the greater good then I won’t be able to relate to your complaints. If not then you could have a case worth discussing.

          26. I tend to agree with you, but, the government gets to define what is legal and what is not. I am quite the wimp, and would never make it in a firefight. I guess I should have rephrased it, “If I choose not to pay the taxes the government says I owe them…”

          27. The only way government should get to define what is legal and what is not, or, what you owe in taxes, is if it’s not corrupt irresponsible government. That’s what you must strive toward in my opinion. I’m of the opinion that there is no other solution.

            Maybe Bernie Sanders was an attempt at a social revolution, at least in part. People like you saw Trump as a social revolution too. They made a big mistake. Maybe that was a big enough mistake to cause ordinary people to make the right choice the next time. I would say there is hope in Trump in that respect. Hope that he will fu-k things up so bad that the light will come on in ordinary people’s heads.

          28. “People like you saw Trump as a social revolution too.”

            I don’t know why you are assuming I supported Trump. I did not vote for him and consider him as unfit to be President as Hillary Clinton was. He is a big government fascist who has not proposed one penny of reduction in overall government spending. He is pro-war, and. in my opinion just as likely to get us into World War III as Hillary Clinton.

          29. When I say ‘people like you’ I’m not accusing you of supporting Trump. I’m only saying that ordinary people like you or us supported Trump. And to me that seems to be such a huge contradiction. Sorry for not explaining that.

          30. “The only way government should get to define what is legal and what is not, or, what you owe in taxes, is if it’s not corrupt irresponsible government.”

            All governments are corrupt and irresponsible. Because the services they provide are based on violence and not voluntary cooperation, there can be no other outcome

          31. Yes Thomas I know. But in my message to supremeborg I’m suggesting that the route out of the problem you and he have chosen is not going to work.

            I recognize that Americans reject socialist politicies and ‘socially responsible’ government. And I think I know why. I think I know are the bullshit lines and catch phrases that demonize ‘social responsible’ government. It’s mostly about equating it to communism. And it’s greatly feared by big business and big government.

            There’s a difference in Canada, and admittedly some of the same rot that infects your country has seeped in. But I think we have a handle on it and we have the ability to cause the pendulum to swing back to the left when it gets too far right.

            That’s where I would prefer to go with this discussion.

    2. As a “fellow” Canadian, I suggest you read your so-called constitution, and ponder deeply the first article. Bluntly, you have no sovereign rights. Thus, Canadians do not “stick in face”, as they have zero rights to support such. Quebec won its right for “notwithstanding”, for a very important reason.

  2. Thanks Peter. I have read your books and appreciate them.
    I live in France, and yesterday was appalled by the violent demonstration by the left and unions (which I would normally support) against a rally by Front National Presidential candidate Marine Le Pen. The aim was to stop the rally ie nobody could hear the platform, but it was done very violently and had to be stopped by police. This is hardly the way to endear your “free” ideas to anyone.

    1. It’s probably what Marine is hoping for rosemary. Being noticed and demos like that gain sympathy from others, just like it gained yours. It gains votes! Marine is promoting the same thing as the guy with the confederate flag. He’s just a piece of shit hoping for trouble and Marine’s the same.
      And ya know what rose, Trump was the same and look what it got him.

      That’s the part Peter missed in this article and that’s what it’s really all about. Not freedom of expression and free speech. And also, not their right to pack heat in a barroom. They don’t fool you do they?

  3. Society is still coming to terms with the effects of the internet. Communication and transportation have historically been barriers to greater contact and inter-connectivity between peoples. Each time a significant leap in capability happens for either two, people are brought into more constant and greater depth of contact with one another. This causes the inevitable conflict to arise.

    The greater the capacity of the technological advance to change our lives, the greater the magnitude of the conflicts will be that arise from it.

    We will be fighting over this new medium for the exchange of thoughts and ideas for a long time to come, as we attempt to fit old models of behavior into the new ways of thinking.

  4. Anyone who thinks that the Confederate flag is a symbol or emblem of hate is totally ignorant of what it was and is. There are those who hate who sometimes use it, but that is not what it is. It is, as it was at the time, the most legitimate
    declaration of American Constitutional legitimacy that has ever been flown over the American continent. It is not the flag of our country, that is the Stars and
    Stripes, but the Confederate flag is worthy of respect and admiration, of what we stood for before the totalitarianism of all power to Washington was introduced by
    Abraham Lincoln, who murdered 620 thousand Americans to achieve it. No,
    the Confederate flag should be flown and admired by every thinking American
    of what our country once was and could be again. Calling it a symbol of hate
    is a complete and total lie.

    1. The Civil War was a war between two authoritarian kleptocratic gangs. Yes, it was about secession, not slavery — but it was about a secession specifically undertaken to preserve slavery, and the Confederacy hanged its own secessionists and conscripted kids down to the age of 15 into military service. It was as evil as were the methods used to destroy it.

      1. “but it was about a secession specifically undertaken to preserve slavery”

        No, it wasn’t. Lincoln offered to enshrine slavery in the constitution via the Corwin amendment. There were abolitionists who supported secession exactly so the fugitive slave laws could be abolished. The so-called Civil War was about empire, plain and simple.

        1. The southern states didn’t believe Lincoln. Their ordinances of secession make quite clear what they were seceding over. They said they were seceding over slavery. Were they lying?

          1. Lincoln offered permanent slavery to states that would return. And Lincoln never freed slaves in Northern states.

            The war can’t be said to have been about slavery since states refused to return.

          2. Of course, Lincoln could have put it out like Pontius offering the life of either Bar-Abbas or Jesus. Slavery might not be the official reason, for the official war, but there was plenty of bloodshed in the unofficial civil war that was already happening. In the south the official governments, represented by, let’s say for instance the schools, still demonize John Brown and Nat Turner.

            When I was in 7th grade we had to recite the official history of Texas. Stuff like the Spanish and French and English monarchs who never set foot in Texas or even America in general had more weight than native rights, or a revolutionary government in Mexico, in constitutional law. Laws that allowed slavery in the conquered former portions of Mexico. One of the reasons, not all but when the Anglo-American “settlers” in an already settled region were told by the mexican government to free the slaves. “Tyranny!” they screamed. “How Dare the Mexican government ask us to follow the laws of their nation just because we voluntarily immigrated knowing full well that the Mexican government had passed and the president had signed Emancipation into law more than a decade earlier! Treachery in the highest!” and if you don’t believe that look at the letter Travis sent from the Alamo at the beginning of the siege. I dialed back the Texican hyperbole, just a smidge. The John Wayne movie had in the score a song performed by Johnny Horton, who didn’t write it, “well the men came from Texas (fat lie) and from old Tennessee and they joined up with Travis just to fight for the right to be free” But not the slaves they brought with them, illegally.. And if the U.S. was the “land of the free” in another warmongering propaganda song says, why the hell did they have to go to a foreign land to “be free”?
            That’s just corporate media propaganda, though.

            When they were admitted to the U.S. as a state they had to wait for a congress which had a majority of Slave State proponents. The only reason California, a similar land-grab “republic” had no problem becoming a U.S. possession was they didn’t demand keeping slaves. But for Texas, yeah, it was a huge issue.

            And when we got to the issues of the Civil War, the authors of the “history” which is a really subjective topic, there was a paragraph or three summed up by the statement that The Slaves Had A Good Life And Were Well Treated. And Texas had the same Slave Codes as the other slave states, none were allowed to learn to read, hold money, could be chained, whipped or even mutilated or killed for being uppity. If they wanted to not keep their Good Life and being Well Treated, and my goodness why would anybody want such a thing, you know, freedom? but if they left off working for free on other people’s land there was and still is a law that somebody can, without being an officer of the courts, have any training or even a background check, bring them back in chains or use deadly force if resisted. Don’t believe me? Look on Dog the Bounty Hunter’s website.

            And, as Klansmen say to other Klansmen, it really was about slavery. The Texas Revolution, the Civil War, Reconstruction, their terrorist actions over the past 152 years… They only come out with the other crap when they’re slick-talking to non-believers. Now, the Klan DOES use terrorism against liberals, Jews, Natives, homosexuals, Muslims and so forth, they’ve got a list that says “anybody we don’t like” and they do use the Southern Cross (which was born in the Crusades and modified during the Catholic vs Episcopalian vs Presbyterian vs Jews Again and in a massive circulating whirlpool of flying fornicating faeces in Britain and Ireland alone, and of course all over Europe, inspiring similar illegal Religious Immigration which built the framework of the American Revolution.

            It was considered as an official U.S. Flag early in the revolution but in thick clouds of black powder smoke it looked too much like British and German Mercenary brigade colors,and the Stars and Bars flag of the confederacy was rejected as a battle flag because it looked, under cannon smoke, a lot like Union battle flags. Go figure, eh?

            And the Klan loves that Southern Cross. Yes it’s hate speech or press and definitely religion.

            BUT- Let the idiots do stupid crap like that. They prided themselves as a Secret Society, well, it gets less secret every second or whatever minuscule unit of time.

          3. Online, many “racialists” (or whatever term you wish to use) praise the North. Because they say the North wanted blacks out of the country.

            Scotland has a similar burning cross. I believe it’s seen as more acceptable there, resisting the English with it. Maybe it is from the Crusades, no idea the origin.

            I don’t think the Klan really exists nowadays, certainly is not a significant power today as in the past. It’s just politically useful to attack someone by accusing the person of having the group’s support. There were 3 incarnations of it. It wasn’t really the same group, nor the same ideas. Reconstruction was very difficult, so you would expect people to resist. The war was horrible. After any sort of war like that you’d expect resistance. We see the same in Iraq, but the war and Reconstruction were both much worse here.

            Regarding slavery, Jefferson described it as holding the wolf by the ears. Jefferson hated slavery, but he saw that it’d be difficult to end. Poor whites were fearful that, for example, ending it would lower their wages. But it’s also difficult to learn to be free after living in servitude like that.

            I don’t believe slavery was ever very popular with the general population. I’ve seen a great deal of criticism of it. I’d like to believe it wasn’t liked on the whole. When a system is so profitable though, those who are willing to use it acquire the power in society. The people who founded the US, many of them were slave holders. Sadly, that’s what built the US. The North sold slaves and traded with the South.

            Likewise today, a sort of “capitalism” has enslaved parts of the developing world, which is partly what motivates “socialist” movements in Latin America. Who can stand up to big money?

            I’m certainly anti-slavery and anti-war. I’ve yet to discover a perfect society that is free from oppression though. Maybe minuscule Iceland is near perfect?

            Texas is certainly very different in how it teaches a pro-Texas history. My school taught nothing positive about the South.

            My complaint is the dual morality in how Southerners are painted as a sort of pure evil while the North is taught as being good.

            It is mainstream and acceptable to hate Southerners. And it is taught how Southerners are secretly striving to keep others down. That is very dangerous thinking.

            And what’s also dangerous is how it’s just assumed that no one is going to speak up in defence or that speaking up is somehow evil. Blacks and whites would get along much better if not for the political attempts to divide us.

        1. Do you?

          The north went to war with the south to prevent it from successfully seceding. Lincoln plainly stated that if he could win the war without freeing a single slave he would, and that if he had to free them all to win the war he’d do that too. The war had been raging for a year and a half before he issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which only claimed to free slaves in territory held by the Confederates. The 13th Amendment was not proposed to the states by Congress until the war was clearly won and within a few months of being over.

          The southern states seceded over slavery, but the Union went to war over secession, not slavery.

          1. I think I still see.
            The union didn’t go to war over slavery.
            The union went to war over secession.
            The union went to war over secession to preserve slavery.
            The south seceded over slavery. Or at least they tried to!

            And one thing for sure, if all that isn’t, is that the south hasn’t got over losing yet. And that’s a big problem that your country has that doesn’t seem to be peculiar to any other country. I think that even South Africa may have handled it better by now?

            My advice is fuggetaboutit, it’s not making you any freer to keep bringing it up. It’s probably causing more hurt than good. That’s sort of the reason why I started it with supremeborg.

          2. The south has still not fully emerged from the severe economic depression that losing the war put it into. Among other things, its main pre-war export, cotton, plummeted in value when European textile mills switched to other fibers during the war. The northern blockade was pretty effective and England, the Confederacy’s main cotton market, came down against supporting the Confederacy. Then to top it off, losing the war meant no more slave labor, which increased production costs.

            Seven of the ten poorest US states to this very day are former Confederate states. So yeah, there’s still a certain amount of chip on shoulder. But not as much as you seem to think.

          3. Thanks for that, it puts it in a better sort of perspective for me. I guess I hadn’t thought of it all that much and I didn’t know that there were good alternatives to cotton back in those days. Wool and Linen? Others?

            If they haven’t recovered then I would say that there’s a reason. Could it be that the don’t accept that the must be viable without slaves? Are they ever going to be viable? They do have the advantage of cheap labour in agriculture and likely in industry as well. If they get their wish of sending all the Hispanics back then it seems to me that they’ll be screwing themselves even more.

            Which takes us back to the problem they have with black people and how that could have been transferred to a problem with all people who aren’t pure white Wasp, etc.

            Do you think all their problems will start to be solved when they get rid of all that cheap labour that could be done by white Americans for high wages?

          4. My recollection is that it was linen that rose to replace cotton during the blockade, but I could be wrong.

            A lot of factors conspired to keep the south behind the north for a long time after the war.

            The south’s economy was mostly about cotton before the war, with slaves being the pickers (the cotton gin had made mass production of cotton thread and cloth possible, but it still had to be picked by hand in quantities that could keep the gins running).

            When the war was over southern cities, ports and railroads were in ruins, the cotton market was much smaller because Europe had substituted other stock for cotton during the blockade, etc. And there weren’t slaves to pick it.

            Then just as cotton was coming back in the 1890s as machinery started replacing slaves to pick cotton, the invasive boll weevil savaged the southern cotton crops through the 1920s — at which point the entire US was falling into economic depression anyway.

            So basically the south was screwed both by its own folly and by circumstances for nearly 100 years while the north had advanced even DURING the war and advanced more quickly after it. It wasn’t until after World War II that the south began to diversify economically much at all and only in the last few decades that it’s begun closing the standard of living gap with the north.

            The south is learning the hard way what happens when they get rid of immigrant labor. Immigrants fled Georgia en masse a couple of years ago when some state laws were passed to make it harder for them to work. Entire crops ended up rotting in the fields, farmers started going bankrupt and the state’s economy nearly went tits up.

          5. Thank you for that explanation. It gives me confidence that you understand what you’re talking about! And I find no inconsistencies with what little I’ve been led to believe. However, I don’t fully understand why the south hasn’t risen out of their situation by now, as well as the north has succeeded. It would seem that the south would be the “land of milk and honey” so to speak.

          6. And they’re anti-labor unions too. Texas has a lot of jobs, sure, but they’re like the one that broke my legs to hell 25 years ago. And now Rick Perry has a cabinet post.

          7. Don, a tremendous percentage died in the war, total war was used, secession had been proposed previously by the North, and secession was not clearly illegal.

            And there was tremendous racism within the North. So, it’s infuriating to be told how the North fought for integration with blacks when some of their heroes hated blacks, wanted them expelled, and desired to eliminate Amerindians.

            Look up Sherman and Amerindians. There are some terrible people involved. Today we’re told they’re heroes.

            There’s so much that could be said about the conflict. I don’t know if it’s appropriate for me to ramble here. But the only way to “heal” such wounds is what’s being done today: Reeducation and colonisation. We’ve been flooded with new people who are becoming the majority in Southern states, and they’ve learned a less controversial version of the history. The truth though is outrageous.

            So, those still descended will likely continue to be angry just as Amerindians are still angry. And it isn’t only anger but a desire to honour those who fought for their own people in defence from a nightmarish invasion.

            Both sides of the conflict were certainly very racist, but the way the history is told today is just a fairy tail.

            One negative of the conflict is blacks were used politically against the whites in the South, resulting in conflict between the two groups. Also, Reconstruction was horrible. There’s so much that could be said about the war and after effects.

            Ask Syrians if they’re happy about being invaded (foreign fighters). I’m sure Assad wasn’t a perfect leader.

          8. and Sherman’s middle name was Tecumseh, a (I guess I could put it in European terms) General in the Shawnee Rebellion aka the Baton Rouge and Creek Rebellion.
            Tecumseh’s brother Te-s qua ta nah was a prophet. Their relationship was kind of like Moses and Aaron, to put a nother useless spin onto it. Family history if you will, my Great Great grandfather, a Cherokee, fought alongside Andrew Jackson in that war. And was ripped off along with the rest of the Cherokee, Jackson was selling our land the whole time. Yeah it’s a mess.

            The Klan never did anything to make the situation(s) better.

          9. I’ve heard Andrew Jackson didn’t really want to remove the Amerindians. It was the locals who wanted them gone, wanted their land. I’ve never studied the history closely.

            Amerindians have certainly been mistreated in the US.

            The Cherokee should have backed the winning side of that war. Never lose a war.

          10. Manumission for slaves who joined the British Army was a big issue in the Declaration of Independence. Also the same deal done in the misnamed “war of 1812” which was a small part of the Napoleonic Wars and neither Britain nor the U.S. actually surrendered to the other… but it got written into the national anthem.

            As for it not being used as a hate symbol, the hell they say. I lived in Texas 40 years, they didn’t allow mixed marriages (I guess that means somebody who’s not your siblings or cousins) until 1970. And that bit about somebody in Denver refusing to provide services to a same-sex marriage? In Texas there are still preachers who will refuse to perform weddings for people who aren’t of the same denomination, far less ethnic or sexual non-conformist actions. And they get away with it.
            And they use the Southern Cross and or the Stars and Bars as one symbol of their hate.

            Saying it ain’t so, ain’t gonna make it so.

            And hatred of Black, Immigrant and Native American people is open, blatant and there’s a lot of it. Sessions as AG dropped Justice Department complaints against Texas using Jim Crow laws to keep the hated groups from voting. I’ve seen the nightmare that was and still is caused by racial hatred and deeply rooted in Civil War mythology. And you don’t have to go far to find it.

            I’ve seen the mess made by forbidding “mexicans” whose families, especially the Indio side, for centuries before the David Crockett Sam Houston U.S. staged coup were even born… their families were in Texas….
            but the Voting Rights is deeply ingrained in the Texas Establishment as a hate target, the so-called mexicans who were there before Mexico was an independent nation, are prohibited from voting as much as the Klan establishment can get away with it. And the poll watchers and election judges who enforce it use the Southern Cross flag as their symbol.

            Hundred and fifty years ago? How about a hundred and fifty DAYS ago. So basically, what Sessions in dropping the lawsuits, is doing… a complete repeal of Civil Rights.

          11. That’s what’s so encouraging about Trump, brother jonah! He’s such the exact opposite of finding a solution to the problems that it’s encouraging for me as a Canadian. I hope it’s encouraging for Americans too. Every indication, judging from his demeanour and his priorities is that he will cause a backlash that could be the next best thing to an allout revolution. Thereby electing a new government after Trump that will make America great in a way that the south hasn’t seen since they lost their slave labour.

    2. Thanks for the history lesson on the confederate flag. I’ve heard it dozens of times from people just like you.
      But what that has to do with using that flag as a symbol of hate against black people, I don’t understand.
      Tell us what the confederate flag means to you when you fly it from the roof of your pickup truck? Does it make you feel freer? Do you fly it as an expression of love for your country and all your country’s people?

      In other words, fly the confederate flag all you like because it very clearly represents that which you want it to represent. And the more you fly it, the more you will reap the rewards. Ask supremeborg what those rewards will be. He’ll know!

  5. Thanks for sharing that link.

    “the perception that, at least relatively speaking, the North were the good guys.”

    There WERE no good guys. There were just two evil empires mauling each other at the expense of their unfortunate victim populations.

    1. interesting question isn’t it! Those who fought in your civil war would be doing so for an ’emotional’ cause. Perhaps a cause that they didn’t need to be convinced of being a good and worthy cause.

      I’m going out on a limb on that because I don’t know and I’m even reluctant getting into the civil war discussion.

      But I did because I’m suggesting that the situation would differ from a US war in foreign lands these days where the combatants needed to be convinced that it was a worthy cause. Convinced in a dishonest way that would have differed perhaps from even WW2 where many would have considered the cause to be worthy without any convincing.

  6. The two countries I actually know to have a law against displaying the swastika are Germany and Austria. Banning the Confederate flags isn’t the way. Allow people who make or buy their own flags, U.S., U.N., Confederate, Nazi, whatever for the purpose of publicly burning them should be allowed to do so.

    A flag is an implement of war, it’s used to keep your allies from firing on your position. I learned that early as part of the resistance against the Pledge and the Anthem. It’s not God as described by Moses, but it’s a god as also described by Moses. An Idol. If you want to assign a religious label to your flag, whichever it may be, just call it the Roman god Mars or the Greek god Ares.

    The only restrictions on flag burning should be fire safety, as in don’t burn down my town, dude. And don’t steal somebody else’s flag to burn. unless the bastard really deserves it.

    But if you’re going to display (a) Nazi flag(s) in Skokie or a Stars and Bars flag in front of people whose church/mosque/synagogue/sweat lodge or temple your organization just bombed, shot up or burned down, don’t expect the cops to protect you. Or, in the case of Klan actions, I guess the cops will defend it.

    1. Right on! The problem disappears when people no longer want to buy confederate flags they can fly on their pickup trucks.

      1. Yeah, there’s an issue in Texas where people were demonstrating in the streets of Arlington, where my brother and sister-in-law, several of my nieces and grand nieces and nephews, all live within the lethality range of an AK47. Which is about 2 miles. you could draw a circle 4 miles across with their machine guns, which is supposed to mean only devices which have only fully automatic loading, which I don’t give a fat flying frog about nomenclature on this issue… The bullet once it’s fired has no conscience and the person who (accidentally of course) discharged the weapon has no further control of it.

        Which, in Texas, if you have a federal license to own one and it’s a carbine or rifle, anything but a pistol or revolver, you can carry it down the street fully loaded, round in the chamber, safety off, and it’s LEGAL… but you can’t carry a bow and arrow, slingshot or a knife that doesn’t fold up. Regardless of length. Go figure, eh? But their beef (hahaha I used beef in a reference to texas, me is funny, me is…) was Starbucks, a private Corporation, wouldn’t allow people to bring weapons into their property. Apparently the heavily armed Idiots think their 2nd Amendment rights to be stupid with guns outweighs their neighbors right to not be shot and outweighs property rights.

        In doing so, and this is straight from the NRA handbooks and safety guides, which you swear to uphold in order to join, the military rules apply. No leaving your weapons unattended, that’s a big one. If I really want an AK I only have to go down the street, any town in America, to a meth or crack independent dealership. They do a big business in guns because people who want to use expensive drugs but don’t want to actually pay money to do it, will sell somebody else’s firearms because it’s easy, and that because a whole bunch of 2nd Amendment aficionados actually break NRA rules. Because they can’t be bothered. Also, in the Military, unless you’re on the firing range, an MP or in a Free Fire Zone, which means somewhere any other persons besides Your Troops/Comrade are enemy combatants…. you don’t put ammunition in your firearms. You keep your ammunition separately from your weapon. Always guarded. You don’t put a magazine into your weapon, unless you’re in a situation where you’re likely to shoot. This is done by command, you’re told to lock and load. You damned sure don’t have a round in the chamber. These are also the Rules as brought forth from military protocol by the NRA. I guess the gun-toters in Arlington don’t give half a god-damn about safety. And it’s not a little town out in the boondocks. It’s smack in the middle of a super-urban area known as the DFW Metroplex.
        Home of the Texas Rangers baseball team and the Dallas Cowboys. Funny how these dummies don’t have a similar protest against the Cowboys and the Rangers because they’re not allowed to bring their Death Machines to the games.

        And just which of their neighbors do they want to kill?

        In the Military they would have a Court Martial hearing for doing that. Depending on the mood of the Court Martial they would have a separate one for each round of ammunition. The Uniform Code of Military Justice allows it.

        Bush The Elder’s father was Senator Prescott Bush, in World War One he wasn’t allowed to skip out of the draft but he didn’t get sent to France. Like a couple of your countrymen, CS Lewis and A.A. Milne were. And a few hundred thousand others. No, Monsieur Bush was stationed, like his son and grandson, Stateside. Why I’ll keep putting it forward in any appropriate discussion, Prescott and his comrades from the Skull and Bones society stole the remains of Geronimo, the Apache chieftain, from a grave at Ft Sill, Oklahoma. Which is about as far as he could get from the machine guns, artillery, gas, etc on the Green Fields O’ France. Funny how that happens. But, because it’s a UCMJ offense, and the UCMJ doesn’t actually have a statute of limitations, everybody in the Skull and Bones could be arrested for grave robbing. To this day and beyond. The Chiricahua tribe are petitioning the Kangaroo Kourts under the 1st Amendment for a Redress of Grievances…

        And you just would not freakin’ believe the number of militaristic butt-munch coward proponents of the 2nd Amendment just blow right past that issue.

        The thing to do now, rather than point out that it’s a hateful thing to do, basically telling African descendant to either go back to Africa or go back to slavery… and a lot of the less educated ones, the backbone of their mob, actually do mean it that way, exactly… scorn and shunning is really effective.

        Get a confederate flag of you own, and burn it right in front of the idiots. Of course they’ll say it’s an attack. Waaaahhhh! Waaaaahhhh! He called me a NAME!

        “well, what name did he call you, boy?”

        “He called me a whiney ass crybaby! waaahhh! waaaahhhhh”

        Let somebody claim martyrdom and persecution about that.

        Oh, that’s right… Mr Trump does that already.

  7. You were not completely right. You were not mostly right. You were completely wrong.

    Here, let me emphasize the part of the page you link to to explain why you are completely wrong:

    “An employer of a tipped employee is only required to pay $2.13 per hour in direct wages IF THAT AMOUNT COMBINED WITH THE TIPS RECEIVED AT LEAST EQUALS THE FEDERAL MINIMUM WAGE. If the employee’s tips combined with the employer’s direct wages of at least $2.13 per hour do not equal the federal minimum hourly wage, THE EMPLOYER MUS MAKE UP THE DIFFERENCE.”

    The minimum wage for wait staff in the United States is the same as the minimum wage for everyone else.

    The difference is that most wait staff get less of their income sucked away in taxes. When my ex-wife worked at a pizza place, here’s how it went at the end of each night:

    Boss: “OK, time to count up your tips.”

    Employees: “Hey, what do you know, I got EXACTLY enough in tips to get me up to minimum wage! Oh, that other $50? That was in my pocket when I got here. Wink. Nudge.”

    1. Amazing Thomas, you come off as supporting it with your wink, wink, nudge, nudge of promoting dishonesty. A dishonesty I could personally get behind in that kind of a situation because it’s theft being perped on the worker by the employer.
      But I can’t get behind it because eventually some workers will get caught doing it and then suffer the consequences. Never before have you outright demonstrated the failing in your logic so completely.

      And so, I was right Thomas, but I’ll be content to be wrong for your sake.

      1. Over half of every dollar you pay in Federal taxes goes to support killing people, finding more efficient ways to kill people, paying for propaganda to support condoning the killing of people, overthrowing elected governments, creating bogus threats to frighten people into killing people and trying to intimidate people in every country including our own U.S.A. into accepting the total domination of America over every place and person on this entire planet, AKA full spectrum dominance, and that we Americans will be expected to pay for it all!

    2. Thomas, I have to own up to missing the part you mentioned about cheating the government out of some taxes. That’s putting a different light on the situation but only in that respect.
      However, it doesn’t change what I said or anything to do with my position on the practice. And it shouldn’t be your only consideration on the practice either. It needs to be condemned for what it obviously is.
      The libertarian ideal of paying less taxes isn’t even an appropriate ideal because it calls for dishonesty in this instance. Pursue your ideals with some other mechanism that doesn’t.

      Hoping I’ve made my position clear now.

      1. If the fact that you were just flat completely wrong about both the details of the practice and its effects doesn’t change your position on the practice, then you’re an idiot.

        1. Oh, that’s fine that you can call me an idiot. You have the credentials to do that to anyone you please.
          I don’t call you an idiot over the issue we’re talking about or any other issue because I know you’re not. But I call your politics idiotic because I think that description may fit.
          I think it’s an issue of your politics that causes you to support the practice of stealing money from workers to help pay their wages. It works for you because your priority is in cheating the government out of taxes.
          I can be supportive of that for people who work in service jobs in restaurants because I believe they’re taxed excessively. But I can’t subscribe to that being done by cheating workers out of their tips in order to help pay their wages.
          Libertarianism seems to need to hold up such compromises in order to make it seem like it could actually work.
          You haven’t commented back yet on my suggestion that you are a willing customer when you choose to drive on government roads. I’m suggesting that there’s really no difference in dealing with a business than dealing with the government. And both will eventually pursue your criminal actitivity to the same end result. It only depends on the crime you decide to commit on whether it will come to a gun held to your head.

          1. “You haven’t commented back yet on my suggestion that you are a willing customer when you choose to drive on government roads.”

            OK, I’ll comment on that suggestion:

            I don’t drive.

          2. O.k, then walk. The side of the road must save you a lot of hacking through the bush or wading through the swamps. That government provided convenience has to be worth something in taxes?

            Back in the times when we were early hunter gatherers there was no service being provided by government and hence, no taxes needed to be paid. But in feudal times when kings or princes or knights protected you from invading hordes, the bills for doing so needed to be paid.

            Or we can just not talk about it.

          3. You really think that roads are a compelling argument against libertarianism? Private roads have existed in many times and places (including modern America).

            There is no deal between me and the government for roads. They provide them, and mug me to pay for them, without any agreement on my part to the deal. I owe them nothing.

          4. No, I think roads are a compelling argument for government. I haven’t started arguing against libertarianism yet. And I probably won’t because you won’t.

            On roads, you’ve bought the product and you have to pay for it. I think the only way you could get out of paying is if you convinced government that you don’t use the roads and that would be very simple to do.

            But you won’t do that because it’s not practical for you.

            When you go into a restaurant the cashier mugs you on the way out in the same way government mugs you when you use their roads. Do they mug you for drinking city water too? Or did the store that sold you a well pump mug you to pay for it? (I use the well pump but it’s not my first choice) (it’s my only choice)

            my initial argument against libertarianism is that nearly all libertarians use government services and then expect to get those services for free. They want others to pay the bill for the conveniences.

            But admittedly, some go out and live in the wild with their guns and are never heard from again. Most who try that smarten up in time to save their hides.

          5. “On roads, you’ve bought the product and you have to pay for it”

            No, on roads, I’ve been told that no one else will be allowed, on pain of death, to offer me the same product of higher quality or at lower price, and that I have to pay for it whether I want it or not and whether I use it or not, and that by the way if I use it as a normal person, I have to pay extra to subsidize its use by Wal-Mart.

            So of course I’m going to use it if I have occasion to use it. I’ve been forced to pay for it and alternatives to it have been forcibly pre-empted. That doesn’t mean I support the state. It just means I’m not mentally retarded.

          6. By your own admission there are lots of private roads around and if you use them then you may have to pay for the privilege. If you use government roads then you will also have to pay for the privilege. Unless you want to cop out of your responsibility which is one nearly everybody else in your society accepts. They pay their taxes. Do you think it’s fair to not pay your share? I think you should refrain from using public roads if you dislike them so much that you don’t think you’re responsible for paying for them.

            And to take your argument to it’s logical extension, if you continue to use roads and you refuse to pay for the privilege then you likely will be put in jail and your right to use roads will be confiscated for a period of time. It’s not complicated because I can safely assume that you are responsible for paying taxes. All rights have a cost. All freedoms have a cost.

            I don’t think anybody has actually threatened you, on pain of death, to offer you better roads at a lower price. But I may not have understood that long sentence that ends with Wal-mart?

            Roads only serve as an example. If you don’t like them then refuse to use them for either walking or riding on in somebody’s car, or a bus.It’s a compromise of your libertarian agenda. Anything you do that’s connected to you receiving the benefits of society is a compromise if it’s provided by government.

            Why dwell on the impossibility of your agenda ever being fulfilled? Unless of course you can offer some instances of where and how some part of it can become reality. There may be but I don’t know of any? I always encourage libertarians to spell out what they are really wanting for. But they never do.

          7. Once again, I don’t know how things work in Canada. In the US, if someone sends me something in the mail that I did not order or request, and an invoice demanding payment for that thing, the thing is mine and I don’t have to pay for it. I didn’t ask for it.

            I didn’t ask the government to build roads. I would be more than happy to travel on private roads and pay for doing so. Since the government has taken over the right of way to the road leading to my home and built its own road on that right of way instead of allowing the market to take care of it, it’s the only road option I’m allowed. They sent me something I didn’t ask for, and bill me for it. I feel no obligation to pay them anything (but in fact I do pay them — when I buy things, they collect sales taxes; on some roads, they collect tolls; etc.).

            The long sentence that ends with Wal-Mart goes like this: The owners of passenger automobiles pay a gasoline tax for road maintenance. Wal-Mart’s 18-wheelers do the same. But Wal-Mart’s trucks put exponentially more wear and tear on those roads than do passenger cars versus tax paid. Every time I put gas in a passenger automobile, I am paying for MY use of the road AND for part of Wal-Mart’s use of the road. The Interstate Highway System is a giant corporate welfare project.

          8. If you don’t want to be responsible for paying taxes for using government roads then stay off them. And no, the government didn’t build a road on the right-of-way to your home. You either built or purchased a house that was serviced by a government road. And so you’ve subscribed to the system by choosing that home. Now you have to pay for the road.
            Trade your house for one that’s built in a bareland strata where the roads are owned by you, the owners. And make sure you don’t leave that strata. Otherwise you’ll be buying and paying for roads.
            In the overall picture, Walmart is making better use of the road than you in your car that you put gas in and don’t drive. Same with railway transport being much more efficient for the fuel buck. But really, why even mention it?

          9. I want to go back and touch on the ‘tips as wages’ issue again briefly. Is it not a compromise of your libertarian agenda when an employer outright steals a worker’s tips to pay his/her wages in part?

            It smells really bad to me but it seems that once again, one part of your agenda is in conflict with another part. You’ll applaud the abhorrant pracitce because you see it as cheating the government out of taxes, while at the same time, cheating a worker out of his/her tips that he/she has earned usually by putting in an extra effort. And indeed, the incentive to put in an extra effort is destroyed by that horrible practice.

            It seems to me to be a contradiction of your entire personality to be supportive of tips becoming wages. Please explain?

          10. “Is it not a compromise of your libertarian agenda when an employer outright steals a worker’s tips to pay his/her wages in part?”

            I don’t know about Canada. In the US, we do not have labor conscription. If I apply for a job, I can accept the terms offered, or try to negotiate better terms, or tell the employer “sorry, I’m not interested in working for you under that arrangement.”

            In jobs where tipping is customary, the employee is offered a “base wage” regardless. The employee may also receive tips, and IF those tips do not get the employee’s income up to the minimum wage, the employer tops those tips off to the level of minimum wage. The employer isn’t “stealing” anything. He’s paying an agreed base wage AND topping off the tips if necessary.

            Most people I know who work as pizza delivery drivers, restaurant servers, bartenders, etc. make well above minimum wage, the difference between them and other workers being that many of their tips are in cash and don’t get reported for taxation purposes.

          11. So now your libertarian agenda is saying, if you don’t like it then leave. Or go find a job somewhere else. Or in other words, fu-k established standards and let the employer dictate the terms of employment to the worker. Great! What your libertarian ideas are really saying is, fu-k everybody but you and trample on their rights to uphold yours. And tell workers to cheat on their taxes because your preference is that business says so and makes it necessary.

            Well Thomas, it doesn’t work that way and it ain’t never gonna.

            And furthermore, I don’t think you’re talking libertarian anymore, you’re talking your own interpretation of it and it’s wrong.

          12. So now your anti-libertarian agenda is saying one of two things: Either you still haven’t the slightest idea what you’re talking about, or else you’re lying like a rug.

  8. Mr Van Buren. Bravo! Free speech must remain an absolute, for only then can truth be revealed. Sure, I loathe hate-speech, and ignorant-speech, and persecution-speech, etc, etc, but if it is not permitted, we have no means to assess the current under-currents of our society or of any society. We have always the right not to heed it. No matter how stormy the result, no ship can be sailed from the shore looking outwards. To chart the course, one must be on the water, tossed by waves, pushed along by the currents, buffeted by winds, soaked in rain, etc, for only then can we comprehend the forces we face. This is the essence of free speech.

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