Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Jonathan Blanks - Could the New Republic be any more wrong about libertarians and police militarization?

TNR editor Franklin Foer took to his virtual pages today to argue for more federal involvement to protect our civil liberties. In the abstract, I agree with him: I think the federal government is a necessary check against wanton abuse by states and locals against their own people. (We kinda fought a war that settled that.)

 However, when it comes to details, he's about as far afield of correct as you can get: 
But back to the actual issue at hand, Foer cites civil asset forfeiture as the strongest evidence of need for federal intervention. Oh, if this were only the case.

 As this Institute for Justice’s 2010 paper on the subject makes clear, the rise civil asset forfeiture is a direct result of federal involvement in local policing. In what are known as “equitable sharing” agreements, federal law enforcement split forfeiture proceeds with state and local law authorities, supposedly in relation to the amount of work the agencies put into the investigation. While the amount of money is discretionary by statute, all reports indicate that the default split is the maximum allowed: 80 percent to local agencies, 20 percent to the federal government.

You can read the whole thing here.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Robert Wicks - Coming Soon: More Black Libertarians

I read with interest the article by Wilt Alston on the dearth of black libertarians. I have long been the only libertarian among my circle of (mostly black) friends, and I think the somewhat unique cultural background of American blacks (the only type with whom I am intimately familiar) has made less than fertile ground for the growth of libertarian values.

 American blacks are generally the descendants of slaves. That peculiar institution set the groundwork for a lot of black cultural traditions and social habits. Individualists who fought for their own rights were in short supply because that trait did not make you better able to survive and prosper. Quite the opposite, in fact. Far too often, blacks who had the burning desire to improve themselves had to hide this desire, lest they be considered uppity and be subject to sanctions. Though I find Lincoln an opportunist and murderer, it is fact that actions he set into motion led to the freeing of the slaves at the time in which they were freed. That is something blacks can't say of Calhoun (though consistently following his ideas on government would lead to that conclusion, though he himself may have loathed that result), as much as I personally admire his insight into government and freedom. It is a historical accident that the federal government forced abolition on the South, which would have inevitably come without the assistance of Union soldiers. Readers of this site are keenly aware of this, but we all know that, all too often, we take the baby along with the bathwater, and, indeed, often have trouble realizing the two can be separated at all.

 What effects did the fact that blacks saw the federal government as their emancipators have on black culture? Well, for one thing, it meant that one of the first places blacks went for jobs was the government, which was basically all under federal control immediately after the Civil War. Growing up in Mississippi, I knew few successful black businessmen. Black professionals were usually teachers, preachers, and government workers of various sorts. That's just how it was. That's where the opportunities usually were. In particular during my father's and grandfather's times, the protection of the federal government was the best way black folk knew to be successful. Black-owned businesses generally catered to blacks only. It would, in fact, be dangerous in many parts of the country for them to attempt to do otherwise. This meant that most of the outside money which was coming into black neighborhoods was coming from the government, since the professionals, the high income earners, were frequently working for the government.

Read more: http://archive.lewrockwell.com/orig7/wicks1.html

Personal Page: https://plus.google.com/+RobertWicks/posts