We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Retreat on all fronts. Advance anywhere?

When I saw this:

California may accept military identification as proof of legal drinking age under legislation proposed after a group of Marines were denied service because they weren’t carrying other documents showing they were at least 21.
[...]

The legislation comes after a group of Camp Pendleton Marines attending a banquet in Temecula were refused service when none was able to produce any identification other than their military card.

The cards include the holder’s picture and date of birth. What the cards don’t have printed are height, weight and other physical characteristics, which are encoded in a magnetic strip for security purposes. Because that information isn’t visible, the cards are not officially recognized by the state as proof the person is old enough to purchase alcohol.

I thought

— Wow! an extension of personal liberty; pity it is only for state employees.

Then I thought

— ‘Wow’? Is that really the reaction to such a feeble easing of regulation? Surely there are plenty of better things happening all the time?

And I thought. And I thought. And I discovered I could not think of any significant withdrawals of the (western ‘liberal’ democratic) state from the personal lives of its citizens this side of the millennium. It is too depressing (and would involve half an hour of futile typing) to list the obvious encroachments — in 2009 so far.

Please prove me wrong by providing copious examples of liberty expanded.

23 comments to Retreat on all fronts. Advance anywhere?

  • Ian B

    Well, this is going to be a short thread.

  • lukas

    Most European countries will have abolished the mail monopoly by the end of the decade. See? It’s not all bad.

  • Ian B

    Yes it is. National monopoly businesses are abolished by the EU to enable the creation of transnational corporations under the thumb of central EU regulatory control, as EU Referendum has discussed at some length. The purpose is for the EU’s corporate state components to answer to Brussels, not the provincial governments.

    Rule #1 of analysing the progressive polity: anything which appears to be (classical) liberal in nature will assuredly be the opposite.

  • I flew to Spain and back on the weekend for £10 all up. That is a consequence of deregulation and competition.

    Of course, many bureaucrats, environmentalists and assorted other wowsers want to stop me being able to do things like this.

  • Sunfish

    In a Federal district court in NY, the judge just ruled that the government cannot automatically require a man accused of purchasing child pr0n to surrender his firearms as a condition of pretrial release, without showing cause why this specific person would be a threat to the public safety with his 2nd-Amendment rights intact.

    In other words, for the first time, a court has recognized that 2A rights cannot be abrogated without meeting the requirements of the Fifth, that “no man shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without the due process of law…”

    The judge (in NY, remember?) obviously wasn’t happy to be giving that particular ruling, but seemed to think that the law left him no choice but to rule as he did.

    That’s HUGE, IMHO. Even if it right now only applies to Federal proceedings within that particular district, it’s one hell of a shot across the bow.

  • Surellin

    British hospitals now permit the use of cell phones by patients. http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php?/site/article/6090/ . Not the biggest victory, but something. And, yes, in re the previous comment regarding the 2nd Amendment victories, those will be coming in fast now that the Heller case from last year can be cited in precedent.

  • Don

    “In a Federal district court in NY, the judge just ruled that the government cannot automatically require a man accused of purchasing child pr0n to surrender his firearms as a condition of pretrial release, without showing cause why this specific person would be a threat to the public safety with his 2nd-Amendment rights intact.

    In other words, for the first time, a court has recognized that 2A rights cannot be abrogated without meeting the requirements of the Fifth, that “no man shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without the due process of law…”

    The judge (in NY, remember?) obviously wasn’t happy to be giving that particular ruling, but seemed to think that the law left him no choice but to rule as he did.

    That’s HUGE, IMHO. Even if it right now only applies to Federal proceedings within that particular district, it’s one hell of a shot across the bow.

    That’s actually huge. Especially when he interpreted the law despite his own ideas. Pretty rare today

  • Gabriel

    Some idiot will say gay marriage.

    But, seriously DC vs. Heller. That really is important, it might just save the Republic.

  • Some idiot will say gay marriage.

    You added this just to keep Jonathan happy, didn’t you:-)

  • lukas

    So, I’ve read EU Referendum’s stuff on mail liberalization, and it doesn’t entirely convince me. For one, “Save the Royal Mail! Djeeeeerbz!!! National identity! Big corporations eat babies!” is not an argument. Now the supposed future EU regulation may be an issue, but I can hardly imagine how it could get any worse than the old socialist modus operandi with all of its inefficiencies.

  • RWW

    But, seriously DC vs. Heller. That really is important, it might just save the Republic.

    How so?

  • Nuke Gray!

    I recently read that Britain will not be required to use only metric measures, despite Brussells stamping its’ feet.
    In Beohmt, Germany, they got rid of most of the speed restrictions in the city- and conditions got better! the council also saved on all those signs that don’t need to be maintained or replaced. (They tried something similar on a stretch of highway in Holland a few years ago, with similar results.)
    Here in australia, One of the papers made a fuss about relaxations to the gun laws in NSW, as the government had to negotiate with various parties, one of them called the Shooters Party.
    These things don’t make the headlines, but they do happen.

  • guy herbert

    Gay marriage?

    No. For all that it is a good thing for people to have social recognition of their associations, if they want it, the outcome is bringing one more aspect of personal relationships under the supervision of the state, and the imposition of a rigid set of rules, take it or leave it.

  • Ian B

    So, I’ve read EU Referendum’s stuff on mail liberalization, and it doesn’t entirely convince me. For one, “Save the Royal Mail! Djeeeeerbz!!! National identity! Big corporations eat babies!” is not an argument. Now the supposed future EU regulation may be an issue, but I can hardly imagine how it could get any worse than the old socialist modus operandi with all of its inefficiencies.

    Because the new socialist modus operandi- “partnership” between giant CINO** corporations and the (unelected, unaccountable, tranzi) state, is even worse. The purpose is the dissolution of all that which pertains to any national state, in order to maximise the difficulty of reclaiming any sovereignty by the peoples thereof. It’s absolutely nothing to do with free markets; indeed the EU is the very antithesis of free markets. It seeks not the diversity of the marketplace but a few behemoths, cosily and seamlessly “joined up” with (the EU) government.

    __
    **Capitalist In Name Only- © Johnathan Pierce

  • lukas

    Because the new socialist modus operandi- “partnership” between giant CINO** corporations and the (unelected, unaccountable, tranzi) state, is even worse.

    How can it be worse than having one single giant CNEIN* monopoly run by an army of “civil servants” that is just as unaccountable?

    Following your arguments, we should nationalize and monopolize a host of industries that are run by a cartel of heavily regulated, multinational corporations so “the people” (ha!) can exercise sovereignty thereover. You know, petrol, pharma, automobiles, airlines, retail shopping, banking and all that.

    __
    * Capitalist not even in name

  • Ian B

    Lukas, you’re not looking at the context of the EU. We’re not playing the free market vs. nationalisation game, and haven’t been for years. Until such point as we can beat the new fascisti (somehow), we need to recognise that whatever they do that appears to be “liberal” always has a darker underhanded purpose. If the British people desire a privatised mail service, great. If it’s ordered by the EU, oppose it with every fibre of your being. They are a far greater enemy than inefficient posties. At the moment, things are never going “our way” even if they look like they are; the proggies have a long history of buying support from their opponents by such methods.

    It’s somewhat similar to the metrication issue. I’m a big fan of SI units, but the EU has no right to enforce their use and as such I support those who fight for the freedom to sell their wares in pounds and ounces, bucketloads or any other unit they desire.

  • Duncan

    In Massachusettes as of 2 weeks ago, people caught with an ounce or less of marijuana now only get a civil penality ($100 fine) instead of getting arrested, paying potentially thousands, going to jail and losing your drivers license. Not perfect, perhaps trivial.. but a step forward.

  • lukas

    Ian B, I can see where you’re coming from, but I’m not quite ready to defend a state-run mail monopoly in the name of individual rights. And though the EU may be behind this, remember that the UK government is quite enthusiastic about liberalization too. Choose your poison.

    Anyway, a citizen’s right to operate a private mail delivery service should not depend on the whims of (a majority of) the British people. Let the customers decide.

    /Today the Royal Mail, tomorrow the NHS… A man can dream can’t he?

  • Gabriel

    But, seriously DC vs. Heller. That really is important, it might just save the Republic.

    Because now, even if they go all out, the bastards will not be able to disarm the U.S. before the Federal Government becomes fiscally insolvent.

    Hence, when said bastards are presiding over the collapse of the welfare-regulatory-state their options will be much more limited than those of, say the British government.

  • Gabriel

    Of course that may simply means that while I’m being herded off to re-education camp the U.S. will be replicating Beirut 1980. Hence the “might”.

  • jabithew

    In re Bilski, overturning patents on abstract concepts.

  • Mouse

    Err, what about that law Congress recently passed about British (and all foreign) libel laws not being enforcable in the US?

    Also, concealed carry is no longer banned in National Parks.

    No good news over here in Blighty, though…