You, dear reader, all are in for a real treat. Dan Carlin is the host of the acclaimed podcasts Common Sense with Dan Carlin and Hardcore History. Originally from Hollywood, California and born to a family of entertainers, Carlin continues the family tradition while simultaneously educating his audience. This is the first interview with him for United Liberty.
As you’ve probably heard, Hugo Chavez, who for 14 years ruled Venezuela and had long been a thorn in the side of American presidents, passed away on Tuesday. Chavez had been fighting cancer and died from a massive heart attack.
This was welcome news to expatriates of the South American country, many of whom left after Chavez began to implement his leftist agenda and crack down on dissent.
Strangley, Rep. Jose Serrano (D-NY), who recently introduced a resolution to repeal the 22nd Amendment, praised Chavez via Twitter last night:
Hugo Chavez was a leader that understood the needs of the poor. He was committed to empowering the powerless.R.I.P. Mr. President.
— Jose E. Serrano (@RepJoseSerrano) March 5, 2013
It didn’t take long for Rep. Serrano to have to explain that one. In a statement from his office, Rep. Serrano said that he met Chavez during a visit to his district in 2005.
Opinions on the role of the UN in a modern world differ greatly. To some, the UN is a bureaucratic cesspool that brings nothing of value to the world. To others, it is a cherished organization that offers the possibility of resolving conflicts through diplomacy. To Manhattan commuters — even the ones who love what the UN represents — the organization has become synonymous with congested traffic, road closures, and being late for happy hour. I happen to fall somewhere in the middle: believing the UN is indeed a bureaucratic mess but also valuing the idea of voluntary associations and cooperation between nations.
What I wish to discuss today is just how ridiculous the UN has become. The organization is a great example of what moral bankruptcy looks like in practice: say one thing, but DO the exact opposite.
Case in point: the recent news that Syria appears likely to win a seat on the UN Human Rights Council. Yes, you read that correctly. A government that has been torturing and killing its own citizens for over a year is set to become a member of the body charged with protecting … human rights.
And in case anyone doubts the depravity of Al-Assad’s regime, click on the links below (Disclaimer: some of the images are shocking):
What are the origin of our rights? Our Founding Fathers believed that our rights came from the mere fact that we are human beings. Cass Sustein, a key advisor to President Obama, takes a different approach. Sustein argues that our rights come from the government. In The Cost of Rights: Why Liberty Depends on Taxation, which Sustein co-written with Stephen Holmes, the following argument is present:
Our freedom from government interference is no less budget-dependent than our entitlement to public assistance. Both freedoms must be interpreted. Both are implemented by public officials who, drawing on the public purse, have a good deal of discretion in construing and protecting them.
The Fourth Amendment right [against unreasonable government searches and seizures] cannot be absolute unless the public is willing to invest the enormous amounts necessary to ensure that it is seldom violated in practice. The fact that the Fourth Amendment is violated so regularly shows that the public is not willing to make that investment.
What. The. Hell?
This argument, first read at Campaign for Liberty, posits that all our rights are derived from the government and that our ability to keep our rights is contingent upon our willingness to pay taxation. Basically, our rights don’t count for a damn thing.
You see, the Constitution is clearly designed to reign in government. However Sustein and Holmes argue that we must pay government to reign itself in, and that argument that makes about as much sense as trusting Charlie Sheen to not sound like a drugged up moron on the radio.
Has anyone else found the coverage of the Olympics to be a joke? I was running errands on my lunch hour on Friday and listening to the radio, a local news/talk station. The newscast was talking about the opening of the games and how the Chinese showed off their organizational skills. This morning I was watching ESPN and they happened to cover the murder of a US citizen, and relative of a USA volleyball coach, in Beijing. The anchor referred to Beijing as one of the safest cities in the world and made a passing reference to the Chinese government’s ban on handguns.