Are you Liberty Lovers, or are you Conservatives?

Do you want freedom, or do you just want to bitch about Obama? Because I really wish you guys would make up your minds.

I know this is kind of old, but I just saw it this morning, courtesy of Radley Balko. It concerns a Tea Party rally in Phoenix, Arizona:

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio gave the main speech, focusing largely on his signature issue of illegal immigration. But the former Drug Enforcement Administration agent also blasted the federal government as wasteful and said he wasn’t worried about federal investigators looking into his law enforcement tactics, which have led to accusations of racial profiling.

Joe Arpaio. Keynote speaker at a Tea Party rally. There’s a strange combination.

When I was a kid in a Detroit public school, there was a ritual where kids were picked for sides in a baseball game. Each designated team captain would pick a kid, who would then go to the right or left of the bunch depending on who picked him. The criteria for who got picked first were generally pretty logical; size, strength, prior demonstrations of competence. There were always kids left over; kids that the team captains would have just sent home, given the option. That ritual came to mind while I read that Tribune article this morning.

In my fantasy, I bunched up everybody who called himself a lover of liberty. I held up a picture of Joe Arpaio and asked each one, “What do you think of this guy?”

And whenever somebody said, “Oh, man! America’s Toughest Sheriff! I love that guy!” I sent him home. Not my type; don’t want him on my side.

Listen to me, because this is very important. I’m no great guru, but I do know this: Liberty isn’t about countries. It isn’t about groups, or parties, or ideologies. Liberty is about people, it’s about individuals. You either love liberty for everybody, or you don’t love liberty. Because liberty is not a privilege bestowed upon the blessed few who were born in the “Land of the Free.” Liberty is a natural right. You were born with the right to your own individual liberty, and so was that brown guy in the dirty jeans.

Now yeah: If he came here without his paperwork in order, he had to know he was breaking the country’s laws and he chose to take his chances with that, just like you or I take our chances when we choose to break a law. But let me ask you: Do you cheer on the Forces of Law and Order when they bust some guy for illegally defending his home with a gun? Do you cheer on the ATF when it prosecutes an FFL for not keeping his paperwork carefully in order? I’ll bet you don’t. What’s the principal difference? The law is the law, right?

I’m not going to argue “free schooling,” or “free healthcare.” Those are separate issues. You get more of what you subsidize; that’s a basic law of economics that any dolt should be able to see. I don’t take “free” stuff that’s paid for by unwilling others, but I’m getting older and my legs are bad. Someday I’m going to have to make a choice between taking that “free” stuff stolen from others, or putting a shotgun in my mouth because I live in the desert and we’re fresh out of ice floes. Which way will I go? Probably the former: I’m not quite that principled. So I’m not going to argue about ideological purity when it comes to matters of government-provided “welfare.” On that issue, I live in a glass house. But what I will argue – what I will insist upon – is that if you think liberty is only for people like you, if you don’t love liberty for people who aren’t like you, you don’t love liberty.

Your opinion of Joe Arpaio is a perfect litmus test of that. Joe Arpaio is a petty, brutal little tyrant who gets off on hurting people. I despise him. There’s nothing I can do about him, and unless you’re one of those Maricopa County voters who keeps him in his job there’s nothing you can do about him, either. There’s no shame in being genuinely helpless about a situation somewhere else.

But if you’re one of those who cheer on “America’s Toughest Sheriff” because he’s only hurting those “other” people, people you don’t like, the “illegal aliens” or the non-violent drug users, then face a fact: You are not a lover of liberty. I don’t want you on my team. Go home.

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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12 Responses to Are you Liberty Lovers, or are you Conservatives?

  1. Anonymous says:

    Grandstanding sheriffs are odious.

    But the effect (and intent!) of this invasion is to further empower the State.

    For tactical reasons, welfare must be tackled before open borders.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I was an illegal alien in a foreign country for three years, it put an entirely different perspective on the whole illegal alien thing. Laws, governments and all that are seen for what they are when the shoe is on the other foot. What the state actually is, can certainly be seen anyway but the experience sure underscored what I already thought. The strident illegal alien haters should try it.

  3. milkorder says:

    End all welfare and all State sponsored social spending. Then and only then can we open up the borders.

  4. Joel,

    A question from someone who is NOT altogether cooked yet in their thinking.

    Just what are we to do with folks who are an abomination? I’m not talking about illegals or pot smokers, You know there are some pretty evil folks out there that are not politicians or civil servants. I tend to wonder just how justice would work? I will give you an extreme example: this one bugger’s my child while streaming it on the internet for cash.

    For the most part I’m up for being paid back for simple property infractions on my family and the whole Amish shunning thing, folks go right bat shit crazy and move on, but some folks you need to kill or put away as you certainly don’t want them to move on and inflict themselves on the next group. To me that would make me about as moral or responsible as the person doing it.

    Isn`t this just about lines in the sand, I think something is criminal, it is possible that everyone has a different line, definition of what is criminal. If I have a list of things that are punishable a certain way, what makes my list any different then the current regime? I really really really am not ready to give up my list for certain offences.

    See what I mean.. all the way…….confused and a wee bit stubborn….yup.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Thanks Joel, this needed to be said.

    Heck I kinda wish they would stay in their shitty failed country…but you know what? Being asked for your ID sucks bigtime. I’m really kind of on the fence with this one but honestly, I’ll take some illegal Mexicans over a national ID card any day of the fucking week.

  6. Joel says:

    Just what are we to do with folks who are an abomination? … I will give you an extreme example: this one bugger’s my child while streaming it on the internet for cash.

    I know what I’d do, but I don’t hold it forward as a civilized solution. Then if anybody dragged me into court over it, I’d defend it as best I could.

    Look, I’m just a grouchy old burnout stating an opinion here. I’m sure the Cato institute or somebody has Libertopia all mapped out and we’ll like it just fine, but I don’t have any answers – not even theoretical ones.

    The standard line, and it pretty much works for me, is that there’s no crime if there’s no harm. Child molestation would not be on most people’s list of “no harm.” Now what the penalties should be, short of summary execution at the scene, and who handles all that – well, people have argued that for centuries and will argue it for centuries.

  7. GeorgePotter says:

    Just what are we to do with folks who are an abomination? … I will give you an extreme example: this one bugger’s my child while streaming it on the internet for cash.

    Fist of all: [i]my[/i] children will be armed and trained in the use of those weapons.

    Children, sadly, are raped every single day in this big ‘safe’ statist world. The reason their rapists don’t stream it on the internet is quite simple: they don’t want to be found and punished.

    Now: think this through. In a anarchistic society, if I or someone like me happened across such a broadcast, I (and those like me) would be horrified and would immediatly attempt to track down this monster, save that child, and remove the monster pretending to be a man from civilization (and earthly existence.)

    And, in an anarchist society, I [i]could[/i] do that. In fact, a rapist wouldbe even more foolish to broadcast his crime in anarchy: he’d have thousands of people hunting him down with blood in their eyes.

    And the punishment won’t be arrest and incarceration and/or rehab. It will be execution on the spot, if he’s lucky.

    Why on EARTH would you consider it immoral to remove an absolute MONSTER from civilization? Is it immoral for a woman to kill a man attempting to rape her? Kill her?

  8. Thank you Joel and George for taking the time to reply to my question.

    No I do not expect someone to hand spoon me the answer, somethings a girl just has to figure out for her self don’t cha know!

    George how nice to finally “meet” you. I found your writings in an archive of a forum that we all seem to no longer frequent. I enjoyed your writings immensely thank you. Actually that is where I made Joel’s acquaintance initially. I will never regret a moment spent there, it was a haven for a good Canadian Girl to realize she is NOT exactly crazy wacko nutbar, institution material. 😉 An excellent place to get one’s feet wet comfortably I thought. That can NOT be a bad thing really.

    I must not have had on my clarity tiara on very straight when I made my last post as I have no moral issue with what could and should be done to abominations that pretend they are humans.

    Liberty and rights are very complicated issues, more more then I originally thought. It is all about lines in the sand, I know given enough time and research I will be able to work it out in me wee brain.

    Thanks once again gentlemen for your replies.

  9. Kirsten says:

    End all welfare and all State sponsored social spending. Then and only then can we open up the borders.

    No. Freedom isn’t conditional in that way. We don’t disallow U.S. citizens from having children just because they may eventually end up in public school or on welfare. This should be no different.

    And if you let peaceful people cross borders freely and the money will take care of itself.

  10. GeorgePotter says:

    You’re welcom, TGL. Glad you enjoyed my scribblin’. I’ve read your blog on occasion. You seem smart enough to work this out for yourself, actually. But you asked, so I opined. 😛

  11. What??????

    Never say you have some how meandered over to the world’s most “private” blog in the internet? I am amazed..

  12. GeorgePotter says:


    Well, it’s linked right there in your handle, lady!

To the stake with the heretic!