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Archive for August 5th, 2012

Centuries from now, I’m sure historians won’t bother teaching about the Magna Carta, the Constitution, the end of slavery, or the collapse of communism.

Instead, people who want to know about human rights will learn about these great European developments.

Now the Italians have taken the next step with a crucial legal decision that will enshrine an important basic freedom. What are we talking about, the right to free speech, the free exercise of religion, or the right to emigrate?

Don’t be silly, Italian courts have focused on something far more important.

Is this a hate crime?

Italy’s highest court has ruled that telling a man he has “no balls” as an insult is a crime punishable with a fine because it hurts male pride… The case was brought to the supreme court by a lawyer named only as Vittorio against his cousin Alberto, a justice of the peace, for the phrase uttered during a heated courtroom exchange in the southern Italian city of Potenza. “Apart from the vulgarity of the term used, the expression definitely also has an injurious quality,” the male judge, Maurizio Fumo, said in his ruling yesterday as quoted by Italian news agency ANSA. …Vittorio’s lawyer had argued that the expression implied that his client was “worth less than other men because he did not have the attributes.” A judge will now rule on the fine that Alberto should pay to Vittorio. The ruling, which comes after years of legal dispute, did not specify whether any insults against women should now also be considered crimes.

I wonder, based on the story, whether the court ruled against Alberto because of what he said, or because Vittorio actually is lacking certain…well, as the article says…”attributes.”

In any event, I suppose we should close with a more serious point. A big problem in Europe is that politicians and courts keep creating “rights” that require the erosion of other people’s liberties.

These so-called positive rights can only be fulfilled by taking away the freedom of other people. Not that the United States is immune to such nonsense. Here’s a horrifying video showing President Franklin Roosevelt discussing various “rights” to jobs, housing, healthcare, and education.

Contrast that awful video with the wise comments made in this video by another President.

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I’ve written posts revealing horror stories of government abuse and argued that people should become libertarian.

I’ve commented on research ostensibly showing that conservatives and libertarians don’t necessarily share moral premises.

And I’ve even speculated on whether libertarianism and patriotism are somehow inconsistent (this Penn & Teller video gives the right answer).

But I’ve never done a poll to gauge libertarian sentiment, so let’s do an experiment. Here’s an excerpt from a BBC report.

A farmer in the US state of Vermont who was facing a minor drugs charge is now in more serious trouble after driving a tractor over seven police┬ácars. Roger Pion crushed the county sheriff’s cruisers on Thursday before making his getaway on the farm vehicle. The 34-year-old was stopped by police in Newport city, northern Vermont, not far from the crime scene. Sheriff’s deputies were unaware of the destruction in their department car park until a resident called 911. Orleans County Sheriff Kirk Martin said they were initially unable to give chase as their cars had been wrecked.

Now share your anonymous reaction.

If you’re so disposed, feel free to augment your vote in the comments section.

You won’t be surprised to learn that I’m torn between the third and fourth options.

When I think about it logically and dispassionately, I know I should pick the third choice. But my rebellious inner child wants to cheer for somebody who fights back, so I’m tempted to take the last option. That same inner child, by the way, was quite amused that the cops couldn’t even give chase because their cars were totaled.

Maybe this makes me a libertarian chicken hawk. I cheer for people who fight back even though I wouldn’t do the same thing.

Sort of like my attitude toward tax evasion. I applaud people who take that risk (assuming they live in nations with unjust governments), but am too cowed by the IRS to do it myself.

But I’m not a complete coward. I almost got thrown in a Mexican jail for opposing the tax-hungry bureaucrats at the OECD. That has to count for something.

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