Libertarian Commentary on the News, #15-02E: Fear

By Nathan Barton

A lot of fear floating around these days.  A lot of stories relate to that common problem.  We all have fears, and there is nothing wrong with that: it is when we let our fears drive our actions, when we lack the courage to deal with our fear and overcome it, that there is a problem, and that seems the situation in most of these stories.

Is the blue flu over? The NYPD says arrests, tickets picking up again after slowdown.  Mama Liberty: It will be interesting to see if the folks in NYC even notice… or what they do about it if so. Sadly, I fear that the people of the City have not enjoyed their relative freedom long enough to get too upset about again losing it… and their fears will rule them.

In Florida, an arrested teenager being processed responded to save the officer from a heart attack. The city is honoring him for his response: the cops not so much.  He did the right thing, and so did the cops, instead of beating the kid senseless for kicking the door.  Will this make a difference on how cops in this town treat the people on the street, and even those they arrest?  I hope so.

Rise of the “Far Right” again in Germany?  After the Paris Massacre, the PEGIDA (Patriotic Europeans Against Islamization) mass rallies in Dresden (and elsewhere) are growing: tens of thousands of people have a lot of Germans worried, claiming that a new fascist movement is rising.  But is it?  Or is it a reasonable and peaceful response to a danger that has many people concerned, worried, about their future, that of their families and communities and nations?  I think that the German government and others are overreacting.

Fear sometimes is NOT unnatural.  Consider a situation in Virginia. Joseph D. Morrissey’s day likely began more dramatically than any other Virginia lawmaker preparing to attend the first day of the 2015 General Assembly session: in jail. Morrissey, who is serving a six-month term following his midemeanor conviction of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, dismayed many of his colleagues in the state legislature by winning reelection Tuesday night — the first to do so from jail in modern Virginia history. Yes, it was a misdemeanor, but on a disgusting act of aggression against someone who deserved better.

There are more things to fear than politicians in DC. For scores of choking passengers caught in a smoke-filled Metro train Mondayand waiting to be rescued from a tunnel, the ordeal seemed interminable. By some accounts, 40 minutes or more went by before firefighters showed up and forced open the doors. A lot of riders said they feared they would die. And one woman did.  Of course, it is politicians that created both the Metro AND the fire department which seems so lacking.

Should we fear the Pope?  Does this make sense? Are there limits to free speech?  According to the current Pope, there are.  Here is the gist: ” Pope Francis said Thursday there are limits to freedom of expression, especially when it insults or ridicules someone’s faith. Francis spoke about the Paris terror attacks while en route to the Philippines, defending free speech as not only a fundamental human right but a duty to speak one’s mind for the sake of the common good. But he said there were limits. By way of example, he referred to Alberto Gasparri, who organizes papal trips and was standing by his side aboard the papal plane. “If my good friend Dr. Gasparri says a curse word against my mother, he can expect a punch,” Francis said, throwing a pretend punch his way. “It’s normal. You cannot provoke. You cannot insult the faith of others. You cannot make fun of the faith of others.”  What do you think?  Morally, even ethically, there are limits.  And we should expect to suffer the consequences of what we say – but within reason: killing someone for cursing us is NOT reasonable.  But what about legally?  Can aggression be used to prevent or punish someone for saying something we do not like?  Is the “Pope’s punch” even morally acceptable, an appropriate, reasonable response?  Or is it aggression? (There are many who claim to be christians who would say that the Pope’s response is the wrong one, citing Jesus telling us to turn the other cheek.)

More and more people are telling us to fear the immediate economic future of both the US and other Western nations, so this economic news is definitely going to heighten their fears: Target pulls out of Canada; closing 133 stores after years of losing billions of dollars, in less than 2 years.  Things do NOT seem to be going well in the Canadian economy, for whatever reason.  A dozen people provided a dozen (or more) different reasons for the failed enterprise. Maybe they would have done better to establish a whole bunch of Dollar General or Family Dollar stores.

Mama’s Note: People vote with their feet and wallets, as much in Canada as anywhere else.The real problem for these stores is the move to shopping on line. There are only a few things that are better purchased in person, and even that list is shrinking as technology advances.  The physical stores downtown will eventually shrink to accommodate the few people who prefer to touch and hold things before they buy them. But those customers are going to have to be willing to pay much more to have that opportunity.

Fear spreads across the European Theatre of the Islamic War: police fought with and killed two jihadists and captured one in Verviers, Belgium, east of Brussels on Thursday, claiming that the jihadists were planning to attack “hard” targets: police stations, and apparently opened fire when police approached them near a train station. They claim there was “no apparent” link to the Paris Massacre, even though it is reported that the supermarket killer there got his weapons from Belgium.  This is a stupid statement: BOTH the Paris Massacres and this nest of Islamists are ALL Islamists: they are obeying the commands of their Prophet (peanut butter und honig) AND of dozens of Muslim clerics and leaders around the world.  Whether they came from or went to fight in Syria or Yemen or Egypt or Canaan really doesn’t matter.

Fear isn’t limited to Europe: A twenty-year-old, incredibly stupid man supposedly planned to detonate pipe bombs at the Capitol and then shoot the rats fleeing the exploding “landmark.” He was supposedly inspired by ISIS, at his home in suburban Ohio, but after he tweeted about his plans (what is stronger than “incredibly stupid”) the FBI has arrested and charged him with plotting to kill “a government official.” (Nothing to indicate WHICH government official is the fall guy. Or any opportunity to suggest one.  Too bad.)  But stories are appearing that say he was suckered into his mad plot by… the FBI.  Not saying that 20-year-olds can’t plot to do evil things (look at 1600 PA’s current occupant, for instance), but…

We should fear some things, definitely.  Those who claim that the Al Qaeda-associated Paris Massacre or the Boko Haram massacres in Nigeria or the Caliphate’s terror in Mesopotamia are just “perversions” of Islam are invited to read about the christian woman who is now awaiting hanging in Pakistan, after her sentence was confirmed by the nation’s supreme court, for blasphemy against Islam’s Prophet (peanut butter und honig).  This is NOT some small band of extremists, some strange cult in the desert that is the Muslim equivalent of Mormon polygamists: this is an Islamic nation planning to execute a woman for supposedly saying that Mohammed died with worms in his mouth.  She could not and cannot defend herself: and there are billions like her: unarmed or disarmed, and facing evil with few or no body to watch her back.  Of course, it is “government” (the state) that is JOINING with the Islamic haters in condemning her.  That is something we should always fear: the evil power of government.

I don’t speak well of Congressmen very often, but have to admit that Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan deserves a kind word for why he voted “present” on the Keystone XL pipeline vote in the House a few days ago.  Please take the time to read his explanation. He could have added other reasons, such as the entire issue of eminent domain, which is one of the reasons many of us have not taken a more active position on this.

About tpolnathan

Follower of Christ Jesus (christian), Pahasapan, Westerner, Lover of Liberty, Free-Market Anarchist, Engineer, Army Officer, Husband, Father, Historian, Writer.
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