[FoRK] Misunderestimating "The" Tea Party

Stephen D. Williams sdw at lig.net
Sun Mar 21 15:21:32 PDT 2010

On 3/20/10 9:28 PM, Jeff Bone wrote:
> Damien says:
>> I hate to say it, but this [EU example], in some way, this supports your argument, with
>> the subtlety that aggregation and disaggregation are happening
>> simultaneously - and seemingly supported by each other.
> No contest.
> The question is:  how do we *aggregate* just the right set of stuff (and what, exactly, is that set) to allow disaggregation of everything else in order to optimize and localize social choices relative to individual preferences?  Without question I agree with the *spirit* of both your EU argument and Russell's general tangent about what he unfortunately refers to as "civil liberties" but which more properly refers to some theory of basic rights.  Aggregation to ensure some common, agreeable set of basic

Actually, based on [1], I think he was right to refer to civil 
liberties.  Civil liberties:
> generally refers more specifically to the protection of the 
> individual's rights to form and express his or her own preferences or 
> convictions and to act freely upon them in the private sphere without 
> undue or intrusive interference by the government, ... may be seen as 
> the logical correlates of the goal of *limited* government
while civil rights:
> emphasizes more specifically the individual's rights as a citizen to 
> participate freely and equally in politics and public affairs in order 
> actively to promote his/her preferred public policy alternatives 
> through lobbying policy-makers and/or through personal participation 
> in the electoral process ... are the logical correlates of the goal of 
> /popular or democratic <democracy>/ government

Civil liberties are related to basic (human) rights, while civil rights 
are the right to exercise influence on and through government, which 
might be at odds with civil / basic rights if not bounded by defined 
civil rights.  When we evolve new civil liberties, we curtail civil 
rights, permanently in most cases.  When groups opine or, worse, scheme 
to "restore" civil rights so that they can curtail civil liberties, we 
should all cry foul.  Many conservatives, some tea partiers included, 
are after exactly this.  Party foul.  In several senses.  Civil 
luddites.  Wishful & magical thinking at once.

It is clear that guaranteeing civil / human rights is better done at the 
top of government.  Or, to be clear, it makes sense for either Federal 
or state/local enactment of protections for additional liberties.  When 
it is clear that they are correct, these local protections lead to 
Federal protections.  Federal protections of liberty (whether Federal 
law or SCOTUS rulings) should override local restrictions, but local 
declarations of liberty perhaps should also override Federal 
restrictions in some cases.  This should have happened on speed limits.  
This is happening in California on marijuana.  Are there any other examples?

Experimenting on restrictions is better done close to the need for a 
restriction, which might be very local.  A lot of confusion and conflict 
comes from the fact that some things can be seen as both freedoms or 
freedoms from something, like injury, while being a tax or restriction 
or other kind of burden on others.  Add a lot of wrong science, pseudo 
science, overreaction, or other voodoo, and there is a lot of mistaken 
government, however it usually corrects eventually.

Other aspects of government, like taxation methods, school tinkering in 
positive ways (but not toward theocracy), public transportation should 
be done mostly on smaller scales.  To see if they work before w  Except 
perhaps for some leveraged funding for very long cycle public works: 
large-scale bridges, dams, power plants, public transportation, etc.

> rights as well as to minimize unnecessary friction induced by arbitrary national boundaries is a good thing.  That it comes at the expense of bundling lots of other preferences and aggregating them in a suboptimal way is not.  How can we obtain the benefits of the former without the latter costs?
> jb
[1] http://www.auburn.edu/~johnspm/gloss/civil_rights_civil_liberties
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civil_liberties
> *Civil liberties* are rights </wiki/Rights> and freedoms 
> </wiki/Political_freedom> that protect an individual 
> </wiki/Individual> from the state </wiki/Sovereign_state>. Civil 
> liberties set limits on government so that its members cannot abuse 
> their power </wiki/Political_power> and interfere unduly with the 
> lives of private citizens.


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