Friday, February 28, 2020

The Defiant, Yet Un-Self-Aware Hypocrisy of the Collectivist Mind

No video (of mine) this time out, which will be addressed anon. At a (quite intentionally, it seems) secretively publicized event, I spent last night with Granite State Progress, the fixated, irrationally (and hypocritically, and disingenuously, and aggressively, and incompetently) FSP-hostile NH arm of the national Soros-funded astroturf organization, ProgressNow.

Their local leader, carpetbagger Zandra Rice Hawkins, continues to have an addled bug up her ass about the Free State Project and its nettlesome objective to keep NH from going all socialist. She came to NH, AIUI, for a job -- opposing freedom, y'see -- because that's evidently what she really wants to do, rather than simply move to, say, CA or NY or MA, where the government she apparently wants already exists. But that kinda job just doesn't exist there, there's no need for it in those other places. And she's willing to knowingly misrepresent the Project, to collectivize, to "broad-brush", to profile, in order to win.

But she's shy, understandably, about going on the record with those demonstrable lies, so she doesn't allow recording at these (fundamentally non-objective) "information sessions" (notably, FSP past president Carla Gericke, conversely, invited transparency, so video of her rebuttal [I heard later that Zandra's decided she ain't gonna allow that sort of open debate at future sessions -- probably wise, considering the effect...] should surface soon, and I'll link to it). So here were some of my running thoughts during the presentation.

I came to NH in the '80s because of what it was, what it offered -- and as excited as I was about the FSP's announcement, I didn't sign on because I figured if they weren't smart enough to pick NH, then they were on their own. (Parenthetically, I also, for the record but without realistic expectations for the foreseeable future, unapologetically support NH Independence, just as the Founders did in 1776, and because Mordor-on-the-Potomac flatly rejects the validity of the 10th Amendment and NH Constitution Part First Article 7 and its enforcement mechanism Article 10. The law is the law, right...?) Fortunately, overall, these are some very bright people (it's been my experience, coming at it from both sides of the equation, that there's a high positive correlation between intelligence and liberty, so no surprise there), and they made the right choice.

NH's government was vastly less intrusive than the states I'd lived in, MA and CA. And to that point, if those are government models you prefer, well, they already exist. Go and be happy. Why are you so committed to denying others the same choice -- to create their preference, because it doesn't exist anywhere else -- in one tiny corner of the globe? You need to control it all? Where do you suggest libertarians go to live as they choose, to create the society they prefer? Or are we simply not permitted that "luxury"? Why?

But "ultra-extreme" (whatever it's supposed to mean -- but again, objectivity isn't the, um, objective here -- this is her hysterical, unshakable, inseparable, never-missing, essentially hyphenated adjective for the FSP) progressive opponents of individualism like yourself, Zandra, have been hypocritically (goose and gander not being equivalently entitled, apparently) trying to take over and transform NH government, to relentlessly extend its reach and power over the individual, ever since my arrival (and doubtlessly before). This legislative session alone is an outright nightmare of expanded regulations and new taxes -- some blatantly contravening Constitutionally imposed limits -- making the lives of people who have harmed no one demonstrably harder. Because that's how you and your comrades see the role of government.

But I do not consent. So I welcome anybody who works to preserve freedom, who opposes your preferred ever-growing government interference. And the goal of the Free State Project is to respect and protect the rights of the smallest, most vulnerable minority: the individual. And I am so good with that.

To the unrepentant "lies" part, that "take over" language you incessantly ascribe to the Project, and regarding which you complain regardless of correction, predates the Project, and only ephemerally. It was, I believe, from the musings of a grad student initially presenting an idea, in the paper announcing that idea, not announcing the formal Project that eventually resulted. Have you ever had an original thought, Zandra, let alone of a complex nature, fully formed the instant you committed it to paper? Are you Mozart?

The idea caught on, thankfully, and many people had a hand in fleshing it out -- substantially, in fact, within a matter of weeks -- to the point where the Statement of Intent was presented for people's approval. "Take over" simply isn't in it. Never was. You really should finally let that go. Or, hey, keep using it. It's a free country, right? Continue to be brazenly disingenuous, if you insist.

Polling consistently suggests that libertarian leanings are actually pretty strong in people, particularly those not intimidated into resigning themselves to choosing between the lesser of centrally prescribed evils, into not "wasting" their vote because -- as ever thus, somehow -- "this is the most important election of our lifetime...!" All it takes, really, is not submitting to irrational, unsupportable fearmongering. Like yours, Zandra.

(The only truly wasted vote is the one cast not for what you want, but for what someone else wants, the one not cast for your principles -- which is precisely how we end up with, e.g., an unavoidable choice between the two most reviled political candidates in human history, head to head. So tell me: how can secession be worse...?)

As to any potential agreement, any "common cause", Zandra will have none of it. She'll wait for the GOP to come around before she'd work with libertarians on, say, the "War on People Who Use (Some) Drugs"™, or the police/surveillance state, or criminal justice reform, or the death penalty, or any of the other myriad issues on which Project participants have worked with, say, the ACLU-NH (HOW CAN THAT BE...?!?), or...

But honestly, after this "information session", I'm hard-pressed to recognize for what, particularly, she actually does advocate, short of reflexive opposition to the concept of secession (as we who, in fact, seceded from Great Britain have since cheered -- even recently -- in places like the USSR and Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia and...). And reflexive opposition to the FSP, of course -- which, again, isn't the same thing...

No, again again, that's not her objective. Her job is her objective. And any alliance here wouldn't bode well for that job's security, if ya know what I mean. Much like force-monopoly government actually solving problems, it would go directly against longterm self-interest. The alternative, though, would have to be that she simply hasn't the capacity to think it all through. Hmm...

Despite Jason's idea catching on among these disaffected, "politically homeless", the Duopoly in NH has self-servingly, monopolistically, collusively, continued to make it prohibitively arduous, thus suppressing vexatious competition, to run as anything other than an 'R' or 'D', and still demands a "first-past-the-post" voting system. If you support those conditions, Zandra, then you can't complain when people who wish to influence the government actually use, however reluctantly, the restrictive and manipulative system on which you insist. Fair?

So. Do you advocate for expanded ballot access? Do you support approval voting over plurality? Or do you just want these troublesome malcontents to go away and let you rule them in peace?

I'm offering you solutions here, Zandra. Think about it...

Further Analysis



Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Rent Seekers Redux

HB1114, "relative to state motor vehicle inspections", before the NH House Transportation Committee, 2/25/2020, attempts to end the requirement that private vehicles must submit to annual equipment inspections -- no, civilization won't collapse. This committee seems to be getting an unusual amount of air time this year, having just starred a mere 3 weeks ago in my videos for HB1621, the "helmet bill", and HB1622, the "seatbelt bill".

The last time I visited this topic was back in 2011, with HB540 (although it was offered in testimony that evidently there was a bill in 2015 that I missed, yet it doesn't show up in a quick search), which merely attempted to double the inspection period to 2 years, rather than eliminate altogether (but the prime sponsor advised that he's already developing an amendment to walk this bill back to that same "biennial" requirement). So, progress in that respect, anyway -- at least until they pass the amendment. Here's Rep. Vaillancourt on that previous "compromise" bill, at a time when 30 other states had no inspection requirements at all. I do so miss him in the House. RIP, Steve...



As I had written back then,
This is not about safety. The opposition is to free-market capitalism -- providing what the market wants, rather than what government and its friends want. It's about rent-seeking. It's about protectionism and crony capitalism. This is private business asking government to order you to pay them, for no demonstrable benefit (indeed, quite the opposite), and your government obliging them. "Government force is great. And your constituents love it. Really, they do. Trust us. But they'd never take responsibility for their own safety and preserving the value of their own investments if you don't continue to bring the force of government to bear. They're just too stoopid to take care of themselves if you don't order them to. Well, yes: until they get elected, of course, Senator. Then they're suddenly very wise..." How has the species ever survived...
The bill sponsor back then, Rep. Keith Murphy, provided talking points that are still largely relevant, despite the intervening years and the even more liberalizing nature of the current bill:
• Annual inspections are proven to be ineffective and an unnecessary cost of time and money for our citizens.
• NH is one of only three states that require statewide testing for both safety and emissions annually.
• This bill would save our citizens $11 million per year in inspection fees while being revenue neutral to the state. This is a free market, pro-jobs bill.
• Emissions testing would not still be required annually, as some have said.
• 30 [today 34] states do not require safety inspections at all, up from 19 in 1976. These include snow states such as CT, MI, CO, NJ, WI, MN, etc.
• Five additional states almost never require inspections (MD, NV, DE, etc).
• Of the remaining 15 states, three require biennial inspections (RI, MO), 12 including NH require annual inspections.
• Of five studies done on this topic in the last 20 years, four show that inspections do not reduce accidents. Cars are better-made and safer than ever, which is why the federal government repealed its mandate.
• Of the 11 states that repealed their inspection mandate, not one has ever re-enacted it.
I will add that:
  • Nothing in this bill prevents "courtesy inspections". Go right ahead. Offer them. Nor does anything prohibit a shop from informing a customer in for emissions that there's a recall on his vehicle, no visual inspection necessary. And to the representative whose husband wouldn't have gotten his car looked at without a government gun to his head, well, that's between the 2 of you. Red herrings. Therefore...
  • Competitive advantage. Any dealership willing to sell an objectively unsafe vehicle will 1) become known as such fairly rapidly, losing market share, and will thus not be competitive in the market, and 2) be facing consumer product liability lawsuits in short order.
  • Conversely, any dealer can offer a "25 point, certified pre-owned safety inspection". They do it now. Hell, they do it here, if we're to believe their testimony. And not because they're ordered to, not because their government wants it, but because they believe their potential customers want it, thereby providing them with -- here's that concept again -- a competitive advantage over their competitors.
  • All the arguments for mandatory inspections advocate for increased frequency, not merely the status quo. There is no objective "goldilocks" interval.
  • No causative statistical relationship has been offered between more inspections and fewer accidents -- although it must be noted that 94% of accidents were due to 'driver behavior, not 'equipment failure', while the 44,000 'equipment failure' accidents mentioned -- 2% of the total -- happened despite mandated inspections. Which demonstrates...
  • It was explained to us why some states repealed their inspections -- and that those aspects don't apply to NH...! -- but we were offered no data on the results of those repeals. I wonder why that might be. Shouldn't it be directly relevant to the argument to repeal is demonstrably bad?
It's stunning -- although entirely predictable, I guess -- how little faith authoritarians have in their childr-- er, I mean their fellow citizens, of course... to match their own conscientiousness and sense of self-preservation. And despite the evidence. Best to exert force. Always.

Goin' down in flames, I expect. Again. Because businesses, run by people, like free shit. And somehow people are always better humans than their neighbors could ever be.

Best to exert force. Always...



Wednesday, February 5, 2020

A Civil Society Doesn't Punish the Innocent

Simple enough, right? And we're all presumed innocent until the State can prove its case in a court of law. Right?

And NH shouldn't be assisting the feds to violate that basic principle, either. Right?

The NH House Judiciary Committee hears HB1192, "relative to forfeiture of seized personal property", 2/5/2020. As so often is the case these days, we've been even here before.

A Nashua cop, for one, disagrees, and warns of the "charity" work that he and his gang will be precluded from doing if their legalized theft is curtailed. He needs that money, y'see, to prosecute the unauthorized, failed and horrifically expensive (in blood, treasure and liberty) "War on People Who Use (Some) Drugs"™. It's his. Found it fair and square. Why are we bothering him with this "due process" bullshit, for suggesting that maybe he shouldn't be law enforcement, prosecution, judge, jury and executioner all in one -- and all for a healthy haul? Besides, they do so much good with some of it, donating to charity and whatnot, maybe getting his picture in the paper. It's a long-standing tradition, with a storied history, after all: steal from everybody, then make a relatively small show of your false "generosity" with other people's money. Capone, for example...

Fortunately, the final 2 speakers, from Americans For Prosperity and the NH ACLU (guess what the cop's reaction was -- g'head, guess -- that's right! exasperated eye-rolls! you know him so well...), relieved me of the growing desperate need to fill out a pink card to testify...




"Compliance Is An Issue"

I would most certainly agree, Rep Cleaver: coerced compliance of peaceful individuals in an ostensibly free society is, indeed, an issue. And as the HHS and State Police bureaucrats state clearly, this is an incremental step. Told ya so. The unbelted aren't "offenders" now, Captain, but that's what you're advocating: more criminals. Fiat criminals. For having harmed no one. Why am I not surprised in the least...

HB1622, "relative to the use of passenger restraints in motor vehicles", before the NH House Transportation Committee, 2/5/2020.

Yesterday, up against HB1621, the 'helmet' bill (so I couldn't even get over there to sign in against it), Senate Transportation heard their 'mandatory seatbelts' version, SB609 (and there was also a third that was mercifully withdrawn; there is clearly absolutely no shortage, sadly, of unbidden arrogant nannies in NH's legislature this year.).

We've been here before, too, of course, but much more recently. And before that, there was the Year of the Bribes in 2009 -- that's the "grant" repeatedly discussed, which wasn't sufficient to sell out our autonomy back then.

I had provided both Transportation Committees with a transcript of the testimony that I delivered most recently on 2018's HB1259. Honestly, I didn't even need to testify, because all the arguments are addressed in the transcript -- as I assured the Committee Chair before the hearing that they would be. I include that here, below the hearing video.

Press



2/6/2018

My name is Bill Alleman, and I’m here today because my autonomy is yet again under siege. Certainly this applies to so many relentless attempts to impose overreaching legislation on ostensibly free individuals, but I'm just applying it to this one today. I encourage the further extrapolation to others as an exercise for the Committee. I’m here to speak for vanishing first principles.

Who should have authority to control our lives, the individual or the State? I contend this is hardly a trivial matter in a country founded on fragile individual liberty. Yet history and ever-expanding law books clearly show us that every successive generation is habituated to incrementally less freedom. Surely even this bill's supporters would concede that this won't be the end of their social engineering. There will always be "just one more" incursion on the fundamental concepts of individual liberty and personal responsibility -- for our own good, of course. What these supporters can't or won't grasp, however, is that "our own good" is also "our own business." It concerns me greatly that far too many -- including legislators, as we’ve already heard -- don’t fully appreciate or respect these concepts today. Nevertheless, the Founders still assure me that I need not worry about having to surrender them for myself. That is a fact. In a Constitutional Republic, rights do trump “the majority.”

As an aside, you’ve heard that seatbelts can actually cause harm. I would submit that if you pass a force-backed mandatory law that you know may cause harm – whatever the percentage – you are responsible for that harm. And to borrow a well-worn concept, one death because of legislation is one too many. “Edge cases” make bad law.

I'm not here to argue against the efficacy of seatbelts, however. That’s an issue for education, not legislation. Not government force. All the personal stories and statistics you’ll hear today are surely heart-rending, and certainly delivering bad news is incredibly hard. But these aspects are completely irrelevant to the fundamental fact that we each have a right to make our own choices -- and yes, even our own mistakes. Even if the statistics "aren't quite what we'd like to see." That's how a free society works.

You’ll hear the argument, basically, "But Dad, all the other states are doing it!" To me, the obvious response is, where in these united States, in this "land of the free," does one go, can one rely on anymore, to escape government meddling? Proudly, it has been NH. But this bill seeks to eliminate the very last refuge on this issue, the last of 50. The final extinction of seatbelt self-government. There will be nowhere left to retreat for those who would dare claim the temerity to make their own decision, whatever that might be.

Is that really necessary? Must the spirit of self determination be eliminated everywhere? Must NH, also, embrace paternalism? Is there absolutely no room for limited government in even the smallest corner of this country anymore? "We are Borg?" And ominously, what similar personal decisions shall we surrender to the State next, for the good of the collective? There are, indeed, virtually infinite ripe candidates, many affecting this Committee’s own private lives I have precious little doubt, and only "live free or die" hypocrisy needed to regulate them all.

I did not elect representatives to sell out my liberty for the return of a few pieces of my own silver. I also did not elect domineering mommies and daddies. The growing micromanagement of my life must stop. Despite what proponents of this bill seem to believe, I am a sapient, legal adult, not a child to be molded by the state -- please tell me right now, here for the record, if you contend otherwise. I do not consent. I reject government's authority to presume to protect me from myself. I require that my government respect my decisions, and instead protect me from those who would, through the force of intrusive government, impose upon me their will, their view of how I should live my life, what risks I should be "allowed" to take. No! It is my choice, not my neighbors'. And significantly, it is my neighbor’s choice, not mine.

In closing, government can’t make life “safe,” and laws do not stop crime. They merely define it. And this bill would thus "merely" define a whole new class of nonviolent "criminals," worthy of state aggression, who never asked for the state’s "help" in the first place. Please stop government's unauthorized and unwelcomed behavior modification experiments. Please defend vanishing first principles. Kindly retain our NH culture of individual liberty and personal responsibility, and reject the insidious, insatiable, and un-American nanny state, and only its latest onslaught in the form of HB1259. Thank you.

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

NH Bikers Prove Still Formidable

Well, at least we now have an idea of what it takes to turn profligate spendthrifts into self-professed -- yet highly selective -- fiscal frugalistas. And this from a constituent of Rep Mangipudi: "I support this law because ... riding is the ultimate freedom." Hey, who says nanny-staters have no sense of irony?

HB1621, "relative to the use of protective head gear while operating motorcycles and motorized bicycles", 2/4/2020, before the NH House Transportation Committee.

We've been here before, of course, but not for a while -- ten years ago, in fact. The odds haven't changed much, it seems: still the State against the majority. Who will win? Call your reps and place your bets.

Final "Blue Sheet" (i.e., attendees not speaking, but with an opinion nevertheless) tally: 4 in favor, 259 opposed. I'll leave it to you to count the speakers...

And don't fall for the sponsor's cynically-offered "divide and conquer" amendment, appeasing bicyclists.

Press