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Thursday, October 23, 2003

FAIR REPRESENTATION

I decided to sit down and do a little number-crunching...

PROVINCE - POP in 1996 Census - RIDINGS IT SHOULD HAVE* (RIDINGS IT DOES HAVE)
Newfoundland and Labrador - 512,930 - 6 (7)
Prince Edward Island - 135,294 - 2 (4)
New Brunswick - 729,498 - 8 (10)
Nova Scotia - 908,007 - 10 (11)
Quebec - 7,237,479 - 73 (75)
Ontario - 11,410,146 - 115 (103)
Manitoba - 1,119,583 - 12 (14)
Saskatchewan - 978,933 - 10 (14)
Alberta - 2,974,807 - 30 (26)
British Columbia - 3,907,738 - 40 (34)
Yukon - 28,674 - 1 (1)
Northwest Territories - 37,360 - 1 (1)
Nunavut - 26,745 - 1 (1)

*dividing pop by 100000, rounding up

Very Underrepresented: Ontario, Alberta, British Columbia
Very Overrepresented: Prince Edward Island, Saskatchewan


What do these numbers prove?

That the theory that the west is underrepresented in the House of Commons is absolutely false.

In fact, the only provinces that are underrepresented are Big Bad Ontario, Alberta, and British Columbia. Yes, Alberta and British Columbia are both western provinces, but Ontario as a whole is lacking 12 of the 115 seats it should have, where as Alberta and BC together are missing 10 out of the 70 they should share between them. Ontario is still getting a worse deal.

I know I would be hung by westerners for pointing this fact out, but it has to be said. Of course, I didn't make this post just to take a shot at western semi-nationalists. No no, I want to illustrate a different point; a proposal right from the heart of Big Bad Ontario that the west would simply love.

First of all, give Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia the number of seats they should have - and at the same time, lower the seat counts for overrepresented provinces. Representation by population means just that. Looking at Elections Canada's data, it would seem that 70000 people in PEI is the same as 100000 in Ontario. Unfair? Indeed.

Now, after this is done, the provinces should be more fairly represented.

And yet, Ontario would still provide over half of the seats necessary for a majority. It is indeed unfair that the west and the maritimes should have no say in anything; that Ontario and Quebec be the kingmakers in every single election.

Canadians, we have an archaic, anachronistic, useless Senate sitting right there, just begging to be reformed. Why not use the American system? Equal representation amongst the provinces.

As for proportional representation... that needs to be worked in somehow, also. Personally, I like the Australian system for electing the House of Commons - preference voting. It's similar to the ballotting used by our political parties. If peoples' first choice does not add up to 50% plus 1, the second choices are then counted, and added to the first choices, until someone receives a clear majority. For the Senate, how about 10 seats per province, equaling 100? Factoring the territories in is an option, equaling 110 or 130, depending on whether or not to include them as separate or collective entities. For every 10% captured in a province, a party would get a seat.

In the interest of fairness, let's have real rep by pop in the House, and real rep by region in the Senate.

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

The theme of today's entry is murder.

THE CASE OF TERRI SCHIAVO

Feeding tube to be reinserted into comatose Florida woman
Jeb Bush signs law to thwart husband's order

Parents joyful as intravenous rehydration starts

JACKIE HALLIFAX
ASSOCIATED PRESS

CLEARWATER, Fla.—On orders from Florida Governor Jeb Bush, a hospital began giving fluids to a brain-damaged woman yesterday, six days after her feeding tube was removed in a long and bitter right-to-die battle.

A judge later rejected a request by the woman's husband to overturn the governor's order to reinsert the feeding tube.

Terri Schiavo was being rehydrated intravenously after the Legislature rushed to pass a bill to save her life, according to her parents' lawyer. Schiavo's parents have fought to keep her alive. Her husband Michael Schiavo says she would rather die.

An ambulance took Schiavo from a Pinellas Park hospice to Morton Plant Hospital after Bush issued his order. A crowd cheered outside as she left.

"I'm ecstatic she's being fed again," said her brother Bob Schindler Jr.

Hours earlier, the Senate voted 23-15 to save Schiavo. Within minutes, the House voted 73-24 to send the bill to Bush. The governor signed it into law and issued his order an hour later.


Read more...

SOURCE: http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=thestar/Layout/Article_Type1&call_pageid=971358637177&c=Article&cid=1066774208481

The problem is, Schiavo has been involuntarily drawn into a larger fight, one of the many fronts of one of the most intense battles of the Culture Wars. Her husband wanted her to die; her family wants her to live.

But what does SHE want?

We don't know. Fact is, we don't know, and can't know unless she somehow communicates it. When I saw this woman responding to stimuli, I thought, "Wait a minute... they want to KILL her?"

This isn't like pulling the plug on a comatose patient who's been in a coma for years. She's still conscious. As her father said, she has never been given a chance to recover. She's never been given a chance to go through rehabilitation. In short, everybody is just prepared to give up on her, and to make matters worse, they're willing to kill her in one of the most inhumane ways imaginable.

You think starvation and dehydration are easy ways to go? Ha! They're two of the most excutiating deaths you can imagine.

Also, a fun little fact: her husband was quoted at one point as asking "When's the bitch going to die?"* I think that alone shows how much credibility he has on this matter, no?

I think liberals are being extremely selfish here. They're trying to turn this into a "right to die" case where there really isn't one. Playing with an innocent woman's life to advance a political agenda is one of the lowest things I have ever seen. The right to die has a crucial factor: the will of the patient to die. And Terry has expressed no such will. The decision was placed upon her by a husband who clearly doesn't give a damn about her.

(* from http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=thestar/Layout/Article_Type1&call_pageid=971358637177&c=Article&cid=1066428608200)

NEO-CONS GET AWAY WITH (ENDORSING) MURDER

Oct. 19, 2003. 01:00 AM


Kid gloves for neo-con cranks


DAVID OLIVE

Ideas do have consequences: Rhetoric is politics and words are action.

— Ronald Reagan

Earlier this month, American televangelist Pat Robertson suggested the U.S. State Department, known in Washington as "Foggy Bottom," should be destroyed.

Praising the work of a guest on his 700 Club show who published a book bemoaning the dearth of hard-liners at State, Robertson said: "I read your book. When you get through, you say, `If I could just get a nuclear device inside Foggy Bottom, I think that's the answer.' I mean, you get through this, and you say, `We've got to blow that thing up.'"

Death to our enemies is a motif for this Tony Soprano of the Bible Belt who once invited God to visit destructive hurricanes on Orlando, Fla., for its blasphemous Gay Days Festival.

Last July, Robertson counselled the Almighty to strike down three moderates on the U.S. Supreme Court.

The proximate cause of Robertson's impulse to visit Old Testament fury on the denizens of Foggy Bottom is the sanctions imposed by State and the United Nations against recently exiled Liberian dictator Charles Taylor, a murderous thug who happens to be Robertson's business partner in a Liberian gold-mining venture.

Robertson first adopted State Department carnage as an exit strategy for his troubled Liberian investment back in June.

"How do we get rid of them?" he said of State officials meddling with his business interests. "Maybe we need a very small nuke thrown off on Foggy Bottom to shake things up."


Read more...

SOURCE: http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=thestar/Layout/Article_Type1&c=Article&cid=1066517109031&call_pageid=968332188854&col=968350060724

I think that pretty much says it all, actually.

US SENATE PASSES PARTIAL BIRTH ABORTION BAN

WASHINGTON, Oct. 21 — The Senate on Tuesday voted to ban the practice that critics call partial birth abortion, sending President Bush a measure that supporters and foes alike said could alter the future of U.S. abortion rights. A court challenge is certain.

Read more...

SOURCE: http://www.msnbc.com/news/983016.asp

The idiotic fight over abortion continues as usual, with both extremes jockeying for their inane positions. The pro-choicers can't stand the idea that a woman's right to decide the fate of her own body has been violated, despite the fact that babies (physical, alive, human beings) are killed in late-term abortions. The pro-lifers have their heads so far up inside themselves that they just can't get the fact that early-term abortions are not murder, and they see this victory as being one step closer to imposing their pathetic excuse for a moral agenda upon women in the case of all abortions. They can dream on. It will never happen. The reason this one passed so overwhelmingly is because of the specific nature of the procedure - inducing labour and then killing the baby as it is born is brutal; just as brutal as late-term abortions.

What I want to know is, is there any provision in this bill for someone who requires an abortion in order to live? That's the reason Clinton vetoed the last one - there was no such provision. If there isn't such a provision, the message Republicans, and a few Democrats, would basically be sending is that it is wrong to kill unborn lives, but is perfectly alright to kill a grown woman.

Most people have moderated views on abortion - they're pro-choice in most cases, or pro-life in many cases, BUT...

There's always the but. I'm pro-choice in all cases within the first two trimesters, and only if the mother's life is in danger in the final trimester. But the pro-choice and pro-life sides both refuse compromise. You're either for it or agin' it, both of which are asinine and heartless, and merely positions taken by the unreasonable; people who just HAVE to be right; totally right; and can't have any hint of the "other side" creeping into their beliefs. As for partial-birth abortions, I don't care what trimester you're in, that's still brutal. What do they do, decapitate it?

FLQ BLOG MERGER SURVEY

Sorry to get away from the murder theme, but Francois at the French Libertarian in Quebec blog has a survey up about the PC/CA merger. Take some time to fill it out.

Saturday, October 18, 2003

It's finally happened. The PCs and the Canadian Alliance are merging into a single entity.

That is, the the PCs ratify it. There's the rub. Will it pass 2/3 of the PC membership? Well, I've finally decided to buy a membership to just to vote "no". So that tells you my opinion on it. I've no desire to see the respectable conservatives in this country working with the extremists, and I've no desire to see the oldest political party in Canada die.

In the long-term, this will limit the choices of Canadians. The "socially progressive" clause of the principle agreement is laughable. It will NOT be socially progressive with the Canadian Alliance leading the party, as it inevitably would. Only a party that can appeal to a broad spectrum of Canadians can win. That is why the CA fails all the time. It is too ideological. It is too extreme. It is too right-wing. It's bound to die one day without the help of the PCs. Frankly, I don't think the PCs would die in the next election. MacKay may not be charismatic, but he's good on his toes, and very tricky. I could see him pulling off official party status for the PCs. The Alliance is bound to die. All western protest movements do. Socreds, Progressives, Reform, it doesn't matter what it is, it always dies eventually.

Bottom line is, the election needed to be handed to the Liberals, MacKay needed to be dumped, and replaced with someone credible. Jim Prentice or Scott Brison would be the best choices, frankly. Or Bernard Lord. I could see a three-way race developing between the three of them, and any of them would be a fine candidate in my eyes.

Speaking of Mr. Brison, I think it's sad how he's deluding himself into believing that there will be a place for him in the new party. How would the Alliance ever accept an openly gay MP passionately committed to social progress, anathema to the Alliance? Of course, he might make a run for the leadership, and if he either wins or places respectably, I'd be impressed, and I might give the party a bit more of a chance, but neither of those are likely. In all likelihood, Mike Harris will win, and while he is not a social conservative, that doesn't matter. He was my premier for 7 years, and trust me, you do not want this man as prime minister. Not just his extremist policies (that Canadian would probably reject anyway, just like they rejected in Ontario in 2003) but his attitude. He's one of the most abbrasive, rude individuals imaginable. Honestly, the man is SUCH A JERK. Not to mention the fact that he appointed a high-school dropout as education minister. Is that really the brain-trust you want in the PMO? I shudder to think of it. Harris' legacy was one of death. Ipperwash, Walkerton, and patient after patient dying because of the inavailability of healthcare. I don't care what your political views are, when you are completely UNABLE to get healthcare, irregardless of where, there is something wrong. And let's not forget the homeless freezing on the streets. The people he wanted to make criminals just for being homeless.

Ah, I see I'll never have to worry about Harris becoming Prime Minister. Why? Because Canadians are not that cruel.

Bernard Lord would make a nice leader, but he wouldn't win it. No, only a right-winger could ever win this leadership, and I'm not just talking economically. The exception would of course be Harris, but he's picked up the backing of Ralph Klein, so the social conservatives would easily look past the fact that Harris isn't a homophobic pro-lifer screaming for the death penalty.

*sigh* All things considered, I wish Brian Mulroney would run for the leadership of the party. Better the devil that you know...

But. BUT.

This is all assuming that the deal goes through.

Orchard commands 25% of the membership, and 40% supported MacKay, who was saying that he was not the merger candidate. Not to mention the 15% who supported Brison. My guess is, they're all socially progressive (a lot of them seemed quite young from the coverage I saw of the convention) and social progressives, again, would have no place in the Conservative Party.

But what will happen if this doesn't go through? Well, the vote is December 12th. That will give the PCs a few months to get back on their feet and prepare to go it alone. They'll have to fight hard, but they can definitely keep official party status if they try hard enough. Martin is focusing attention on Quebec and the west, and the PCs' base is in the Maritimes. So they could at least hold onto their base. Now, Jim Prentice will be running in Calgary, and the Alliance was talking about not running a candidate in his riding (he, actually, was the mainstream merger candidate in the leadership race) but my guess is the Alliance would not be quite so friendly towards him if the merger fell through. But hopefully, he'd be able to pick up a seat in his riding on his profile. He did come second in the leadership race, after all. And David Orchard will be running, and if he leads the fight against the merger, he'll have definitely built up a profile. Andre Bachand will probably hold onto his seat. So will MacKay. If Clark runs, he will as well. Elsie Wayne (much as I despise her, she's still another seat towards party status) is untouchable. In fact, she has the single most safe seat in the House. Hopefully Brison will keep his seat as well. I'd guess he would. And Loyola Hearn has built up a name in the negotiations. Hopefully he'd keep his seat. Then there's the fact that the NDP is growing in Ontario. If they can eat away at Liberal votes, the PCs might just be able to squeeze a couple out of Ontario as well.

Maybe it's just wishful thinking. But I don't want to join the Liberals, I really don't. But if the Tories disappear and the Alliance becomes the only alternative, I will have no choice. I'll be following Andre Bachand and jumping ship. Rick Borotsik would probably jump off as well. I wouldn't be surprised if Clark abandoned a new party, but I can't see him joining the Liberals - he hates them too much. If he went to any other party, it'd be the NDP. (Wouldn't that be funny?) Actually, he'd probably retire from politics altogether. The pain of seeing his beloved party disappear would be too much for him to continue on. In that case, both he and Mulroney would come out as pariahs.

To start wrapping this mostly unordered rambling up, he's the math.

Progressive Conservative + Reform Conservative = impossible.

Progressive Conservative - Progressive = Conservative. (1)

Reform Conservative - Reform = Conservative. (2)

Conservative (1) + Conservative (2) = Conservative.

That's workable. But what about Progressive? What about Reform? Reform was the only good idea the CA ever really had, and Progressive was what made the PCs a viable option for the mainstream.Without either of these, it's just another right-wing conservative party. It's just the right-rump of the Republicans.

I can see this leading to a two-party state. Of course, in first-past the post, that is the best system, but still, I guess one can hope that proportional representation will take hold some day. Then maybe the Libertarians would have a chance. (See my previous essays "Towards A New Party" and "To Expoud", September 25th and 28th.)

In closing, I'm joining the PCs. I'm voting "NO." I'm hoping the PCs will become the viable alternative to the Liberals. Maybe this is wishful thinking. If so, I'm still hoping the Canadian Alliance never wins, and hoping that the Libertarians become a national party. Failing all else, if it all comes down to Liberals VS Conservatives, I'm siding with the Liberals. They may have a lot of flaws, but I cannot stomach social conservatives. They scare me.

I'm going to try and collect myself after writing that. It took a lot out of me. I could go back and edit it, but I'd rather just share it as is.

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

An essay of some interest from Scott Bidstrup (linked on my sidebar.):

The Siren Song Of Libertarianism
The last month of living in this guesthouse in San Ramon, Costa Rica, has been quite interesting for the parade of interesting characters who have come through here. There have been political refugees, such as myself, flaming liberals, reactionary conservatives, both from the U.S. and Canada, and the odd assortment of libertarians of various stripes who have come to Costa Rica in search of a truly free society.

One of the most interesting was a former engineer who has made a good career out of learning about how the financial system in the U.S. works, so he was able to make astute investments and avoid having to work for about the last 15 years. Indeed, his judgement about how the business system in America is governed, is remarkable for his prescience about the direction of markets as a result of the way business is done. It is not surprising that he has been able to create for himself sufficient capital to retire early and enjoy life here in this tropical paradise.

Were he only as politically astute.

He has fallen into the same trap that many "libertarians" fall into. He assumes that everything that's wrong is the fault of the government, and that in order to fix it, you have to fix government. When asked, he in fact explicitly stated that essentially all social problems, at one level or another, are the fault of government. Scapegoating government is easy, but it is naive. How little he understands about how the political system really works!

At one time, I would have agreed with him. But then I started asking myself a series of questions, and in researching the answers, it quickly became apparent that life just isn't that simple. I asked, first, why doesn't government work? Why is it so disfunctional? At first, like most libertarians who haven't thought about it, I assumed that it was because of a lack of accountability, but then I realized that politicians are far more accountable to the public than are corporate CEO's or board members. So why does business run much better than government?

What I found, much to my astonishment, is that in the first place, government is not significantly less efficient or effective than business. This may be counterintuitive to some, but a simple perusal of the facts will be enlightening - the average medical insurance plan in the United States incurs about a 15 percent overhead - and the medicare portion of Social Security, for example, has an overhead of just 2 percent. Why, then, isn't Social Security an adequate pension scheme? Why is it like so many other things that government does, that get done so badly?

The answer, it turns out, is simple. Government isn't the cause of the problem, government is rather a victim - because it is a tool. It is a tool wielded by those who control it, and who control it for their own ends and purposes - those who have the gold really do make the rules, and they make the rules to benefit themselves - at the expense of ordinary, powerless people. And the coercive power of government is the means by which those rules are enforced, very efficiently and effectively.

The Ken Lays and Dick Cheneys and George W. Bushes and Harvey Pitts of the world have the gold and use government to make the rules that makes it possible for them to rob you and I, and live very handsomely off of their ill-gotten gains - to which they feel very entitled by the presumed superiority symbolized by their accumulated wealth - a Social Darwinist philosophy long since discredited by sociologists.

Government, therefore, is like the crowbar used by a thief to break into your house. Dubya's tax cut for the rich, with the balance of government costs being picked up by the working class in the form of higher interest rates, reduced government services and increased burden of hidden taxes, accompanied by the war in Iraq, which benefits primarily oil companies, is an example, one of countless possible examples, of how it is done.

The problem with "libertarians" is that they believe that the problem is the crowbar. Modify the claws, and it won't damage the doorjam. Cover it in rubber, and it can't be used to smash the windows. Well, you can try all you like, but modifying the crowbar won't prevent the thief from entering your home and ripping you off.

Of course the real problem isn't the crowbar, it's the thief. So the answer is not to modify the crowbar, or throw it away, the answer is to get the crowbar - government - out of the hands of the thief.

If Americans ever want to make their government responsive to their needs, that's the approach they are going to have to take. Recognize the problem for what it really is - that thieves and manipulators of the common man control their government and use it for their own ends - and the need is to take it back from them. That's the only way government can ever be made to become responsive to the people who are actually paying for it.


---Scott Bidstrup, San Ramon, Costa Rica, September 17, 2003

Saturday, October 11, 2003

It's been a while. There's a reason of course, I have been quite sick lately.

But enough about that. I'm in a... how should I say... pissy mood at the moment. So let's get rolling.

Rush

http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/news/articles/1003rush03.html

Ah, Rushy, Rushy, Rushy. So good to see that, just like every other outspoken champion of the right, you're also a hypocrite. Of course, you did have to slip up sooner or later. No one can truly hold themselves to the standards set by the conservative right for their entire lives.

"The answer to this disparity is not to start letting people out of jail because we’re not putting others in jail who are breaking the law. The answer is to go out and find the ones who are getting away with it, convict them and send them up the river, too.” - Rush Limbaugh, Oct. 5, 1995

Done and done. Tell me this man will end up in jail? I mean, that's what he wants, right?

Alright, I'm done. I just can't contain myself when these right-wing moralists get caught drinking, smoking, using drugs, having affairs, gambling and molesting children. Well, okay, I'd rather they didn't molest children, but the point still stands. Moralists are hypocrites because they can never hold themselves to the standards they set.

So NOW they care about us!

http://www.nationalpost.com/home/story.html?id=DA5DE870-0D31-47F0-9041-F8622EAEF154

Well, we certainly know what it takes to get noticed south of the border! Talk about decriminalizing a substance which should be legal in the first place, or talk about giving a minority within our population the same social standing as the rest of society. Things of that nature. Frankly, I think we should do it more often. Because usually, from what I can tell, when we're pissing off the Americans, we're doing a good thing for our country, and for freedom-lovers everywhere.

"The White House's drug czar lashed out yesterday at Jean Chrétien for relaxing marijuana laws and said Canadians are "ashamed" at the Prime Minister's recent jokes about smoking pot when he retires."

Do come off it. Unlike you and your far-right pals, Canadians live in this place called "reality." People smoke pot. We know this. In fact, lots of good, law-abiding (I don't count drug "laws") citizens smoke pot. It's harmless; certainly less harmful than liquor.

Who does this prat think he is, anyway? Are they so arrogant that they actually think they should be able to control our national policy? Apparently so, and I'm starting to rethink the whole "pissing them off profusely" plan. We might end up as their next chew-toy, after France is used up.

We're not ashamed of our prime minister, Walters. M. Chretien can eat and watch television at the same time, not to mention communicate coherently in English. And when Jean Chretien is a more eloquent English speaker than someone, they've got a lot to be ashamed of.

Speaking of national embarassments, it's nice to see that California has reclaimed its title. Florida had stolen it for a while, but the mantle is safely back where it belongs.

WHO'S money is that?

http://thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=thestar/Layout/Article_Type1&call_pageid=971358637177&c=Article&cid=1065456700299

"Analysts have suggested the final figure will be about $3 billion, which is the amount usually budgeted for Ottawa's contingency reserve fund."

How about using some of that to pay down the debt. Now, I understand that giving that in a rebate would only mean about $150 or so per person, so I'm not too concerned about it, but I just know I'm going to see it used in some fiasco like the gun registry. Speaking of which...

ID Cards

http://thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=thestar/Layout/Article_Type1&call_pageid=971358637177&c=Article&cid=1065608731123

"A national identity card is not the only option for tightening security and preventing identity theft, Immigration Minister Denis Coderre said today."

Yeah, "read my lips - no national ID card."

You know, when I first heard about this idea, I thought, "Hey, that's not so bad. I could use some free ID. Driver's lisences are expensive. And what's the harm if it's a security booster?" Then I heard about the price tag.

That's worse than the gun registry. Let's see, if this price multiplies as much as the registry did... well... the living conditions in Communist Russia weren't SO bad, right?...right?

Belated Anniversary

I missed the FLQ anniversary due to sickness, so today, I comment. A lot of people would disagree with me on this, but I do have to say, Trudeau handled it properly. He implemented a restrictive act, indeed, and seemingly betrayed his social libertarian values. However, he almost immediately replaced the measures with less restrictive laws, proving that he never intended for the measures to be permanent. Unlike a certain wannabe-dictator to the south, Trudeau's act was never intended to be a permanent erasure of our rights and freedoms, which he later (finally) enshrined in our very own constitution.

One also must remember that Trudeau was being given reports, by among others the premier of Quebec, that the FLQ had upwards of 1000 members operating within the province. The idea of 1000 terrorists operating within a single province during an international crisis is enough to make any prime minister cringe. Given that, he most definitely did not overreact.

A Note...

I took both of those political quizes in my links again to test their accuracy. "The World's Smallest" one put me at 100% personal freedom and 60% economic freedom. Sounds about right, though do be wary of its libertarian bias if you take it.

The other one put me about 1/3 of the way into the Libertarian end, and a very small distance into the Left end. Be wary of this one's liberal bias if you take it.

Basically, take both of them, then average out your results. Works for me - the "smallest" one put me just slightly into the Libertarian end, and the "political compass" put me just slightly into the Anarcho-Syndicalist end. Really, I count myself as more a centrist economically, so averaging the two out, I get a pretty accurate result, I think.



Ahh, I'm done for now. Felt good to blow off some steam.

Sunday, October 05, 2003

Free State Project

http://www.freestateproject.com

The Free State Project is a new strategy for liberty in our lifetime.

We don't want to wait decades for most citizens in the U.S. to realize the benefits of robust individual liberty and the failings of the nanny state. For those of us who already understand the debilitating effects of a government bent on reducing liberty rather than increasing it, the Free State Project aims at liberty in a single state.

What do we mean by "liberty"? Our members' philosophy is that being free and independent is a great way to live, and that government's maximal role should be to defend individuals from force and fraud.

What can activists for liberty do in a single state? A great deal. They could repeal state taxes and wasteful state government programs. They could end collaboration between state and federal law enforcement officials in enforcing unconstitutional laws. They could roll back gun control and drug prohibition. They could end asset forfeiture and abuses of eminent domain. They could privatize utilities and end inefficient regulations and monopolies. Then they could use their political leverage to negotiate appropriate political autonomy for our state.


http://www.freestateproject.com/strategies.htm

The figure of 20,000 was derived from the fact that it represents about half of paid Libertarian Party membership. Obviously, many of the people participating in the Project are not LP members, so that the pool of potential participants in the FSP is much larger than just 40,000. Thus, 20,000 seems like a realistic and attainable goal, though it will require much effort and dedication to get that many signatures.

Now to the primary question of this essay: What can 20,000 people accomplish? One way to look at this question is to examine membership figures for other parties around the world and how these figures translate into votes. Our neighbor to the north, Canada, has a similar, first-past-the-post electoral system and in any given geographical region, basically two competitive parties. In Quebec one of those two parties is the Parti Quebecois (PQ), which advocates independence for Quebec and contests provincial elections only. The PQ seems to be an appropriate analogue for the FSP. What can the FSP learn from the PQ's success?

The PQ was started in 1967 by dissidents from the Liberal Party of Quebec, which is still today the other of the two major parties in Quebec provincial elections. These dissidents had realized that the reforms they wanted could not be enacted while Quebec remained a part of Canada. Accordingly, they joined with smaller pro-independence parties that already existed in order to form a major sovereigntist force. By the provincial election of 1972, the PQ was the second-largest party in the province, though it still trailed the Liberals by a wide margin. This was an important development, because it meant that voters dissatisfied with the Liberals' performance in government were likely to turn to the PQ rather than to other parties, which had no chance of winning. The PQ also allayed voters' worries about sovereignty by promising that they would not declare independence unless the voters gave their approval to the idea in a referendum. Accordingly, the PQ benefitted from dissatisfaction with the Liberals in the 1976 referendum and won a majority of seats in the provincial parliament with 41% of the vote.


And complete with reference to Canadian politics.

Anyway, is this not one of the most remarkable things you have ever seen? I first saw it on the news-crawler at the bottom of CNN, where it appeared that the group had chosen New Hampshire as the state that it would "occupy."

I must say, way to take the bull by the horns. This is one of the most interesting strategies I have seen in my life. And what a Libertarian way of accomplishing it, too. Exercising democratic freedoms in order to bring about real change, not just protesting or being activists.

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