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A United States federal court has ruled a Missouri law prohibiting protesting at funerals is unconstitutional (via). It was targeted against Fred Phelps and his ilk. As much as a vile, despicable human being Phelps is, this is the correct decision. If Westboro Baptist Church does not have freedom of expression, no one does.


Comments on: "Missouri funeral anti–protesting law struck down" (46)

  1. I disappeared for a while because I was bitter about the way you handled our last discussion (sort of still am), but I decided to come back and see if you’ve said anything since then and you have this article. A great example of ambivalence for me.

    On the one hand, protesting a funeral is a disgusting, detestable thing to do that only Scummy McBottomfeeder would ever have the conscience-gap to have it cross his mind as an option.

    On the other hand, it IS protected by the first amendment and to outlaw it would certainly be a slippery slope.

    I propose a solution: All of you friends and family of late gay soldiers, if the good reverend and his lot come around protesting the funeral of your loved one, walk right up to him, tell him exactly what you think of what he’s doing, and then punch him in the face. You can skip the talking, if it’s too much trouble, and go right into the punching. As I once said in an editorial, freedom of speech protects you from legal recourse, but not social recourse, so by all means, punch him.

  2. Don’t attack them. That’s exactly what they’re trying to bait people into doing. Laugh at them. Thank them for being there. Join their church as a joke. They are hilarious. Invite them to the funerals of your loved ones so you can have something to lighten the mood. What they do is comedy gold.

  3. Phelps is a disbarred lawyer (according to Wikipedia), so I’d hesitate to slap him. I don’t see any way this could not be construed as assault (a crime) or battery (a tort). Since WBC apparently gets much of their money from damages due to suits to overturn laws targeting them (like this one), actually slapping him, no matter how much one may privately believe he deserves it, would actually be counterproductive as one would end up paying damages to them.

    A much better approach would be to peacefully counter-protest, more in line with what Ankh suggests. I can’t imagine how it would be that difficult to get a couple of hundred counter-protestors; WBC isn’t that big of a church, and somewhere on their website they tell you in advance where they’ll be protesting, so outnumbering them shouldn’t be that hard.

  4. After Ankh spoke to me privately in IM, I realised that he is right about Phelps’ goal. What he wants is exactly what he’s getting. The reaction. Outrage. Possibly physical assault.

    However, while I would be normally for giving them the opposite reaction they desire (such as approval or mockery), you have to remember they are protesting funerals while the loved ones of the deceased are present and still mourning. I understand that it would be very difficult, in time of extreme grief, to react appropriately to the good reverend and his team of pillocks. Emotion clouds judgement.

    And, I guess that’s why he chose funerals. Knowing all of this very well before it ever crossed our minds. That puts him in the category of insensitive and manipulative but not stupid.

  5. People just don’t have a good attitude about the deaths of their loved ones. Otherwise they’d see the humor in what the Phelpseses do. They think they know the most powerful being in the universe personally and that they are acting on his behalf by pissing people off. It’s so unbelievably absurd, it’s one of the funniest things in the world.

  6. @The Ceej: Yes, emotions can take control of almost anyone. If one of the grievers actually assaulted Phelps when he was protesting, I suppose that it’s possible that a jury (if allowed for assault trials) might use jury nullification and refuse to convict the accused because of sympathy and outrage at what Phelps does. I don’t know why Phelps quit being a civil rights lawyer (of all things!) and does what he does, but it seems plausible that your suggestion is one of his motivators.

  7. @Ankh:

    Feeling upset at at some loved one passing away is natural. Few people like thinking about death, probably because it reminds them of their own mortality. Phelps may well look humerous, but I can’t think of any inducement that would WBC to protest at a funeral I would be going to, but if they want to protest, it’s their right. Hence, I can’t really say what it would be like to experience WBC protesting at a funeral I was attending.

  8. You ARE right, Rob. Despicable as his actions are, they are constitutionally protected and any amendment that would allow it to be outlawed would also allow many things to be outlawed that shouldn’t. That said, I think the best recourse is social reaction. What’s the right reaction? Who the hell knows. Just make sure you came up with it with your brain and not your emotions.

  9. Exactly. The best recourse to speech you don’t like is more speech. It’s better than causing Phelps to undergo some martyr routine or to have an excuse to sue you.

  10. The United States has already made enough exceptions to their freedom of speech including, but not limited to, obscenity, clear and present danger, slander, libel, and threats. The last thing they need is to grease this slippery slope any more. In order to have freedom of speech, it has to be free enough to allow it to be abused. Otherwise, someone with something legitimate to say is being restricted. It’s an unfortunate side effect.

    On a side note, this is also why I’m against laws. In order to have freedom, enough of it has to exist to allow it to be abused. And, as much as people would, the alternative is slavery. I think the former is the lesser evil.

  11. In most cases, the line should drawn in favour of speech. For example, (say) obscenity and pornography. I don’t read or view those things, but if it’s between consenting adults, it’d not my business what they do. If you don’t like pornography or obscenity, change the channel, look at another magazine, etc.

    In other cases, it seems less clear; indeed, perhaps a restriction is more justifiable at times. For example, it seems easier to justify prohibitions in inciting a riot that results in loads of smash windows, torched cars, and three lynchings. Phelps’s speech may well be offensive and hateful, but that is less bad than being lynched. Hence, it’s (should be) easier to justify laws against inciting a riot than on prohibing WBC from expressing their views.

  12. Well, even I understand the whole “clear and present danger” argument against free speech. “You simply can’t yell, ‘fire!’ in a crowded theatre,” they say, “because it could create a panic which would be dangerous.”

    They’re right about that last part. It could do that. But, they failed to read the first amendment of the US constitution before saying that, “Congress shall pass no law…amending the freedom of speech.” Even though the argument is understandable and the potential danger in allowing such speech is, for the most part, correct, the US constitution prohibits passing any laws that restrict speech. Ergo, even yelling, “Fire!” in a crowded theatre is protected by the first amendment.

    Erring on the side of safety is understandable, but not right. Erring on the side of, “let’s not offend people” always, ALWAYS frosts my bum like a three-foot snow cone. If this hate speech is wrong, then engage him. Expose him. Shutting him up gives him more power than you could ever know.

  13. You know, Rob, it just occurred to me what his goal really is.

    He WANTS to be censored.

    That’s right. He thinks that if he gets offensive enough, they’ll amend the constitution to allow him to be censored, thus allowing anything he wants to be censored.

    It’s not going to work. It didn’t work with the flag burning, and it won’t work now. The people may be sheep, but even sheep can see the danger in passing a constitutional amendment that allows the restriction of speech.

  14. The following is an excerpt from the Texas Constitution. It is the entirety of Article 1, Section 32:

    Sec. 32. MARRIAGE. (a) Marriage in this state shall consist only of the union of one man and one woman.

    (b) This state or a political subdivision of this state may not create or recognize any legal status identical or similar to marriage.

    Since it is tautologically true that marriage is identical to marriage, the plain reading of this amendment seems to outlaw all marriages and all civil unions similar to marriage. To me, although IANAL, this seems to be the plain reading of the law. Rest assured, however, that judges will look for any excuse to avoid interpreting the law this way. A similar sort of reasoning could be sued for your examples, using such things as (say) the General Welfare Clause and the judge-made common law.

    And yes, people have to be allowed to burn flags. A few weeks ago, there was a huge debate at the Volokh Conspiracy over SCOTUS’ striking down the Stolen Valor Act, which prevents people from falsely claiming to have won a US military medal. I think that was the correct decision. It certainly is unethical to falsely claim to have won the Medal of Honor, but unless you are doing it for fraudulent, it should be legal.

    Yes, we shouldn’t give Phelps what he wants.

  15. I am familiar with that clause in the Texas constitution. I know people from Texas who told me, two years ago, that all marriage is illegal in Texas and were surprised the legislature didn’t even notice they made it that way. Two years later, the Governor catches it and now SHE’S being attacked for noticing THEIR mistake? Well, that’s America in a nutshell. At least Texas has marriage equality. That’s all we really wanted. We don’t care whether we can get married as long as we have the same rights as heteros.

    Besides, I wouldn’t even want to claim I had the congressional medal of honour. The only people who have ever received it were war criminals. War heroes are typically just arrested for exposing the war crimes (Read: Brad Manning). So, as far as I’m concerned, anyone who claims to have won the award is just as dirty as someone who actually did.

    Rights get trampled on all the time. Some rights, though, just can’t. It’s easier to keep slaves using social engineering than chains, but the downside is the amount of control is sacrificed. They can never silence us. Even the sheep slaves would never allow it. They could lock us in a cage for poisoning our own bodies, having sex with our boyfriends, or defending ourselves against vigilantes (AKA police officers), but they could never lock us in a cage for talking. The people would never allow it. Even if they ARE slaves. And, if they do it anyway, then the people would wake up and realise they’re slaves.

    In conclusion, slavery is easier to maintain using social engineering, but easier to control using chains. It’s a trade-off.

  16. The banning all marriage seems inadequate, to somehow phrase it. An “if we can’t marry, no one can” approach to same-sex marriage seems not to be an optimal approach. Simply allowing anyone to marry seems a much better approach. As far as I know, no heterosexual couple has actually had their marriage forcibly dissolved, so as far as I can tell it is interpreted according to the original intent (ban SSM) rather than the textualist way.

    I’d hesitate to paint all MoH recipients with the same brush. Was the American effort in World War II unjustified? If anything, American participation in WWII is a lot more justifiable than (say) the Iraq War.

    Of course rights are trampled all the time. Perhaps because some rights are more important than others. (Which rights are more important than others is controversial to an extent, but we need not concern ouselves with the details). Let’s pretend that Alice is trying to kill Brenda and is actively looking for her. Hence, Brenda comes to you and asks to hide in your garage. (if you don’t have a garage, pretend you do). You agree, and let her hide in there. Then, Alice asks you where Brenda is. Lumping all rights together equally seems to make more of a dilemma then there should be. You may well have an obligation to be truthful, and Alice may well have a right not to be lied to, but trampling over them seems less bad then voilating Brenda’s right to safety in your garage.

  17. Ever since I sat and thought about it, I’ve been saying the government staying out of relationships is the best answer to marriage equality. It would be easier to achieve and far more practical than allowing gays to marry. Say gays can marry. Now, what about polygamy? Well, I believe if multiple consenting partners want it, it should be. It’s just not practical for the government to define relationship. And, as the United States government recently put it, “Honouring gay marriages would just be too expensive.” So, if the government isn’t involved at all, a relationship is what those involved say it is. THAT’S the only way to give everyone their rights.

    World War II may have been just, but that doesn’t mean the tactics were. I wasn’t there at the time, so I don’t know all the details.

    You raise an interesting point with rights, which is why I maintain that, as long as government is involved, we will never have all the rights we deserve. Simply put, it is impossible to write the law in a manner which doesn’t give some people more rights than others. The people are fully capable of taking care of themselves without the government’s involvement.

  18. Regarding polygamy, I agree. If someone is so heterosexual (or homosexual) that they want multiple spouses, go ahead; so long as everyone consents to what is going on, it’s not my business what other people do. Hence, this would prevent what Mormon Fundamentalists do (forcibly marry girls and rape them, while expelling boys and young men). Given the current structure of society, I’m doubtful polygamy would be very practicable, but that’s not a compelling reason to be against something that does not affect me.

    Even if the government is bad, it’s entirely possible that it is the least bad option. Getting it out of as many things as possible oculd create a leadership or power vacuum that would be filled by something worse. At least with government you have the chance to throw them out every four (or so) years.

  19. You’re using the “I’m a battered wife, and this is why I’m staying with my husband” defence for government.

    It is entirely possible that, at this stage in the game, lack of government could be worse than the existing governments. However, anarchy worked in the past, before bullies decided they were in charge, and still works in nature.

    It’s undeniable that, once, anarchy was the perfect rule for people. Whether it still is remains to be seen, but complacency is no reason to not see it. I think people have become so dependent on their slave masters that it may be difficult to adjust, but once they do, it will be perfect again. And just because it might be worse is no reason to not fight for it. For, I agree it might be worse, but it will probably be far better, and that’s a risk I’m willing to take.

    ¡Viva los revoluciones!

  20. Cross culturally government appears to have arisen in response to population growth due to increased food supplies. This increased population resulted in a greater number of divided loyalties and competing interests. This necessitated some sort of government (defined broadly) to keep society together (cite). In addition, a surplus of food could attract the attention of those without it, leading to war. This almost begs for some sort of leadership, as an organized force fights better than a chaotic mob. Hence, returning to a total hunter-gatherer lifestyle may well get rid of most government institutions; I think the chances of this being popular is pretty low. Trying to go back without getting surplus resources would result in a leadership vacuum that would be replaced by something else, which basically is government. Even if people actively took steps to prevent the leadership vacuum from being filled, they would still be “infringing” on others’ “rights” and therefore acting as a government in all but name.

    In addition, specialization of labour makes people interdependant. This is analogous to the different cell types in an organism. You skin cells do not need to know how to digest food. Your digestive system, since it is specialized, does the job better. This therefore means that you get food energy better than if all cells were undifferentiated; ie; a human digests food better than an amoebic blob would.

  21. I have to leave for work, now, so I’ll read the link later. However, I can tell you it was a .edu which is indicative of an American educational institution. A source which should be taken with a grain of salt, though not entirely discounted just because of who they are. Sort of like Wikipedia.

    I actually have a few copies of a book written by a few of the original governments. Perhaps you may have heard of it? It’s called The Bible. These governments had no qualms about lying to slaves to keep them under control and, except for method, not much has changed today.

    It is bully-nature to want to control people and, if a vacuum existed where government does now, a bully would attempt to fill it. That’s a given. Something has to be there to prevent them from filling it. Something whose sole purpose is to protect the absolute freedom of the people. Something that doesn’t dictate what people can and can’t do, but still stops someone from taking over. I’m actually currently working on this prototype, myself. I was thinking of a domestic military which protects the, for lack of a better term, anarchy. It only fights those who attempt to disrupt the freedom.

    But, you may say, “But Ceej, what do I do if I’m wronged?” But, I say that’s completely up to you. That’s the beauty of the absolute freedom system. The few people who do shady things today don’t care what the law is. They do it with or without the law. So, in a sense, the law only protects them. Without the law, you are free to give them whatever incentive you want not to do shady things, which makes them less likely to do them. I would sit down and put more thought into this comment, but I really have to leave for work now.

  22. Okay. I have now thoroughly read the first half of the article to which you linked me, and have skimmed the rest. I would cross research it, except that its veracity, while fascinating, is mostly irrelevant to your argument. It doesn’t talk about how government formed but, rather, how anarchistic societies of recent past typically work. And, it seems what little relevance is there is in my favour anyway.

    They work rather well, I notice, except when governments attempt to make binding agreements with them. That’s an argument against government, not anarchy.

    Just because these were typically small groups of people with limited technology doesn’t mean it can’t be done in current superpowers like the US, the UK, and Canada. And, yes, they DO have problems, from time to time, but not nearly on the scale governed societies to.

    Did you realise the vast majority of prisoners in United Statesian jails were convicted on drug possession charges? What the hell kind of fascist bullies lock someone in a cage for something they do to their own bodies?

    “Don’t hurt yourself or I’ll hurt you more.”

    The real crimes get committed behind the governments’ back or within the governments themselves. The majority of all crimes are can either be eliminated by destroying government (government’s crimes) or exist regardless of government’s existence. There’s not really a whole lot government can really do here. Not that they really want to. Like I said in many of my pieces (including my latest), “Government claims they’re here to maintain order and secure your rights. That is not, never has been, and never will be what they want. What they want is complete control of everything you do. They keep you complacent by telling you you have freedom or keep you scared by threatening you, depending on what country you live in.” Or, I should have said, a combination of the two.

  23. I really apologise for being off topic. I’ve had six hours of sleep in the past two days. I should probably get to sleep now. I can do that. I’m off work today. I just have to be up in time to go to the bank. If this continues, it’ll be more on topic, I swear. We can continue this government vs. anarchy conversation, though, in another forum. Private or public, it doesn’t matter to me. Just point me to it.

  24. I hope you enjoyed your rest. I have no problem with continuing the discussion here, but if you like, we can let the thread die.

    I think drug addiction should be handled as a medical problem. The current draconian laws discourage people from seeking help. And yes, most of these people do not directly harm others. Drug prohibition has helped organized crime (just like Prohibition). Decriminalizing them would do much to save government money (by having fewer people in jails, making more room for actual bad people (like rapists and murderers). So what if they are harmful? It does not follow that just because something is harmful, it means we should ban it. Going out in the sunshine causes skin cancer, (which seems pretty harmful), but this does not seem like adequate justification for outlawing it.

    Peter McWilliams’ book, Ain’t Nobody’s Business If You Do, covers much of these sorts of topics. It’s available online in HTML format. If you haven’t read it, I recommend you do read it.

    I disagree with the idea that ungoverned societies inherently have fewer problems that governed ones. In some sense this might be a biased comparison as the ungoverned societies might have fewer things to worry about to begin with (after all, they are small nomadic societies). Consider modern societies without (effective) government. Are people in Somalia, which has no effective government, thriving? I don’t think so. An effective government in Somalia would end the civil war. Surely in this case a government is better than an ineffective (or no) government. Many people will, if given the chance, act like jerks. If government is necessary to provide incentives for people not to act like jerks (like, say, a court system to go after people who screw you by reneging on contracts) then government will benefit society.

    This leads to the problem of single-villain (or single-solution) approaches to today’s issues. Is it possible that in some situations government is the problem? Yes. But it does not follow that government is the problem in every situation. By sticking to a single-villain or solution approach, you may well take the correct course of action in one situation, but when you do the wrong action, things will blow up in your face. An analogy would be neocons who claim that terrorists attack the US because “They hate us for our freedoms”. Even if that were the case for the US (the actual causes of terrorism are far more complex than that), those same terrorist organizations have also attacked targets in Iraq. Do they hate Iraq for their freedoms too?

  25. Bin Laden said it best when he said, “If it were freedom I hated, I would have bombed Sweden.”

    Effective government is simply impossible to create. Objective laws are impossible to write fairly, and subjective guidelines are not economically feasible to enforce adequately. Any way you slice it, as long as government exists, people will be punished who don’t deserve it and people who do will get away with shit. But, the cynical side of me says that’s what they want anyway.

  26. But just because some perfect solution or situation is impossible, it does not follow that we should strive to get as close to it as possible. A couple of years ago, my next-door neighbour’s house burnt down. A fire hydrant was close to the sidewalk the next house down. Clearly, the fire hydrant was “imperfect”; it didn’t prevent their house from burning down. However, just because fire hydrants are imperfect does not mean we should not have them. By analogy, even if perfect government and perfect laws are impossible, it deos not mean we should not have them.

  27. Actually, it does. Because government, by nature, will always attempt to assert control over the masses. Always. No exceptions. A government that allows freedom of its people is impossible to create and, even if it were possible, would not be desired by the government in question.

    An anarchy that allows freedom of its people is not only possible, but guaranteed. Ergo, anarchy is as close to a perfect solution as is possible.

  28. What makes so certain that, in the absence of government, someone or something else won’t do the same thing you assert government is doing? What would prevent someone from getting a bunch of guns and an army of well-paid goons, declare themselves a warlord, and simply kill anyone or anything that doesn’t listen to them?

  29. What makes you so certain that I’m certain that won’t happen. Did you miss the part where I was working on a strategy to prevent that from happening?

  30. A “domestic military which protects the … anarchy,” has problems of its own. How is someone supposed to prevent the heads of the DM from declaring themselves the rulers over what they protect? And if it is controlled or headed by someone outside of it (that is, civilian control of the “military”) then what you’ve got is itself a government. This would be true regardless of what the “military” calls itself; North Korea calls itself the “Democratic Republic of Korea”, but rest assured there is no way it is a democracy.

    The fact that people will do illegal things even though they are illegal does not, by itself, mean that laws should be abolished. Let’s suppose we return to vigilante justice. How can you be sure that you’ve got the right person? People do have the benefit of the doubt. This is why courts have a presumption of innocence and require guilt to be established beyond a reasonable doubt. It is important to make sure you don’t get the wrong person. By abolishing law and order run by a government, there are fewer guarantees against going after someone who was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Does the existence of wrongful convictions mean that we should not support such a thing? No, the fact that it is imperfect does not mean that it should be abolished, as I argued in a previous comment. Even if a few criminals get away with their crimes, (and are therefore protected, to use your terminology), it is still a better situation than having no recourse for truly innocent persons. Many jurisdictions have laws preventing the prosecution from using only a confession to to convict someone. Why? Because it helps prevent abuse by simply extracting confession to get the job sone quickly. If they focus solely on a confession, they could result to ruthless tactics and coerce it or get a false confession. People are like electrons and will take the path of least resistance. And if this means taking shortcuts and cutting corners and relying only on (potentially false) confessions, they will. And regarding false confessions, if you convict someone based on it, you’ve by definition gotten the wrong guy. This means that the real criminal is still free to offend again. Hence, by using laws to prevent overreliance on confessions, you actually do better than you would without laws because you do a better investigation, getting more evidence, and therefore making it more likely that you’ll get dangerous people (like murderers and rapists) where they belong.

  31. “A few wrongful convictions” is a very conservative way to put it. The vast majority of people locked in these cages are either innocent of what they’re accused of, innocent of actual wrongdoing, or both. The vast majority of wrongdoing is either protected or overlooked by the existence of government. If government were not here, corporations would be held accountable for their crimes, as well as many people. It may not be perfect, but it’s closer than government can possibly reach.

    I’m going to use your logic. Just because anarchy isn’t perfect doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have it. See how stupid it sounds when I use the logic? It sounds just as stupid when you say it.

    My protection of freedom is not finished. Like I said, I’m still working on it. I’m aware of the flaws in the current draft and am working on ways to eliminate them.

    My biggest concern is somebody asserting authority. I think the fact that what I would have would be basically a volunteer force should prevent them from being influenced to take real power. Again, it’s still flawed, but I’ll get there.

    Also, I think, once people taste true freedom, that problem takes care of itself. Because the people wouldn’t stand for any government who took over. They wouldn’t stand for militias, mercenaries, mafias, or any power asserting groups of people. It’s the opening part where people don’t yet know how to handle it, that I’m concerned about. So, really, the volunteer force would be temporary.

    Your concerns regarding justice in an anarchy are unjustified. Justice works on its own in anarchy, without the need for objective rules and pretend authority. True justice happens naturally. True justice cannot be created or enforced by government. True justice cannot follow objective rules. It has to work on subjective guidelines. It’s not perfect, but it’s better than governed… I mean bullied society.

  32. Imperfection is not in itself an adequate reason to be against something; the only perfect things are powers, flowers, and intervals. Rather it is a choice between which imperfection is the best possible or the least bad.

    In the 1800s, there were such things as: a business cycle that drove an appreciable fraction of the population to destitution every few years; filth in people’s food; hired strikebreakers; and other things that make the guilded age anything but. The solution to these problems was not getting rid of government. Nor were they solved by people getting guns and rising up; someone will always outgun you.

  33. I think you’re missing the point. The problem was solved by government because they made it impossible for anyone else to solve it without violation the law. Vigilantism is illegal unless they’re on the government payroll. Mercenary is illegal unless you’re on the government payroll. Bullying is illegal unless you’re on the government payroll. This means, unless you’re willing to violate these laws, what problems get solved are in the hands of the government. And we’ve seen how well they handle problems.

    Let’s go back to the 1800’s and assume we had the exact situation, but there was no government to regulate the situation. Well, because there was no government to regulate the problem, they also can’t regulate the solution. The people would have solved the problem by making problems worse for the company not to have the problems fixed.

    Corporations get away with too much because they buy laws and buy exceptions to the laws. They pay governments to look the other way. For all practical purposes, they ARE the government. So, if you removed their protection, they could be held accountable for their actions.

    The alternative? We just continue letting them get away with it. Do you want that? The world economy to completely, and irrevocably collapse?

    I guess I kind of do, which is why I’m buying my time. Because, if it all falls on its own (which it will, given enough time), my job will be so much easier.

  34. Let’s pretend you have a car. That car has a problem. Does it make any sense to solve that problem by getting rid of all cars? Or would it be much better to fix the problem or get a better car? If you wouldn’t solve your car problem by getting rid of all cars, why would you possibly solve a problem with your government by getting rid of it? If you have a problem with your government, you should solve the problem, or get a better government.

    If a government does not exist, it is not doing anything. If a government is not functioning, it is not doing anything. Therefore, for practical purposes, no government=ineffective government. If government is as bad as you claim, why aren’t places with no effective govenment thriving?

  35. Let’s pretend you have a child molester. That child molester is causing problems. Does it make sense to get rid of all child molesters? Or would it be much better to fix the problem or get a better child molester? If you wouldn’t solve your child molester problem by getting a better child molester, why would you solve your government problem by attempting to get a better one? If you have a problem with a child molester, you should solve the problem by getting rid of the child molester.

    If a child molester does not exist, it is not doing anything. If it is not functioning, it is not doing anything. Therefore, for practical purposes, no child molester=ineffective child molester. If child molestations are as bad as I assume you believe they are, why are there no places without child molesters?

  36. Bad analogy. Child molestors do not do anything good. However, cars do accomplish something good. This relevant dissimilarity shows your analogy to be ineffective.

  37. Actually, I was exposing your bad analogy by reversing it on you. Governments don’t accomplish anything good. They are merely criminals.

  38. Just because governments exist doesn’t mean they should. Rob, your comparison of governments to cars reveals that you see them as things that perform a vital function. The Ceej’s comparison of them to child molesters reveals that he sees them as an aberration of society. The conversation can move forward now with everyone understanding each other’s point of view.

    Governments have problems because it’s impossible to make rules that are fair for everyone in large groups of people. Unless you truly have the consent of every single member of society, there will be poverty and crime. Nobody has the right to force people to obey them, but that’s what a government does on a large scale. It backs up its right to rule with nothing but physical force, so all it will take to usurp its power is greater physical force or sabotage. If a group can do it, who is to say they’re wrong? Might makes right.

  39. I could have phrased comment 37 better, but I’m kind of busy. Sufficed to say, after 35, my friend Ankh told me this:

    Ankh: I think you have won the argument.
    Ankh: wait, no
    Ankh: You have won the argument.
    Ceej: Then you should interject to say so.
    Ankh: You don’t need a cheerleader.

  40. I think the Ankh did pretty good on getting to the gist of differences in viewpoint between The Ceej and me.

  41. That’s because I’ve already corrupted him. He’s always been a thinker rather than a feeler, which is why converting him to my way of thinking was easy. Because I use logic. Most people won’t follow logic because their feelings tell them I’m wrong. Well, feelings are stupid. You shouldn’t let them make your decisions or form your opinions.

    A mere year ago, Ankh was having difficulties figuring what he believed, as was I. I think we were both past religion at that point, but trying to figure out where we stood politically. Well, after a lot of careful thought and much ambivalence, I came to the conclusion that there is no government. I shared my logic with him all the way there, and he seemed to follow me. Many of his blog posts, then, were his takes on what I said to him, and it seems, now, he’s writing blog posts on my editorials.

    He sees it. He sees what I see because he thinks. You took my editorials out of your blogroll, you say, because I was “an admitted tax evader,” but I think it’s deeper than that. I think I scare you.

    That’s actually good, though. If I’m scaring the government fanboys, that’s a good thing, because that means I’m also scaring the government. Nothing new for me, though. The truth is scary. Logic is unpleasant. It’s easier to convince yourself you’re wearing the shackles because they protect you from the monster shackled next to you than it is to cut your foot off and run. But, the latter is the only right decision.

  42. There is one thing, though. I still never convinced Ankh to delete his YouTube account. I can get him to turn his back on government, when it comes to the important things, he thinks I’m overreacting.

  43. You don’t scare me. As a matter of fact, I think that your claim that “…[O]nce people taste true freedom, that problem [outsiders asserting authority] takes care of itself. Because the people wouldn’t stand for any government who took over” is false.

    Regarding YouTube accounts, its Ankh’s choice, and he’s responsible for his actions.

  44. I know it’s his choice, and he admits the problems I assert about Google are true. He just won’t act on them. That’s what really bothers me.

    As far as your claiming that topic to be false, time will tell.

  45. “…time will tell.” Those are the perfect words to use to allow this thread that just won’t die, to expire. I’m not going to close comments, but I think it’s time to move on to new matters.

  46. Someone somewhere made a very good point. If it was a white supremacist protesting the funerals of black soldiers, holding up signs that said, “God hate niggers,” the law probably would have stood.

    And, while to the rational, like us, that’s exactly the same situation that deserves exactly the same treatment, you have to admit SCOTUS would disagree.

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