Lunch Links

Monday, December 17th, 2007
  • Another gift idea for the libertarian in your life. The Agitatrix got me this two Christmases ago. It’s a coffee mug with the Bill of Rights on the side. When you fill it with a hot liquid, the rights slowly disappear.

    The weird thing is, only certain rights disappear. The Second, Ninth and Tenth Amendments, for example, don’t go anywhere. Does that mean the people who make the mug don’t think those amendments aren’t important? Or that they aren’t under attack? Maybe I’m making too much of this.

  • This is a cool photograph.
  • Insightful observations on the criminal justice system from Jeffrey A. Tucker.
  • Garfield strips minus Garfield = surreal psychiatric gold.
  • New libertoid culture blog for your RSS feed:
  • Unsettling graph here. But what does it show? Increasing size of government, or increasing government secrecy? I’d guess a little from column A, and a little from column B.
  • If, like me, you’re always annoying those around you by saying, “That’d be a great name for a band!” then this list is for you.
    Digg it |  reddit | |  Fark
  • 13 Responses to “Lunch Links”

    1. #1 |  Gary | 

      Radley, based on the description the website gives it seems that the disappearing ones are the rights that the Patriot Act stripped away.

    2. #2 |  Brock | 

      The Patriot Act has put our Third Amendment rights in jeopardy?

    3. #3 |  Nick T | 

      I don’t know who Mr. Tucker thinks should be doling out the punishment in criminal cases if it’s NOT going to be the government. Of course the system is horifically broken from small to large-scale crime, but private companies take pretty significant advantage of poor people as well (see credit cards), I don’t know why he would assume private punishments would naturally be compassionate or reasonable. (Don’t you think Wal-mart, if completely handed the reigns, would have inflicted a fine on that woman to pad their bottom line as well?)

      Moreover, part of the criminal justice system rests on the idea that it is the people handing out penalties for conduct they will not tolerate or disapprove of, and it requires a certain amount of inherent authority that I think can only come from government. Plus at least with the government there is the -ever fleeting – possibility that the citizens will not like what they see and fix it.

    4. #4 |  Zeb | 

      There are so many things that could/should be fixed in the criminal justice system, but two things in Tucker’s article jumped out at me for some reason.
      First, why should the public intoxication guy apologize to the judge? He should have pointed out that he wasn’t driving, which he probably could have done and gotten away with and he should have been commended for doing the right thing and walking home.
      Second, what is with suspending people’s licenses for things having nothing to do with driving?

    5. #5 |  Sandcastle | 

      @ Zeb: regarding your first point: if you have broken a law, the fact that you could have done something worse isn’t exactly exculpatory. The owner of the sidewalks (in this case the state) has the right to decide on what terms people can use them, and forbid obviously drunken people from using them. I don’t really have a problem with that, although I agree with your second point, as it’s not clear why his license should be suspended for an offense as a pedestrian.

    6. #6 |  TGGP | 

      The remaining rights seem to me to be the ones the “evolving constitution” has discarded.

    7. #7 |  Zeb | 

      So, the state should be able to criminalize any activity, whether it is against the law or not in other circumstances, if it is performed in public place that is owned by the state?

    8. #8 |  JJH2 | 


      Your contention regarding the owner of the sidewalk having the right to decide terms of access and use begs the question. Libertarianism, if it is going to be a functional (small-p) political theory at all, has to come to grips with a legitimate theory of property ownership. It is *not sufficient,* as I think many unsophisticated libertarians do, to waive your hands at every existing State-recognized property claim and assume de facto justification.

      Now, you might find Lockean or radical-Rothbardian homesteading to be the most persuasive; or you may tend more towards the (Benjamin) Tucker(ite) view of the purpose of property. But in any case (and there are other options available), you have to justify a property claims in terms of some theory of property rights.

      And to be frank, I don’t see how the two principle doctrines of natural rights libertarianism: the Non-Aggression Principle and a consistent theory of libertarian property rights — can possibly be squared with State Ownership of anything. All State action is coercive, and all State action rests, at its core, on the use or threat of violence.

      All consistent and principles libertarians are necessarily anarchists, and the State doesn’t own the sidewalks.

    9. #9 |  Greg Newburn | 

      Someone should tell “” that liberteaser was SOOO 2-3 years ago…

    10. #10 |  Mike | 

      The Garfield comics are markedly improved. It reminds me of when a newspaper swapped the captions to the family Circus and the Far Side. Gary larson commented that both comics were notably improved.

    11. #11 |  Sandcastle | 

      @ JJH: You are quite right, of course. In responding to a “Lunch Links” post I was reluctant to go on at length about my philosophy, but I should have troubled myself to add some qualification to my claim, in particular regarding the basis of ownership.

      Even if you rebut the state’s basis of ownership, however, it’s not clear how to deal with that fact: while you can return a stolen watch to its rightful owner, you can’t exactly “return” the sidewalk, with its rightful owners being so diffuse. Converting state-owned property to private ownership would seem to require major systemic changes, which, in my view, should precede abrogating the state’s (supposed) property rights all at once.

      @Zeb: No I don’t think ownership gives the state ipso facto power to criminalize anything it wishes, but the responsibility of ownership (even illegitimate ownership, given the difficulties of making it legitimate) justifies exercising more state control over something than I would tolerate with regard to private property.

      So, for example, suppose you are an artist who specializes in arrows, and you want to have an exhibit for your famous “Study in Arrows.” It’s your First Amendment right to put on such an exhibit at an art museum. But suppose you decide you can reach the common people by painting your arrows all over the highway, allowing them to enjoy the arrows on their morning commute. I think it would be right for the police to say, “no, you can’t paint your strange arrows on the highway.”

    12. #12 |  Bill | 

      The best thing about the coffee mug is that the page says “more durable version now available”. Would that it were true for the rights enumerated on the mug…

    13. #13 |  Aliecat | 

      That Garfield site was hilarious!